According to J.D. Power’s 2022 APEAL Study, high gas prices have led to a decrease in fuel economy/range satisfaction among owners of gas-powered vehicles. Pictured is the Kia EV6, the brand’s first dedicated EV, which ranked number one in the compact SUV segment.  -  Photo: Kia America

According to J.D. Power’s 2022 APEAL Study, high gas prices have led to a decrease in fuel economy/range satisfaction among owners of gas-powered vehicles. Pictured is the Kia EV6, the brand’s first dedicated EV, which ranked number one in the compact SUV segment.

Photo: Kia America

This year, while battery-electric vehicle (BEV) owners have a similar level of satisfaction with charge times and driving range as they did last year, high gas prices have led to a noticeable decrease in fuel economy/range satisfaction among owners of gas-powered vehicles, according to the J.D. Power 2022 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study. The gap between economy/range is only seven points (on a 1,000-point scale).

Additionally, the drop in satisfaction with economy/range has contributed to a one-point decline in overall new vehicle satisfaction, the first decline since 2014 and only the fifth year-over-year decline in the 27-year history of the J.D. Power study.

“The most important factor leading to the industry decline this year is owners’ perception of their vehicle’s fuel economy,” said David Amodeo, J.D. Power’s director of global automotive. "The study was fielded as fuel prices were experiencing a meteoric rise, and that pinch at the pump is conveyed in lower vehicle satisfaction. Battery-electric vehicles have not been negatively affected by the increase in fuel costs but do have issues related to battery range and charging time.”

Some BEVs have challenged that trend, though. The new Kia EV6 compact SUV and Mercedes-Benz EQS large premium vehicle are two BEV models that rank highest in their respective segments. However, most segment leaders in emotional appeal are conventional gasoline-powered cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs. Newcomers to the market that top their segments are the Jeep Wagoneer SUV, Jeep Grand Wagoneer SUV, Kia Carnival minivan, Genesis GV70 SUV, and Hyundai Santa Cruz pickup.

Now in its 27th year, the APEAL Study complements the J.D. Power U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS) and the J.D. Power U.S. Tech Experience Index (TXI) Study by measuring owners' emotional attachment and level of excitement with their new vehicle.

The APEAL Study asks owners to consider 37 attributes, ranging from the sense of comfort they feel when climbing into the driver's seat to the exhilaration they get when they step on the accelerator. Vehicle owners' responses to queries about these attributes are aggregated to compute an overall APEAL Index score measured on a 1,000-point scale.

Here are some key findings from the 2022 study:

  • Mass market brands decrease in emotional appeal: The 19-point gap in score between premium and mass market brands in 2021 widens to 31 points this year, as mass market brands drop four points and premium brands improve eight points.
  • Repeats for top mass market and premium brands: Dodge is the highest-ranked mass market brand in APEAL for a third consecutive year with a score of 882, identical to its score a year ago. Porsche, a top-performing premium brand in APEAL, ranks highest among all brands with a score of 888, a six-point improvement from 2021.
  • Electrified vehicles aren’t as appealing as gas vehicles: Hybrid vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) have lower composite APEAL Index scores than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles. The score for PHEVs is 835 and is 832 for hybrids. In comparison, the composite index score for gasoline-powered vehicles is 846. Battery-electric vehicles (excluding Tesla) also underperform gasoline vehicles in APEAL with an index score of 838.
  • Tesla Motors officially included for the first time: Tesla Motors is included in the industry calculation for the first time, with a score of 887. However, because Tesla Motors does not allow J.D. Power access to owner information in the states where that permission is required by law, Tesla models remain ineligible for awards.

Highest-Ranking Brands

For premium brands, Porsche ranks highest with a score of 888. Genesis ranks second with a score of 886 and Cadillac ranks third with 885.

Among mass market brands, Dodge ranks highest with a score of 882. Ram ranks second with a score of 863 and GMC ranks third with 856.

Jeep is the biggest gainer in the mass market rankings, finishing seven positions higher than in 2021. Cadillac, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and Infiniti gain the most in the premium brand rankings, up three places year over year. Infiniti is the biggest gainer in terms of points, improving 24 points from a year ago.

The parent company receiving the most model-level awards (for models ranking highest in their respective segments) is Hyundai Motor Group (seven awards), followed by BMW AG, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., and Stellantis NV with three awards each.

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