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2012 models that car owners love

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

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
Source: AutoPacific and Autobytel.

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
Source: AutoPacific and Autobytel.

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.

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August 09, 2012 at 10:04 am

In the luxury sport compact SUV category (that really narrows it down), nothing is better or more reliable than the BMW X3. It will out handle all the rest with its near sports car like performance - a blast to drive on twisty roads

Ed Huebner
August 09, 2012 at 9:22 am

I absolutely LOVE my 2012 GMC Terrain, but alas, no one asked me!

ec thorpe
August 09, 2012 at 9:20 am

where is the toyota avalon? best car i ever owned i'm 72 and have owned alot of cars won't trade for anything.

Car Head
August 09, 2012 at 7:52 am

Please stop with the "why isn't the Camry on top?". It could be on top if they had a category for "most boring"

August 09, 2012 at 7:49 am

There are only 1 car (Challenger) and 1 truck (F150) I would definitely like to own and one hybrid (Highlander) I would consider on this outrageous list! There are many others I would prefer such as Mustang, F250, Expedition, a couple Lexus' among others. I would not any of the others including the ones others have mentioned in their comments!

August 09, 2012 at 6:48 am

TOYOTA PRIUS, best auto ever owned, seats 5 comfortable, hatchback w/folddown rear seats great for travel and shopping.

Best gas mileage hybrid avg 53/55 city and hwy combined, wife drives to Boston area 80 miles per day (5), bumper to bumper traffic and hwy, avg 550 miles week on less than a 10 gallon filup !!!

teacher chick
August 09, 2012 at 5:56 am

I know, right? And since when is the Toyota Camry not one of the top? I think I will stick with my OWN rating scale, thank you very much.

David Weaver
August 09, 2012 at 5:12 am Ford Fusion? Somebody better go back and do their homework. Really.

Lay Lo
August 09, 2012 at 1:25 am

Where's the 2012 Kia Optima at? It's gotta be tops in cost effectiveness and it's one of the best looking cars out there!

david m duvall
August 08, 2012 at 1:00 pm

I can not believe you diden't have the ford explorer limed 2012