Earlier this week several manufacturers took home awards from the automotive research group AutoPacific that included the 2020 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. The data was collected from responses of 73,000 new-vehicle owners in the following categories: exterior and interior design, driver’s seat visibility, front-seat comfort, passenger roominess, safety features, fun-to-drive, braking, handling, ride, power and acceleration.
According to AutoPacific, their scores are “based solely on owner input and are unique in the industry for their use of both importance and satisfaction ratings to represent a comprehensive view of the ownership experience.”
Reading between the lines
In the full-size truck segment, Ram scored big with “Highest in Satisfaction Popular Brand” for the second year in a row with its customers noting the Ram vehicle’s “interior styling and their vehicle’s driver’s seat ingress and egress and interior storage.” In other words people like the way it looks and what you can put in it.
While horsepower and towing are important but for many buyers, what you can actually do in your truck is just as important as what your truck can haul or tow. Ram buyers also noted the Ram’s safety features and safety ratings — two areas many truck buyers don’t usually put on the top of their must-have lists in a truck. Ride, handling and fun-to-drive also tops the list of what new owners say they like about their new Ram vehicles.
Ride quality is also an issue truck manufacturers have been tackling as of late, and Ram has probably done the most with its available Four Corner Active Air Suspension system.
This survey is different from the data collected from J.D. Power because it’s based on owner satisfaction — not a list of things that have gone wrong, which is where J.D. Power gets the data for its annual Initial Quality Study.
The AutoPacific survey also did not break down the satisfaction with particular trim levels. This can obviously change how consumers feel about their experience with a brand or a vehicle, but that information is baked into the equation on most surveys.
This is a win for Ram as more people are looking at Ram trucks as a vehicle they can not only enjoy but also feel good about owning in many different categories. However, only time will truly tell the whole truth about reliability, and even then that data is just a piece of a vehicle’s story.
Last but not least
Unfortunately, AutoPacific does not release the runners up in their satisfaction survey. We do not know who is second or third. In this case, its winner-take-all.
Not having this data means we do not know how close the competition was between the brands. But, for the record, below is a list of winners for the truck and SUV categories. You’ll note, Hyundai and Kia are among the only repeat award winners in different categories.
|Full Size Pickup||Ram 1500|
|Compact Pickup||Honda Ridgeline|
|Luxury SUV||Lincoln Navigator|
|Large SUV||Nissan Armada|
|Mid-Size SUV||Toyota 4Runner|
|Premium Luxury Crossover SUV||Tesla Model X|
|Executive Luxury Crossover SUV||BMW X6|
|Standard Luxury Crossover SUV||Alfa Romeo Stelvio / Cadillac XT5 (tie)|
|Compact Luxury Crossover SUV||Audi Q3|
|Large Crossover SUV||Kia Telluride / Hyundai Palisade (tie)|
|Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV||Hyundai Santa Fe|
|Mid-Size Crossover SUV||Subaru Forester / Nissan Rogue (tie)|
|Compact Crossover SUV||Kia Sportage|
|Subcompact Crossover SUV||Hyundai Kona|