Honda, Ford Win Awards Across Competitions

It’s kind of like elementary school where there’s no longer real competition and every kid gets an award. I’m talking about the plethora of automotive awards.

Not to diminish the accolades that automakers are so darn proud of, but in the last two days I received press releases on three separate awards and saw news stories about a fourth. I decided to try to analyze the awards and look for overlaps in winners. 

First up is the Kelley Blue Book Best Buy awards. The Honda Civic wins as the overall best buy of the year and also best small car.

The Kelley Blue Book Best Buy Awards aim to help new-car buyers by identifying the cream of the crop of all available 2017 model-year vehicles. The awards are the culmination of a year-long regimen of expert vehicle evaluation and testing of nearly every new vehicle available in America, along with analysis of a broad swath of vehicle-related data, including vehicle pricing/transaction prices, cost-to-own data, consumer reviews and ratings, and vehicle sales/retail sales information. 

Of more than 300 new-car models available for 2017, Kelley Blue Book’s expert editors initially narrowed the field to a few dozen Best Buy Award contenders in 12 major vehicle categories and then spent several weeks testing and evaluating all of the finalists head-to-head to ultimately determine the winners.

Other winners include the Honda Accord (mid-size car), Chevrolet Impala (full-size car), Audi A4 (luxury car), Porsche 718 Boxter (sports/performance car), Toyota Prius Prime (electric/hybrid), Kia Sportage (small SUV), Honda Pilot (mid-size SUV), Chevrolet Tahoe (full-size SUV), Mercedes-Benz GLC (luxury SUV), Ford F-150 (truck) and Chrysler Pacifica (minivan).

Next up is the Strategic Vision 2016 most-loved vehicles. Unlike the KBB awards, these deal with the past model year. But there is some overlap in the winners of the two awards.

The Strategic Vision’s Customer Love Index measures the amount of love owners experience with their new vehicle, compiling data from over 120 different aspects of the ownership experience (from interior door handles to taillight design to performance) on a scale that ranges from “7 – I Love It” to “1 – I Hate It”, with “4 - Satisfactory” being at the middle of the scale.

Besides overall awards, the company looks at what different demographics prefer. For Millennials, CLI scores are significantly higher than any other cohort group, even when purchasing lower priced products. For example, Millennials love their new Nissan Juke far more than everyone else loves their award-winning Audi A5 Cabriolet, which was the Most Loved Vehicle in a high-powered segment full of premium roadsters and convertibles. 

Both Subaru and BMW garnered five Most Loved Vehicle Awards, tying for the most awarded to a single brand. Though their results are similar, the two brands have taken very different paths to victory. While Subaru increased “love” through its love-based marketing, BMW did so through a revamped product line. The Tesla Model S is by far the Most Loved Vehicle in the industry. Other award winners: Nissan Titan XD, Mercedes GLE couple, and like the KBB awards, the Honda Civic. 

Finally, U.S. News & World Report released its winners of the 2017 Best Vehicle Brand Awards. The methodology is an objective, analysis-driven assessment of quality across all of a brand's offerings within the four categories (SUVs, cars, trucks and luxury). Brand ratings are based on the U.S. News Best Cars overall scores for each vehicle, which incorporate the consensus opinions of the automotive industry as well as safety and reliability data.

For the second year in a row, Mazda North American Operations (MNAO) was awarded best car. Honda won best SUV and Ford won best truck (as it did in the KBB awards. Sorry, Chevy.) Porsche is the best luxury brand.

Ultimately, no matter how scientific their organizers profess them to be, awards are subjective. It’s really up to the consumer to find the vehicle that fits their needs the best, accolades aside.

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