Porsche (Go Figure) Ranked Most Appealing Brand in J.D. Power Study

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

This must be getting boring for the guys and gals in Stuttgart.

For the 12th year in a row, Porsche ranked first in J.D. Power’s new vehicle appeal study, but other automakers are closing in on its crown.

This year’s Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study found that driver-assist safety features cause drivers to fall in love with their vehicles. They also bore friends and co-workers by talking about it all the time.

Across the industry, the overall APEAL score rose three points to 801. Vehicles with blind spot monitoring and collision avoidance technology scored higher than those without the technology. Safety features make people feel more comfortable behind the wheel, which is key to enjoying a vehicle.

The launch of several new vehicles for 2016 helped bump up the industry’s score, according to J.D. Power. That dumped a lot of feel-good technology into the marketplace for owners (and survey respondents) to enjoy. 22 out of 30 new or revamped vehicles scored higher than their segment average.

When vehicles scored above average (with no reported problems in the first three months), 90 percent of owners said they’d recommend the vehicle to a friend. Add one or more problem, and the advocacy rate dropped to 49 percent.

J.D. Power’s study considers 90 features in 10 categories: exterior, seats, interior, driving dynamics, storage and space, engine/transmission, fuel economy, visibility and safety, climate control, and infotainment/navigation. Porsche led the pack, but other premium brands are close behind. BMW, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz were runners-up, and Land Rover, Lexus and Lincoln tied for fifth place.

With the ratings broken down into vehicle segments, General Motors leads in six. The Buick Cascada, Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Colorado, Chevrolet Sonic, Chevrolet Tahoe, and GMC Sierra HD all saw awards.

Hyundai received five awards, for the Tucson, Optima, Sedona, Sorento and Soul. Volkswagen AG grabbed four, but not for the Volkswagen brand. The BMW 2 Series, X1, X6 and Mini Clubman ranked first in their segments. Nissan and Toyota each grabbed two awards.

Out of all automakers with more than one entry, Toyota, Mitsubishi and Volvo improved the most over last year’s scores.

Of the ten categories, fuel economy was the biggest winner with a 14-point gain. Media/infotainment and visibility/safety also made gains. The only loser? Transmissions — specifically, jerky trannies with eight or nine cogs.

[Image: Porsche Cars North America]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

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  • Tbp0701 Tbp0701 on Jul 27, 2016

    I don't understand the continued appeal of J.D. Power studies and would like to see media outlets stop reporting them as much or at least more closely examine their methodology and compare them with similar studies' findings. At any rate, this one seems to be based on asking 15 year olds--or maybe people who act like 15 year olds on forums--what cars they think are cool. So in that light, yes, I suppose those ratings make sense. In my last job however, most of my colleagues were enthralled with Subarus, almost to the point of cult-like worship. More than that, they often went out and bought them. I'll venture that the parking garage I used now has even more Subarus than BMWs or Audis.

    • Thornmark Thornmark on Jul 28, 2016

      I consider the Power rankings to be advertising fonder and basically garbage. Power should disclose how their rankings align against the revenue they receive from their clients.

  • Don1967 Don1967 on Jul 28, 2016

    Such an inane survey, and yet... can't stop... studying... bar graph. Info-porn is a terrible addiction.

  • YellowDuck Really surprised it's only 1/3. Lack of Android Auto would be a dealbreaker for me. At this point I might even say it needs to be wireless. I can't believe any manufacturer would still be trying to sell built in nav as like a $1500 option. Must sell it to people with flip phones.
  • Mike Beranek Great subject for a multi-part piece. There's a lovely DTS for sale near my work... does anyone have a year that the Northstar becomes buyable? I've heard both 2005 and 2007.
  • Parkave231 Looking forward to this deep dive, Corey. My '02 Deville was right on the cusp of when they "fixed" the head bolt issues, but I really don't know if mine was one of the improved ones. Still, it never gave me problems during ownership, aside from the stupid intake plenum duct issue, which was the one time I'll admit I bit off a little more than I could chew.Smooth engine, decent low-end torque for an OHC engine, and whisper quiet. I got great gas mileage out of it too. But how could GM ever screw up head issues on two V8s in a row?
  • Mike Beranek I wouldn't want to own this car. But I sure would love to borrow it.
  • CFS I can’t believe these comments aren’t 100% in favor of CarPlay/Android Auto. They don’t add much for music and other audio that you don’t get with just a Bluetooth connection, but they make navigation so so much better. Why is it better? Because inputting the destination address is so much easier. And I don’t need to think about updating my car’s maps. Plus, I can switch between Google Maps, Waze, Apple Maps, or whatever else seems best suited for my trip. Hands-free calling features are OK, but not such a big deal for me.