Owner satisfaction Which cars would owners buy again?
For the fifth year in a row, the gas/electric Toyota Prius hybrid is the top car for owner satisfaction. That's the news from our latest Annual Car Owner Satisfaction Survey, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. Ninety-three percent of Prius owners who responded said they would definitely buy or lease one again. The Prius was closely followed by the Chevrolet Corvette Z06 (92 percent) and the new Mini Cooper Clubman (91 percent).
At the other end of the spectrum, the V6, four-wheel-drive version of the Jeep Commander SUV got the lowest score in the survey among 2009 models, with only 32 percent of its owners saying they would definitely buy one again. The bottom of the list is rounded out by the all-wheel-drive Chevrolet Equinox SUV (40 percent) and the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon 4WD pickup trucks (41 percent).
This year's survey drew almost 425,000 responses from Consumer Reports and ConsumerReports.org subscribers, more than any previous owner-satisfaction survey. For a model to make our list, we must have received at least 100 responses from owners. The scores reflect the percentage of subscribers who answered "definitely yes" to the question, "Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.) would you get this car if you had it to do all over again?" The Ratings (available to subscribers) are based on responses concerning 2006 through 2009 model-year vehicles.
CARS THAT INSPIRE PASSION
The survey results show that car owners are particularly enthusiastic about hybrids and sporty, fun-to-drive cars. Of the 27 models that earned our top rating in owner satisfaction, all but a few are in those categories. Other hybrids include the Toyota Camry Hybrid (84 percent) and Honda Civic Hybrid (80 percent). Similarly, the fuel-efficient Honda Fit and new Smart ForTwo microcar also made the list.
Almost 20 of the models on the Most Satisfying list are sporty or fun to drive. They include four versions of the Mini Cooper, three versions of the BMW 335i, and two Corvettes. Even the one SUV that got the top rating, the Nissan Murano, is responsive and relatively sporty for its class.
Two luxury cars, the Lexus LS and Mercedes-Benz S-Class, also made the list, although no minivans or pickups did this year. Overall, European models accounted for more than half (15) of the models that got the highest rating. There were also nine Japanese models and three American models, all from GM.
While there is not always a correlation between owner satisfaction and our test and reliability ratings, the majority of the models on the Most Satisfying list are recommended by Consumer Reports. And of those on which we have reliability data, only the all-wheel-drive BMW 335i, Cadillac CTS, and Chevrolet Corvette have a below-average predicted-reliability rating.
To get the highest rating in owner satisfaction, at least 80 percent of a model's respondents must say they would definitely buy or lease the same model again.
Twenty of the 23 models on the Least Satisfying list were SUVs and pickup trucks. Respondents showed particularly little enthusiasm for American compact pickups, with almost every model on the market getting the lowest rating.
In all, 20 of the models with the lowest rating were American: 11 from GM, seven from Chrysler, and two from Ford. There was also one each from Kia, Mazda, and Volvo. Only the Mazda CX-7 is a recommended model.
A model received the lowest rating if fewer than 50 percent of its owners said that they would definitely buy it again.
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