JD Power survey 2012 - Family cars

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  • Driver satisfaction survey 2012
  • Find out what fellow drivers think
  • Don't buy before reading this
Winner Toyota Prius
1 Toyota Prius
Overall ranking 3rd
Toyota Prius owners have raved about reliability in every JD Power survey, and this year it finally takes the crown in the family cars class. Not only that, it moves up to an impressive third place (from fifth) in the overall satisfaction index.

Problems were few and far between, although some owners did feel the brakes could be sharper, and some issues were reported with the satellite-navigation system. Owners were mightily impressed with the car’s looks, though, and said the cabin was a nice place to be, with good-quality materials and an attractive dashboard. Dials and controls were well positioned, too. The quiet, comfortable interior came in for further praise, with good heating and ventilation, and a cracking audio system. Space was also highly rated, particularly in the front, although rear passengers were well looked after, too.

The boot, which is inevitably squashed by the hybrid batteries, could have been a bit bigger, but owners were pleased with the number and arrangement of interior cubbyholes.

The drive was especially well rated, and owners loved the responsive steering and dynamic handling. They also rated it best in class for performance, and although acceleration was a little slower off the mark than some rivals, it wasn’t laboured and gearchanges were silky smooth.

In the workshop, every aspect of the dealer service was well rated, particularly the cleanliness and comfort of the waiting areas. Only Volvo dealers were rated by S40 owners as being more friendly and helpful than Toyota’s.

The Prius beat off all competition when it came to running costs, however, and by quite a distance. Service and repair bills were perceived to be the lowest in class, while fuel consumption was remarkably frugal. Even insurance premiums were deemed reasonable.

There’s more good news for contented Prius owners: the face-lifted car, on sale this spring, has been given even smarter trim, suspension and steering upgrades – and yet another cupholder.

JD Power 20122 Skoda Superb
Overall 4th
A fantastic performance for this JD Power debutante. The Superb couldn’t quite match the Prius on dealer service, but it smashed rivals in most other categories. Classy styling, low running costs and big-car interior space won it praise.

JD Power 20123 VW Passat CC
Overall 8th
Owners loved the CC’s handsome styling, although it just tailed the Superb on interior trim. Cabin space was below average, but the boot was satisfactory, as was fuel economy. It was difficult to get a workshop slot, but the service itself was good.

JD Power 20124 Toyota Avensis
Overall 9th=
Despite a slightly lower score, the Avensis creeps up one place. Owners reported few problems, the most significant being Bluetooth, sat-nav and radio reception. Exterior appeal wasn’t as strong as some rivals’, but interior quality was better.

JD Power 20125 Volvo S40
Overall 14th=
Owners gave their S40s an almost clean bill of health. They also rated their dealers top in every category. On a bad note, the audio controls were hard to use and radio reception was poor, although sound clarity was good.

JD Power 20126= Honda Accord
Overall 37th=
After two years at the top of its class and a second-place overall ranking, the Accord’s halo has slipped. A raft of brake, lighting, wiper and infotainment problems didn’t help. At least Honda’s dealers were still highly rated by owners.

JD Power 20126= Volvo V50
Overall 37th=
Not a bad performance from the V50 this year; owners liked the reliability, but complained about wind noise and remote keyless entry problems. They rated the looks, but rear passengers got a rum deal on space and comfort.

JD Power 20128 Volkswagen Passat
Overall 48th=
This return to eighth after a short spell at number four showed the Passat as the class average performer. Owners had little good to say, but nor were there many problems. Handbrake woes persisted; economy stood out positively.

JD Power 20129= Citroen C5
Overall 61st=
The C5 attracted more than the class average number of criticisms, with lighting, handbrake, wiper, cupholder and engine warning light problems. Owners liked the quiet cabin and ample boot, though, and dealers were praised for their friendliness.

JD Power 20129= Ford Mondeo
Overall 61st=
Owners found little to inspire them about the Mondeo, with average scores across the board. Problems were few and far between, though. Space and accessibility were praised; however, dealer service was rated as well below par.

JD Power 201211 Mazda 6
Overall 86th
A fall of three places for the Mazda 6 came on the back of high fuel bills and a level of dealer service unlikely to make Mazda proud. Service costs were deemed pricey, too, while wind noise and tyre pressure monitoring system problems didn’t help.

JD Power 201212 Vauxhall Insignia
Overall 95th=
The Insignia dropped two places in this year’s survey. Owners loved the styling, but felt the interior material quality didn’t match it, with an unusual number of parcel shelf problems. The engine light and fuel economy were also issues.

JD Power 201213 Renault Laguna
Overall 99th=
Maybe it’s just as well the Laguna is no more, judging by this survey. This year, owners had problems with the doors, wipers, water leaks and suspension tracking. Audio and heating systems were fragile, and cabin materials poor.

JD Power 201214 Peugeot 407
Overall 106th
A drop of seven places and one star were driven by a raft of problems, including wind noise, unwieldy fuel caps and paint glitches. Juddering brakes generated excessive dust. Sat-nav issues and sluggish heating topped off a poor showing.

JD Power 201215 Vauxhall Vectra
Overall 118th
It’s bottom of the class for the second year in a row for the Vectra, and bottom of the entire JD Power survey. The catalogue of complaints is long: paint imperfections, corrosion, strange noises, ineffective air-conditioning and heating, a poor audio system and reluctant and extremely thirsty engines. Substandard dealer service and high running costs played their part, too. Owners didn’t even rate the Vectra for visual appeal.

Full results
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JD Power 2012

JD Power 2012Case study
Name Jason Hall
Age 42
Lives Surrey
Job Teacher
Model T Spirit
Mileage with car 32,000

‘The Prius is relaxing to drive, wafting you along in quiet serenity. I bought it for reliability, so its eco profile was a bonus, and although I was anxious that it might be compromised to drive, it’s fine. It’s also very cheap to run – I’m averaging 55mpg and pay zero road tax. Toyota garages are a pleasure to deal with, and the car is retaining its value.'

JD Power survey 2012 - Compact executives


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