Car buying decisions are rarely made just based on figures and numbers; emotional response is also often a huge deciding factor, and that’s why we review cars – not just to tell you about what you can already read from a spec sheet, but how the car makes us feel while driving it.

In an attempt to quantify the “emotional attachment” we speak about that owners have towards their new cars, J.D. Power has published their Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study for 2020 – and according to their findings, Porsche is the most appealing brand in the US last year (both luxury segment and overall winner), while Dodge takes the top spot among the mass-market brands.

Now in its 25th year, the J.D. Power APEAL Study has been redesigned for 2020 by measuring owner’s emotional response and level of excitement with their new vehicles across 37 attributes, ranging from the sense of comfort and luxury, to the feeling they get when they step on the accelerator. The scores are then aggregated to compute an overall APEAL score on a 1,000-point scale.

In case you missed it: Porsche will locally assemble its vehicles in Malaysia starting 2022. Read more here.

Based on the responses of 110,821 owners of 2021 model year vehicles, who were surveyed after their first 90 days of ownership, the study found that Porsche ranks highest in the luxury segment and overall with a score of 881, followed by Lincoln (876), Cadillac (874), BMW (869), and Land Rover (866) in the fifth place.

Meanwhile on the mass market segment, Dodge ranks highest with a score of 872. Ram (871) came in second, followed by GMC (857), Ford (853), and Mini (846).

A Dodge in its natural habitat – engulfed in tyre smoke.

Notice how the difference between Porsche and Dodge is just a mere 9 points? It’s a similar trend across the two segments, with the gap between the average scores coming in at just 23 points – the narrowest ever.

On the surface, this might seem a little weird at first. Porsche makes some of the world’s best sports cars, and Dodge, well, sells budget muscle cars. But in recent years, mass-market cars have all become so good that it’s genuinely hard to even pick a “bad” car any more. New tech and features are coming in thick and fast, and even driving feel has been significantly improved across the board.

And that’s before you take into account the kind of cult-like following these budget-friendly cars are able to generate. Just take a look at the size of the Myvi fan clubs here in Malaysia and you’ll understand.

On the topic of cult following, if you ever spend any time on Twitter, you’ll definitely notice and wonder why Tesla isn’t mentioned here at all. Well, that’s just Tesla doing Tesla things and not letting J.D. Power survey their owners in 15 states.

Tesla is now the quickest production EV around the Nurburgring Nordschleife. Watch the on-board video here!

They definitely should have, though, as Tesla would’ve been far and away the highest-scoring brand in the 2020 APEAL Study, with 893 points out of 1,000 based on the owners that J.D. Power did manage to survey.

Check out the charts below to see the full ranking – and let us know in the comments below if you agree (or disagree)!


GALLERY