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Most Satisfying Cars May Not Always Be the Most Reliable

According to a Consumer Reports survey of most satisfying brands of cars, Tesla topped the list, with 88 percent of its owners saying they would buy a car from the same brand again. Lincoln came in second with 79 percent of owners saying they would buy the same car again. Ram placed third with 76 percent owners happy with their pick.
Completing the list of 10 most satisfying cars are Chrysler (76%), Subaru (75%), Hyundai (75%), Porsche (74%), Dodge (74%), Mazda (72%), Toyota (71%). Cadillac, Nissan and Infiniti landed at the bottom of the list at 58, 58 and 48 percent respectively.


In the survey that included 369,000 vehicles from 2018 to some 2021 models, owners were asked whether they would buy the same car again. Each brand received an overall satisfaction score based on driving experience, comfort, value, in-car electronics, and cabin storage. Tesla scored high for driving (5 out of 5), comfort (4 out of 5) and in-car electronics (4 out of 5).

CR notes its car satisfaction survey is based on the first three years of ownership, when the cars are still under warranty and often before more serious issues crop up. Most importantly, owner satisfaction is just one factor that goes into a car’s CR Overall Score, which also includes safety, reliability, and road-test score. Some of the brands that score high for owner satisfaction do not rate well on other measures, like reliability.

Owners can be attached to a car’s feature and can overlook the vehicle’s poor rating on quality and/or reliability. As an example, Tesla’s Models S, Y and X all rate highly for owner satisfaction, as owners love Tesla’s quick acceleration, handling and the fact that they are electric. Another CR survey found the electric sedan to be the most satisfying car among the Silent Generation (those born between 1925 and 1945), baby boomers, Gen X and Millennials. However, Tesla has low reliability ratings per the Consumer Reports study and according to reports, even in a 2020 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study.

Satisfaction does not correlate with quality and reliability. If you were shopping for a used car, what would you prefer? A vehicle that looks great and makes you feel good, but constantly brings you to the shop, or a dependable vehicle which you can trust to get you from point A to point B?

*As a footnote, Tesla cars cannot be purchased in Iowa due to a law related to dealership franchises, which Tesla does not have.

When in the market for a used car, stop by Carousel Preowned. CarouselPreowned serving Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, North Liberty, Marion, and Coralville, IA, is proud to be an automotive leader in our community. We do our best to ensure your complete satisfaction every time you step into our car dealership. This is why we offer the widest selection of used and pre-owned cars, trucks, and SUVs and provide true ease of purchase in Iowa.

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