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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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rick praskac
August 12, 2012 at 2:33 am

Ive done both, and unions are unfortunately NEEDED IF U WANT A LIVABLE WAGE

Aurora Pascua
August 11, 2012 at 7:34 pm

Patronized our USA product will help us more stronger ? No problem!

August 11, 2012 at 3:37 pm

We don't support union labor, in any industry. The unions bankrupt the auto industry and then Obama ripped off the bond holders with the "bailout" to save the unions. GM still owes the taxpapers MILLIONS. We will never buy a union made car again.

Guy Bandy
August 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm

I have owned Chrysler cars for 40 years and have had great service and I keep them for as long as 12 years.

August 10, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Pretty much allog the Chrysler/Dodge cars suck big time.

August 09, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Why should it matter if the car is assembled in the USA whether or not it is union labor? A USA Job is a USA Job!

August 09, 2012 at 3:47 pm

lol where is the toyota tundra crew max, and as far as being built in America the tundra is 85% built here and u pro union guys tell me how many union workers are in Mexico and Canada building your ford pick ups

john messoris
August 09, 2012 at 2:19 pm

Not true I have a Chrysler 300C with 65,000 miles & the brakes front & rear are still good, the underside of that car is mostly German engineering!!

john messoris
August 09, 2012 at 2:13 pm

Dodge Charger is not a large car, Chrysler 300c is a better choice!! NuffSaid!!

Joe Williams
August 09, 2012 at 1:56 pm

Well now. All I have to say is: Given the choice of Ford versus GM versus Chrysler/Fiat.. Ford wins in my book. My rationale is simple, Ford puts allot of engineering and a bit more expensive parts in to their cars so that you don't have bushings falling out at 12000 miles or exhaust systems rusting out in a year. Quality wise, they are still the best (even better than some imports).

AS FOR MADE IN THE USA: Most of the buying public does not know that many foreign brands are made here in the USA. The difference between the foeigng company manufacturing here and the domestics that do manufacture here in the USA is the UAW. Honda, Toyota, Mercedes, BMW, and even the Suzuki's don't have union workers. Now... The Fiat 500 is assembled in Michigan at a Chrysler/Fiat plant with union workers. So.... Ultimately, we should be buying cars built in the USA by Union Workers... Not just made in the USA.