jd power 2011
there are any number of measures that car makers use to gauge the success of their products. sales are the measure that trumps everything else but to gain a more nuanced understanding of how customers use and view their vehicles, not a lot beats a thorough customer satisfaction survey. how satisfied a customer is with a car and the associated after-sale service drives brand loyalty, that magical quality that keeps the paying public coming back for more. if you're in the market for a new or used car, it's imperative to sort the wheat from the chaff.
The J.D. Power UK Car Customer Satisfaction Index reviews all cars that have reached two years of age at the time of publication. The UK car survey consists of comments and ratings entirely from the members of the public who bought the cars new two years previously. Satisfaction is based on vehicle quality and reliability, vehicle appeal, service satisfaction and ownership costs, and when the numbers behind the 16,840 survey results were crunched, the cream inevitably rose to the top. The ten best cars of 2011 are listed below.
Japanese manufacturers have traditionally done well in the JD Power survey and Lexus is synonymous with a long record of excellence. The Lexus IS remains the go-to car in the compact executive class if peerless reliability, quality of finish and quality of servicing is key. In fact, this model has never fallen outside JD Power's top five in any year of manufacture. Lexus dealers continuously score highly for their attention to detail and value and the IS isn't the only Lexus model to make the final ten. Also scoring well is the Lexus RX SUV, helped in no small part by the huge take-up of the clean yet swift RX450h hybrid model.
Honda has also been very well represented with no fewer than three cars in the top ten. Should your saloon car budget be unable to stretch to a Lexus IS, you wouldn't be disappointed by the latest Honda Accord, if JD Power's respondents are to be believed. Scoring top marks in 17 of the 25 categories, the Accord drew praise for its refinement and Honda dealers were commended for the transparency of their servicing and repair procedures.
The Honda CR-V demonstrated the importance of not having a significant Achilles heel. It scored well across the board, with the interior being deemed quiet and comfortable. Modest running costs and that no-nonsense dealer service have been making CR-V owners purr. The Honda Jazz also scored well, with no other supermini getting anywhere near its overall score. Reliability, versatility and quality of finish were all given a major thumbs up.
It hasn't been the easiest time for Toyota is late but look beyond the tabloid headlines and the company is still building cars that its owners love. One could almost be dubbed an icon. The Toyota Prius hybrid has done more than any other vehicle to wean us off our preoccupation with basic internal combustion engines and it's a vehicle that routinely fares well in JD Power's surveys. It's a high-involvement purchase, so perhaps it's not surprising that buyers have done their homework beforehand. A tough exterior and solid build quality scored well with only the small boot drawing cause for complaint.
There's no such shortage of luggage room with the Toyota RAV4. What was once at the most compact end of the compact 4x4 spectrum is now more generously proportioned and buyers love it all the more. Owners appreciate its versatility combined with the way that it drives, offering plenty to the keen driver. The only gripe was occasionally patchy radio reception. It's worth noting quite how far above the rest of the pack the RAV4 and the CR-V scored. If you want a trouble-free and fulfilling small 4x4, look to these first.
Finally we have a European trio to consider, all of which scored extremely well. The BMW 5 Series is a vehicle you'd expect to do well, but bear in mind that the model in the survey has since been superseded by an all-new generation car. This E60 5 Series scored well for engine, transmission and other mechanical component reliability and thanks to the fruits of BMW's Efficient Dynamics programme, running costs were also rated best in sector. Low insurance premiums also drew plaudits but dealer service and the interior's propensity to scuff and mark took the edge off the final score.
As is so often the case, the 5 Series eventually proved inseparable from the Mercedes-Benz E Class. The big Mercedes has also been replaced by an all-new model but while the scores may have been identical, the ownership experience is anything but. Where 5 Series owners weren't thrilled by BMW's customer handling, Mercedes drivers couldn't get enough of it. From booking in cars for service to the quality of showrooms and the approachability of staff, everything was considered to be right on the money. The product also garnered a lot of praise, especially in terms of safety, ergonomics and comfort, but the E Class was some way off the 5 Series when it came to driving enjoyment, with some owners commenting on hesitant engines.
The Volvo S40 is another vehicle that's making a habit of doing well when JD Power comes knocking. A great on-road performance helps secure the Volvo saloon a place in the top ten. S40 owners raved about exterior build quality and boot space, but weren't quite so avid about rear legroom and oddments stowage. The addition of DRIVe eco versions since the survey was conducted should bolster this model's satisfaction ratings yet further when it comes to cost of ownership.
In most years, the JD Power survey throws up the odd outlier result, one that draws particular interest and attention, but this year there's not a lot that looks out of place. You could probably imagine that there are a couple of manufacturers who will be sore at missing out on this top ten list, but it's impossible to complain about the cars that made the final cut.