The Most Satisfying Cars on the Market

In this exclusive survey, CR members offer important insights for shoppers to find the perfect car

A red Tesla, which was one of the most satisfying cars on the market.

Knowing how much you might like—or even love—your next vehicle would be a pretty valuable insight as you go about researching your next car purchase.

Enter CR’s predicted owner satisfaction scores. Every year we ask our members, in our Annual Auto Surveys, whether they’d buy their same car again if given the chance.

The survey also queries owners about their satisfaction with several specific aspects of their car ownership experience, such as comfort, driving, and ease of use when it comes to in-car electronics.

Based on the responses, we calculate a predicted owner satisfaction score each year for new models. We believe our findings—based on the experiences of actual car owners with 1- to 3-year-old vehicles—offer invaluable insight to help you make a successful match with your next new car.

More on Owner Satisfaction for Cars

“You want to know how owners like living with a car,” says Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at CR, “and how they feel about qualities and features after the initial excitement of a new car wears off.”

The following pages contain the results of our most recent survey, including the 2021 models predicted to be the most and least satisfying overall, as well as results in six key areas. You’ll also find brand-level satisfaction scores, some of which might surprise you.

We contacted automakers about our findings, and you can find their comments below

Owner Satisfaction Highlights

In-Car Electronics
Slow-responding, glitchy, and overly complex infotainment systems continue to be a bugaboo for owners of some traditionally beloved and high-performance luxury vehicles and brands. When CR members were asked how satisfied they were with the ease of use of their infotainment systems, two models from Lexus, two from Infiniti, and one from Acura took the bottom five spots in the category.

Three-Row SUVs
The battle among automakers to make the best version of these family haulers has been especially intense in recent years. But when it comes to interior comfort, CR members told us they were slightly more satisfied with models in the less expensive “nonluxury” category, such as the Kia Telluride, than with those considered to be “luxury,” such as the Volvo XC90. All three-row SUVs scored average or above for comfort, but buyers should consider whether it’s really worth spending the extra money—an average of about $20,000—for not much gain.

Most Satisfying Brands
With historic reliability concerns but an intensely loyal following, Tesla took the top spot for overall owner satisfaction among the 27 brands mentioned in survey responses.

Lincoln, Ram, and Chrysler rounded out the top four. These domestic names beat the likes of Porsche, Lexus, and other luxury brands when owners were asked whether they would buy their same vehicle again. But, like Tesla, they have tended to have reliability problems on newer models.

Keep in mind, however, that new-car satisfaction is based on the first three years of ownership, when the cars are still under warranty and often before more serious issues crop up.

Though Infiniti is often con­sidered an interloper in luxury group­ings, it really laid an egg in this year’s survey. It finished at or near the bottom across numerous factors, including value and when owners were asked whether they would buy their vehicle again.

Ford EcoSport
This subcompact crossover SUV, with its distinctive tall stance, finished second-to-last when owners were asked whether they would buy their vehicle again, and it scored near the bottom among all new models in the specific categories of comfort, driving, and styling.