JD Power survey 2012 - Compact SUVs

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  • Driver satisfaction survey 2012
  • Find out what fellow drivers think
  • Don't buy before reading this
Winner Kia Sportage
1 Kia Sportage
Overall ranking 1st
The Kia Sportage has made JD Power history in its first year in the survey. In fact, it’s a double record breaker, because it’s the first compact SUV ever to take the overall title, knocking Lexus off its well-worn seat at the summit.

Sportage owners gave the car a clean sweep of five-star ratings. A closer look at the feedback shows what sort of buyer the big Kia is attracting. Storage space and practicality delighted most, with owners particularly taken by the plethora of cubbyholes around the front seats. The flat boot lip earned plenty of praise, too, allowing luggage to be slid rather than lifted. Owners were also pleased with the ease of getting kids and car seats into and out of the Sportage.

Once inside, they were impressed by the colour co-ordinated interior and the useful courtesy lights. Practicality continued behind the wheel, with owners liking the visibility from the driver’s seat. The wipers were also praised for their efficiency.

Standard-fit high-level equipment, such as a stereo that allows music to be played easily in any format, was a big plus point in the eyes of owners.

If there is any area that the Sportage could improve on, it’s running costs. While owners rated the cost of living with the small SUV as above average, their enthusiasm in this category was notably lower. Cost is clearly what motivates many Kia owners, but could it also be that they’ve become so accustomed to its reliability that they begrudge shelling out for repairs?

Overall it recorded less than half the average amount of mechanical complaints, with minor quibbles restricted to exterior lights and the remote central locking fob.

All in all, it’s an incredibly positive showing from this appealing little SUV, and a well-deserved top spot overall.

JD Power 20122 Nissan Qashqai
Overall 12th=
Qashqai owners lavished praise on the visibility their cars provided, loving the view from the driver’s seat. Most common gripes were with the heating system, which was criticised for taking too long to heat up and clear misty windows.

JD Power 20123 Volkswagen Tiguan
Overall 14th=
Tiguan owners were the second-happiest of all compact SUV owners when it came to running costs. Occasional problems were noted with starting the engine, and the dashboard and the cupholders.

JD Power 20124 Volvo XC60
Overall 18th=
A strong first JD Power outing for the XC60. It earned praise for its comfortable seats. Owners weren’t so keen on the fiddly Bluetooth mobile phone system, though, and complained about the odd engine noise.

JD Power 20125 Ford Kuga
Overall 20th
The Kuga was the top Ford for the second year in a row. Owners liked the way it drove, and its audio system. There were a few problems with the interior and dashboard. The engine light made an appearance for a few drivers, too.

JD Power 20126 Toyota RAV4
Overall 21st=
The driving experience was rated as the long-serving RAV4’s best attribute, particularly in the steering and the responsiveness of the brakes. Owners did report the occasional problem with the parcel shelf and the front door.

JD Power 20127 Audi Q5
Overall 24th=
Only Kuga and Sportage drivers were more taken with their small SUV’s looks. Owners loved the quality sound made by the closing doors. Some mentions were made of problems with tyre pressure monitors and the side windows.

JD Power 20128 Honda CR-V
Overall 41st
Insurance costs didn’t make CR-V owners as happy as in previous years, and a couple of interior light problems cropped up. However, owners were still smiling about the standard of service they receive from Honda dealers.

JD Power 20129 Land Rover Freelander
Overall 42nd
A mixed bag for the Freelander. It was relatively problem free, with just some battery and water leaking issues highlighted. Owners liked the interior visibility, but weren’t so keen on running and servicing costs.

JD Power 201210 Hyundai Santa Fe
Overall 77th=
A set of two- and three-star ratings accounted for the Santa Fe’s performance this year. Low scores were given for all-round appeal and heating, while comfy seats and good running costs saved the Hyundai from finishing lower.

JD Power 201211 Nissan Juke
Overall 79th=
Owners of the Juke waxed lyrical about their car’s styling. However, it got the lowest score in the category for fuel economy, and problems with the parcel shelf, mats and glovebox soured the ownership experience further.

JD Power 201212 BMW X1
Overall 99th
BMW X1 owners gave the car a big thumbs down after complaining bitterly of it being beset by problems. Glitches were reported in almost all areas: the fuel gauge, CD player, seats, indicators, body mouldings and heating system were just a few examples quoted. The most commonly reported problem area was the door panels.

Full results
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JD Power 2012

JD Power 2012Case study
Name Carol Greening
Age 52
Lives Wimborne Minster, Dorset
Job Hairdresser
Model XE 4WD
Miles with car 12,000

‘When it came to buying a new car back in 2009, the Kia Sportage seemed like the perfect choice for us. The sheer value for money it offered was obvious, and that made it the winner. During the week, I’m a mobile hairdresser, and walking the dog is one of my priorities at the weekend, so the Sportage ticks all the boxes. Even though this is the largest car I’ve owned, it’s also incredibly easy to manoeuvre thanks to the parking sensors – they're great.'

JD Power survey 2012 - Large SUVs


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