JD Power survey 2013 - Small family cars

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  • Driver satisfaction survey 2013
  • Find out what fellow drivers think
  • Don't buy before reading this
Small family cars winner
Toyota Prius

1 Toyota Prius
The world’s best-selling hybrid wowed UK owners for another year. They rewarded the car’s performance by making it not just category winner, but by keeping it in the top 10 of the overall satisfaction index.

Scores were slightly reduced compared with 2012, but the car still crushes most of its competition as far as its owners are concerned, particularly when it comes to fuel economy.

Owners rated it top of its field in 17 categories, including fuel economy thanks to a real-world delivery of 52.2mpg, and said the Prius was not only practical but comfortable and serene to drive. Gear transitions were smooth, while the interior was quiet with no intrusion of wind noise.

Owners also reported some of the fewest engine problems in class, although there were some stalling incidents. Gripes mostly concerned excessive condensation, and the CD player and radio. Happily, though, the battery could be relied upon.

Toyota’s dealer network added extra gloss to the Prius experience, with some of the lowest charges in the class reported by owners. They also rated the service experience, praising dealers’ booking flexibility and the helpfulness and patience of service advisors. Facilities were easy to get to and park up at, while they were also rated the cleanest, with lots of creature comforts while customers waited.

2 Skoda Octavia
Another impressive performance from the practical Octavia, as owners once again favoured its functionality. The massive boot and cabin won it kudos, and many owners struggled to find anything negative to say, although the rear seat adjustment could have been easier and wind noise was a little disconcerting for some.

3 Honda Civic
The Civic’s stylish looks still have the power to turn heads, said owners, who also rated the comfortable interior and dealer service. They were less keen on the car’s pothole-handling prowess, and downgraded the car’s reliability rating because of noisy brakes, tyre wear and paint imperfections.

4 Toyota Auris
Owners liked the Auris’s practicality, particularly the ease of getting in and out, and the spacious front seats. The boot was a little small, but it didn’t stop owners squeezing in the family’s luggage. A smattering of niggles included paint imperfections and engine starting problems. Dealers scored well, however.

5= Seat Leon
Leon drivers had the most fun in this segment, enjoying exhilarating performance on the motorway and windy roads. They also liked playing their music through a quality audio system, whether on disc or iPod. Some complained about fuzzy radio reception, but foggy windows were the biggest gripe.

5= VolkswagenGolf Plus
Golf Plus owners were pretty ambivalent about its looks, but did appreciate its practicality, particularly the big, easy-access boot. The drive got their attention, too, and they reported best-in-class steering and impressive handling. The strong engine was also a hit, but 15% did experience an engine warning light.

7 Kia Ceed
A solid outing for the Ceed, although it didn’t completely win over its owners, who said the engine was short of punch and complained about the harsh ride. There were no major common mechanical faults, although excessive fuel consumption was noted by some, while others reported clutch issues.

8 Honda Insight
Honda’s new survey entrant shows its value with a top-third table ranking. Its hybrid engine led the field for fuel economy, and owners thought it was well specced, with a class-beating audio system and quiet, efficient heating and air-con. Some reported noisy, shuddering brakes, while others wanted a plusher cabin.

9 Citroen C4
The Citroen C4 wowed owners with its smart looks and generous room up front. Friendly dealers enhanced the ownership experience, while owners also found it easy to book in cars for servicing and were happiest with the charges. Windscreen wiper problems were the worst issues they had to contend with.

10 Volvo C30
The classy C30 got pulses racing with its stylish looks, and owners found it easy to get comfortable, while responsive brakes and great visibility made them feel safe. The small boot and comparatively high running costs made owners flinch, though, and there were some reports of the engine cutting out.

Sinner
21 Alfa Romeo Giulietta
Overall ranking 108th=
An inauspicious first survey appearance for the Giulietta to say the least, as disappointed owners said the Alfa’s build quality didn’t live up to its looks.

They admired the car’s pretty styling, but one in 10 complained about engine starting issues and body panel gaps, and a similar number reported door and paint problems. Their harshest criticism was reserved for steep workshop bills, insurance costs and economy.

Full results
Click the image below for a full breakdown of the results...

JD Power 2013
Name Tom Fazakerley
Age 66
Lives Lancashire
Job Retired
Model Toyota Prius T Spirit
Miles driven 3200
‘This is my fourth Prius and I’m very happy with it. It’s frugal and practical, with room for five, a good-sized boot and seats that fold nicely. Touch & Go Plus is great, especially with its apps, although the USB socket could be better placed.

‘The Prius can show a clean pair of heels to conventionally powered cars if asked to, and the handling is brilliant.’
JD Power 2013

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