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A vehicle’s price, features and quality are some of the most important factors that practical car buyers consider before they finalize their purchase. Often, however, emotions also play a central role in the decision-making process.

For 23 years, J.D. Power and Associates has conducted the Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, which measures owners’ emotional attachment and level of excitement on a 1,000-point scale. Vehicles are awarded an aggregated APEAL index score based on 77 attributes of qualitative owner feedback, such as “the power they feel when they step on the gas” to “the sense of comfort and luxury they feel when climbing into the driver’s seat.”

“The automotive industry is performing exceptionally well, with manufacturers making record-breaking improvements year over year,” said Dave Sargent, vice president, Global Automotive at J.D. Power. “It’s a great time to buy a new car or truck. There are a lot of high-quality, appealing vehicles in every segment of the market and shoppers don’t have to spend a fortune to get one.”

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J.D. Power found that 23 of the 31 brands included in the 2018 APEAL Study saw their scores improve over last year . With an record-high industry-average APEAL score of 820 points, vehicle owner satisfaction was up by 10 points over 2017. Luxury automaker Genesis was crowned victor for the first time ever, ending Porsche’s 13-year streak at the top, while Chevrolet moved up six spots over last year to become the 2018 study’s top-ranked mass-market brand.

We’ve featured some of our favourite offers this week from brands with the highest owner satisfaction according to J.D. Power’s APEAL Study . If you don’t find an offer that suits you, be sure to check out the new Globe Drive Build and Price Tool to see the latest incentives and discounts on any new car, truck or SUV.

Genesis (884 points)

Genesis

Last year’s runner-up, Genesis, switched spots with Porsche this year to become the industry leader in owner satisfaction. A newcomer relative to incumbent luxury behemoths, it is the first automaker ever to take the complete end-to-end car buying experience online. Its Genesis at Home platform enables customers to do everything online, from booking the initial test drive to completing the final paperwork and finally having the vehicle delivered to their doorstep.

The 2018 Genesis G80 generates 311 horsepower and 293 lb-ft of torque through a 3.8-litre, V-6 engine with gasoline direct injection. An available 5.0-litre V-8 engine produces an additional 109 horses and 90 lb-ft of torque. The Luxury trim’s interior features premium Nappa-leather seating surfaces, natural open-pore wood trim, a 900-watt, 14-speaker Lexicon surround sound system, an eight-inch touch screen infotainment system with navigation and a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel with paddle shifters.

The exterior of the Luxury trim features proximity-activated hands-free trunk opening, auto-levelling bi-Xenon HID headlights, LED tail lights ad mirror-integrated LED signal repeaters. All trims also feature autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot detection, lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability.

2018 Genesis G80 3.8 Luxury

  • Price: $55,000 (all-inclusive)
  • Manufacturer cash incentive: $2,000 (as compared to no incentive in July)
  • Government fees: $128
  • Cash purchase price before tax: $53,128
  • Finance for 60 months at 1.4-per-cent interest for $1,060 per month including tax and a $1,000 down payment
  • Lease for 48 months at 5.9-per-cent interest for $1,047 per month including tax and assumes a 20,000 annual kilometre allowance and a $1,000 down payment
  • Includes complimentary scheduled maintenance and courtesy vehicle service for five years or 100,000 kilometres, and complimentary navigation updates for five years

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BMW (863 points)

BMW

Not only did BMW round off the top three in the 2018 APEAL Study, it also ranked highest in the Small Premium SUV and Compact Premium SUV categories with its X1 and X3 models, respectively.

Powered by a turbocharged 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engine, the 2018 BMW X1 is capable of producing 228 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Standard equipment includes adaptive LED headlights, power-folding side-view mirrors, a rear-view camera with rear park-distance control system, dynamic cruise control, Apple CarPlay compatibility and a high-fidelity audio system.

