2019 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards
When shoppers spend hard-earned cash on new vehicles, they hope to be satisfied with their purchases. Automotive consulting and research firm AutoPacific wants to help with that. Every year the company publishes Vehicle Satisfaction Awards that identify the most satisfying new cars on the market. “For 23 years, AutoPacific has been providing true unbiased insight into which vehicles are giving their owners the most satisfying experience,” said AutoPacific President George Peterson. AutoPacific’s research pinpoints the top vehicles in multiple categories based on responses from more than 50,000 new car and truck owners. Satisfaction is measured according to 32 separate attributes ranging from driving performance to seating comfort and interior design.
Highest Satisfaction Premium Brand — Lincoln
In addition to selecting category winners, AutoPacific names the brands that rank highest overall. For 2019 Lincoln wins the Highest Satisfaction Premium Brand award, besting last year’s fifth-place finish. The all-new Navigator and a range of updated crossovers have helped Ford’s luxury brand move up a few key positions. “In addition to the exceptionally crafted Navigator, Lincoln has made a strong push for customer treatment. It’s a hands-on experience that appears to be working,” said AutoPacific’s Peterson.
Highest Satisfaction Popular Brand — Ram
After tying for first place last year, Ram stands alone in 2019 as the Highest Satisfaction Popular Brand in America. The all-new Ram 1500 received high scores in interior quietness, driver’s seat movement, interior styling, power and acceleration. “The Ram 1500 is a truly exceptional pickup,” said Peterson, “but what carries Ram to the top as a brand is high satisfaction in areas that can be problems for other brands, particularly 2nd row seat comfort, interior storage, passenger roominess and user-friendly gauges and controls.”
Most Satisfying Vehicle Overall — Lincoln Navigator
Lincoln introduced an all-new Navigator for the 2018 model year, and the luxurious SUV went on to be named 2018 North American Truck of the Year — a first for the brand. And now Navigator can add a Most Satisfying Vehicle Overall award to Lincoln’s trophy case. The Navigator has a bold presence, highlighted by a large grille that immediately grabs attention. When approached, the Lincoln logo softly illuminates along with LED lighting that brightens the ground immediately around the vehicle. During the day a panoramic sunroof ensures that even those sitting in the third row don’t feel claustrophobic, while at night interior ambient lighting illuminates all three seat rows.
Luxury Car — Lincoln Continental
Continental returned to the Lincoln lineup as the flagship of Ford’s luxury brand, with a focus on quiet luxury and elegance. Designed to provide a quiet and relaxing experience for all passengers, the Continental features available Perfect Position seats that can be adjusted up to 30 different ways, and both front and rear seats offer heating, cooling and available massage functions. The modern-day Continental has several powertrain choices, including a 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged V6 that is exclusive to Lincoln, producing 400 horsepower and 400 lb-ft of torque. The available all-wheel-drive-system incorporates dynamic torque vectoring to transfer torque between the rear wheels when cornering for better handling and stability.
Aspirational Luxury Car — Infiniti Q60
The only coupe in the Infiniti lineup, the Q60 is a premium ride with sporty styling. Available with rear- or all-wheel drive, the Q60 can be equipped with a range of high-end features and comes with a choice of high-performance powertrains. For those seeking ultimate performance, Infiniti suggests the Q60 Red Sport 400. Named for the horsepower output from its twin-turbo V6, the Red Sport is easily recognizable as something special with 20-inch alloy wheels, a sport exhaust tip and red brake calipers.
Luxury Mid-Size Car — Nissan Maxima
The Nissan Maxima tops the Luxury Mid-Size category for the fourth year in a row. At one time dubbed a “4-Door Sports Car,” Maxima’s moniker returned when the current generation premiered for the 2016 model year. True to Maxima’s sports car mantra, the big sedan features a 300-horsepower 3.5-liter V6 engine teamed with a performance-oriented Xtronic continuously-variable transmission. For 2019 the Maxima has revised exterior styling including a larger V-Motion grille, interior updates and available Nissan Safety Shield 360 with advanced driver-assist systems. Safety Shield 360 includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning, high-beam assist and rear automatic braking.
