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Not everyone gets car buying advice from the Autoblog Podcast (Ford can't build that many Fusions), so where do car shoppers turn for recommendations? Many potential buyers ask around among friends and acquaintances, especially those who recently purchased vehicles. AutoPacific asked 25,000 new car owners whether they would recommend their vehicle to other buyers. According to the firm's study, it takes more than just the blissful glow of new car ownership for someone to suggest that their car is the one to buy. "It takes another level of confidence to recommend it," says AutoPacific president George Peterson.
Infiniti G37 owners are a satisfied lot, with 95% of new owners suggesting the vehicle to others, giving it the top rating in AutoPacific's test. Brand-wise, Porsche's rabid fans aren't just a myth -- 91% of Porsche owners are cultishly devoted and preach the gospel of Zuffenhausen. Toyota/Lexus and Ford/Lincoln please their owners enough to snag the most cumulative awards, and we've posted the full list and press release after the jump.

[Source: AutoPacific | Image Source: jbcurio via Flickr Creative Commons]


Premium Luxury Car
Executive Luxury Car
Aspirational Luxury Car
Large Car
Luxury Mid-Size Car
Premium Mid-Size Car
Mid-Size Car
Image Compact Car
Mainstream Compact Car
Economy Car
Premium Sports Car
Sports Car
Sporty Car
Lexus LS
Jaguar XF
Infiniti G37 (most recommended ? 95%)
Toyota Avalon
Lexus ES
Toyota Camry
Volkswagen Jetta
Toyota Prius
Subaru Impreza
Honda Fit
Chevrolet Corvette
Nissan 350Z
Ford Mustang


Large Light-Duty Pickup
Large Heavy-Duty Pickup
Compact Pickup
Luxury Sport Utility
Large Sport Utility
Premium Mid-Size Sport Utility
Mid-Size Sport Utility
Compact SUV/Off-Road Vehicle
Luxury Crossover SUV
Large Crossover SUV
Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV
Mainstream Mid-Size Crossover SUV
Compact Crossover SUV
Ford F-150
Ford F-Super Duty
Toyota Tacoma
Lincoln Navigator
GMC Yukon XL
Toyota 4Runner
Dodge Nitro
Jeep Wrangler
Land Rover LR2
Ford Flex
Ford Edge
Honda CR-V
Honda Element
Toyota Sienna

AutoPacific's Research Reveals the Most Highly Recommended Vehicles

TUSTIN, Calif. (May 12, 2009) - Who do you go to for advice when buying a new car? What about owners themselves? AutoPacific has just analyzed recommendation intentions from 25,000 new-car owners, and the results offer interesting insights.

AutoPacific, which has provided automotive analysis to carmakers since 1986, bases its findings on a just-completed comprehensive survey of more than 25,000 consumers who purchased or leased new cars or light trucks in the period from September to December 2008.

"Typically, car buyers are very pleased when they first drive their new car off the dealer lot. But just as a vehicle's worth depreciates over time, some car owners' level of confidence depreciates," says George Peterson, president of AutoPacific. "We have quantified their level of confidence to see which new car owners will recommend their model most and this is information which will help new car shoppers make informed, confident buying decisions. While many owners can be happy with their new cars, it takes another level of confidence to recommend it."

Porsche leads as the top brand in a close race, with the highest owner recommendation of 91%. "Porsche owners' feelings for their cars run deep, some might call it devotion," says Peterson. "Clearly that is still the case as the Porsche line-up all scored well in this survey."

The vehicle - car or truck - registering highest overall satisfaction in 2009 is the Infiniti G37, which was recommended by 95% of new owners. The truck with the highest overall satisfaction score is the Ford F-150 recommended by 89% of its owners. In a tie, the SUVs with the highest overall satisfaction score are the GMC Yukon XL and Honda CR-V recommended by 93% of their owners.

At the manufacturer level, multiple top-ranked award winners include: Toyota with eight top rankings (Toyota 6, Lexus 2), Ford with six (Ford 5, Lincoln 1), Honda with three and both General Motors and Chrysler with two (Chevy 1, GMC 1) (Dodge 1, Jeep 1).

AutoPacific's research objectively measures owner recommendations with newly purchased or leased passenger cars or light trucks by ranking new owners' responses to the question "Would you recommend your new vehicle to a friend or relative? Scores are based on the responses, ranging from "Yes, definitely," "Yes, with reservations," or "No."

