The APEAL study aims to measure how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive based on owner evaluations of 77 vehicle attributes ranging from styling and dynamics to technology and efficiency.
While the Germans brands dominated the podium, the new Range Rover was the highest rated individual model. The luxury 4x4 became the first SUV to top the APEAL rankings in the study’s 18-year history, achieving a score of 898 points out of 1000, well above the 795-point industry average.
The result helped parent company Land Rover into fourth position overall, edging out luxury rivals Lexus and Mercedes-Benz, who tied for fifth, while also accounting for Cadillac, Jaguar, Lincoln and Infiniti.
Chrysler Group’s Ram pick-up division was the highest-rated non-premium manufacturer, ranking 10th
overall to beat the two lowest-ranked premium brands, Volvo and Acura.
Daimler city-car division Smart took out the 2013 APEAL study wooden spoon, sparing Mitsubishi and Subaru, which ranked second- and third-last. Fellow Japanese brands Mazda and Toyota tied at fifth from the bottom, placing just above Jeep.
The Volkswagen Group received the highest number of segment awards, with the Audi A4 Allroad, Porsche Boxster and Cayenne, and Volkswagen Golf GTI and Passat outperforming their rivals in their respective classes.
The study also shows there is a direct correlation between a vehicle’s APEAL ranking and customer loyalty. JD Power global automotive vice president David Sargent explained nearly two-thirds of owners whose vehicle achieved an APEAL score at least 100 points above the segment average repurchased the same brand the next time they bought a new vehicle, compared with 55 per cent of those whose vehicle scored at least 100 points below the segment average.
“One percentage point of loyalty is worth tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars to automakers,” Sargent said.
“These companies are fighting for every last customer, and it is clear that appealing products remain the key to achieving this.”
The 2013 JD Power APEAL study was based on the responses of more than 83,000 purchasers and lessees of 2013 model year vehicles who were surveyed after the first 90 days of ownership.
2013 JD Power APEAL study segment winners:
- City car – Fiat 500
- Sub-compact car – Chevrolet Sonic
- Compact car – Chevrolet Volt
- Compact sporty car – Volkswagen Golf GTI
- Compact premium car – Lincoln MKZ
- Compact premium sporty car – Porsche Boxster
- Midsize car – Volkswagen Passat
- Midsize sporty car – Ford Mustang
- Midsize premium car – BMW 5 Series
- Midsize premium sporty car – Mercedes-Benz SL-Class
- Large car – Dodge Charger
- Large premium car – Lexus LS
- Sub-compact SUV – Buick Encore
- Compact SUV – Mazda CX-5
- Compact premium SUV – Audi A4 Allroad
- Compact MPV – Kia Soul
- Midsize SUV – Nissan Murano
- Midsize premium SUV – Porsche Cayenne
- Minivan – Honda Odyssey
- Large SUV – Nissan Armada
- Large premium SUV – Range Rover
- Large light-duty pick-up – Chevrolet Avalanche
- Large heavy-duty pick-up – Ford F-250/F-350 Super Duty