Large Car — Kia Cadenza
Slotting between the Optima and flagship K900, the Cadenza received an update for the 2017 model year incorporating a stronger, lighter and more rigid body structure than the outgoing model. Two different grilles can adorn the new Cadenza — lower trims have a look similar to other models in the Kia lineup, while top-level versions come with the “Intaglio” grille, which features vertical faceted blades. Cadenza possesses plenty of power thanks to its 3.3-liter V6 engine producing 290; the stylish sedan is EPA rated at an impressive 28 mpg on the highway.
Mid-Size Car — Nissan Altima
Nissan introduced an all-new Altima for the 2019 model year that features a lower, wider stance and a much more dynamic look, as well as available all-wheel drive for the first time in the model’s history. With a starting MSRP of $24,000 and a wide range of available trim levels, the Altima comes well-equipped with multiple USB ports, Apple CarPlay / Android Auto, a rearview camera and a large display screen. The cabin offers plenty of room up front and in the rear seat. Two engine options are available: a new 2.5-liter four cylinder or a unique variable-compression turbo that produces 248 horsepower.
Premium Compact Car — Acura ILX
The lowest priced model offered by Acura, the ILX receives a major redesign for the 2019 model year. Sporting a new Acura signature Diamond Pentagon grille with 7-element jewel-eye LED headlights, the ILX looks more upscale, aligning it with the rest of the Acura lineup. The updated ILX also has a new decklid, LED taillights, and updated wheel designs. Inside, a unique dual screen display features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The ILX also comes standard with the AcuraWatch suite of advanced safety tech that includes automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist.
Compact Car — Kia Forte
Completely redesigned for the 2019 model year, this entry-level Kia has fresh styling as well as a range of new features. Forte inherits many styling cues that originated with the sporty Stinger, including the signature Kia grille, long hood and fastback shape. Unique headlights and a sculpted hood add to the strong presence, as do a rear lip spoiler and available LED taillights. Inside Forte, standard equipment includes an 8-inch touchscreen display as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Forte also has available high-tech safety features including automatic emergency braking.
Economy Car — Hyundai Accent
Hyundai built its reputation by creating vehicles that offer attractive styling, great value and continually-improving quality — all attributes found on the Accent. Redesigned for the 2018 model year, the Accent rides on a new chassis designed for increased rigidity, resulting in better driving dynamics as well as a surprisingly quieter ride. With its cascading grille, Accent’s styling fits in with the rest of the Hyundai lineup. The base-level Accent SE comes well-equipped with air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, a 5-inch display screen, a rearview camera, an AM / FM / CD / MP3 audio system with four speakers, and 15-inch steel wheels. All trims of the Accent are powered by a 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine producing 130 horsepower and 119 lb-ft of torque.
Sports Car — Chevrolet Corvette
The iconic Chevrolet Corvette earns AutoPacific’s satisfaction award just as the current model is being phased out. The seventh-generation Corvette Stingray debuted as a 2014 model bringing back the Stingray name. The most powerful standard Corvette ever, Stingray is motivated by a 6.2-liter V8 engine producing 455 horsepower and 460 lb-ft of torque. For a higher level of performance, Chevrolet offers the over-the-top ZR1, boasting 755 horsepower and a top speed exceeding 210 mph. Earlier this year Chevrolet took the wraps off an all-new 8th-generation Corvette with all-new styling, updated powertrains and — for the first time — a mid-engine configuration. Look for the new ‘Vette arriving early next year.
Sporty Car — Dodge Challenger
The American market is awash with retro-designed vehicles, but Dodge does one of the best jobs by capturing the essence of a classic muscle car and incorporating it into the thoroughly modern Challenger. The 2-door Challenger offers the latest in high-tech entertainment and safety features, but this retro-looking coupe is really all about performance. Winning the VSA Sporty Car award for the third year in a row, Challenger is available with a variety of high-powered engines, ranging from a 305-horsepower V6 to the extreme Challenger Hellcat Redeye that boasts a massive 797-horsepower supercharged V8 that moves this modern muscle car to 60 mph in 3.4 seconds, and on to a top speed that exceeds 200 mph. Even more impressive — this beast can seat up to five passengers and has an EPA rating of 22 mpg highway.
Luxury EV Car — Tesla Model 3
The third entrant in the Tesla lineup, the Model 3 is more affordable than the higher-end Model S and Model X offered by the innovative American car company. With a bold level of standard equipment and sleek styling that befits the rest of the Tesla lineup, the more economical Model 3 is designed for high-volume sales. Although the Model 3’s standard battery delivers a 220-mile range, the Long Range Model 3 features a larger battery that bumps the driving range to 310 miles. Performance is quite impressive — the dual-motor all-wheel-drive Model 3 sprints to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds.
