Survey Says

These are the 27 cars Americans are most emotionally attached to according to J.D. Power

The Kia Telluride is just one of the models Americans are most emotionally attached to.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

What drives people to a certain vehicle? Sure, it may be brand loyalty. But, it may also be the emotional appeal of a model. That's the build up. Once the vehicle reaches it driveway and it's been lived in, the owner is bound to find more ... quirks. Does this dampen their enthusiasm?

The J.D. Power 2020 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study measures a number of factors that all contribute to that emotion connection.

"Purchasing the 'right' vehicle is influenced by a variety of factors, depending on each buyer's specific tastes, wants and needs," said Dave Sargent, vice president of automotive quality at J.D. Power. "The APEAL Study measures an owner's emotional attachment to their new vehicle and in what areas that vehicle may not be delivering on all of the positive experiences that were hoped for. Understanding this is just as valuable to automakers as knowing about quality issues and owner acceptance of new technologies. The goal for automakers is to delight customers on all these dimensions. Some are better than others at doing this."

J.D. Power has been conducting the study for 25 years. It was redesigned for 2020 to compliment the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study and the J.D. Power Tech Experience Index Study. The survey measured “owners' emotional attachment and level of excitement with their new vehicle across 37 attributes, ranging from the sense of comfort and luxury they feel when climbing into the driver's seat to the feeling they get when they step on the accelerator." These attributes were then aggregated to compute an overall APEAL index score measured on a 1,000-point scale.

Here are the winners.

Mazda CX-5

2020 Mazda CX-5Photo courtesy of Mazda North American Operations

Mazda may be best known for the Miata but their top-selling vehicle is the CX-5, a compact SUV. The CX-5 delivers an engaging drive that excels whether accelerating or cruising. Its handling is engaging and seats are comfortable. Reviewers typically say that the usability of its infotainment system is not up to par with other vehicles in its class.

Land Rover Range Rover Velar

2020 Land Rover Range Rover Velar

Photo courtesy of Land Rover

The Land Rover Range Rover Velar carries over the high-quality cabin design and high-horsepower engines from its stablemates. Its handling is composed making it good in the city, on a trail, or cruising on the highway.

Jaguar E-Pace

2020 Jaguar E-Pace

Photo courtesy of Jaguar

The Jaguar E-Pace is the little brother of the highly-regarded F-Pace. The model isn't as powerful as the F-Pace, but it has a good amount of cargo space and is agile. Adults may feel crowded in the back seat, but that's par for the course in this size vehicle.

Honda Odyssey

2021 Honda Odyssey

Photo courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

Honda has refreshed the looks of the Odyssey for 2021 and given it more safety features. Additionally, Honda has made the interior more upscale with updated climate controls and second-row setbacks that fold flat (making them easier to remove).

Lincoln Navigator

2020 Lincoln NavigatorLuxury Full Size SUV: Lincoln Navigator

Photo courtesy of Lincoln Motor Company

The Lincoln Navigator is the largest SUV in the company's lineup. The full-size, three-row SUV was fully redesigned for the 2018 model year, kicking off the brand's new SUV identity and design aesthetic. It's suitably plush, seats seven, and is powered by a 450-horsepower turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 engine.

Nissan Armada

2019 Nissan Armada​Photo courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Armada is gearing up for a redesign but continues to offer comfortable accommodations, good towing capacity, and a strong engine. The SUV's lackluster fuel efficiency and poor cargo space are two major drawbacks.

Ford Escape

2020 Ford Escape HybridPhoto courtesy of Ford Motor Company\u200b

The Ford Escape has been completely redesigned for the 2020 model year. It features a cavernous cargo area, spacious seating, and easy low-speed handling. This Escape rides better than the last and its interior has been upgraded. New powertrain options include a PHEV and there's a long list of standard and available safety features.

BMW 7 Series

2020 BMW 7 Series

Photo courtesy of BMW

The BMW 7 Series features the expected roster of features and powertrains. They all function as advertised, delivering a plush, large car experience. A plug-in hybrid version is now available but Android Auto is not.

