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IntroductionEvery year, automotive research company AutoPacific, surveys new car buyers from across the country. This year, more than 42,000 buyers completed the survey, rating their vehicles on 48 separate categories of owner satisfaction. AutoPacific analyses the results so that only the consumer's voice shines through. To provide the most neutral unbiased results possible, AutoPacific does not get involved with the ratings at all, it simply does the math. Read on to find which cars satisfied buyers the most in 2010 and why.
Photos courtesy of respective manufacturers
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Premium Luxury Car: Lexus LS
Overall, the 2010 Lexus LS shines in the areas of size, comfort, interior, vehicle performance, and brand and vehicle reputation. Owners were most pleased with driver's seat comfort, exterior and interior styling, the feel of interior fabrics and materials, quietness inside the vehicle, and performance such as acceleration, braking, power, and fun to drive. Brand and vehicle reputation also weighed-in heavily, with the LS scoring satisfaction scores of 4.9 out of 5 for each.
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Aspirational Luxury Car: Hyundai Genesis
Competing in a class that includes vehicles such as the BMW 1 and 3 Series, Audi A4 and A5, Volvo V70, and Lexus IS, the Genesis proves that in it's second model year, Hyundai's first rear-wheel-drive large sedan has some major staying power. The Genesis scored top satisfaction in its class for exterior size, ease of getting in and out, overall seating capacity, rear seat comfort, quietness inside vehicle, operating costs, value, range (miles for fuel), and warranty.
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Large Car: Ford Taurus
Completely redesigned for 2010, the Ford Taurus charges onto the market and into owner's hearts. Scoring highest in overall satisfaction, the Taurus was also tops in most categories. Particularly shining for vehicle and brand image, exterior styling, feeling safe while driving, safety, and overall quality, the Taurus bested vehicles such as the Dodge Charger, Toyota Avalon, Mercury Grand Marquis, and Cadillac DTS.
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Luxury Mid-Size Car: Nissan Maxima
Nissan markets the 2010 Maxima as a 4-door sports car, so it's no surprise that the Maxima shines in areas regarding performance such as acceleration, braking, handling, and fun to drive. Compared with vehicles like the Acura TSX, Lincoln MKZ, and Lexus ES, the Maxima scored the highest satisfaction for ease of getting in and out, driver's seat comfort, flexible/changeable seating, image, exterior styling, and driver's seat rearward visibility.
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Premium Mid Car: Honda Accord
While Honda's midsize car is no stranger to media praise, it's clear that the Accord has satisfied owners as well. Besting cars like the Volkswagen CC, Ford Fusion, Toyota Camry, Mazda 6, and Buick LaCrosse, the Accord scored highest satisfaction through majority of the measures. Standouts include exterior and interior styling, brand and vehicle reputation, reliability, and safety.
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Mid-Size Car: Suzuki Kizashi
The highest scoring vehicle in this years study, the all-new Suzuki Kizashi overwhelmingly satisfies its owners. Besting its closest competition (which includes the Volkwagen Jetta and Subaru Outback) in all but 9 categories, the Kizashi is a clear satisfier. Highest scores are in the areas of performance (braking, handling, fun to drive), safety (feeling safe while driving, safety features, and overall quality), and styling (exterior, interior, and paint).
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Premium Compact Car: Volkswagen GTI
The original hot hatch is redesigned for 2010, officially marking the Volkswagen GTI's sixth generation. The new hatchback had no issue satisfying buyers, besting its closest competition which included the Volvo C30, MINI Cooper, and Subaru WRX. Highlights include best scores for exterior size, ease of getting in and out, overall seating capacity, and drivers comfort. Also noteworthy are highest scores in handling and fun to drive.
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Compact Car: Nissan Cube
When Toyota first launched the Scion brand, its quirky little xB made quite a splash in the compact car segment. Proving that it can be cool to be square, Nissan's new compact Cube continues where the first generation Scion xB left off. Scoring highest in its segment for ease of getting in and out, overall seating capacity, flexible/changeable seating, and cupholder design and size, and with exceptionally high marks in vehicle and brand reputation, durability, and value, the Cube is compact car to beat.
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Economy Car: Honda Fit
The compact car market is a somewhat small market in the United States, but of the vehicles we receive, there are many stand-outs. The Honda Fit is a staple in the compact car segment, and now it's obvious as to why. Scoring ahead of the closest competition (including the smart fortwo, Nissan Versa, and Scion xD), the Fit shines most in terms of vehicle and brand reputation, exterior styling, fun to drive, environmental friendliness, innovative technology, and operating costs.
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Sports Car: Porsche 911
Dominating the sports car class this year is Porsche's venerable 911. In fact, with much of the competition coming from fellow Porsche family members (Cayman and Boxster), Porsche is at the head of the game for sports cars. For the 911, brand reputation, exterior styling, and quality were highlights, while handling and fun to drive scored perfect 5/5's.
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Sporty Car: Chevrolet Camaro
After a 7-year hiatus, 2010 sees the return of Chevrolet's original pony car. It's a good thing too, because owners are particularly satisfied with the new Camaro. Competing closest with cars such as the Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger, and Hyundai Genesis Coupe, the edgy Camaro scores particularly high in image, vehicle reputation, exterior color, and exterior styling. It also scores well in power and acceleration, braking, handling, and fun to drive.
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Hybrid Car: Mercury Milan Hybrid
The Milan is the Mercury version of Ford's well-appreciated Ford Fusion. In hybrid form, the Milan proves to not only be frugal, but fun as well. Braking, handling, and fun to drive wins go to the Milan, as do fuel economy/gas mileage, and environmental friendliness, innovative technology, and value for the money. Up against vehicles such as the Lexus HS 250h, Camy Hybrid, and Toyota Prius, the Milan proves that Ford knows how to build a satisfying hybrid.
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