Mainstream EV Car — Honda Clarity Electric
The Honda Clarity Electric is one of three electrified vehicles that make up the Clarity family — the other two being the fuel-cell and plug-in hybrid versions. Currently sold in California and Oregon only, the Clarity Electric is powered by a 161-horsepower (120-kilowatt) electric motor producing 221 lb-ft of torque. The 25.5-kWh lithium-ion battery pack provides a range of 89 miles. The Clarity Electric can by fully charged in a bit over three hours at 240 volts — using DC fast charging it can reach an 80 percent charge in a quick 30 minutes. Like other Clarity variants, the Clarity EV comes well-equipped with the latest in entertainment, communications and safety technology.
Light Duty Pickup — Ram 1500
In the last year Ram has introduced an all-new, light-duty 1500 as well as a heavy-duty 2500 and 3500, and based on sales these trucks are the best Ram has ever delivered. The new Ram trucks feature updated exterior styling that keeps the brand’s signature big-rig look, and the interior is one of the nicest on the market with an available 12-inch vertical display screen. Six trim levels are available, as well as a range of powertrains that will eventually include a hybrid system. Ram also announced that the previous generation will continue to be sold as Ram 1500 Classic to fill demand as the company ramps up production of the new model.
Mid-Size Pickup — Ford Ranger
Following an eight-year hiatus, Ranger returns to the Ford lineup for the 2019 model year. The resurrected Ranger is available in three trims (XL, XLT, Lariat), two body styles (SuperCab, SuperCrew) and 2WD or 4WD. Only one engine is available: a 2.3-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder unit that produces 270 horsepower and 310 lb-ft of torque. Inside, the 2019 Ford Ranger offers seating for up to five, a center stack with an 8-inch touchscreen for the available SYNC 3 system, and dual LCD screens in the instrument cluster to display vehicle, navigation and audio information. Even though Ranger is already sold in other areas of the world, the 2019 model has been engineered specifically for the North American market.
Luxury SUV — Lincoln Navigator
When the Navigator was introduced for the 2018 model year, it didn’t stray much from the look of the concept revealed one year earlier. Made to be luxurious as well as family friendly, the Navigator offers multiple USB ports, wireless phone charging, a Wi-Fi hotspot as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A rear-seat entertainment system is also available featuring two 10-inch display screens. The big Lincoln has big power to match — a twin-turbo V6 engine that produces 450 horsepower and 510 lb-ft of torque, delivered through a new 10-speed automatic transmission. Towing capacity is an impressive 8,700 pounds — more than almost any other luxury SUV.
Large SUV — Nissan Armada
While many SUVs have migrated to a more carlike unibody construction, the big Nissan Armada remains a body-on-frame design capable of handling considerable cargo and towing duties. This full-size SUV carries up to eight occupants while still retaining plenty of space for cargo. The Armada’s 5.6-liter V8 engine generates an impressive 390 horsepower. With this much power on tap, the Armada can tow up to 8,500 pounds. This may be an old-school truck-based SUV, but the Armada is fully modern inside with the latest high-tech connectivity and safety features, including adaptive cruise control and forward emergency braking.
Mid-Size SUV — Jeep Grand Cherokee
Jeep has a well-deserved reputation for building vehicles with impressive off-road capability, and the Grand Cherokee is the brand’s flagship. Tackling deep snow and other tough terrain lands right in the Grand Cherokee’s wheelhouse — while at the same time providing a comfortable and, in some cases, luxurious cabin. Available in several trim levels and 4WD systems, the Grand Cherokee line ranges from the off-road-focused Trailhawk to the luxurious Summit. Jeep also offers the high-performance Trackhawk boasting a staggering 707 horsepower. For 2019 Jeep adds blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert as standard equipment, and introduces the new Grand Cherokee Limited X.
Premium Luxury Crossover SUV — Mercedes-Benz GLE
Completely new for the 2019 model year, the GLE (formerly known as the M-Class) boasts advancements in safety, entertainment, connectivity and drivability. Styling is all new with a grille that’s more in line with the recently updated GLC, but enhanced by a dual power-dome hood and large air intakes. The LED Intelligent Light System features an ultra-wide beam; they are the brightest allowed on a motor vehicle. Although most GLE buyers will be more interested in the added seating comfort and advanced safety features, Mercedes has given the GLE impressive off-road capabilities as well with E-Active Body Control that can smooth the ride and deliver up to 100 percent of the torque to either axle as needed.
