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Audi A8 ranks highest in APEAL

Owners of small cars just as satisfied with their vehicles as big-car buyers

Published: July 27, 2012, 10:00 AM

2012 audi a8

J.D. Power and Associates U.S. Automotive Performance, Executive and Layout (APEAL) Study looks at what consumers like about their new vehicles after 90 days of ownership. Results are based on eight categories: engine/transmission, ride, handling and braking, comfort/convenience, seat, cockpit/instrument panel, heating, ventilation and cooling, sound system, and styling/exterior.

This year's study concluded that owners of small cars and light trucks are often just as satisfied with their vehicles as big-car buyers. In 2012, the average APEAL Study score for vehicles in the compact/sub-compact segment was 765 (of a possible 1,000), while those in the midsize premium segment averaged 844. The compact score was the same as the midsize score four years prior; the midsize  score was the same as the large, premium score four years ago.

"New vehicle buyers who downsize are not making the sacrifice that they once were," said David Sargent, vice-president of global automotive at J.D. Power and Associates. The study said that 27% of new-vehicle buyers who replaced a vehicle this year downsized.

The highest overall score went to the 2012 Audi A8; Audi's A6 won its midsize premium segment. The marque is up 13 points from its 2011 scores; Audi ranked fourth out of 34 overall.

Segment winners were:
- Compact car, Chevy Volt
- Compact Crossover/SUV, Mini Countryman
- Compact MPV, Kia Soul
- Compact premium sporty car, Mercedes SLK
- Compact sporty car, Mini Coupe/Roadster
- Entry premium car, BMW 3-Series
- Entry premium crossover, Range Rover Evoque
- Large car, Dodge Charger
- Large crossover/SUV, Ford Expedition
- Large pickup, Chevy Avalanche
- Large premium crossover/SUV, Infiniti Q56
- Midsize car, Kia Optima/Volkswagen Passat
- Midsize crossover/SUV, Ford Flex
- Midsize pickup, Nissan Frontier
- Midsize premium car, Audi A6
- Midsize premium crossover/SUV, Porsche Cayenne
- Midsize sporty, Dodge Challenger
- Midsize van, Nissan Quest
- Premium sporty, Porsche 911
- Sub-compact car, Chevy Sonic