26 of the Most Gratifying Cars to Drive

Photo (cc) by DrivingtheNortheast

The gap is narrowing between the appeal of premium brand cars and nonpremium brand cars.

The reason? High-tech safety features.

The J.D. Power 2015 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, released Wednesday, shows the “appeal gap” is as narrow as it’s been in a decade — 16 percent smaller than it was in 2006.

The type of safety features that helped close the gap include blind-spot monitoring and warning systems, park assist/backup warning, and collision avoidance/alert systems.

Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power and Associates, explains in a press release:

“Unlike other technologies, such as voice recognition, that can be challenging to operate, most safety features provide information in a more intuitive way, giving owners a greater sense of security.”

The APEAL Study, now in its 20th year, measures how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive.

This year’s study is based on responses from more than 84,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2015 model-year vehicles who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership.

The average 2015 APEAL Index score for nonpremium cars is 5 points higher than last year, bringing it up to 790 out of 1,000 points. The average score for premium cars is only 1 point higher, bringing it to 841.

The top-ranked models in each of the 26 vehicle classes in the APEAL Study are:

  • City car: Fiat 500
  • Small car: Chevrolet Sonic
  • Small premium car: Audi A3
  • Compact car: Volkswagen Golf
  • Compact sporty car: Mini Cooper
  • Compact premium car: BMW 4 Series
  • Compact premium sporty car: Porsche Cayman
  • Midsize car: Mazda 6
  • Midsize sporty car: Dodge Challenger
  • Midsize premium car: BMW 6 Series
  • Midsize premium sporty car: Chevrolet Corvette
  • Large car: Dodge Charger
  • Large premium car: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
  • Small SUV: Mini Countryman
  • Small premium SUV: Audi Q3
  • Compact SUV: Mazda CX-5
  • Compact premium SUV: Porsche Macan
  • Compact multipurpose vehicle: Ford C-Max
  • Midsize SUV: Nissan Murano
  • Midsize premium SUV: Porsche Cayenne
  • Midsize pickup: Chevrolet Colorado
  • Minivan: Kia Sedona
  • Large SUV: Ford Expedition
  • Large premium SUV: Infiniti QX80
  • Large light duty pickup: Ford F-150
  • Large heavy-duty pickup: GMC Sierra HD

Click the above link to explore the APEAL Study results in more detail.

Does safety technology impact how happy you are with your car? Share your thoughts below or on Facebook.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value
7 Surprising Features That Boost Your Home Value

You can add value to your home without hiring a contractor to do expensive renovations.

5 Secrets to Keeping Your Brain Sharp as You Age
5 Secrets to Keeping Your Brain Sharp as You Age

Forget young at heart — science says these tricks will keep you young in mind.

13 Small Gadgets Under $20 That Make Life Better
13 Small Gadgets Under $20 That Make Life Better

These inexpensive electronics will make your day-to-day life a little easier — and happier.

21 Thrift Store Gems You Can Cash In On
21 Thrift Store Gems You Can Cash In On

Here’s what to look for at that overstuffed thrift store — and how you can make money from it.

13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free
13 Things Seniors Can Get for Free — or Almost Free

There are many ways to get cheap or free services and goods after reaching a certain age.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco
11 Things Retirees Should Always Buy at Costco

This leader in bulk shopping is a great place to find discounts in the fixed-income years.

Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines
Over 50? The CDC Says You Need These 4 Vaccines

Fall is the time to schedule vaccines that can keep you healthy — and even save your life.

11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older
11 Senior Discounts for Anyone Age 55 or Older

There is no need to wait until you’re 65 to take advantage of so-called “senior” discounts.

11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous
11 Household Items That Go Bad — or Become Dangerous

When you get the impulse to stockpile these everyday items, pay close attention to their expiration dates.

8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies
8 Things You Can Get for Free at Pharmacies

In this age of higher-priced drugs and complex health care systems, a trip to the pharmacy can spark worry. Freebies sure do help.

These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020
These Are the 4 Best Medicare Advantage Plans for 2020

Medicare Advantage customers themselves rate these plans highest.

7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast
7 Ways to Boost Your Credit Score Fast

Your financial security might soon depend upon the strength of your credit score.

The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America
The 10 Most Commonly Stolen Vehicles in America

A new model parks atop the list of vehicles that thieves love to pilfer.

19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree
19 High-Paying Jobs You Can Get With a 2-Year Degree

These jobs pay more than the typical job in the U.S. — and no bachelor’s degree is required.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62
10 Reasons Why You Should Actually Retire at 62

If you can, here are several good reasons to retire earlier than we’re told to.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income
26 States That Do Not Tax Social Security Income

These states won’t tax any of your Social Security income — and in some cases, other types of retirement income.

14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare
14 Things That Are ‘Free’ With Medicare

These services could save you money and help prevent costly health problems.

5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles
5 Keys to Making Your Car Last for 200,000 Miles

Pushing your car to 200,000 miles — and beyond — can save you piles of cash. Here’s how to get there.

5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees
5 Things That Make Life More Meaningful for Retirees

Retirees agree: These are the things that give them purpose and fulfillment in their golden years.

15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now
15 Amazon Purchases That We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach
10 Things You Should Never Do With Bleach

Does the pandemic have you reaching for bleach more than ever before? Learn the ins and outs of using this powerful disinfectant.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.