Luxury Crossover SUV — Lincoln Nautilus
The midsize MKX crossover has been the best-selling model in the Lincoln lineup for the last few years, and now that model has become the Nautilus. The new Nautilus strongly draws styling cues from the flagship Continental sedan and the full-size Navigator SUV, including a bold signature grille and beltline trim. Acoustic glass reduces wind noise and Ultra Comfort seats can be adjusted up to 22 ways. Standard power for this new luxury SUV comes from a 245-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, and an available 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 produces 335 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque. Both engines get combined with an 8-speed automatic transmission and include auto stop-start. New driver assistance technologies include lane centering and evasive steer assist.
Large Crossover SUV — Chevrolet Traverse
Chevrolet’s 3-row crossover was redesigned for the 2018 model year with updated styling and a number of new features. The Traverse has exterior trappings that fall in line with Chevrolet’s larger full-size SUVs as well as a focus on interior volume, including seating for up to eight. Traverse is powered by a 3.6-liter V6 teamed with a 9-speed automatic transmission, available with either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Traverse is also available as the sporty RS with Signature Black accents, surround vision, a rear camera mirror, as well as 20-inch aluminum wheels.
Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV — Nissan Murano
Nissan’s Murano is one of the more stylish crossovers on the market and has been named Most Satisfying in the Premium Mid-Size Crossover segment for five years in a row. For 2019 the Murano’s styling is refreshed with a larger, more prominent V-Motion grille flanked by redesigned LED headlights and new LED fog lights. The taillights are also a new design, and new 18- and 20-inch aluminum alloy wheels are offered. The new Murano can be equipped with Nissan Safety Shield 360, a package of six active safety and assistance technologies to provide active driver assist, crash avoidance and pedestrian detection.
Mid-Size Crossover SUV — Nissan Rogue
Small crossovers are clearly among the most popular vehicles with American shoppers, and Nissan has capitalized on this with the versatile Rogue: this small SUV is the best-selling model in the Nissan lineup. Rogue has a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine with an advanced Xtronic transmission with Eco mode, boasting an EPA fuel-economy rating as high as 33 mpg. Rogue also is available as a hybrid and as a smaller model called Rogue Sport. All Rogues are now available with ProPILOT Assist — Nissan’s first step toward building autonomous vehicles.
Compact Crossover SUV — Hyundai Tucson
Hyundai introduces an all-new Tucson for the 2019 model year, easily spotted thanks to a new headlight design that features LED daytime running lights, a new rear fascia, redesigned taillights, new 18-inch wheels for the SEL trim and redesigned 17- and 19-inch wheels for other trims. Inside, the Tucson gets a new center stack, instrument cluster, leather seat design, vent design and rearview mirror. Forward collision-avoidance assist and lane-keeping assist are both standard. Additional available safety and technology features include forward collision-avoidance assist with pedestrian detection, high-beam assist, rain-sensing wipers, surround view monitor, smart cruise control with Stop-and-Go and Driver Attention Warning. A 7-inch display audio system is standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Minivan — Chrysler Pacifica
The Pacifica came to market for the 2017 model year, replacing the Town & Country in the Chrysler lineup. With contemporary styling and a slew of innovations, Pacifica is arguably the best minivan Chrysler has built since it created the category more than 30 years ago. Pacifica can be equipped with seating for up to eight occupants, which still leaves plenty of cargo space in the rear. Passengers enjoy an available Uconnect Theater featuring a 10-inch high-res touchscreen display with a variety of inputs and integrated games. A plug-in hybrid version of the Pacifica is also available, making this the first and only hybrid minivan sold in America.
Luxury EV Truck – Tesla Model X
Tesla’s SUV certainly stands out from the crowd in both style and capability, with impressive performance in both efficiency and acceleration. The Model X features two independently-controlled electric motors for full-time all-wheel drive. Available in three power levels, the Model X Standard Range is the most efficient according to the U.S. EPA. Even though the Standard Range Model X may have base-level power, it can still accelerate to 60 mph in less than 5 seconds. Slightly less efficient, the Model X Performance provides acceleration on par with most exotic sports cars. Featuring aerodynamic styling, innovative Falcon Wing doors and a versatile interior, the Model X is unique within the American crossover market.