If you're car shopping and looking for testimonials from current owners of the models you are considering, look no further than the 2012 Ideal Vehicle Awards. The awards survey more than 75,000 car owners who have owned their 2012 model-year car for 90 days, the largest survey of consumers who own a single model year, rating how happy they are with their cars in 15 areas.
Audi and Mini each received the top brand awards for Premium Brand and Popular Brand, respectively, while Honda/Acura received five individual vehicle awards, followed by General Motors with four, then Chrysler/Jeep and Volkswagen/Audi with three awards.
The 15 key areas that comprised the rating included: exterior styling, exterior size, passenger roominess, cargo space, driver's seat comfort, driver’s seat visibility, info/entertainment technology, interior lighting, power and acceleration, ease of getting in and out, interior storage compartments, ride, handling, safety features, and tires and wheels.
The awards are presented annually by AutoPacific, an auto industry research firm, and Autobytel, an independent car information site.
The individual awards were presented in the following categories:
2012 Ideal Vehicle Awards: Passenger cars
|Premium luxury car||2012 Mercedes Benz S-Class|
|Aspirational luxury car||2012 Audi A4|
|Large car||2012 Dodge Charger|
|Luxury midsize car||2012 Acura TSX|
|Premium midsize car||2012 Volkswagen Passat|
|Midsize car||2012 Subaru Legacy|
|Premium compact car||2012 MINI Cooper|
|Compact car||2012 Volkswagen Golf|
|Economy car||2012 Honda Fit|
|Sports car||2012 Chevrolet Corvette|
|Sporty car||2012 Dodge Challenger|
|Hybrid/EV car||2012 Nissan Leaf|
2012 Ideal Vehicle Awards: Light trucks
|Large light-duty pickup||2012 Ford F-150|
|Heavy-duty pickup||2012 GMC Sierra HD|
|Compact pickup||2012 GMC Canyon|
|Luxury SUV||2012 Land Rover LR4|
|Large SUV||2012 GMC Yukon XL|
|Midsize SUV||2012 Jeep Grand Cherokee|
|Premium luxury crossover SUV||2012 Porsche Cayenne|
|Luxury crossover SUV||2012 Volvo XC70|
|Large crossover SUV||2012 Ford Flex|
|Premium midsize crossover SUV||2012 Honda Pilot|
|Midsize crossover SUV||2012 Honda CR-V|
|Compact crossover SUV||2012 MINI Countryman|
|Minivan||2012 Honda Odyssey|
|Hybrid/EV truck||2012 Toyota Highlander Hybrid|
Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.