Chevrolet Volt Tops Owner-Satisfaction SurveyBy Michelle Krebs December 1, 2011
White-glove treatment of Chevrolet Volt owners paid off as the extended-range plug-in hybrid earned the top spot in Consumer Reports (http://www.consumerreports.org) latest car owner-satisfaction survey. The annual survey showed that 93 percent of Volt owners who responded said they would buy the car again.
General Motors assigns each Volt owner with a specific white glove advisor through the ownership experience. The white-glove advisors have been pressed into extra duty earlier this week as GM responded to a safety investigation into the Volt by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), after three incidents involving the Volts lithium-ion batteries occurred following the agencys testing. In its effort to reassure Volt owners that their vehicles were safe, GM provided the 5,000 plus owner with the name, phone number and email addresses of their specific white-glove advisor. The automaker said it would also provide free loan of other GM vehicles to Volt owners who have concerns about their cars.
Consumer Reports noted the Volts top score comes with a caveat: the survey was conducted well before the announcement regarding the NHTSA investigation and when the Volt had been in showrooms for only a few months. It remains to be seen if the score will hold up as the car rolls out to a wider audience and owners spend more time with their vehicles, the magazine noted in a statement. Still, early adopters of a new technology tend to be among the most enthusiastic buyers.
Enthusiasts for Performance Traditional and Non-Traditional
The Volt edged out two polar opposite vehicles -- the V8-powered Dodge Challenger muscle car and Porsche 911 sports car in the Consumer Reports survey. Each earned a 91 percent owner-satisfaction score. These models reflect a larger trend weve seen in recent years: sporty cars and fuel-efficient cars with alternative drivetrains tend to generate more enthusiasm and loyalty than most other types of vehicles, said Rik Paul, Consumer Reports automotive editor, in a statement.
For each of the 27 models that got Consumer Reports top owner satisfaction rating -- at least 80 percent of respondents said theyd definitely buy the car again -- 12 were sporty cars or convertibles and nine were hybrids or diesels. Other fuel-efficient models that earned Consumer Reports top ratings include a number of hybrids, such as the Ford Fusion Hybrid, Lincoln MKZ Hybrid, Lexus CT 200h and RX 450h, and Toyota Prius, as well as diesel versions of the BMW X5 and Volkswagen Golf and Jetta Sportwagen. Sporty models that did well include the supercharged Audi S4, Audi A5 and S5, Chevrolet Camaro and Corvette, Ford Mustang GT, Mazda MX-5 Miata, and Mini Cooper Convertible. The appeal of power also extends into mainstream models, as owners of turbocharged versions are often more satisfied than owners of conventional versions of the same car. Although the Ford Flex and Hyundai Sonata, for example, are generally well liked, only their turbocharged versions earned Consumer Reports top owner satisfaction scores, the magazine said.
Brand nationality doesnt seem to be a factor among the top-rated models. The 27 models with the highest rating include 10 American, 10 European, and seven Asian models. Audi, Chevrolet, and Ford were tied with four models each on the top list. Small cars, lower-priced small and midsized SUVs, minivans, and compact pickup trucks tended to score much lower as a group.
This year, only three models received Consumer Reports lowest rating, which means that fewer than half of the respondents said they would definitely buy the car again. They are the Chevrolet Aveo (37 percent), all-wheel-drive Toyota Matrix (43 percent), and Chevrolet Colorado pickup (47 percent).
Consumer Reports owner-satisfaction survey, which drew responses from more than 314,000 subscribers on 2009 through 2012 model year vehicles, is based on the results from Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center. Scores are based on the percentage of respondents who answered definitely yes to the following question: Considering all factors (price, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had it to do all over again?