— which stands for Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout — new cars are more satisfying than ever.
The survey essentially boils down how much owners of new cars like the cars they bought. Every new model is scored on a 1,000 point scale and this year's average score of 781 is higher than any time since the survey was first done in 1996.
Here are the cars that ranked the highest in 13 different categories.
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1st place: Ford Fiesta
2nd place: Mazda2
3rd place: Honda Fit
The new Ford Fiesta subcompact ranked highest in its category. The Mazda2 and Fit had the second- and third-highest scores. Differences in scores may not always be statistically significant, J.D. Power said.
1st place: Chevrolet Volt
2nd place: Volkswagen Golf
3rd place: Mitsubishi Lancer
It may not sell in huge numbers, but General Motors' plug-in Chevrolet Volt topped all compact cars, hybrid, electric or whatever, in owner appeal.
1st place: Suzuki Kizashi
2nd place: Hyundai Sonata
3rd place: Kia Optima
The Kizashi is available with all-wheel-drive, something you won't find on most sedans its size and price.
1st place: Dodge Charger
2nd place: Ford Taurus
3rd place: Nissan Maxima
The Charger was completely redesigned for the 2011 model year. It's still available with 5.7-liter V-8 or a new V6 engine.
1st place: Volkswagen GTI
2nd place: Mini Cooper
The GTI is a sport-tuned version of the popular Golf hatchback. These two cars were the only ones to score above average in this category.
1st place: Dodge Challenger
2nd place: Chevrolet Camaro
Chrysler Group's Dodge brand tied BMW for the highest number category-winning models. Each had three. The Challenger and Camaro were the only two models to earn an above-average score in this category.
1st place: Lexus IS
2nd place: BMW 3-series / Volkswagen CC
The 3-series and CC — a highly styled VW sedan — tied for second place behind Lexus's popular IS model.
1st place: BMW 5-series
The 5-series was the only car to earn an above-average score in this category.
1st place: Hyundai Equus
2nd place: BMW 7-series
3rd place: Audi A8
The Equus is the costliest Hyundai model you can buy, with prices starting at nearly $60,000, but it boasts features typically found on far more expensive cars.
1st place: Dodge Durango
2nd place: Ford Flex
3rd place: Ford Explorer
The newly redesigned Durango shares most of its engineering with the new Jeep Grand Cherokee but the Durango is available with a third-row seat and has sportier driving dynamics.
1st place: Nissan Armada
2nd place: Chevrolet Tahoe
3rd place: Ford Expedition
All three top-ranked vehicles in this category are SUVs with classic truck-based engineering, not car-based crossovers.
1st place: Ford F-150
2nd place: Chevrolet Avalanche
3rd place: Ford F-250/350
Ford's F-series trucks are the best-selling vehicles in America and have been for decades.
1st place: Honda Odyssey
The Honda Odyssey was the only minivan to score above average.