The 10 Most Appealing New Cars

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Once a consumer drives a new car off the dealer lot, is the honeymoon just starting or just beginning to end? How gratifying is it for the new owner or lessee to own and drive that new car?

J.D. Power surveyed more than 86,000 new car purchasers and lessees of 2014 model-year cars in a four-month span from February to May of this year on 77 different attributes to find out how appealing their new cars were after 90 days of ownership. The survey, called the Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) Study, is now in its 19th year.

Unsurprisingly, the more expensive cars (called premium vehicles) score the highest, with Porsche ranked at the top for the 10th consecutive year. Out of a possible 1,000 points, Porsche scores 882. Here is the complete list of the top 10 with their APEAL scores:

  1. Porsche, 882
  2. Jaguar, 862
  3. Audi, 858
  4. Land Rover, 853
  5. BMW, 849
  6. Lexus, 844
  7. Mercedes-Benz, 842
  8. Lincoln, 835
  9. Cadillac, 826
  10. Infiniti, 826

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The world’s top automakers by sales all placed at least one nameplate on the list: Volkswagen’s Audi, Toyota Motor Corp.’s (NYSE: TM) Lexus, Ford Motor Co.’s (NYSE: F) Lincoln and General Motors Co.’s (NYSE: GM) Cadillac.

The industry average score is 794, and four nameplates for non-premium cars scored higher than the average: Hyundai (804), Dodge Ram (800), Volkswagen (796) and Mini (795).

An executive at J.D. Power noted, “To differentiate new models from the pack, automakers must continue to design systems that are not just attractive, but also intuitive and easy to use.” The only category in which 2014 models showed an improvement over 2013 models was fuel economy, with average miles per gallon rising from 24.5 to 25.0, which gives owners at least a perception that driving range and mileage are good. J.D. Power notes that some of that improvement is also due to gasoline prices that are about 3% lower this year.

J.D. Power offered the following tips consumers looking for a new car:

  • Before you start shopping, find out which automakers are offering makes or models that are all-new for this year, or extensively redesigned.
  • Consider vehicles that feature notable changes to the powertrain, especially those that promise improved fuel efficiency.
  • Before buying, test technological innovations to ensure that they are efficient, easy to use and worth paying for.
  • If the vehicle you decide to buy is a carryover or nearly so, save by buying last year’s model.

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