Find Out Which Car Brands Came Top in This Owner Survey

Consider for a moment the vehicle that you currently own. And then ask yourself: If you were given the chance to go through the purchasing process again, would you buy the same one?

Consumer Reports (CR) used this straightforward question as the basis for its latest survey aimed at discovering the most- and least-liked car brands.

The survey’s “would buy again” score is based on the percentage of the 369,000 survey participants who responded “definitely yes” when asked whether they would opt for the same vehicle if they had the chance to go through the purchasing process again, while considering factors such as price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, and so on. All owners in the survey had vehicles of model years 2018 through 2020.

So, which vehicles fared best — and worst — in the survey?

The top three brands out of a total of 27 were: Tesla — maker of the Model S, Model 3, Model X, and Model Y electric vehicles — with an overall owner satisfaction score of 88; luxury brand Lincoln (79); and Ram (76), maker of pickup trucks and vans. All three also scored high on driving and comfort, though not so well on value.

Down the bottom you’ll find Cadillac (59); Nissan (58); and Nissan-owned Infiniti (48), though CR is keen to point out that “the least satisfying models or brands aren’t necessarily the worst on the market.”

As for U.S. brands besides those already mentioned, Chrysler placed fourth with a score of 76, Dodge eighth (74), Ford 14th (70), Jeep 20th (66), General Motors 21st (65), Chevrolet 22nd (65), and Buick 24th (61).

As you can see from the scores, for all of the brands in its survey, the majority of owners said they would buy their vehicle again, so all of the automakers should be content to some degree with the results.

CR noted how some of the brands in its survey that score high for owner satisfaction don’t rate well on other measures in separate surveys. For example, Tesla and Lincoln are near the top for owner satisfaction but at the bottom in CR’s reliability ratings. ‘The reverse is true for brands such as Buick, which has models that are reliable but relatively unsatisfying to their owners,” the nonprofit consumer organization said.

Certainly, at the top end of CR’s chart, such anomalies can reveal a brand’s ability to form a tight emotional bond with owners of its vehicles. For example, Tesla, a trailblazing automaker led by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk, is well known for its enthusiastic following of owners, many of whom were there from the start and likely feel part of a special club. Additional satisfaction may com from the feeling of being part of something bigger, in this case Tesla’s role in the global shift to electric vehicles. With this in mind, it could take more for owners to lose faith in the brand than owners of cars linked to less “exciting” brands.

More information on how CR rates customer satisfaction can be found on its website.

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