Ram 1500

2020 Ram 1500 Built to Serve EditionPhoto courtesy of FCA US LLC

With a combination of sales from the Ram 1500 and HD pickups, Ram has found a winning formula that combines the expected capability of a truck with the refined interior more commonly found in premium or luxury SUV.

BMW X4

2020 BMW X4

Photo by Fabian Kirchbauer Photography/BMW

The BMW X4 is a potent SUV. It delivers the engaging drive that buyers are looking for in a sloped back style that makes it more hatchback and SUV. The interior is typically BMW, which means that it's high quality and aesthetically pleasing.

Dodge Challenger

2020 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock

The Dodge Challenger hasn't been changed significantly in a decade but Dodge continues to push the envelope with performance, introduce new variants, and updated the car's infotainment system.

GMC Sierra HD

2020 GMC Sierra HDPhoto courtesy of GMC

Reviewers generally agree that the GMC Sierra has a great exterior but that its interior is lacking the refinement expected at its price point. Still, it's an incredibly capable truck, especially in its heavy-duty variants. The GMC Sierra 2500 AT4 is one of the best trucks you can buy if you want to match off-road prowess with on-road comfort and towing/hauling capability.

Chevrolet Blazer

2020 Chevrolet Blazer

Photo courtesy of Chevrolet

The Chevrolet Blazer isn't the off-roader that it used to be. Now, it's akin to the Nissan Murano, delivering plush appointments and competent powertrains. Chevy just announced that a future EV will deliver Blazer-inspired design.

Cadillac CT6

2020 Cadillac CT6No. 13 - CadillacPhoto courtesy of Cadillac

The Cadillac CT6 is a comfortable large sedan. It doesn't deliver the aggressive drive you can get from German luxury sedans but it is (nearly) as stylish and stable on the road. Cadillac recently discontinued the model.

Nissan Versa

2020 Nissan VersaPhoto courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Versa was redesigned for the 2020 model year. It comes equipped with a capable engine and smooth CVT. Its interior is well-equipped and higher trim levels has appointments that would be mistaken for belonging in a vehicle nearly twice the Versa's price point.

Hyundai Veloster

2020 Hyundai VelosterPhoto courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

An all-new Hyundai Veloster rolled out last year with a refreshed design as well as other improvements. This sporty coupe continues to stand out with its unique three-door configuration: one door on the driver's side, two on the passenger side.

MINI Countryman

2021 MINI Countryman John Cooper WorksPhoto courtesy of MINI

MINI has freshened the Countryman for the 2021 model year. The car gets a new grille with a chrome frame and standard LED headlights and fog lights up front, and newly designed front and rear bumper coverings. The Countryman will continue to be offered in a variety of models from the plug-in hybrid MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 to the high performance MINI John Cooper Works Countryman ALL4.

BMW X6

2020 BMW X6Photo courtesy of BMW

The BMW X6 was completely redesigned for the 2020 model year. It continues to be offered with potent engines, a refined interior, comfortable seats, and a long list of technology as is typical for the model.

Nissan Maxima

2020 Nissan MaximaPhoto courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Maxima was recently refreshed but it has few changes for the 2020 model year. The automaker's suite of safety technology, Nissan Safety Shield 360, is now standard. Its V6 is plenty strong and accommodations are roomy and comfortable.

Kia Telluride

2020 Kia Telluride2020 World Car of the Year - Kia TelluridePhoto courtesy of Kia Motors

The Kia Telluride is the winner of the 2020 World Car of the Year award​ it's also much beloved by families. The three-row SUV's premium interior and unique looks are quick to turn heads.

Kia Stinger

2020 Kia StingerPhoto courtesy of Kia Motors

The development sister of the Genesis G70, the Stinger is the Kia version of a sports sedan. Its interior isn't as nice as the G70's and there are some differences between the way the vehicles drive. Still, it's a really good Kia.

Genesis G70

2020 Genesis G70Photo courtesy of Genesis Motors

The Genesis G70 is a true sports sedan. It is up for enthusiastic drives and doesn't mean being pushed a little. The car's cabin is well-appointed and the infotainment system is easy to use. Plus, it's far less pricey than its German rivals.

