Lincoln MKZ

In recent years, there have been a lot of dire pronouncements made about Lincoln's future, or a lack thereof. But Ford's premium marque is like the Rocky Balboa of the auto business; every time the company seems ready to go, it comes back for more. Apparently, that dogged persistence is paying off, because the industry analysts at AutoPacific have put a big check in their win column with their newly released 2014 model year vehicle satisfaction survey. And despite recent enmity for its seemingly never-ending recall saga, it appears General Motors knows how to satisfy new owners, too.

In fact, not only was Lincoln named as the premium brand with the highest new owner satisfaction, even scored three models on the list of passenger cars with the most gratified buyers – the MKS, MKZ and MKZ Hybrid.

GM's stable of brands was also among the top companies in this year's survey. GMC was named the top popular brand by AutoPacific, with its Sierra pickup and Acadia crossover singled out for awards in their segments. Chevrolet also did incredibly well, with more cars on the list than any other brand. The Corvette, Camaro, Sonic and Impala all made the cut in their respective categories.

AutoPacific bases its awards on the opinions from new owners based on 50 vehicle attributes, with this year's results being derived from over 92,000 responses. This year, the 2014 Mercedes S-Class is receiving laurels for the highest satisfaction score ever recorded by the company. Scroll down to read about all the winners in the announcement below.
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AutoPacific today announced its 18th annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA), identifying the most satisfying vehicles on the market.

AutoPacific's Vehicle Satisfaction Awards objectively measure owner satisfaction with 50 separate attributes ranging from interior comfort and convenience to fuel economy and performance. "Vehicles that score highest in the Vehicle Satisfaction Awards are delivering value and satisfaction across a wide range of attributes," says George Peterson, president of AutoPacific. "The winners perform well in 50 separate categories that objectively measure the ownership experience." An industry benchmark for measuring how satisfied an owner is with his/her new vehicle, AutoPacific's VSA are based on the results of responses from over 92,000 new vehicle owners.

For 2014, the most satisfying brands are Lincoln, Top Premium Brand and GMC, Top Popular Brand. The vehicle - car or truck - registering highest overall satisfaction is the new-for-2014 Mercedes-Benz S-Class that also wins AutoPacific's second President's Award for achieving the highest VSA score ever. The truck with the highest overall satisfaction score is the new BMW X5 Premium Luxury Crossover SUV.

"With the launch of each new car and truck, carmakers try to improve the product and increase the satisfaction of their buyers," explains Peterson. "By surveying a substantial number of owners who have purchased a new 2014 model year vehicle, AutoPacific's VSA provides an objective measurement of how well the makers are doing. More than one-third of new vehicle buyers are positively influenced by objective awards based on owner ratings when deciding on a new car or truck."

The awards in 2014 are much more diverse than they have been in previous years, with no single manufacturer dominating the results. Multiple top-ranked award winners are: Chevrolet with four winners; Lincoln with three winners; Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Kia, and GMC with two winners each.

The brands that improved their relative ranking positions in 2014 compared with 2013 are: GMC moving from 17th to 8th position; Lincoln moving from 6th position to 1st position; Ford moving from 25th to 19th; Chevrolet moving from 21st to 16th. Brands with the largest drop in position were Volkswagen moving from 16th to 28th position and Jaguar dropping from 7th to 17th.

"AutoPacific's Vehicle Satisfaction Awards help vehicle buyers sort through an increasingly complicated selection of brands and models. For the 2014 model year, there are 274 models and 32 brands from which to choose a new vehicle. The VSA clearly shows the buyers which vehicles are at the top of the class they are considering," says Peterson.

Top 2014 model year performers are:

PRESIDENT'S AWARD FOR HIGHEST VSA SCORE EVER : Mercedes-Benz S-Class

HIGHEST SATISFACTION PREMIUM BRAND: Lincoln

HIGHEST SATISFACTION POPULAR BRAND: GMC

PASSENGER CARS:

Premium Luxury Car: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Executive Luxury Car: Lincoln MKS
Aspirational Luxury Car: BMW 3-Series GT
Luxury Mid-Size Car: Lincoln MKZ
Large Car: Chevrolet Impala
Mid-Size: Car Kia Optima
Premium Compact Car: Mercedes-Benz CLA
Compact Car: Kia Soul
Economy Car: Chevrolet Sonic
Sports Car: Chevrolet Corvette
Sporty Car: Chevrolet Camara
Hybrid Car/EV: Lincoln MKZ Hybrid

LIGHT TRUCKS:

Heavy Duty Pickup: Ford F-Series Super Duty
Light Duty Pickup: GMC Sierra
Luxury/Large SUV: Infiniti QX80
Mid-Size SUV: Jeep Grand Cherokee
Premium Luxury Crossover SUV: BMW X5
Luxury Crossover SUV: Cadillac SRX
Large Crossover SUV: GMC Acadia
Premium Mid-Size Crossover USUV: Toyota Highlander
Mid-Size Crossover SUV: Nissan Rogue
Compact Crossover SUV: Hyundai Tucson
Minivan: Honda Odyssey

AutoPacific is a future-oriented automotive marketing and product-consulting firm. Every year AutoPacific publishes a wide variety of syndicated studies on the automotive industry. The firm also conducts extensive proprietary research and consulting for auto manufacturers, distributors, marketers and suppliers worldwide. Company headquarters are in Tustin, California, with an affiliate office in the Detroit area.

Additional information can be found on AutoPacific's websites: www.autopacific.com and www.vehiclevoice.com.