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 Volkswagen Passat is awarded the title of America’s highest-rated Premium Mid-Size 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 VSA 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.
The changes wrought by Volkswagen for the current version of its popular mid-size sedan have reaped significant benefits. Many have labeled the latest iteration of the Passat, the “American” Passat, and based on the responses of the owners surveyed, that’s a pretty good thing. Good enough in fact to send the Passat down the American Interstate as AutoPacific and Autobytel’s best-rated premium mid-size car.
Aside from being built in a brand-new state-of-the-art facility outside Chattanooga, Tenn. the newest Passat is larger and more spacious than the model it replaces, leading Volkswagen to claim best-in-class rear-seat legroom. Offering attributes like intelligent crash response, automatic climate control and a three-year/36,000-mile free maintenance plan, along with a starting price under $21,000 goes a long way toward owner satisfaction.
Add a few niceties such as keyless entry, remote start, eighteen-inch wheels, navigation, leather, wood trim, and a six-cylinder engine and you’re still under $35,000. Plus, even though the Passat is an “American” VW, it was engineered to run on the unlimited-speed Autobahn at full throttle for hours on end. This means its switchgear is logically arrayed, its instrumentation is easy to read, and it is extraordinarily stable at high speeds.
Sum all that up, and you’ll come out with the best-rated premium mid-size car in America, the 2012 Volkswagen Passat.
Chasing the 2012 Volkswagen Passat for the title of AutoPacific & Autobytel’s highest-rated premium mid-size car (listed in the order of ranking) are; Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, and Buick Regal. Based on the lineup, it’s easy to see reliability, a strong features to dollar ratio, and fuel efficiency are the key attributes shoppers in this category are looking for.