2018 BMW X1 xDrive28i

  • MSRP: $40,600
  • Manufacturer cash incentive: $1,500
  • Estimated dealer discount: $750
  • Freight, PDI, government fees: $3,215
  • Cash purchase price before tax: $41,565
  • Finance for 60 months at 1.9-per-cent interest for $821 per month including tax, which includes a $1,500 manufacturer incentive and assumes zero down payment
  • Lease for 48 months at 2.9-per-cent interest for $612 per month including tax, which includes a $1,500 manufacturer incentive and assumes a 20,000 annual kilometre allowance with zero down payment

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Chevrolet (826 points)

Chevrolet

After ranking seventh among mass-market brands last year and just on par with the industry average of 810 points, Chevrolet surged to the top, gaining 16 points year-over-year. Three of the automaker’s models also topped their respective segments this year, including the Equinox, which was the highest-ranked compact SUV.

The 2018 Chevrolet Equinox comes standard with a 1.5-litre, four-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 170 horsepower and 203 lb-ft of torque relayed through a six-speed automatic transmission. Also available is a 2.0-litre variant that is mated to a nine-speed automatic transmission, outputting 252 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque.

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Highlights on the LT 2.0T trim include a seven-inch infotainment system with SiriusXM capability, a six-speaker audio system, heated front seats, remote ignition and climate control, a rear-view camera with available rear park assist and automatic on/off HID headlamps. A key safety feature on the 2018 Equinox is teen driver mode, which restricts certain vehicle features while also monitoring driving habits to encourage safe behaviour.

2018 Chevrolet Equinox LT 2.0T All Wheel Drive

  • MSRP: $34,100
  • Manufacturer cash incentive: $2,450 (as compared to no incentive in July)
  • Estimated dealer discount: $750
  • Freight, PDI, government fees: $2,276
  • Cash purchase price before tax: $33,176
  • Finance for 72 months at zero-per-cent interest for $536 per month including tax, which includes a $1,450 manufacturer incentive (as compared to 0.99 per cent and $1,000 incentive in July) and assumes zero down payment
  • Lease for 48 months at 0.5-per-cent interest for $436 per month including tax, which includes a $2,450 manufacturer incentive (as compared to $2,000 in July) and assumes a 20,000 annual kilometre allowance with zero down payment

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Chrysler (822 points)

Chevrolet

The Chrysler Pacifica and Honda Odyssey were the only two minivans to place in this year’s APEAL Study. Since its introduction in the 2017 model year, the Pacifica has won numerous awards, including AJAC’s Best Minivan in Canada and Canadian Utility Vehicle of the Year prizes earlier this year.

The 2018 Chrysler Pacifica is equipped with a 3.6-litre, V-6 Pentastar engine that delivers 287 horsepower and 262 lb-ft of torque. Key features on the Touring-L Plus trim include an 8.4-inch touch-screen infotainment system, a 506-watt, 13-speaker Alpine audio system, a rotary dial gear selector, leather seating surfaces with available eight-passenger seating, tri-zone climate control, a customizable seven-inch multi-information display, rear-park assist with active braking, automatic quad-halogen headlights and LED tail lights.

2018 Chrysler Pacifica Touring-L Plus

  • MSRP: $47,445
  • Manufacturer cash incentive: $6,000 (as compared to $2,500 in July)
  • AJAC Award Bonus: $1,500 (applied after tax)
  • Estimated dealer discount: $500
  • Freight, PDI, government fees: $2,035
  • Cash purchase price before tax: $41,653
  • Finance for 60 months at 4.79-per-cent interest for $884 per month including tax, which includes a $6,000 manufacturer incentive (as compared to $2,500 in July), a $1,500 after-tax AJAC Award Bonus and assumes zero down payment
  • Lease for 48 months at 7.69-per-cent interest for $802 per month including tax, which includes a $6,000 manufacturer incentive (as compared to $2,500 in July), a $1,500 after-tax AJAC Award Bonus and assumes a 20,000 annual kilometre allowance with zero down payment

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Andrew Tai is CEO of Unhaggle. Follow on Twitter @ahytai

Manufacturer incentives and pricing calculations are based on Ontario customers and subject to availability of inventory. Dealer discounts shown are estimates for illustrative purposes only, may vary by region and are given at the discretion of individual dealers. Please note that while every effort is made to ensure the information above is accurate at the time of publication, pricing, incentives and discounts are subject to change or discontinuation at any time. Vehicle images may not represent the exact model featured in the pricing provided. Consult your local dealership for details.

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