TUSTIN, Calif. -- An "ideal" is defined as an excellent or perfect example. In the annual Ideal Vehicle Awards (IVA), announced today by automotive research and consulting firm AutoPacific, owners rate their new 2008 model year cars and trucks by how closely they come to their ideal, as measured by 15 key vehicle attributes. The cars or trucks that owners would change the least are the most ideal.
The conclusion to be drawn from AutoPacific's IVA results is that carmakers that best understand their customers create the vehicles that are ideal for their core buyers.
There are twenty-eight segment winners and overall winners for premium brands and mainstream brands.
The top-rated premium brand overall is Porsche, out-scoring Jaguar and Buick for the most ideal premium vehicle brand honors. The top-rated mainstream brand is Ford, out-scoring GMC for top mainstream brand results.
The top-rated vehicle (and top-rated car) is the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a Premium Luxury Car. The second and third top-rated cars are from Ford Motor Company -- the Mercury Sable and the Ford Taurus, both in the LargeCar category. The top-rated truck is the Lincoln Navigator, a Premium Luxury SUV, closely followed by the Ford Taurus X, a Large Crossover SUV, and the Ford Expedition EL, a Large SUV.
Ford Motor Company leads the industry with a total of fifteen segment winners (including three for Volvo). General Motors has six segment winners. Ford won no less than five sport utility vehicle categories with Expedition EL, Taurus X, Edge, Escape, and Lincoln Navigator.
Including eight ties, of the twenty-eight Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) categories, American brands have twenty segment winners, European brands have nine, Japanese brands have six and Korean brands have two winners.
The top-rated product segment is Large Crossover SUV, confirming that Americans continue to value large, comfortable vehicles suitable for suburban driving and longer distance highway cruising, but without the fuel consumption of heavier, traditional SUVs.
2008 Ideal Premium Brand: Porsche
2008 Ideal Mainstream Brand: Ford
2008 Ideal Product Segment: Large Crossover SUV
Top-rated 2008 Ideal Vehicles:
Premium Luxury Car - Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Aspirational Luxury Car - Cadillac CTS/Volvo C70
Large Luxury Car - Mercury Grand Marquis
Large Car - Mercury Sable
Luxury Mid-Size Car - Volvo S40
Premium Mid-Size Car - Buick LaCrosse/Chevrolet Malibu
Mid-Size Car - Ford Fusion
Image Compact Car - Volvo C30
Compact Car - Volkswagen Rabbit
Economy Car - Nissan Versa
Premium Sports Car - Porsche 911/Cayman/Boxster
Sports Car - Mazda MX-5 Miata
Sporty Car - Ford Mustang
Pickups, SUVs, and Minivans:
Large Light-Duty Pickup - Ford F-150/Chevrolet Silverado
Large Heavy-Duty Pickup - Ford Super Duty
Compact Pickup - Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Luxury Sport Utility - Lincoln Navigator
Large Sport Utility - Ford Expedition EL
Premium Mid-Size Sport Utility - Chevrolet Trail Blazer/Toyota 4Runner/GMC Envoy
Mid-Size Sport Utility - Kia Sorento/Jeep Liberty
Compact SUV/Off-Road Vehicle - Suzuki Grand Vitara
Premium Luxury Crossover SUV - Audi Q7
Luxury Crossover SUV - Buick Enclave
Large Crossover SUV - Ford Taurus X
Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV - Ford Edge
Mid-Size Crossover SUV - Ford Escape
Compact Crossover SUV - Subaru Forester
Minivan - Toyota Sienna/Hyundai Entourage
In addition to identifying segment winners, IVA also establishes numerical ideal vehicle ratings for virtually every passenger car and light truck in the United States market. This results from calculating owner input across 15 specific areas related to a vehicle's attributes, including: exterior styling, exterior size, passenger roominess, cargo space, driver's seat comfort, driver's seat visibility, interior technology, interior lighting, power and acceleration, ease of getting in and out, interior storage compartments, ride, handling, safety features and tires and wheels.
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