Porsche and Dodge just took the top spots on J.D. Power’s list of the most enjoyable vehicles to drive.
The 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution, and Layout (APEAL) study asked customers all about their new vehicles after 90 days of ownership. The study measured 37 different attributes. Together, those are computed into an overall score out of 1,000 points. Some of the questions included how drivers feel about a vehicle’s appearance, getting in and out, interior comfort, powertrain performance, driving feel, safety, comfort, and fuel use. The survey ultimately tries to find out which brand leaves their drivers the most satisfied.
In the luxury segment, Porsche ranked highest with a score of 881. (That was also the highest-ranked brand overall.) It was followed by Lincoln (876), Cadillac (874), BMW (869) and Land Rover (866). Dodge took the mass-market segment with a score of 872, followed by Ram (871), GMC (857), Ford (853) and Mini (846).
Tesla actually achieved the highest overall score of 896. However, it wasn’t ranked against the other vehicles. In 15 states, automakers must give permission for its customers to be surveyed. Tesla refused to grant that permission. J.D. Power did survey Tesla owners in the remaining 35 states. Unfortunately, they said it wasn’t sufficient to meet their official ranking criteria. They did gather enough data to give Tesla a high score, though.
J.D. Power said in a news release that manufacturers use the study to help them develop more appealing vehicles. However, some critics of the APEAL Study call it a popularity contest. If you paid all that money for a Tesla or a Porsche, there’s the suggestion that you would be bias in your answers to help “your” brand perform well. On the lower end of the scale, buying a Dodge for less money might mean you’re more easily satisfied with your purchase, since you spent less.
Also noteworthy from this year’s APEAL study is that Mazda climbed nine spots higher than in 2019. It was the biggest improvement in the mass-market ratings. Among the premium brands, Cadillac improved the most by jumping up six spots. Hyundai Motor Group, which includes Kia and Genesis, received five model-level awards for ranking highest in that segment.