Technology can make or break how appealing and likeable vehicles are precieved. Safety features are appealing. Confusing navigation systems can cause nightmares and bad feelings about a car model then evenutally sway the owner from ever buying that model again.
Technology-enabled safety features help drivers feel more comfortable and confident while driving their vehicles and thus make them more appealing to car buyers. A J.D. Power study found that new vehicles equipped with safety features such as blind spot monitoring and low speed collision avoidance have overall APEAL scores substantially higher than similar vehicles without the technologies.
Overall APEAL scores are higher among the 41% of owners whose vehicles have blind spot monitoring than among those whose vehicles do not have this technology (821 vs. 787, respectively).
APEAL scores are higher among the 30% of owners whose vehicles have collision avoidance technology than among those whose vehicles do not have this technology (828 vs. 790, respectively).
Advanced drivering features are also ‘gateway technologies’ to autonomous driving capabilities, therefore the continued level of consumer interest in them will be a critical metric to watch as the industry evolves toward including more automation in new vehicles, notes J.D. Power
As automakers continue to add more content, including advanced technologies, to their vehicles, one key way to maintain appeal is to design technology that is easily upgradeable and intuitive. Intuitive designs never go out of style, noted Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power
More key findings of the study include:
Navigation Nightmares: Factory-installed navigation systems remain a challenge for vehicle owners. Two of the lowest-rated vehicle attributes are related to the navigation system: usefulness of the navigation features and ease of using the vehicle’s navigation system.
APEAL Affects Advocacy: Among owners whose vehicles have average or above-average APEAL scores (801 or higher) and who report no problems with their vehicle in the first 90 days of ownership, 90% say they “definitely will” recommend their vehicle to others. In contrast, among owners whose vehicle has low APEAL scores (800 or lower), even when their vehicle is problem-free, advocacy drops to 64%. Among those who report one or more problems with their vehicle, advocacy plummets to 49%.
Saving Gas: Nine of the 10 categories improve in 2016, with fuel economy posting the largest gain (+14 points) year over year. Audio/communication/entertainment/navigation (ACEN) and visibility and safety also make notable gains of 6 points and 4 points, respectively.
Transmissions Not So Smooth: Engine/transmission is the only category to decline (-1 point) this year, with the largest attribute decline in transmission smoothness when shifting, as penetration of 8- and 9-speed automatic transmissions increases.
The overall industry APEAL score improves by 3 points to 801, helped by the launch of many new vehicles. In 2016, 22 of the 30 all-new or major redesigned models included in the study score higher than their respective segment average. Over the past 10 years, newly launched vehicles have scored an average of 29 index points higher than their segment average.
Highest-Ranked Nameplates and Models
Porsche ranks highest overall in APEAL for a 12th consecutive year, with a score of 877 index points. BMW ranks second with 859, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz rank third in a tie at 852, and Land Rover, Lexus and Lincoln rank fifth in a tie at 843. Volkswagen (809) ranks highest among non-premium brands, followed by MINI (808), Kia (807), Ford (803), Ram (803) and GMC (802).
General Motors receives six segment-level awards, followed by Hyundai Motor Company with five and BMW AG and Volkswagen AG with four each. Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., and Toyota Motor Corporation each have two models that rank highest in their respective segments.
Highest ranks by Segment
- City Car:Highest Ranked: smart fortwo
- Small Car: Highest Ranked: Chevrolet Sonic
- Small Premium Car: Highest Ranked: BMW 2 Series
- Compact Car: Highest Ranked: MINI Clubman
- Compact Sporty Car: Highest Ranked: Buick Cascada
- Compact Premium Car: Highest Ranked: Lexus RC
- Compact Premium Sporty Car: Highest Ranked: Porsche Boxster
- Midsize Car: Highest Ranked: Kia Optima
- Midsize Sporty Car: Highest Ranked: Chevrolet Camaro
- Midsize Premium Car: Highest Ranked: Audi A6
- Midsize Premium Sporty Car: Highest Ranked: Porsche 911
- Large Car: Highest Ranked: Nissan Maxima
- Small SUV: Highest Ranked: Hyundai Tucson
- Small Premium SUV: Highest Ranked: BMW X1
- Compact SUV: Highest Ranked: Toyota RAV4
- Compact Premium SUV: Highest Ranked: Porsche Macan
- Compact MPV: Highest Ranked: Kia Soul
- Midsize SUV: Highest Ranked: Kia Sorento
- Midsize Premium SUV: Highest Ranked: BMW X6
- Midsize Pickup: Highest Ranked: Chevrolet Colorado
- Minivan: Highest Ranked: Kia Sedona
- Large SUV: Highest Ranked: Chevrolet Tahoe
- Large Premium SUV: Highest Ranked: Land Rover Range Rover
- Large Light Duty Pickup: Highest Ranked: Nissan Titan
- Large Heavy Duty Pickup: Highest Ranked: GMC Sierra HD
The segment-level APEAL awards by corporation are:
- General Motors: Buick Cascada; Chevrolet Camaro; Chevrolet Colorado; Chevrolet Sonic; Chevrolet Tahoe; and GMC Sierra HD
- Hyundai Motor Company: Hyundai Tucson; Kia Optima; Kia Sedona; Kia Sorento; and Kia Soul
- BMW AG: BMW 2 Series; BMW X1; BMW X6; and MINI Clubman
- Volkswagen AG: Audi A6; Porsche 911; Porsche Boxster; and Porsche Macan
- Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.: Nissan Maxima and Nissan Titan
- Toyota Motor Corporation: Lexus RC and Toyota RAV4
Other models receiving awards are Land Rover Range Rover and smart fortwo. The BMW 7 Series is the highest-scoring model in the study in 2016, although no award is presented in the large premium car segment as there are insufficient models represented.