Automobile Production At A Porsche AG Factory
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J.D. Power APEAL Awards

Logical, objective factors such as cargo space, fuel economy, and price are all vital when it comes to finding the right car. Still, for many of us, it's impossible to separate the emotional factor of the automobile. A car can be relentlessly practical and economical, but if it doesn't put a smile on your face, why would you buy it?

To assess which cars make their owners the happiest, J.D. Power runs an annual survey for its APEAL study, which stands for "Automotive performance, execution, and layout." The company reaches out to owners, roughly 70,000 this year, who have owned or leased a 2017 model year car for 90 days, and asks them how happy they are with the car regarding 77 different aspects. The company then compiles the data and awards models and brands for being the most satisfactory with a score out of 1,000 points.

The opinion of these owners may change in the future depending on how reliable their cars are, but the results do shed some light on some of the most enjoyable cars and brands in the segment. What follows are the ten brands owners liked the most.

2017 Mini Countryman
  • Image Credit: Chris Tedesco/Mini North America

10. Mini 838 points

Starting our list is BMW's entry-level brand, Mini. Despite the fact that Minis can become very expensive as options pile on, it's the brand with the most affordable and mainstream vehicles on this list. There's no denying the fact that Mini offers a combination of style and sporty driving dynamics that make its vehicles appealing.
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Jaguar
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9. Jaguar 838 points

With Jaguar, we follow up one British brand with another with the same number of points. Like with Mini, we've found Jaguar to have a stellar mix of engaging driving dynamics and style in its cars from the F-Type sports car to the F-Pace crossover. Unlike Mini, the Jaguars also deliver great ride quality, and their style is elegant and classically beautiful. Jaguar also offers some great engine offerings including its supercharged V6s and V8s, as well as its miserly diesels.
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Lexus
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8. Lexus 842 points

Lexus represents the only Japanese car brand to make the top ten. Toyota's luxury division offers distinctly styled (to put it nicely) automobiles that are undeniably luxurious, if not always particularly engaging to drive. We do love the naturally aspirated 5.0-liter V8 Lexus offers on its sport coupes, though.
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Cadillac
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7. Cadillac 843 points

Cadillac just edges out Lexus for seventh place. The brand follows in Jaguar's footsteps by combining style with excellent driving dynamics, at least with most of its offerings. One exception would be the XTS, which represents the old, front-wheel-drive Cadillac era that we try to forget about. It likely won't be around much longer, though.
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Lincoln
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6. Lincoln 849 points

We're actually a bit surprised to see Lincoln this high on the list, and that it surpassed Jaguar, Cadillac, and Lexus. Lincoln's lineup still consists primarily of badge-engineered Fords. They aren't necessarily bad, but also don't seem that special to us. But the Continental and upcoming Navigator are more impressive. Lincoln also is starting to offer unique services such as concierge through Lincoln Black Label, and it's starting an Uber-style driver service.
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Mercedes-Benz
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5. Mercedes 851 points

Four of the entries on this list come from Germany, and Mercedes is the lowest ranked of them. We've found modern Mercedes to generally have gorgeous, finely detailed interiors (with the possible exception of the Mercedes CLA and GLA), and to be fine performers, especially anything with the letters A-M-G on the back.
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Audi
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4. Audi 854 points

Audi gains a couple of points over the three-pointed star for fourth place. One of the things we really like about recent Audis are the the modern design and high-tech touches and features of the interiors. Most exemplary of this is the Virutal Cockpit LCD instrument panel. Add in grunty engines and fine ride and handling balances and you get some appealing machines.
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BMW
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3. BMW 855 points

Just a point ahead of Audi is BMW. While the company behind the "Ultimate Driving Machine" still makes enjoyable cars, it has lost a bit of its edge in recent years. For some people, it could be seen as a good thing that BMWs have become a tad softer and more comfortable, but we like BMWs most when they're all about making the drive the best it can possibly be. There are some signs of things getting better, though.
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Genesis
  • Image Credit: Genesis Motors

2. Genesis 869 points

Representing the only Korean brand on the list is Genesis, with a thoroughly impressive second place. Not only that, but it surpassed BMW by 14 points. In our most recent experience with a Genesis, the G80 Sport pictured here, we found that the brand is still a bit behind the establishment in quality and driving experience. But we can't argue with the value.
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Porsche
  • Image Credit: Christopher McGraw

1. Porsche 884 points

Topping the list is Porsche with a full 15 points more than Genesis. We're not surprised by this, either. Porsche's sports cars, from the Boxster to the 911, are among the best in the industry, and the company manages to endow the same sportiness in its Panamera hatchback and the Macan and Cayenne SUVs. It's even made the Panamera look acceptable, too, so what's not to love about Porsche? Clearly not much.
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