The word ideal means a standard of excellence, and according to automotive research and consulting firm AutoPacific and the car-buying site Autobytel, that standard is the Mercedes S Class, the overall winner in the 2012 Ideal Vehicle Awards (IVAs).
The determination is based on a survey of more than 75,000 owners of 2012 vehicles, cars and trucks that they’ve had for 90 days. The owners are questioned about any changes that they would make to their vehicles (Consider it like this: You have a new car and you think to yourself, “Gee, I love this car but I really wish that cupholder didn’t crush my coffee cup”). They ask about 15 key vehicle attributes, including: exterior styling, exterior size, passenger roominess, cargo space, driver's seat comfort, driver’s seat visibility, info/entertainment technology, interior lighting, power and acceleration, ease of getting in and out, interior storage compartments, ride, handling, safety features and tires and wheels.
The vehicle with the least number of changes wins.
Explains George Peterson, president of AutoPacific, “The significance of the Ideal Vehicle Awards is that they identify the automotive manufacturers that are listening to their buyers when updating and developing their latest cars.”
Not only is the IVA useful for those who are buying a new vehicle, but also for the designers and engineering who are working on developing new vehicles: the winners are those products that need to be (1) emulated and (2) leapfrogged.
It is interesting to note that German companies swept the top three categories.
In addition to the Mercedes S Class as the 2012 Overall Winner, Audi is named the 2012 Premium Brand and MINI—which is owned by BMW—as the 2012 Popular Brand.
While some people might think that the German product developers have a tendency to think that they know what you’ll like even if you don’t know you like it, according to the results of the Ideal Vehicle Awards, it is clear that they’re doing an excellent job of listening to customers.
Incidentally, another definition of ideal is something that exists only in one’s imagination. Which may be the case for many people vis-à-vis the S Class, which starts at over $90K.
We can dream.