Over 75,000 owners of new cars and light trucks in the United States were surveyed in the first quarter of 2012 to determine the winners of the AutoPacific & Autobytel 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA). Based on the results of the survey, the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class is awarded the title of America’s highest-rated aspirational luxury car.
This determination is based solely on owner input and the resulting measure of owner satisfaction demonstrated. Neither AutoPacific nor Autobytel has a vote. In other words, the winners of the VSAs are based purely on the numbers generated by the owner ratings. Auto Pacific does the arithmetic and Autobytel does the reporting—period.
This makes the AutoPacific & Autobytel VSA very different from other automotive awards primarily concentrating on reliability, quality, or subjective journalist evaluations to the exclusion of how satisfied actual owners are with their vehicles. The awarding of the VSA is based specifically upon the experiences of people who actually bought the cars. Because overall vehicle satisfaction is in fact derived from ownership experiences, AutoPacific & Autobytel’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award is a significantly more accurate measurement of how satisfied new car and light truck buyers are with their recently purchased vehicles.
Mercedes-Benz has hit upon a quite successful formula in terms of its passenger cars. By taking advantage of the attributes of its AMG performance arm at one end of the spectrum, and endowing its cars with an outstanding array of luxury features (appropriate to its category) at the other end, the product planners at Mercedes-Benz can offer luxury sedans, sport sedans—or even varying degrees of the blending of the two in every one of its products.
This strategy broadens the appeal of its automobiles significantly. In the case of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class, AutoPacific & Autobytel’s highest-rated aspirational luxury car, this means the same model can just as easily be a genteel luxury runabout in the city for a matronly dowager, or a screaming sports sedan for a young upwardly mobile junior executive racing down the freeway with their eyebrows on fire.
From the highly fuel-efficient, yet satisfying-to-drive turbocharged four-cylinder C250 (available in either luxury or sporting trim) to the hair igniting C63 AMG and the various luxury and sporting trim levels in between, there is indeed a 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class for nearly every sort of driver.
However, this is also a Mercedes-Benz product we’re discussing, so materials, fit, finish, and build quality are also equally outstanding. All of these factors contributed significantly to the survey results supporting the naming of the 2012 Mercedes-Benz C-Class AutoPacific & Autobytel’s best-rated aspirational luxury car.
Closely trailing the Mercedes-Benz C-Class in AutoPacific & Autobytel’s top-rated aspirational luxury car rankings (listed in order of finish) were the Volvo XC70, Audi A4, Lexus IS, and Hyundai Genesis.
A highly competitive segment of the marketplace, one stacked with outstanding offerings, the best-rated aspirational luxury car segment leaders are all somewhat similar in concept and execution, save the Volvo XC70 station wagon. Consisting primarily of sedans blending lux with sporting attributes, all of the models represented are highly desirable in their own right.