Consumer Reports study: Chevrolet Volt earns owner satisfaction honor

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by Julia Guardione

Consumer Reports has released its annual owner satisfaction survey, which revealed the Chevrolet Volt is the top- scoring model available to U.S. consumers.

The plug-in hybrid car carries a $40,000 price tag and has an advanced but unproven powertrain. It received high markings, with 93 percent of respondents saying they are happy with their Volt and would buy it again.

The Volt narrowly beat out the Dodge Challenger, which boasts a V8 engine, and the Porsche 911, which is primarily available to a small percentage of consumers who can afford it. Both models scored a 91 percent on the satisfaction survey.

"These models reflect a larger trend we've seen in recent years: Sporty cars and fuel-efficient cars with alternative drivetrains tend to generate more enthusiasm and loyalty than most other types of vehicles," said Rik Paul, Consumer Reports automotive editor.

The car owner satisfaction survey was conducted before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced it would conduct a safety investigation into plug-in hybrid cars as the result of an incident that occurred when the Chevy Volt was tested.

Of the 27 models that recorded the highest rating, 10 were American, 10 European and seven from Asian manufacturers. Audi, Ford and Chevrolet were tied, with four models each selected to the top of the list.

Consumers interested in buying a new car may need to spend a little more, as TrueCar.com – a new car pricing, trends and forecasts authority – has estimated that the transaction price for light cars in the United States was $30,317 in November this year, up $1,163, or 4 percent, on a year-over-year basis. Transaction prices for these models were up $164, or 0.5 percent, on a month-over-month basis.

"Transaction prices have been creeping back up after a slight decline in August, with average new vehicle prices over $30,000," said Jesse Toprak, vice president of industry trends and insights for TrueCar.com. "We are going to see automakers really push incentives in December to finish the year off strong."

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