If you keep up with auto news, you know there's been lots of talk about the Chevrolet Volt recently -- and not the good kind of talk, either. Today, however, Consumer Reports released its latest owner-satisfaction survey, and the results should give Volt fans a pleasant burst of good news.
The survey found that a whopping 93% of Volt owners were so happy with their car that they'd buy it again. That put the Volt at the top of Consumer Reports' owner-satisfaction list, with the Dodge Challenger and Porsche 911 tied for #2 at 91%.
While that's certainly impressive for such a new, high-tech ride, there are a couple of points to consider. These aren't meant to diminish the Volt's performance in the survey, just to explain how such a new car might've scored so well:
1. Certain sorts of buyers are especially passionate about their cars. In fact, Consumer Reports points out that of the 27 vehicles that scored an 80% satisfaction ranking or above, 21 were sports cars, convertibles, hybrids, or diesels -- the sort of vehicles that tend to be bought by enthusiasts. Performance-lovers, for example, are often willing to overlook some of their vehicles' flaws, provided they have loud, proud V8s and plenty of horsepower. The eco-friendly are apt to do the same, so long as their rides get great gas mileage. The early-adopter types who bought the brand new, extended-range, electric Volt probably fall into this category, too.
2. The Chevy Volt had only been on sale a few months when Consumer Reports carried out its survey, meaning that consumers might not have had time to put it through its paces as thoroughly as other models up for consideration. (FYI, the study considered vehicles from the 2009 - 2012 model years, so many of the 314,000 owners surveyed had been driving their vehicles for some time.) And the survey definitely took place before news about potential Volt fires began to surface. Those reports may have an impact on the way Volt owners feel about their vehicles.
Other models that fared well on the Consumer Reports survey included the Audi S4, Audi A5, Audi S5, BMW X5 xDrive diesel, Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Fusion Hybrid, Ford Mustang GT, Lexus CT 200h, Lexus RX 450h, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, Mazda Miata, MINI Cooper Convertible, Toyota Prius, Volkswagen Golf diesel, and Volkswagen Jetta SportWagen diesel.
Interestingly, the top 27 models on the survey were fairly evenly distributed among the world's automakers: ten were American, ten were European, and seven were from Asia. Audi, Chevrolet, and Ford each landed four models on the high-end.
And at the other end of the scale?
Unfortunately, the news wasn't all good for Chevrolet. In fact, of the three models that scored less than 50%, two sprang from Chevy's loins: the Chevrolet Colorado pickup (47%), and the Chevrolet Aveo (37%). In the middle was the Toyota Matrix (43%).
That's not especially surprising. Many consumers who purchase less-expensive vehicles are focused primarily on price, and they're willing to forego many of the comforts that come with more costly models. After all, how many of us have experienced buyer's remorse when we've sacrificed quality for cost?