Strategic Vision's 2016 Total Quality Impact AwardsStrategic Vision has announced the winners of its 2016 Total Quality Impact awards. The organization collected consumer surveys and honored a total of 31 cars, trucks, and utility vehicles, and four manufacturers for 2016.
The Total Quality Impact award surveys consumers based on four key areas. Strategic Vision asks about traditional quality problems, but unlike other quality studies, it looks into both the number and severity of the problems. The study also looks at the tangible and intangible aspects of their vehicles – the former looks at things like seat comfort, the effectiveness of side-view mirrors, and cornering abilities. The intangible section focuses on how easy a vehicle's technology is to work with and “the image the vehicle conveys to your friends and family.” Finally, the TQI tries to determine emotional aspects, focusing on the “feelings evoked by owning and driving” a vehicle.
Domestic automakers won big in this year's awards – Ford, General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, and Tesla are all well represented – but we've gone ahead and picked a few of our very favorites from the collection. Read on for a selection of Autoblog favorites from Strategic Vision's 2016 Total Quality Impact awards.
Best Model: Tesla Model SWell, the Model S has won yet another award. Tesla's popular sedan received the award for best overall vehicle, owing to the way Tesla manages consumer problems through over-the-air software updates. But we like the performance – Ludicrous Mode! – luxury, and image conveyed by the Model S. It's a brilliant blend of those attributes, and thanks to things like Tesla's SuperCharger network, it manages to more or less erase the range anxiety that was ever present in conventional electric vehicles.
Research the Tesla
Small Multi-Function Car Segment: Mazda3For compact cars, the Mazda3 is the total package. With two revvy but efficient engines, a delightful manual transmission, and the enthusiastic handling character present in all Mazda products, the 3 is an everyday commuter car that any enthusiast would be happy to live with.
But the 3 excels beyond its driving character. Its interior is one the best in the compact market, and in hatchback form, Mazda's small hatch is also one of the prettiest cars available for under $30,000. The 3's three trim levels – Sport, Touring, and Grand Touring – cover a wide range of price points, and at the upper reaches, consumers can even add class-above features. The Mazda3 Grand Touring, for example, offers bi-xenon headlights with LED accents, leather seats, navigation, a nine-speaker stereo, and dual-zone climate control standard.
Research the 2016 Mazda Mazda3
Mid-Size Car Segment: Subaru WRXAutoblog liked the Subaru WRX so much we borrowed one for a year-long loan. And we loved every second of it. Subaru pairs its traditional all-wheel drive with a rorty, 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and the option of a six-speed manual or a continuously variable transmission. The result is a hilarious sedan that ticks all the boxes for enthusiasts but is also reasonably large and spacious. You can haul three friends and their luggage while having fun behind the wheel, even in many unfavorable weather conditions.
We suspect some of the reason the WRX did so well in the TQI is because of the emotional attachment it establishes with its owner and the image it puts out. It's a very fun car, and it looks it, from its World Rally Blue paint to its prominent hood scoop. We're fans of the WRX, and we're thrilled to see its customers like it too.
Research the 2016 Subaru WRX
Mid-Size APT Car Segment: Chevrolet Volt
There's no better way to put it than this – if you're afraid to take the leap on an electric car, the Chevrolet Volt provides the very best of both worlds.
The second-generation car's extra all-electric range means that for most drivers, they rarely need to top it off with gas. But the presence of an on-board generator eliminates concerns over range anxiety that are present in rivals, like the Nissan Leaf. The new Volt refines the original's package, with a more attractive exterior aesthetic and a better, cleaner cabin.
Research the 2016 Chevrolet Volt
Premium Coupe Segment, Premium Convertible/Roadster Segment: Chevrolet CorvetteChevrolet won more awards for its cars than any other brand in 2016, and it's largely because the Corvette brought in two awards. America's sports car has always enjoyed a strong emotional following, but the seventh-generation car combines that quality with a thrilling driving character – 455-horsepower from a thumping 6.2-liter V8 – and finally, a quality interior. There aren't a lot of cars that deserve two awards in the same study, but the latest Corvette is one of them.
Research the 2016 Chevrolet Corvette
Standard Convertible Segment: Ford Mustang Convertible
The new Ford Mustang Convertible is possibly the best droptop Ford has ever built. The Stang's 5.0-liter V8 gets all the headlines, but the efficient 2.3-liter EcoBoost four-cylinder pumps out as much power as a Mustang GT from ten years ago.
But the new Mustang goes well beyond just powertrain improvements. Its interior is lovely and well-appointed and owners can load the cabin down with technology. Under the new sheetmetal, there's an independent rear suspension that finally addresses the Mustang's long-running ride quality issues.
The new Mustang isn't just a great convertible, it's an excellent car full stop.
Research the 2016 Ford Mustang
Entry SUV Segment: Jeep WranglerIn other quality studies, the Jeep brand usually gets poor marks. So when a car as old as the Wrangler scores a segment win, it's worth noting. Like the Corvette and Mustang, the Wrangler has always been able to generate a strong emotional response among both owners and off-road enthusiasts, which is no doubt part of what helped it secure a Strategic Vision win.
Research the 2016 Jeep Wrangler
A complete list of 2016 winners
Total Quality Impact Car Winners
Best Model: Tesla Model S
Micro Car Segment: Fiat 500 Hatchback
Small Car Segment: Toyota Corolla
Small Multi-Function Car Segment: Mazda Mazda3
Small Alternative Powertrain Car Segment: Ford C-Max Energi
Mid-Size Car Segment: Subaru WRX
Mid-Size Alternative Powertrain Car Segment: Chevrolet Volt
Full-Size Car Segment: Nissan Maxima
Near-Luxury Car Segment: Mercedes CLA-Class
Near-Luxury Alternative Powertrain Car Segment: Lincoln MKZ Hybrid
Luxury Car Segment: Jaguar XJ
Luxury Multi-Function Car Segment: BMW 3-Series Gran Turismo
Specialty Coupe Segment: Dodge Challenger
Premium Coupe Segment: Chevrolet Corvette Coupe
Standard Convertible Segment: Ford Mustang Convertible
Premium Convertible/Roadster Segment: Chevrolet Corvette Convertible
TQI Truck and Utility Vehicle Segment Winners
Standard Pickup Segment: GMC Canyon
Full-Size Pickup Segment: Ford F-150
Heavy Duty Pickup Segment: GMC Sierra 2500/3500
Entry SUV Segment: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Entry CUV Segment: Subaru XV Crosstrek
Mid-Size SUV Segment: Jeep Grand Cherokee
Mid-Size CUV Segment: Kia Sorento
Full-Size Utility Segment: Chevrolet Tahoe / Toyota Sequoia
Near-Luxury Utility Segment: BMW X4
Luxury SUV Segment: Cadillac Escalade
Luxury CUV Segment: BMW X6 / Porsche Macan
Minivan Segment: Kia Sedona / Toyota Sienna
Corporation and Brand Winners
Brand Under $26k: Fiat / Kia
Mass-Market Brand: Buick / Subaru
Luxury Brand: BMW
Corporation: Ford Motor Company / General Motors Company