Honda Ridgeline

2020 Honda RidgelinePhoto courtesy of American Honda Motor Co., Inc

The Honda Ridgeline has as nice of an interior as you'll find in a midsize pickup. Its engine is powerful enough and paired with a standard nine-speed automatic transmission. It can tow and haul, but not as much as much of its competition. Still, its unique tailgate and in-bed trunk set it apart.

Toyota C-HR

2020 Toyota C-HR

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A. Inc.

The Toyota C-HR is a subcompact SUV that delivers many of the qualities buyers are looking for in a grocery getter. It's not particularly powerful but it is easy to maneuver and comes standard with a long list of safety technology. Toyota refreshed the face of the C-HR for 2020.

Nissan Sentra

2020 Nissan SentraPhoto courtesy of Nissan North America

The Nissan Sentra has been completely redesigned for the 2020 model year, with its looks falling into line with the Versa and Altima. The new Sentra is a compelling choice with its high-tech features, comfortable seats, and easy-to-use infotainment system.

Audi A3

2021 Audi A3

Photo courtesy of Audi

The Audi A3 has been a favored compact car for years. The model has been redesigned for 2021, getting a striking new looks, a high-tech infotainment system, and an electrified powertrain. Europe gets the car first then it will arrive in the U.S. later this year. Pricing is expected to stay similar to the 2020 model, which started at $33,300.

Hyundai Sonata

2020 Hyundai Sonata HybridPhoto courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

Hyundai redesigned the Sonata for the 2020 model year. It's a completely new car with fresh angles and innovative tech, yet it keeps the same spacious seating and cargo space buyers have known and loved about the midsize car.

Don't miss the J.D Power survey results that ranked the brands with the most loyal consumer base and highest quality vehicles.

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The CX-50 is surpsingly capable off-road.

Mazda

I have driven all of the Mazda vehicles that have been sold in the US market over the past three decades. On everyday roads and on racetracks. I’ve appreciated their “zoom-zoom”. Good power. Punchy torque just where it was needed. Well-balanced and sporty handling. A bit of growl for the versions that called for it. Plus, tasteful-but-modest styling and more or less elbow room, depending on the model. Mazda’s have been made for sports-car enthusiasts and to ferry families. But, I had never known a Mazda called an “overlander”. Until now.

2023 Mazda CX-50Towing capacity extends to 2,000 pounds.Mazda

The 2023 Mazda CX-50 moves this traction-sophisticated automaker into the lands where the pavement ends and now takes the brand ‘off-track’. Although it’s not a new thing for many of today’s carmakers to add a backcountry model or two to their lineup, it’s new for Mazda. I traveled to Santa Barbara, California to check out this all-new crossover built on Mazda’s seventh-generation small SUV platform that is shared with the smaller CX-30. This 5-passenger utility is longer, lower and wider than the CX-5 that rides on the previous generation’s underpinnings. The CX-50 has been crafted with a roomier second row and more cargo room for the goods and gear that weekend warriors and adventurers want to carry.

The CX-50 comes with a choice of two engines: a 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine with cylinder deactivation that gets 187 horsepower and 186 pound-feet of torque, and Mazda’s Skyactiv-G 2.5-liter turbo-charged powerplant with 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque; both shift through a six-speed automatic transmission. The sport ute can tow up to 2,000 lbs. with the naturally aspirated motor and up to 3,500 lbs. with the turbo-charged mill and Intelligent Drive Select (Mi-Drive) that brings a tow mode as well as Normal, Sport and Off-Road. The newest Mazda model has been made for North America only and is built in Alabama. It is the first Mazda vehicle with auto start/stop that can be deactivated.

2023 Mazda CX-50Mazda is a master of upscale interiors. Mazda

The new crossover starts at $26,800 and comes in S, S Select, S Preferred, S Preferred Plus, S Premium, and S Premium Plus with the base motor. Turb-charged versions come in Turbo, Turbo Premium, and Turbo Premium Plus that tops out at close to $42,000. A long list of technology and safety features are standard or available. Mazda says that Meridian, a fourth turbo trim will arrive soon with even more off-road cred; it will be set up with 18-inch black wheels AT, hood graphics and other backcountry goodies.

