JD Power survey 2013 - Superminis

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  • Driver satisfaction survey 2013
  • Find out what fellow drivers think
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Superminis winner
Citroen DS3

1 Citroen DS3
A stunning performance for the Citroen DS3’s debut – not only was the car crowned king of the superminis, knocking the Honda Jazz from its top spot, but it ranks fourth overall.

So what did owners love about it? An awful lot, it seems; they rated it best against all rivals in two thirds of categories. The DS3’s quirky styling pleased them most, and they gave their highest scores for visual appeal.

Owners also relished spending time in the car, enjoying the attractive instrument panel, quality trim and upholstery, and sound system. Comfort was rated highly, too, with an easy-to-adjust driver’s seat, snug seatbelts and effective heating and air-con systems.

The car really excelled once the engine was started, with owners reporting sprightly acceleration and a good, strong engine with enough grunt to keep the car up to speed with other traffic.

The dealers got positive comments, too; Citroen’s network was praised for its clean facilities and professionalism. The accolades didn’t stop there, either, with DS3 owners claiming to enjoy the lowest fuel costs and service and repair bills in the segment.

The car wasn’t without its problems, but even some of the more serious common complaints, regarding noisy brakes and engine issues, weren’t enough to dent owners’ appreciation of their cars.

2 Honda Jazz
A better rating for the Jazz wasn’t enough to keep it in the number one supermini spot, because of the DS3’s superb performance. However, outstanding reliability, excellent service and low running costs were highly prized. Owners reserved their best scores for service and their worst for engine performance.

3 Skoda Fabia
Skoda’s second-smallest car holds its strong position for another year. Easy access meant no awkward clambering for Fabia owners, while rear-seat passengers enjoyed best-in-class comfort and space. The best scores went to dealer experience, with owners praising service staff for their helpfulness and courteousness.

4 Hyundai i20
Owners were so happy this year that improved scores propelled the car 20 places up the overall table. Hyundai dealers had a big part to play, taking the hassle out of booking a service. Gripes included fiddly seat adjustment, poor radio reception, and unpredictable heating and ventilation.

5 Volkswagen Polo
The Polo defended its position for another year, thanks to strong reliability. The most common complaint was a heating system that failed to clear mist and frost quickly enough, while a few owners reported engine and wiper problems. Clean dealers that returned cars in equally gleaming condition were most highly rated.

6 Seat Ibiza
The Ibiza makes it into the top half of the overall rankings this year after climbing 13 places, thanks to its reliability and stylish looks. Few mechanical problems were reported, although comfort was an issue, with complaints including tight rear passenger space, inefficient heating and seat adjustment problems.

7 Toyota Yaris
A fall of 25 places drops the Yaris into the bottom half of the overall rankings, although it still fares well against rivals. Owners were plagued by window mist and reported more serious engine starting problems. Interior materials were deemed flimsy, and the boot too small. At least dealerships were comfortable.

8= Ford Fiesta
The nation’s best-selling car is proof that familiarity doesn’t breed contempt. The Fiesta was praised for its stylish looks and reliability, but returned average scores in most other areas. Dealers were helpful, and owners rated the heating system’s defrosting prowess best in class, thanks to Ford’s Quickclear system.

8= Mini hatch/Clubman/Conv’
Mini is in the bottom half of the table for the first time, even after owners increased their ratings. Its best features were its looks and exterior/interior colour co-ordination. Owners also thought their dealers charged them most fairly for work. On the downside, rear passenger and boot space were at a premium.

10 Audi A1
The A1’s first showing in the survey doesn’t do it as proud as its reputation would suggest. Problems were mostly comfort-related rather than mechanical defects; lumbar support, instrument panel issues as well as a fiddly fuel cap and problematic CD player topped the list of complaints.

21 Alfa Romeo Mito
Overall ranking 115th
A disastrous performance for arguably the prettiest car in class causes the Mito to tumble 70 places to languish above only the Chevrolet Spark. When owners scratched beneath the surface, they uncovered a list of problems, ranging from ignition problems and excessive tyre wear to noisy brakes and even glovebox faults.

Owners also complained about interior quality and an uncomfortable ride. Fortunately, those looks managed to save it from finishing rock bottom.

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

JD Power 2013
Name Mike Demetri
Age 44
Lives Wiltshire
Job Electrical engineer
Model 1.6 e-HDi 110 Airdream DSport Plus
Miles driven 11,000
‘The DS3 is in tax band A but still has enough power to keep things interesting, and I often receive admiring comments about its looks. The boot’s smaller than the one in my old Renault Clio, but there’s enough interior room for five on short journeys. Leather seats and parking sensors are great, although the upgraded audio system isn’t worth the extra.
JD Power 2013

JD Power survey 2013 - Small family cars


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