Hyundai improved more than any other brand in the study, which measures how much an automobile owner likes his or her car or truck. Hyundai made an 11-position jump, scoring higher in 40 of 48 rating categories this year versus last. The Korean automaker's Genesis was named top aspirational luxury car, and its Sonata top premium mid-sized car.
"Vehicles that score highest in the Vehicle Satisfaction Awards hit the mark with their buyers by delivering value and satisfaction across a wide range of attributes," said AutoPacific president George Peterson in a statement. The study is based on a survey of 25,000 buyers who purchased or leased their new vehicles during the fourth quarter of 2008.
The vehicle of any kind with the highest overall score was the Lexus LS, whose score was 99 points above the industry average, per the firm.
The truck or SUV with the highest overall satisfaction score is the Cadillac Escalade, contributing to Cadillac's win as the top-ranked brand for vehicle satisfaction.
By automaker, Toyota had the most winners in the study -- three for Toyota, two for Lexus and one for Scion. Ford was in second place with four, followed by Hyundai and sibling Kia, Chrysler and General Motors, with two each. Honda, Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Porsche and Volkswagen each had one winning vehicle.
Individual wins for trucks include Dodge for top truck for the Ram 1500; Toyota's Sienna minivan; Kia's Sportage compact crossover; and Mazda's CX-9 large crossover SUV. The top luxury SUV for satisfaction was Land Rover's LR2. The cars that consumers in the study found most favorable included Scion's tC, Honda Fit, Ford Fusion, Toyota Prius, Lexus ES, and Porsche 911.