Automotive research and consulting firm AutoPacific announced last week its first Ideal Vehicle Awards. The firm asked owners to rate their new 2006 model year cars and trucks by how closely they come to their “ideal.” AutoPacific defines “ideal” as those vehicles owners would change the least, or those that carmakers create that are closest to their core buyer group’s desires. Top-rated 2006 Ideal Vehicle brand: Hyundai Top-rated 2006 Ideal Product Segment: Large Car/Luxury Car Top rated 2006 Ideal Vehicles by segment: PASSENGER CARS:
Premium Luxury Car: Lexus LS
Entry Luxury Car: BMW 3-Series
Large Car/Luxury Car: Mercury Montego
Premium Mid-Size Car: Hyundai Sonata
Mid-Size Car: Mercury Milan
Image Compact Car: Toyota Prius
Compact Car: Ford Focus
Sports Car: Porsche 911
Sporty Car: Acura RSX
Sport Utility Truck: Honda Ridgeline
Luxury Sport Utility: BMW X-5
Large Sport Utility: GMC Yukon
Premium Mid-Size Sport Utility: Nissan Murano
Mid-Size Sport Utility: Hyundai Santa Fe
Compact Sport Utility: Subaru Forester
Minivan: Honda Odyssey
For the award, AutoPacific calculated owner input across 11 specific areas related to a vehicle's exterior size, passenger roominess, cargo space, driver’s seat comfort, drivers seat visibility, interior technology, power, ease of getting in and out, interior storage compartments and tires and wheels. The 2006 ratings reflect input from buyers and lessees of new vehicles acquired September 2005 through January 2006. Pickup trucks are not incorporated because of numerous body styles included within each pickup line.