In the annual Ideal Vehicle Awards (IVA), announced this week by automotive research and consulting firm AutoPacific, owners rate their new 2007 model year cars and trucks by how closely they come to their ideal. The cars or trucks that owners would change the least are the most ideal.
The conclusion to be drawn from AutoPacific's IVA results is that carmakers that best understand their customers create the vehicles that are ideal for their core buyers.
There are 25 segment winners and overall winners for premium brands and mainstream brands.
The top-rated premium brand overall is Lincoln, outscoring Buick and Porsche for the most ideal premium vehicle brand honors, according to a release by the company. The top-rated mainstream brand is Mercury, nudging out Hyundai.
The top-rated vehicle (and top-rated car) is the new Mercedes-Benz S-Class, a Premium Luxury Car. The second and third top-rated cars are from Ford Motor Company -- the Mercury Montego and the Ford Five Hundred, both in the Large Car category.
The top-rated truck is the Nissan Titan, a Large Light-Duty Pickup, closely followed by the new Ford Edge, a Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV.
Ford Motor Company led the industry with a total of nine segment winners. General Motors and Hyundai have four each. Ford won five sport utility vehicle categories with Expedition, Explorer, Edge, Lincoln MKX and Range Rover.
Including two ties, of the twenty-five Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) categories, American brands have twelve segment winners, European brands have six, Japanese brands have five and Korean brands have four winners.
2007 Ideal Premium Brand: Lincoln
2007 Ideal Mainstream Brand: Mercury
2007 Ideal Product Segment: Large Car
Top rated 2007 Ideal Vehicles:
Premium Luxury Car: Mercedes-Benz S-Class
Aspirational Luxury Car: Infiniti G35
Large Luxury Car: Mercury Grand Marquis
Large Car: Mercury Montego
Luxury Mid-Size Car: Lincoln MKZ
Premium Mid-Size Car: Hyundai Sonata
Mid-Size Car: Saturn Aura
Image Compact Car: Audi A3
Compact Car: Hyundai Elantra
Economy Car: Toyota Yaris
Premium Sports Car: Porsche Cayman
Sports Car: Porsche Boxster
Sporty Car: Ford Mustang/Volkswagen Eos (tie)
Pickups, SUVs, and Minivans:
Large Light-Duty Pickup: Nissan Titan
Large Heavy-Duty Pickup: GMC Sierra 2500
Compact Pickup: GMC Canyon
Minivan: Hyundai Entourage
Luxury Sport Utility: Range Rover
Large Sport Utility: Ford Expedition/Chevrolet Suburban (tie)
Mid-Size Sport Utility: Ford Explorer
Compact SUV/Off-Road Vehicle: Suzuki Grand Vitara
Luxury Crossover SUV: Lincoln MKX
Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV: Ford Edge
Mid-Size Crossover SUV: Honda CR-V
Compact Crossover SUV: Hyundai Tucson
In addition to identifying segment winners, IVA also establishes numerical ideal vehicle ratings for virtually every passenger car and light truck in the United States market. This results from calculating owner input across 15 specific areas related to a vehicle's exterior size, passenger roominess, cargo space, driver's seat comfort, drivers seat visibility, interior technology, power and acceleration, ease of getting in and out, interior storage compartments and tires and wheels.