They're the most satisfying cars to own, according to their drivers.
Buying a new car is a rather taxing process. Aside from inflated prices and unscrupulous dealers, consumers need to weigh up the pros and cons of a particular vehicle, before pouring over the safety ratings, gas mileage figures, and performance data. For many years, J.D Power has served to help the American consumer make the correct decision, by providing useful information compiled from ownership experience.
But some things are more difficult to measure than others. On paper, a car may be brilliant but, in reality, it can be lackluster and dull. However, the research organization's APEAL Study aims to measure an owner's emotional attachment to a vehicle and overall excitement, giving us a good indication of which brands make the most memorable vehicles.
This year, it's Porsche that dominated the premium car segment. Buyers simply cannot get enough of cars like the 911, for example, allowing the Zuffenhausen-based brand to clinch top honors with an overall score of 888 points out of a possible 1,000.
But you don't need to drive a flashy German sports car to form a bond with your four-wheeled friend. Genesis did remarkably well too, scoring just two fewer points than Porsche. Just three other brands beat the segment average of 872 points: Cadillac (885), Mercedes-Benz (876), and BMW (875).
When it comes to mainstream brands, Stellantis can be proud. Dodge topped the charts with a final score of 882 points followed closely by Ram, at 863. GMC and Chevrolet took third and fourth place, with ratings of 856 and 851, respectively. It's a rather good showing for American brands, with Ford (845), Jeep (845), and Buick (843) all scoring above the segment average of 841 points.
Unsurprisingly, Kia and Hyundai also scored very well. Honda and Toyota may dominate the dependability studies, but they posted fairly middling scores here; the former received just 824 points and was beaten by the latter's 831.
The study also uncovered several interesting tidbits about electric vehicles. EVs and hybrid vehicles have notably lower scores when compared to their gas-powered counterparts. This suggests that buyers still find ICE vehicles more appealing and provide an emotional experience, but some segments suggest this is changing. The all-electric Mercedes-Benz EQS scored higher than the S-Class, for example.
For 2022, mainstream brands also saw a decrease in overall emotional appeal. This is mostly due to rising fuel prices. "The study was fielded as fuel prices were experiencing a meteoric rise, and that pinch at the pump is conveyed in lower vehicle satisfaction. Battery-electric vehicles have not been negatively affected by the increase in fuel costs but do have issues related to battery range and charging time," said J.D Power's David Amodeo.
Overall, it's the BMW X6 that received the highest individual score. Despite the polarizing exterior design, buyers seem to have a strong emotional connection to their American-made luxury SUVs. The Hyundai Motor Group walks away with the most wins, though, with a total of seven awards.