For the first time, Hyundai is the top-ranked nonpremium brand in J.D. Power and Associates’ measure of new-car appeal -- a month after leading nonpremium brands in the company’s Initial Quality Study.
Hyundai is the first brand to rank highest among nonpremium brands in the Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study and IQS in the same year.
The APEAL Study, now in its 19th year, measures how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive.
After the first 90 days of ownership, more than 86,000 purchasers and lessees judged their new 2014 model year vehicles across 77 attributes, which are combined into an overall APEAL score that is measured on a 1,000 point scale. The higher the score, the better.
Hyundai’s 804 score was keyed by its strong performances in the audio, communication, entertainment and navigation categories.
“Their controls tend to be more intuitive than some of their competition,” said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive at J.D. Power, in an interview. Hyundai models “tend to score about 13 index points higher than their segment average.”
Customers have responded well to Hyundai’s additions of safety features such as collision alert, Stephens said, adding that people are “pleasantly surprised” with the storage and space offered in its models.
Hyundai won the small-car segment with the Accent (782). The brand’s overall score also was bolstered with the rising mid-sized Sonata (819), which improved 22 points.
“We expect the all-new 2015 Sonata to do even better next year,” said Mike O’Brien, vice president of corporate and product planning at Hyundai Motor America, in a statement.
Hyundai cleared the nonpremium average (785) by 19 points, with a 12-point rise from 2013. It was followed by last year’s leader Ram (800), Volkswagen (796), Mini (795) and Buick (792).
Porsche (882) scored best in the premium category, and overall, for the 10th consecutive year after outpacing the premium average (840) by 42 points.
Jaguar (862), on the strength of its freshly launched F-Type, moved up six spots to second place after a 23-point improvement -- the largest gain of any brand.
Audi (858) ranked third, Land Rover (853) remained in fourth with an unchanged score and BMW (849) lost 5 points to fall to the fifth spot from third in 2013.
"It's a great achievement for the fourth generation Range Rover to be ranked highest in its segment for the second year in a row and for the Jaguar brand to rank 2nd overall for both IQS and APEAL in the same year," said Joe Eberhardt, President and CEO, Jaguar Land Rover North America, in a statement. "This underscores the investment being made to innovation and engineering across both the Jaguar and Land Rover product portfolio and the company's commitment to manufacturing desirable cars that meet customers' expectations."
The Audi A8 (893) was the top-scoring vehicle, while the Chevrolet Corvette (890) came in fourth overall to lead domestic models.