Soon, AutoPacific will announce its 13th annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. The VSA establishes numerical satisfaction ratings for virtually every passenger car and light truck in the North American market. Owner satisfaction is measured across 48 specific areas related to a vehicle's operation, comfort, safety and the overall purchase/lease experience. The 2009 ratings reflect input from buyers and lessees of new vehicles acquired September through December 2008.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 6 Years Ago
      Wow, people here really hate it when they find out that there are ACTUAL owners who love the cars they like to bash. Check out the ACTUAL OWNER comments at Yahoo! Autos on the Dodge Nitro -- contrary to Autoblogger vitriol, they do like it!

      Maybe we should all practice tempering our comments on cars we haven't actually owned or driving a significant number of miles? A novel idea, huh?
      • 6 Years Ago
      This has nothing to do with whether people think their cars are better than some other car or whatever, it's just whether they'd recommend a friend buy one as well, and these are the cars with the most owners who would recommend to others.

      I'd happily own all the cars and trucks on the list except for the Nitro. I can only assume that the Nitro made the list because of either really bizarre segmenting that left it the only competitor, or because the only idiots who bought one bought it because it was "EXTREME!!!" and have friends who ask them about whether their SUV is EXTREME!!! or not.
      JDM Life
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good list but....

      Dodge Nitro ???

      Missing some cars i thought would make it...
      • 6 Years Ago
      I agree with many of the posts so far. A lot more goes into someone's opinions about their ride than just "how good it is". And seeing a Dodge Nitro on the list certainly devalues it as a tool for making educated new-car purchases. Everyone knows someone who is so brand-loyal they "love" their car regardless of its faults. And that goes from GM fanboys to Bimmerphiles.

      I tend to base my opinions on the vehicle's subjective qualities, not the statistics, dimensions, or ratings. I've owned many vehicles, and my absolute favorite was far from the most reliable, most spacious, or fastest. I miss it, and I would gladly buy another, but I wouldn't recommend it.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is not a quality or reliability study. It is just a survey of whether car owners recommend their cars to others or not. Nitro owners apparently like their cars and are recommending it to others.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm guessing these polls shouldn't be taken too seriously since its just by owner recommendation. It flatters the auto companies since they know they have loyalists and unofficial advertisers but that's about it.

      My friend in his '96 Grand Am clunker tells me to "Buy American" all the time, and my other friend who hopes to one day own a Del Sol tells me how better a 93 honda would be compared to my '06 Volvo S40. And then my other friend with an '01 CLK that has so many reliability issues its in the shop more than on the road tells me how superior her Mercedes is to any other car on the road. Clearly, owner satisfaction and recommendations should be taken with a grain of salt
        • 6 Years Ago
        Most Mercedes are Junk and people still buy them!!!! More money than sense or wisdom.Consumer Reports has never recomended more than 2 of their models out of what 20. They are junk and Volks,Audi have tons of problems too!!! Why do folks think German engineering is so GOOD!! The statistics have never supported this idea.Buy American,Ford,Linc-Merc!!!!!!!!!
        • 6 Years Ago
        Gee, Mitch...

        Shill much? Is FoMoCo paying you?

        I talk up MY car as much as anyone... but I am also the first one to mention when I don't like something about it... Or when I am completely dissappointed in the replacement model...

        You sound like a FoMoCo marketing dept. plant.
        • 6 Years Ago
        The guy likes Ford, give him a break. Not everyone hates domestic models like you and the others here.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Brand perception is a powerful force. If people all over are ranting and raving about how they want to get a Prius or Mini Cooper or whatever the "in-car" is, most likely the owners are going to give it an "A+" even if its mediocre. I think it would have to be a tottally crappy experience for a lot of owners to go against the trend. And then, in the case of the Nitro, which doesn't really have any direct competitors, its an automatic win.

      Polls like these are just pats on the back, they don't really offer any scientific evidence in my opinion.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I can't trust anything that says that people recommend the Dodge Nitro more than any other midsize SUV.

      The only thing worse than that piece of crap is an actual piece of crap.
        • 6 Years Ago
        There is not much competition based on the way they rank them,Durango,Nitro-They don't include Explorer,Mountaineer,Envoy ETC....... I totally agree with you though!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! JUNK
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree with you, John.

        As I said, I drive a Mustang GT with a...***gasp***...live rear axle. How could I possibly get around corners with an ox-cart suspension?

