AutoPacific: Buick And Cadillac Top Brands

General Motors, which earlier this month hopped back on the Fortune 500 after being kicked off in 2009 because of bankruptcy, has some news that should help the upward trend. 

The automaker's Cadillac and Buick brands have come out on top of a significant satisfaction shootout. The Cadillac news may lift the brand further on the upward path that began with the ATS compact sedan, or maybe with the CTS back in 2003, depending on when one determines that the luxury brand came out of general anesthesia.  

Auto consultancy Tustin, Calif.-based AutoPacific reports in its 17th annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards (VSA), based on surveys of 52,000 new-vehicle owners, that Cadillac is the most satisfying premium brand. And Buick comes out as top popular auto brand. 

The vehicle -- car or truck -- registering the highest overall satisfaction is the Cadillac SRX Luxury Crossover SUV. The car with the highest overall satisfaction score is the Lexus LS460.

AutoPacific's Vehicle Satisfaction Awards grapples with around 50 vehicle attributes, from interior comfort and convenience to fuel economy and performance, to get the rankings that are based on responses from 52,000 new vehicle owners. 

George Peterson, the company's president, said more than one-third of new vehicle buyers are positively influenced by objective awards based on owner ratings when deciding on a new car or truck.

The awards in 2013 are much more diverse than they have been in previous years, with no single manufacturer dominating the results, per the firm. Toyota and General Motors each got four best-in-class winners. Chrysler had three wins, and Kia, Hyundai, Nissan, and Ford got two wins. The most-improved brands compared with last year's results are Infiniti and Land Rover -- rising ten and nine positions, respectively -- while Scion dropped ten positions and Ford dropped eight.

The top luxury car is Lexus LS460. Hyundai Genesis won for top aspirational car; Lexus ES was top luxury mid-sizer. For the mass-market large car, Toyota won for Avalon; Kia Optima grabbed the win for midsize and Nissan Sentra for compact. Chevrolet won both for economy car (Sonic) and -- not too much competition here -- sports car with Corvette. For cars that aren't sports cars, per say (usually two-seaters) Hyunda Veloster and Dodge Challenger tied. Interestingly, Toyota's Prius did not win for top hybrid -- its Avalon Hybrid did. 

In trucks and SUVs, Ford's F-150 -- which has been top-selling vehicle in the U.S. for a zillion years -- was the top light duty pickup, with Silverado HD top heavy duty. The Jeep Grand Cherokee was top mid-size SUV and Cadillac's redesigned SRX won for luxury crossover. Other winners in the category were Ford Flex, Toyota Highlander, Mazda's CX-5 and Kia Sportage.

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