How to buy a car that’s really appealing starts with this survey

Purchasing an appealing 2020 model vehicle isn’t easy.

But not because there are too few.

Figuring out how to buy a car that’s really appealing right now starts with this impressive list of 11 manufacturers, 18 brands in 25 segments, a total of 68 models, according to J.D. Power’s Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study.

Shoppers’ choices range from the 40 cars, SUVs and pickups in 15 mass market segments to the 28 vehicles in 10 premium segments.

Honda Ridgeline
Photo credit: Honda via Newspress USA
The Honda Ridgeline was J.D. Power’s winner among midsize pickup trucks.

The parent company receiving the most model-level awards was Hyundai Motor Group, five awards comprising two Hyundai and two Kia models, plus one Genesis model, followed by BMW AG with three BMWs and a MINI, and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., with four Nissan models.

But that’s only part of the story for shoppers seeking appealing vehicles in 2020.


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Counting runner-up positions, General Motors landed 12 models on the APEAL list with a mix of mass market and premium vehicles – five GMCs, four Cadillacs and three Chevrolets – and Ford Motor Company and Hyundai Motor Group each landed nine models with a mix of mass-market and premium. BMW AG made the list with eight, mainly premium vehicles, and Nissan and Honda motor companies and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles each scored five vehicles overall, mainly mass-market brands.

The study measures 37 attributes, ranging from the sense of comfort and luxury owners feel when climbing into the driver’s seat to the feeling they get when they step on the accelerator, said J.D. Power.

Following is a rundown of the complete APEAL results:

Mass-market cars and SUVs

Small car

Winner: Nissan Versa
Runners-up: Chevrolet Sonic and Kia Rio

Compact car

Winner: Nissan Sentra
Runners-up: Volkswagen Jetta and Honda Civic

Compact sporty car

Winner: Hyundai Veloster
Runner-up: Subaru WRX

Midsize car

Winner: Hyundai Sonata
Runners-up: Honda Accord and Kia Optima

Midsize sporty car

Winner: Dodge Challenger
Runner-up: Ford Mustang

Large car

Winner: Nissan Maxima
Runner-up: Dodge Charger

Small SUV

Winner: (Tie) MINI Countryman and Toyota C-HR
Runner-up: Mazda CX-30

Compact SUV

Winner: (Tie) Ford Escape and Mazda CX-5
Runner-up: GMC Terrain

Midsize SUV

Winner: Chevrolet Blazer
Runners-up: Nissan Murano and Hyundai Santa Fe

Upper midsize SUV

Winner: Kia Telluride
Runners-up: Hyundai Palisade and Dodge Durango

Large SUV

Winner: Nissan Armada
Runners-up: GMC Yukon and Chevrolet Tahoe

Mass-market minivans and trucks


Winner: Honda Odyssey
Runner-up: Chrysler Pacifica

Midsize pickup

Winner: Honda Ridgeline
Runners-up: (tie) Ford Ranger and GMC Canyon

Large light duty pickup

Winner: Ram 1500
Runners-up: GMC Sierra and Ford F-150

Large heavy duty pickup

Winner: GMC Sierra HD
Runner-up: Ford Super Duty

Premium cars and SUVs

Small premium car

Winner: Audi A3
Runner-up: Acura ILX

Compact car

Winner: Genesis G70
Runners-up: BMW 3 Series, and (tie) Lexus IS and Mercedes-Benz C-Class

Midsize car

Winner: Kia Stinger
Runners-up: Cadillac CTS and Lincoln MKZ

Upper midsize car

Winner: Cadillac CT6
Runner-up: BMW 5 Series

Large car

Winner: BMW 7 Series
Runner-up: BMW 8 Series

Small SUV

Winner: Jaguar E-Pace
Runners-up: Volvo XC40 and Land Rover Range Rover Evoque

Compact SUV

Winner: BMW 4
Runners-up: Lincoln Corsair and Porsche Macan

Midsize SUV

Winner: Land Rover Range Rover Velar
Runners-up: Cadillac XTS and Lincoln Nautilus

Upper midsize SUV

Winner: BMW X6
Runners-up: Porsche Cayenne and BMW X5

Large SUV

Winner: Lincoln Navigator
Runners-up: Cadillac Escalade and Mercedes-Benz GLS

The APEAL study is based on more than 20 vehicle attributes in 10 experience groups: Walking up to your vehicle, setting up and starting your vehicle, getting in and out of the vehicle, the vehicle’s interior, the vehicle’s powertrain, your vehicle’s driving feel, the vehicle keeping you safe, using the infotainment system, your vehicle’s driving comfort and its fuel usage.

The study was based on responses from nearly 90,000 owners of new 2020 model-year vehicles who were surveyed from February through May after 90 days of ownership.

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