xJ.D. Power and Associates (JDP) substantially revised the process for determining its APEAL rankings for 2013, but one thing remained the same. For the ninth consecutive year, Porsche was the top-ranking brand, both among luxury labels and overall.
Porsche also ranked first overall in the 2013 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS), released earlier this year.
The APEAL (Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout) study, now in its 18th year, quantifies the opinions of more than 80,000 U.S. customers who purchased or leased a new 2013 model-year vehicle between November 2012 and February 2013.
The study's questions are designed to determine how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive, based on owner evaluations of 77 separate attributes across ten categories of vehicle performance and design, during the first 90 days of ownership.
Specifically, those categories are: 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 study was updated for 2013 to better assess the appeal of today’s vehicles in terms of the many new technologies and features now being offered. The total APEAL score is based on a maximum 1000-point scale.
Luxury marques most appealing
Porsche claimed the top spot among all rankings with a score of 884, followed by Audi (857) – up from fourth last year – BMW (854), Land Rover (853) and Lexus and Mercedes-Benz (847), tied for fifth.
Positions seven through ten went to Cadillac (841), Jaguar (839), Lincoln (835) and Infiniti (831).
Volvo (812) and Acura (811) completed the luxury brand rankings in 12th and 13th positions overall.
The Range Rover achieved the highest APEAL score of any individual model, which is the first time anything but a large premium sedan has done so. Last year the Audi A8 claimed that honour.
The average score for luxury brands was 844.
Ram tops non-luxury brands
The Ram truck (817) was the top-ranked non-luxury brand, in 11th place overall, followed by Volkswagen and Mini in 14th and 15th overall.
Following them in brand rankings were: Buick (800), Kia (797), Hyundai (792), Honda (791), Ford and Nissan (790 tie), Chevrolet (788), Dodge (787), Chrysler and GMC (784 tie), Fiat (781), Scion (778), Mazda and Toyota (776 (tie), Jeep (763), Subaru (756), Mitsubishi (749) and Smart (739).
The average score for non-luxury brands was 786.
The highest ranking vehicles in individual segments were, in the order listed:
- City car – Fiat 500
- Sub-compact car – Chevrolet Sonic, Kia Rio, Hyundai Accent
- Compact car – Chevrolet Volt, Volkswagen Beetle, Volkswagen Golf
- Compact sporty car – Volkswagen GTI, Mini Coupe/Roadster, Hyundai Veloster
- Compact premium car – Lincoln MKZ, Audi A5/5, BMW 3 Series
- Compact premium sporty car – Porsche Boxster, BMW Z4, Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
- Midsize car – Volkswagen Passat, Kia Optima, Honda Accord
- Midsize sporty car – Ford Mustang*
- Midsize premium car – BMW 5 Series, Audi A6, Lexus GS
- Midsize premium sporty – Mercedes-Benz SL-Class, Porsche 911, BMW 6 Series
- Large car – Dodge Charger, Hyundai Azera, Chrysler 300 Series
- Large premium car – Lexus LS, Audi A8, Hyundai Equus
CUV/SUVs, MPVs, Vans and Pickups –
- Sub-compact CUV/SUV – Buick Encore, Volkswagen Tiguan, Hyundai Tucson
- Compact CUV/SUV – Mazda CX-5, GMC Terrain, Toyota RAV4
- Compact premium CUV/SUV – Audi Allroad, Audi Q5, Range Rover Evoque
- Compact MPV – Kia Soul*
- Midsize CUV/SUV – Nissan Murano, Buick Enclave, Honda Crosstour
- Midsize premium CUV/SUV – Porsche Cayenne, Audi Q7 and BMW X5 (tie)
- Large CUV/SUV – Nissan Armada, Toyota Sequoia, GMC Yukon
- Large Premium CUV/SUV – Range Rover, Mercedes-Benz GL-Class, Infiniti QX56
- Large light-duty pickup – Chevrolet Avalanche, Ford F-150, Ram 1500
- Large heavy-duty pickup – Ford F-250/F-350 Super Duty*
- Minivan – Honda Odyssey, Toyota Sienna*
Note: * No other model in this segment performed above segment average.