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Hyundai tops non-luxury brands in APEAL study

For the tenth consecutive year, Porsche was the top-ranking brand overall

Published: July 23, 2014, 10:00 PM

Hyundai Tucson Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle

People like their Porsches. In fact, they like them a lot, according to J.D. Power and Associates (JDP) annual APEAL (Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout) study for 2014.

For the tenth consecutive year, Porsche was the top-ranking brand, in the APEAL study, both among luxury labels and overall, with a score of 882 out of a possible 1000.

There was a new name at the top of the APEAL rankings for non-luxury brands, however, as Hyundai moved up a spot from its second-place ranking last year.

As was the case last year, Porsche also ranked first overall in the 2014 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS), released earlier this year, which is a measure of different attributes. For the first time, Hyundai was the highest ranked non-luxury brand in that study as well.

Among luxury brands, Jaguar (862) replaced last year's runner-up, Audi (858) for second place, pushing the German brand back to third where it displaced BMW. Land Rover (853) ranked fourth leaving BMW (849) in fifth. Lexus (844), Mercedes-Benz (842), Lincoln (835), and Cadillac and Infiniti (tied at 826), filled out the top ten, while Acura (814) and Volvo (812) completed the luxury car list.

In the non-luxury ranks, Hyundai leap-frogged from sixth place a year ago to edge out last year's leader, Ram (800) and Volkswagen (796) for the top spot. They were followed by Mini (795), Buick (792), Chevrolet, GMC, and Kia (tied at 791), and Dodge and Mazda (tied at 790). Mazda ranked highest of the non-luxury Japanese brands.

The Audi A8 (893) was the top-scoring vehicle overall, while the Chevrolet Corvette (890), in fourth place overall' was the top-scoring North American model.

The APEAL (Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout) study, now in its 19th year, quantifies the opinions of more than 86,000 Americans about the 2014 model-year vehicles that they'd purchased or leased within the previous 90 days.

Theys were asked to grade their vehicles on 77 different attributes across ten categories of vehicle performance and design. Those categories included: exterior and interior styling, storage and space, audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN), seats, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), driving dynamics, engine/transmission, visibility and safety, and fuel economy.

The average score for all brands was 794 which was one point lower than the average for last year. No single reason was apparent for the decline as scores in most of the evaluation categories were lower, with only fuel economy improving.

Power noted that while people generally like the high tech features found in many new vehicles, they are not as comfortable with the functionality of the features.

The highest ranking vehicles in individual segments were:

Cars –

- Small car – Hyundai Accent

- Compact car – Dodge Dart

- Compact sporty car – Volkswagen GTI

- Compact premium car – BMW 4 Series

- Compact premium sporty car – Porsche Boxster

- Midsize car – Mazda6

- Midsize sporty car – Dodge Challenger

- Midsize premium car – Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class

- Midsize premium sporty – Porsche 911

- Large car – Dodge Charger

- Large premium car –Audi A8, mercedes-Benz S-Class (tie)

CUV/SUVs, MPVs and Pickups –

- Small CUV/SUV – Mini Countryman

- Compact CUV/SUV – Nissan Rogue

- Compact premium CUV/SUV – Audi Q5

- Compact MPV – Kia Soul

- Midsize CUV/SUV – Toyota Highlander

- Midsize premium CUV/SUV – Porsche Cayenne

- Large CUV/SUV – GMC Yukon

- Large Premium CUV/SUV – Range Rover

- Large light-duty pickup – Ford F-150

- Large heavy-duty pickup – Ford F-250/F-350 Super Duty