J.D. Power and Associates tallied up the scores for their 2021 Automotive Power, Execution and Layout study (APEAL) and Dodge came out on top for the second year in a row. Who knew hard-working Dodge could beat out all those luxury brands?
Dodge and Porsche tied in the study with scores of 882, while RAM came in with a score of 881. In 2019, Porsche was the overall winner, but RAM pulled out ahead of Dodge as the highest-rated mass-market brand. This year, Dodge leads the mass-market brands, while coming in second to RAM in the Initial Quality Study.
What’s the APEAL?
According to J.D. Power and Associates, the APEAL studies consumers’ experiences with their cars within the first 90 days. It looks at certain factors, like “design, content, perceived quality, performance and fitness for purpose.” The study is then broken down into 10 categories: walking up to the vehicle; setting up and starting; getting in and out; interior; powertrain; driving feel; safety features; infotainment system; driving comfort; and fuel usage.
The APEAL helps car manufacturers determine what car buyers are looking for and what they’re not. The study helps inform future launches by assessing a car’s strengths and weaknesses.
Tesla actually scored the highest in the APEAL study with a score of 893. But, Tesla doesn’t allow J.D. Power to survey its customers in 15 required states, so the data is incomplete and Tesla can’t be officially ranked. I think, given the choice, I’d go with Dodge over Tesla; I don’t trust a car that can drive itself, just on principle.
How Did Dodge Fare in the Other Studies?
In the 2021 Initial Quality Study, RAM ranked number 1 and Dodge number 2, followed by Lexus, Mitsubishi, and Nissan. According to Car and Driver, RAM is the first truck-only brand to rank highest in the study. It climbed up from 21st place in 2019 to first place in 2021.
The IQS tracks how many complaints car owners had within the first 90 days. Now, 90 days isn’t exactly a long time in a study of things that could go wrong with a car; it’s best to take the IQS with a grain of salt when shopping for a new car.
How the IQS works is, the cars with the least number of complaints rank higher, obviously. RAM only had 128 complaints, while Dodge had only 139. Compare that to Chrysler, who had 251. Tesla, who doesn’t officially participate in the J.D. Power studies because it doesn’t technically fit the criteria, had 231 complaints.
In 2020, Dodge also won with the Challenger in the performance midsize sporty category. The Challenger beat out the Ford Mustang and the Chevy Camaro. While the Mustang rated higher in dependability, the Challenger had a better driving experience and resale value.