How much do you love your car? Could you put a number on that? Market research firm Strategic Vision posed similar questions to thousands of car owners across the U.S., and their answers reveal the best-loved cars in the country.
All told, the company polled 44,000 new-vehicle owners, asking them to score their rides in a number of areas. Strategic Vision then tabulated those responses to create something it calls the "Customer Love Index" (which we prefer to call the CLI, thank you very much). Here are a few of the noteworthy findings:
- Millennials may not be buying as many cars as their parents and grandparents, but they sure are enthusiastic about the ones they have. On average, respondents under 40 gave their vehicles CLI scores of 470, while scores from their grumpy ol' elders averaged around 400.
- Hybrid owners aren't totally in love with their vehicles. While APT (alternative powertrain) cars deliver good fuel economy, they frequently fail to satisfy on other counts, like styling. As Strategic Vision says, "[E]ven minivans, which are often disparaged as being bland, boring, and completely uncool, obtain higher CLI scores than most hybrid vehicles". The Toyota Prius outshines the competition in part because of its unique looks and high-tech features.
- Strategic Vision found that economy-minded shoppers tend to prefer Asian models, while luxury fans gravitate toward European marques. Folks who like trucks, SUVs, and convertibles are more often drawn to brands from Detroit.
- Volkswagen (the group, not the VW brand) was the best-loved car company overall. However, Strategic Vision is careful to note that this survey was taken before news of the Dieselgate scandal broke.
Below, you'll see the full list of best-loved cars, arranged by segment from smallest to largest. Share your thoughts about these or other models in the comments below.
Micro Car: Fiat 500 Hatchback (449)
Small Car: Mazda3 Sedan (438)
Small Multi-Function Car: Kia Soul (408)
Small APT Car: Fiat 500e (408)
Mid-Size Car: Subaru WRX (451)
Mid-Size Multi-Function Car: Subaru Outback (408)
Mid-Size APT Car: Toyota Prius / Toyota Camry Hybrid (354 / 354)
Full-Size Car: Dodge Charger (543)
Near-Luxury Car: Mercedes CLA-Class (564)
Near-Luxury APT Car: BMW i3 (474)
Luxury Car: Mercedes S-Class Sedan (563)
Luxury Multi-Function Car: BMW 3-Series Gran Turismo (466)
Specialty Coupe: MINI Cooper Hardtop (547)
Premium Coupe: Chevrolet Corvette Coupe (598)
Standard Convertible: Ford Mustang Convertible (564)
Premium Convertible/Roadster: Chevrolet Corvette Convertible (617)
Standard Pickup: Chevrolet Colorado (423)
Full-Size Pickup: Nissan Titan (482)
Heavy Duty Pickup: GMC Sierra 2500/3500 (467)
Entry SUV: Jeep Renegade (490)
Entry CUV: Hyundai Tucson (451)
Mid-Size SUV: Dodge Durango (465)
Mid-Size CUV: Ford Flex (460)
Full-Size Utility: GMC Yukon XL (483)
Near-Luxury Utility: Land Rover Range Rover Evoque 5-Door (516)
Luxury SUV: Infiniti QX80 (524)
Luxury CUV: Porsche Macan (629)
Minivan: Kia Sedona (391)
Best Model: Porsche Macan (629)
Best Full-Line Corporation: Volkswagen Group of America (422)