The 22 Cars Americans Love Most This Year

Last month we revealed J.D. Power and Associates’ Initial Quality Study for the new cars of 2012, which ranks vehicles based on defects and problems. Now, the company has released its 2012 APEAL (Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout) study, which rates cars based on what the carmakers did right over a span of 80 vehicle attributes, as evaluated by new owners.This year, the study shows smaller vehicles are enjoying a higher popularity than ever before.

Check out the list to see if your car is among the ones Americans loved the most this year.

Compact Cars

Compact Car: Chevrolet Volt
Coming in at number one for the compact car category for a second year in a row, the Chevrolet Volt is a car to be reckoned with. Owners in the survey noted they were particularly happy with the electric vehicle’s fuel economy, style, and power-train performance. Other impressive aspects include the car’s well integrated technology and the feel of a normal car, unlike the Toyota Prius.
Compact Sporty Car: MINI Coupe and Roadster
Compact Premium Sporty Car: Mercedes-Benz SLK-Class
Compact Crossover/SUV: MINI Countryman
Compact MPV: Kia Soul
Subcompact Car: Chevrolet Sonic

Midsize Cars

Midsize Car: Kia Optima / Volkswagen Passat (Tie)
The Kia Optima and Volkswagon Passat came in at a tie for the midsize category this year. The Optima has a low price tag and an expensive look. There are also many options to pick from. Its five trim levels and three engine choices include the LX and EX models, with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that produces 200 horsepower; the EX Turbo and SX that each boast a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder with 274 horsepower; and the Kia Optima Hybrid, which is powered by a 4-cylinder gasoline engine that produces 166-horsepower and a 40 horsepower electric motor.

The Passat, costing lower than ever before, also has an attractive price tag.  For under $20,000 owners get a spacious and stylish midsize car, comparable to the usual leaders in this segment, The Honda Accord and Toyota Camry. Respondents were extremely pleased with the fuel economy and design, but expressed concerns about the build quality.
Midsize Sporty Car: Dodge Challenger
Midsize Premium Car: Audi A6
Midsize Crossover / SUV:Ford Flex
Midsize Premium Crossover/SUV: Porsche Cayenne
Midsize Pickup: Nissan Frontier
Midsize Van: Nissan Quest

Large Cars

Large Car: Dodge Charger
Another second year-in-a-row winner, the Dodge Charger took the crown for this category. One of the appeals for the rear-wheel-drive, 4-door sedan is that you can outfit it from the factory in almost any way you’d like.  It provides a surprisingly balanced and agile ride, despite its massive size. Survey respondents gushed over the exterior design, the entertainment features and interior storage space. The Charger comes with a new 3.6 liter V6 engine.
Large Premium Car: Audi A8
Large Crossover/SUV: Ford Expedition
Large Premium Crossover/SUV: Infiniti QX56
Large Pickup: Chevrolet Avalanche


Entry Premium Car: BMW 3-Series
This iconic, heavily respected, and highly coveted sport sedan is one of BMW’s best vehicles, and has been since its introduction back in the 1970s. This year, the car maker upped the ante even more, making the 3-Series faster and more powerful than ever before, updating the car’s style inside and out, and adding plenty of extra standard features. Its one caveat, however, is the mediocre fuel economy.
Premium Sporty Car: Porsche 911
Entry Premium Crossover/SUV: Range Rover Evoque

To check out the JD Power and Associates’ full press release, click here.

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