October 9, 2002

Mini Cooper, Cadillac Escalade EXT, and Ford Thunderbird most appealing vehicles says J.D. Power and Associates survey

Westlake Village, California – The all-new Mini Cooper, Cadillac Escalade EXT and Ford Thunderbird captured top segment rankings in the J.D. Power and Associates 2002 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study released Tuesday.

The study, which measures owner delight with the design, content, layout and performance of their new vehicles, found that 26 of the 31 all-new launches and redesigns met or exceeded the average performance of their respective segments.

“Radical designs and concepts are paying off,” said Brian Walters, director of product research at J.D. Power and Associates. “Manufacturers that are willing to take bold risks with revolutionary concepts and bring them to fruition are creating new icons that are proving to be very popular.”

Ford and Lincoln brands ranked highest in five APEAL segments. American Honda, General Motors and Toyota Motor Sales brands each receive three top segment rankings.

“Ford’s achievement is crowned by the Thunderbird’s impressive debut,” said Walters. “Along with topping the competitive entry luxury car segment in APEAL, the Thunderbird also ranked highest in its segment in our Initial Quality Study earlier this year. This is an exceptional achievement for a vehicle in its first year of production.”

Other notable study findings:

  • The all-new MINI Cooper captures the top ranking in the compact car segment, replacing the Volkswagen Beetle, which had topped the segment since its introduction in 1998.
  • Versatility is proving to be well received by owners of full-sized pickups. Following the Cadillac Escalade EXT in this segment is another pickup crossover, the Chevrolet Avalanche.
  • For the first time, a Hyundai model tops an APEAL segment ranking. The redesigned Hyundai Sonata receives the top ranking in the entry midsize car segment. The Sonata is followed by the Kia Optima, giving Kia its first top-three ranking in APEAL.

The 2002 APEAL study is based on responses from more than 117,800 new-vehicle owners and comprises eight specific areas of vehicle performance and design that identify what consumers like and dislike about their new vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership. These areas are: vehicle exterior styling; engine and transmission; comfort and convenience; ride, handling and braking; seats; heating, ventilation and cooling; cockpit and instrument panel; and sound system. The study is in its seventh year.

Click here for a full listing of the APEAL results.

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