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2016 Driver Power car satisfaction survey

By raccars Published

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Why did the Tesla Model S have a record result in this year's Auto Express Driver Power survey?

The Driver Power survey is an interesting automotive award because it is voted for by car owners rather than by industry professionals. Owners are asked to rate their cars based upon personal experience. The survey is run by Auto Express magazine every year and the 2016 edition saw almost 50,000 car owners take part, covering 150 models of car from 32 different manufacturers.

Motorists rate their cars in a number of categories such as running costs, reliability, in-car technology and practicality. This year hybrid and electric vehicles dominated the top ten, with the Tesla Model S not only the winner but recording the highest satisfaction rating ever given in 15 editions of the survey. In addition to being the overall number one, the Tesla also topped seven of ten categories including a 100% satisfaction rating for Ease of Driving, the first time that full marks have been given in the survey's history.

The Driver Power survey winner

This is Tesla's first appearance in a Driver Power survey, in which the Model S gained a score of 97.46%. The final result is achieved by averaging the percentage scores across the different categories. The only category in which reports were anything other than glowing was build quality, which Tesla will surely address. The Model S is challenging other manufacturers to keep up with its provision of the most advanced in-car technology, while Tesla's free-to-use charging point network means it's incredibly cheap to run.


Renault also had a stellar year in the Driver Power survey, with its ZOE electric car taking second place and the Kadjar SUV in third. The ZOE jumped three places from fifth last year with a score of 93.57%, although there are some question marks over reliability and build quality. The Renault Captur also popped up in some of the category top tens.


Lexus has always been a star performer in the satisfaction survey and was last year's winner. This year it took four of the top ten spots; two for the IS and GS models while the RX took two places, for both second and third generation models. Lexus took three of the top five spots in the all-important reliability category, including first and second, and six of the top ten places in the build quality category. When it came to running costs however, the brand was way down the list.


Scattered among the usual names, special mention must go to MG, which is working hard to rebuild its reputation in the UK, and can only be helped by earning the second and seventh spots in the road handling category. The first generation MG3 was also in the top ten for in-car technology.

Survey respondents said that reliability was their priority in a new car. Overall the most satisfied motorists were owners of executive cars, but in general most of us seem to be happy with our cars. Half said they would buy again from the same manufacturer and two thirds say they would also buy the same model another time.

The top ten

The top ten was made up of the Tesla Model S first, followed by the Renault ZOE in second, the Renault Kadjar in third, the Mk3 Lexus IS was fourth, the Mk4 Lexus GS in fifth, the Mk3 Lexus RX was sixth, the third generation Skoda Octavia was seventh, the Mk4 Subaru Forester was eighth, the MK2 Lexus RX was ninth and the Mk4 Jeep Grand Cherokee was tenth.

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