• Lincoln named Top Premium Brand
  • GMC named Top Popular Brand
  • Mercedes-Benz S-Class earns highest-ever score

Automotive research firm AutoPacific named winners for its annual Vehicle Satisfaction Awards with two American brands taking top honors. Lincoln earned the title for Top Premium Brand, and GMC picked up the Top Popular Brand award. AutoPacific surveyed 92,000 new-vehicle owners to find the models that performed best.

For its Vehicle Satisfaction Awards, AutoPacific asks drivers to assess models in 50 categories. Owner satisfaction with factors like styling, comfort and performance contribute to a model's overall score. George Peterson, AutoPacific's president, explained how the awards help new-car buyers pick the right vehicle.

"For the 2014 model year, there are 274 models and 32 brands from which to choose a new vehicle," Peterson said. "The VSA clearly shows the buyers which vehicles are at the top of the class they are considering."

Led by Lincoln with a first-place finish overall, brands classified as premium took the top seven positions. Lincoln beat Cadillac, last year's Top Premium Brand, rising from a sixth-place finish in the 2013 awards. GMC finished eighth, first among popular brands. Last year, GMC ranked 17th while another GM brand, Buick, took the Top Popular Brand award.

Lincoln models topping their respective categories include the MKS, MKZ and MKZ Hybrid. Among trucks, the GMC Sierra pickup and Acadia, a 3-row crossover vehicle, scored at the top of their respective categories.

Another big winner in the 2014 Vehicle Satisfaction Awards is the redesigned Mercedes-Benz S-Class. It earned the highest score ever, topping the Premium Luxury Car category and garnering the esteemed President's Award. The new Mercedes-Benz CLA also earned a win in the Premium Compact Car category.

Chevrolet had the most winning models, taking four category victories with the Impala, Sonic, Corvette and Camaro. BMW and Kia also performed well with two category wins each.

The opinions of owners can be helpful for new-car shoppers, especially for new or newly redesigned models. With such a broad range of models available, the results of the Vehicle Satisfaction Awards can help shoppers narrow their choices.

What it means to you: Before hitting the showrooms for test drives, check AutoPacific's Vehicle Satisfaction Awards. The winners will help you add models that you may not have considered, or remove ones from brands that performed poorly.

author photo

Nick Palermo is an automotive writer and lifelong car nut. He follows new and late-model used vehicles for AutoTrader.com, writes about vintage cars for Hemmings Classic Wheels and blogs on all things automotive at LivingVroom. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and twins.

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