        99% of the people who bash on the GT's rear suspension have never driven one, and will never drive one. I know that my GT's suspension won't do everything, and isn't designed to. Once you know the limitations of a part or component, you learn how to drive around those limitations. I know that in certain instances my back end is going to skip over odd road variations while the car is pulling in third gear. It's a simple equation of gobs of torque and the inability of the suspension to react quickly enough to maintain complete contact with the road. Does it hamper the fun of driving my car? No. Does it make me a little more careful during my morning commute? Yes.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Same...I read "Dodge Nitro" and just threw this poll out completely.
        • 6 Years Ago
        that just made my day!
        • 6 Years Ago
        "Mine would actually stem from knowing two people who bought the hunk of plastic, and my experiences riding in, and driving the vehicles."

        Good, however, you are the exception to the rule. If someone has a legitimate beef with something it's worth hearing. But far too often you read these forums and see the mindless bashing, herd mentality, and little to no fact.

        AutoPacific is a reputable organization and their opinion certainly matters to the industry. When I read comments on these forms that someone doesn't like a recommendation so they should throw out this whole list is just stupidity on their part.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Mine would actually stem from knowing two people who bought the hunk of plastic, and my experiences riding in, and driving the vehicles.

        They drive like mushy Dodge Neons, have terrible ergonimics in the interior (not unlike most other Chrysler vehicles), serve no actual utility as a small or mid-sized SUV, have terribly uncomfortable seats...should I go on?

        As far as "big three bashing," I drive a 2006 Mustang GT coupe. My wife, until recently, drove a Mazda 3 (built when Ford owned much of Mazda)...unfortunately, now she drives a Mercedes C280. I love me some Fords, and I genuinely like much of what GM has put out in the last three or four years. Hell, I'll even go as far as to say that I like the Impala SS. There, I said it.

        With that said, I think Chryslers vehicles, for the most part, and this includes some Jeeps and most Dodge trucks, are far inferior to Ford and GM, and for that matter, most of the Asian manufacturers.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I would bet most of the Nitro hatred comes from the herd mentality and mindless big 3 bashing on sites like Autoblog. Not from actual ownership/experience with the vehicle. Most of the haters here are not even old enough to have ever owned a new car.

        • 6 Years Ago
        i dunno, at least with an actual piece of crap, you know what you are getting.
      • 6 Years Ago
      These polls are worthless (except at maybe weeding at truly crappy cars).

      The vast majority of people polled don't own more than one car in a segment and can't compare their car to a competitor. How can someone say it is better to own one car without owning a competitor?
        • 6 Years Ago
        They are saying they are happy with THEIR car.Most folks have owned,test driven and asked friends and done online research before buying.Yhey are just reporting on the car they own and drive everday.If I asked you if your wife or Mom was a good cook,wouldn't you have some good feedback to share,same principle!!!! Go Ford,Lincoln and Mercury.On the way to #1 in the WORLD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1
        • 6 Years Ago
        @Mitch- What are are not realizing if 10 VW owners are surveyed and 4,000 Toyota owners are surveyed, the % would sway easily towards Toyota. So this survey would only make sense if we knew how many owners per car/manufacturer were participating.

        What they need to do is set a control number, say 500 owners from every car make and model and then tally the results. So every Toyota has the same numbers of participants as every Mitsubishi and Porsche, etc.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I agree. It is very hard to 'compare' unless you actually own the entire fleet of cars that are being polled. On the other hand it is a starting point for discussion which in itself will bring forward ideas for people to then think about when purchasing a new car.
        • 6 Years Ago
        That's not a valid complaint. Read the post more carefully. The survey measured what percent of owners of a car would recommend their purchase to another. It wasn't asking owners about their preference. So if you don't like your car, you probably won't recommend to your friend, you don't have to own multiple cars to know you don't like your own car.

        A more valid complaint would be that none of the cars on this list are boutique cars. Since this is a survey of percent recommendation based on ownership, variance on measurement depends on the square root of the population size. In other words, a small sampling size means extreme measures on either end. So if super expensive car owned by 2 people were surveyed, you should see either 0, 50, 100 for percentages.

        It's funny how BMW doesn't make this list. Did they even interview BMW owners? I wouldn't recommend BMW to anyone, and I own one as my primary ride. I wonder if that's a coincidence...

      • 6 Years Ago
      You had me until "Dodge Nitro".
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well the Subaru Impreza is in there, so I'm convinced this survey is legit. :-)
      • 6 Years Ago
      I never really understood how powerful word of mouth was until this past summer. My co-worker was looking for a basic set of wheels for his 40 miles commute, because filling up his full-size SUV was killing him. I said, something along the lines of "well, our Focus has been a solid, fun, and cheap car to own." He said, "I was looking at Hyundai, but maybe I'll go test-drive a Focus." He bought one two days later.

      Afterwords I thought "boy, I hope he doesn't get a lemon, because then I'm going to feel responsible."
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