Snapshot – J.D. Power is a consumer research firm that periodically puts out reports that measure consumer goods against various parameters. Automobiles, being one of the world’s highest priced consumer durables, are a major part of J.D. Power’s consumer research. The firm has come up with the India APEAL rating for 2014. This rating, according to the company rates “how appealing a vehicle is to drive and own”. This study measures 10 parameters – vehicle exterior, vehicle interior, storage and space, audio/ entertainment/ navigation, seats, heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC), driving dynamics, engine/ transmission, visibility and driving safety, and fuel economy. These parameters make for a 1000 point total score. Based on the J.D. Power APEAL Rating for 2014, the following cars are the most appealing ones in their respective segments.
Entry Compact Car – Hyundai Eon
In the most affordable car segment, the Hyundai Eon rules the roost with a 842 point score out of 1,000. The Maruti Alto 800 follows a close second, finishing with 839 points. Both cars are above the segment average of 838. The Tata Nano lags behind, with a 824 point score. The Eon is available with petrol and LPG-Petrol dual fuel options. The car’s base variants are powered by a petrol engine displacing 814cc, and featuring a three cylinder layout. A larger, 1 liter Kappa motor is also on offer.
Compact – Hyundai i10
The Hyundai i10’s repositioning after the advent of the Grand i10 has seen the car slipping a segment below. Since the i10 began as a car that was quite premium compared to other budget hatchbacks, better fit and finish sees the Hyundai compact car finishing at the top of the pile, with a 862 point score. The segment average is 846 and the recently discontinued Hyundai Santro also finishes with an above average score by bagging 851 points. The Maruti Alto K10, which was recently facelifted, brings up the tail with 844 points.
Upper Compact – Honda Brio
Honda’s least priced vehicle in India, the Brio hatchback, may not be a big sales spinner for the brand. But in terms of desirability, the car is right at the top. The Brio is the most appealing upper compact car in India, according to J.D. Power, what with a 871 point score. The segment average is 856, and as you can notice, as the cars get pricier, the expectations of buyers increase. These expectations lead to a higher overall average score that cars manage in terms of their respective appeals. The Chevrolet Beat with 861 points, and the Hyundai Grand i10 with 856 points, are rated as the second and third most appealing cars list in this segment.
Premium Compact – Volkswagen Polo
The Volkswagen Polo is another car that’s not a big sales success, but one that comes across as very appealing to its buyers post the purchase. So, Volkswagen’s marketing department must take note of this and ensure that more buyers get a chance to feel the Polo, inside out. With 872 points, the Polo fares better than the segment average of 862, even as the hot sellers of this segment are not too far off from the German offering, as both the Maruti Suzuki Swift and the Hyundai i20 finish with 862 points apiece. In terms of ride and handling, the Polo does beat the Swift and i20, and this is perhaps the reason that has given the car its winning edge.
Entry Mid Size – Maruti Suzuki Dzire
India’s best selling sedan is right up there in terms of how appealing it is for buyers after purchase. The Dzire tops its table, with 863 points, but the compact sedan space is an arena with close fights. The Honda Amaze is right behind the Dzire with 861 points, even as the segment average is rated at 860. The Hyundai Xcent, a newer entrant to this segment, sits at 859 points. On the whole, most customers buying compact sedans in India seem to be a united lot in their appreciations of their rides.
Mid Size – Honda City
The Honda City sedan, which is another best seller in its pack, hits bull eye in terms of how appealing it is even post the purchase. The car bags 872 points in the appeal study, with the segment average pegged at 866 points. The Skoda Rapid and the Volkswagen Vento finish second and third best, with 865 points and 862 points respectively. This only reaffirms the fact that the Vento and Rapid are fine cars that deserve to sell well, but for the shoddy after sales service that Volkswagen and Skoda leaves them saddled with.
MUV/MPV – Toyota Innova
A favourite both among personal MPV buyers and cab operators, the Toyota Innova is the country’s most appealing MPV. With a 875 point score, it is also one of the highest scorers in the APEAL study, just behind the Nissan Terrano. The segment average is 856, and the Maruti Suzuki Ertiga, another hot seller, manages to scrape through with 859 points. The Mahindra Bolero, though pronounced as agrarian for many, is a product that delivers what is promises, with a 856 point score. The Bolero is India’s best selling MUV by a large margin.
SUV – Nissan Terrano
A slow seller at the hustings, but one that has its own appeal among its buyers. That’s the Nissan Terrano for you, which tops not only its segment, but also the entire 2014 APEAL study, with a 881 point score. SUV buyers seem to be a lot who’re happy many months after their initial purchase, as the Mahindra Scorpio and XUV500 models also do well, with 879 and 871 point scores. The segment average is 867. Curiously, the SUV on which the Terrano is badge engineered on – the Renault Duster – falls short of the segment average.