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Kia, Tesla, GMC Lead Satisfaction Study

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There aren’t many of them out there, but Kia K900 owners are apparently an upbeat bunch, at least when it comes to how much they like their car. The K900 topped AutoPacific’s annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards, earning the study’s top honor. It was one of five Hyundai-Kia models that earned awards for 2015.

Related: Porsche, Kia Dominate J.D. Power Initial Quality Study

AutoPacific surveyed 66,000 owners of model-year 2015 cars from 11 automakers who have owned their car for less than six months. The firm surveyed owners on 50 separate attributes, including cabin comfort, vehicle styling, driving performance and gas mileage. Tesla had the highest satisfaction rate among premium brands, while GM’s GMC division led all mass-market brands. The General won five awards, tying Hyundai-Kia for the most from any single automaker. Nissan scored three awards, while Honda, Toyota, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Volkswagen, Ford, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz and BMW got one or two awards apiece.

Jaguar Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Mazda and Subaru did not win any awards, but AutoPacific notes that Jaguar had strong year-over-year improvement overall.

Daniel Hall, AutoPacific’s vice president, said the awards — or lack thereof — were “based purely on the mathematics of individual models,” and that “each individual model competes against its segment.”

Kia’s top billing is the brand’s latest honor, coming weeks after it placed very high in J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study. Unlike J.D. Power, whose influential IQS looks at problems experienced in the first three months of ownership, AutoPacific says its VSA focuses on what owners like about their cars. It’s an area that J.D. Power tackles in a separate study.

“We don’t ask questions directly about vehicle quality,” Hall said. “The survey is designed to ask questions specifically about characteristics [that impart] vehicle satisfaction.”

Average scores improved 25 points for 2015. That’s a significant leap versus 2014, given AutoPacific uses a 1,000-point scale. Here are the segment winners:

Passenger Cars

  • Luxury Car: Kia K900
  • Aspirational Luxury Car: Volvo S60
  • Luxury Midsize Car: Lexus ES
  • Large Car: Kia Cadenza
  • Midsize Car: Hyundai Sonata
  • Premium Compact Car: Lexus CT 200h
  • Compact Car: Kia Soul, Volkswagen Jetta, Volkswagen Beetle (all tied)
  • Economy Car: Honda Fit
  • Sports Car: Chevrolet Corvette
  • Sporty Car: Dodge Challenger

Light Trucks

  • Heavy-Duty Pickup Truck: Ford F-Series Super Duty
  • Light-Duty Pickup Truck: Ford F-150
  • Compact Pickup Truck: GMC Canyon
  • Luxury SUV: Infiniti QX80
  • Large SUV: Chevrolet Tahoe
  • Midsize SUV: Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • Premium Luxury Crossover SUV: BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz M-Class (tied)
  • Luxury Crossover SUV: Buick Enclave
  • Large Crossover SUV: GMC Acadia
  • Premium Midsize Crossover SUV: Nissan Murano
  • Midsize Crossover SUV: Honda CR-V
  • Compact Crossover SUV: Kia Sportage
  • Minivan: Nissan Quest

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