JD Power survey 2012 - Large SUVs

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  • Driver satisfaction survey 2012
  • Find out what fellow drivers think
  • Don't buy before reading this
Winner Lexus RX
1 Lexus RX
79.4%
Overall ranking 24th=
Lexus retained its top spot in its category, but only because the SUV sector was split into Small and Large sub-sectors this year.

The RX’s 79.4% score was the lowest for a group-topping car, and its 24th place overall was a long way down on last year’s third. A detailed look at the survey shows that this was largely due to the owners being quite unhappy with how much the car costs to fuel, insure and service.

That said, the RX outperformed all of its rivals in terms of fuel economy, so it shouldn’t be ruled out on that basis. In fact, the petrol-electric set-up accounted for several high scores elsewhere for the Lexus. Owners also loved the quiet cabin and the smoothness of the transmission.

The rest of the interior scored reasonably well, but lost out to competitors in a few important areas. The interior materials scuffed too easily for many drivers, and there were reports that the air from the vents could smell mouldy or stale.

However, despite suffering a relatively high number of problems, RXs are clearly loved by their owners overall. The seats were singled out for special mention this year. They were described as supportive, easy to adjust and conveying a real feeling of quality.

What really sets the car apart from its direct competitors is something familiar to all Lexus owners – the dealer service.

Advisers were deemed to be courteous, and the service facilities themselves were said to be clean and comfortable.

Even though it cost more than owners would have liked, any work carried out by Lexus was reported to be very thorough.

So a decent performance from the RX, and one that meant it outscored its direct rivals for the fourth year in a row. However, its overall perception has slipped: Lexus will be looking to do something about this for 2013.

JD Power 20122 Land Rover Range Rover Sport
78.0%
Overall 48th=
Range Rover Sport owners reported abnormal noises coming from under their cars, and a high number of sat-nav issues. More than any other owners in this class said they loved the car’s image and interior.

JD Power 20123 BMW X5
76.8%
Overall 68th=
The X5 suffered from a fair few problems, according to its owners, particularly when it came to starting the engine. Faulty door panels and parcel shelves were also subject to complaint. The smooth gearbox was praised, however.

JD Power 20124 Land Rover Discovery
75.6%
Overall 90th
The Discovery’s Achilles heel was the price of servicing, which was possibly linked to a relatively high number of engine problems. However, it scored heavily on driving experience and the high-up seating position.

JD Power 20125 Volvo XC90
74.1%
Overall 105th
Although XC90 owners did report almost four times the industry average number of excessive or uneven tyre wear cases, the Volvo actually suffered from fewer problems than its rivals, and mechanical reliability was generally considered to be reasonable.

However, the car lagged behind the competition on visual appeal. The engine was criticised for being too thirsty and too slow, and insurance premiums were felt to be too high.

Full results
Click on table for larger view
JD Power 2012

JD Power 2012Case study
Name Mark Rillands
Age 42
Lives Sunninghill
Job Sales
Model RX450h SE-L
Mileage with car 45,500

‘Travelling 15,000-20,000 miles per year for my job, I need a car that’s comfortable, reliable and not too big to park. The RX has fitted the bill brilliantly. It’s averaged more than 30mpg, while providing surprising acceleration. It’s very good in the snow, and has been backed by brilliant customer service from Lexus Bracknell. The only niggles were a few squeaky bits of trim upon delivery that were fixed without any hassle.'

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