When you look at the CX-50, the first thing you’ll notice is exterior styling that speaks to its adventure-ready mission. Muscular bodywork, such as extra cladding, wide fender flairs and larger, more aggressive tires mean that this crossover has been designed not only to give a nod to the looks of a rugged crossover but to provide enhanced traction and a tad more suspension stretch for motoring over uneven terrain and along bumpy dirt roads. Planted on its haunches with functional air vents, it eschews minivan styling with a low and wide footprint that allows owners to have easy access to high-strength roof rails for loading gear on top; the roof has been made stronger than other Mazda crossovers to accommodate heavier loads, such as a roof-top tent. A panoramic moonroof- a first for Mazda- and attractive antiglare hood graphics and are tasteful additions.

The interior is attractive and roomy, with horizontal lines and “cleanable” surfaces as a nod to outdoor endeavors. Our Turbo Premium Plus model had bright orange reverse stitching that popped the cabin that has been crafted with uplevel trims and materials and brought heads-up display. A 7-inch infotainment screen is standard, while the top models get a 10.25-inch version. A wireless charging pad and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard on all trims. Of note, is the rear power and programmable liftgate to the wide and deep rear cargo compartment, with a load floor that flush with the liftgate opening to help slide heavy items in and out of the back. An available line of cargo accessories makes stowage easier.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 is family roadtrip ready.Mazda

How did it handle over the 200-plus miles of our ride and drive? The Turbo Premium Plus CX-50 offers a lot like; many of its driving attributes are consistent with Mazda’s tuning and handling priorities across its product line. Traveling along coastal highways, carving mountainous twisties with tight turns and accelerating on flat and straight well-graded pavement, it has great Mazda manners: i.e., there is enough power and torque in the right bandwidth to move it well; precise steering with a slightly heavily-weighted leather-wrapped steering wheel and well-modulated brakes, especially with towing a 3,500-lb. load. We enjoyed using Sport mode for carving corners, as it brings elongated shifts from the six-speed automatic; a crisp response comes when sport shifting in “manual mode” and provides a quick throttle response.

We tried out the Off-Road mode on a course that included flat and uneven dirt roads, as well as hill climb and descent. Although there is no downhill descent control system, the brakes worked well, along with manual gearing. Of note, Mazda would be wide to add downhill descent engineering for steeper and slicker terrain. We were able to test the difference between Normal and Off-Road over a special section of the course with sandy corners and a winding track at a speed of 30 mph showing the improved traction in the Off-Road programming and the aid of Mazda’s G-Vectoring Control that brings a bit of magic to transfer torque to the wheels where it is needed to keep the intended track-think of it like an enhanced traction control program that helps with steering and yaw control.

2023 Mazda CX-50The CX-50 comes with off-road driving modes. Mazda

Other aids for off-road and backcountry travel are: the i-Activ All-Wheel Drive system that is standard equipment on all CX-50s, with a 50/50ish power transfer front to back; 8.6 inches of ground clearance; an 18-degree approach angle and a 24-degree departure angle; and an optional 360-degree camera system.

*EPA reports: base motor fuel economy 24 city/30 highway mpg, while the turbo option gets 23/29 mpg and can run on regular or premium fuel.

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New electric SUV

Honda teases its first EV

The Prologue will go on sale as a 2024 model.

Honda

Honda is nearing the unveiling of its first electric vehicle, the Prologue, and today the automaker gave us our first glimps of the new vehicle. It's just a sketch, but Honda did share some production details and information on its product roadmap.

Honda DealerHonda plans to sell half a million EVs by the end of the decade. Honda

Honda says the Prologue will be an adventure-ready SUV "capable of satisfying everyday driving and weekend getaways with a strong hint of the well-received Honda e in the front fascia." The SUV was developed in Honda's Design Studio in Los Angeles, and was designed with an eye on Honda's global EV models. Honda said it focused on aerodynamics and fine-tuning the body to reducelines and improve range.

The Japanese automaker developed the Prologue alongside GM, but it has other EVs coming to market by 2026. By 2030, Honda says it will release 30 new EVs globally with a production volume of two million units. The co-developed vehicle is the first, but the rest will be built on Honda e:Architecture. In 2027, the automaker will begin building and selling a line of affordable EVs using the architecture developed with General Motors. Honda says it plans to sell half a million EVs in North America by the end of hte decade.

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