With the average transaction price of a new automobile now over $30,000, buying a car is an expensive proposition. When you factor in depreciation, it becomes even more important to make sure you spend your hard-earned money on one that will be satisfying to own. After all, the better the ownership experience, the more likely you are to feel like you got your money’s worth out of the purchase.
To keep an eye on which brands do the best and which do the worst, the American Customer Satisfaction Index tracks and scores customer satisfaction on a 100-point scale. It just released its report for 2015, and now we know which brands are the most satisfying to own.
Here are the top 10.
With a score of 80, Volkswagen takes 10th place on this list. Sales have been struggling lately, but it has a reputation for building cars that handle well and have great interiors. It also offers optional diesel engines on most of its vehicles, and its performance cars, the GTI and Golf R, punch way above their weight.
Also scoring an 80, Mazda takes ninth place on the list. It might not rival larger companies in sales volume, but it builds attractive cars with an emphasis on fun that you don’t get from a lot of manufacturers these days. As great as the Miata is, though, Mazda isn’t just a sports car company. Its crossover SUVs and sedans are some of the best in their respective segments as well.
Before the mid-to-late 2000s, there was no way Hyundai would be on this list, but how times change. With a score of 81, Hyundai takes eighth place. Not only does it offer an amazing warranty, its products are now competitive and high-quality as well. Plus, if you’re in the market for a luxury sedan, the Genesis is one of the best values on the market.
With a score of 82, BMW comes in seventh on the list. Even more impressively, it’s one of the few brands that improved year-over-year, up 2.5% for 2015. We’re still confused by some of its offerings, like the X4 and 3 Series GT, but BMW builds some of the best drivers’ cars on the planet. If you’re in the market for something small and fun, definitely check out the 2 Series.
With a score of 82, Toyota scores the same as BMW and comes in sixth place. Its cars are comfortable and reliable, which usually bodes well for owner satisfaction. It doesn’t sell any particularly sporty cars, but some of its newer models are surprisingly engaging. Plus, it sells great off-road vehicles like the 4Runner and Tacoma.
Coming in fifth place is Subaru with a score of 82, as well. No company should be ashamed to earn a top five score, but Subaru’s owner satisfaction did slip 3.5% since 2014. Even if some of its models could use a little more excitement, Subaru offers a diverse lineup of all-wheel-drive vehicles that are popular with outdoor adventurers and anyone who lives in cold-weather climates.
With a score of 83, Mercedes-Benz comes in at a respectable fourth place. Unfortunately for the German luxury car manufacturer, that’s three places lower than it scored in 2014. Still, the company offers some of the most comfortable, luxurious cars on the marketplace, with the new C-Class’ interior raising the standard for the whole segment.
With a score of 83, Lincoln comes in third and barely edges out Mercedes-Benz. You might not have expected to see Lincoln on this list at all, but apparently people who buy Lincolns are quite happy with them. The company might not quite be able to hold its own against the big dogs, but the MKZ Hybrid and MKC are both attractive and good bargains.
Acura scored an 83, as well, which is a huge improvement over 2014. In fact, it was enough of an improvement to launch Honda’s luxury division into second place. With a huge number of available features available at a low price, anyone looking for a reliable, feature-laden vehicle will likely end up at least taking a look at an Acura.
Scoring an 84, Lexus did as well as it did last year, but it was enough to earn a first place finish. Like Acura, its cars are known for their reliability and comfort, but Lexus also offers the performance and handling that’s needed to steal buyers away from the Big Three German luxury car manufacturers. Not everyone is sold on Lexus’ styling, but at least the cars isn’t boring anymore.