These Cars Make Getting Behind The Wheel Fun Again

There’s no better feeling than driving around town in your dream car with a smile on your face. When people know that they can trust their cars and when they’re also fun to drive and reliable, it makes them feel happy. Consumers have spoken about which cars make them happiest, from the luxurious driving style of the Porsche 911 to the take-no-prisoners approach of the Honda Ridgeline. With the numbers rolling in from J.D. Power’s yearly customer satisfaction survey, you’ll be surprised to learn which cars took home the top prize in each category.

The Chevy Bolt Is What Electric Dreams Are Made Of

chevy bolt cars that make owners the happiest
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

In the small car category, no vehicle is more consumer-pleasing than the Chevy Bolt. Built as a long-range electric driving vehicle, the Bolt can take you an estimated 238 miles per charge. It’s also compact enough to fit just about anywhere, making parking a breeze!

If you want to get your hands behind the wheel of a Bolt, prepare to pay a lot. The starting price is $42,800, although rebates, once applied, lower it considerably. Are you ready to join the electric revolution?

The BMW 2 Series And The Audi A3 Are Tied For First

audi a3 bmw 2 series happiest cars for drivers
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images and Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images and Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Finishing in a dead heat in the small premium car category were the Audi A3 and the BMW 2 Series. Consumers couldn’t decide which one made them happier, so J.D. Power awarded them both.

The Audi A3, which was redesigned in 2017, comes in four models, including a Sportback plug-in hybrid. The BMW 2 Series, on the other hand, only comes two ways, as a 230i or M240i. To make up for its lack of options, BMW focused on the small car’s performance, which might be the best available for the sticker price.

The Porsche 911 Outpaces The Pack

porsche 911 happiest sport cars consumer
Robert Hradil/Getty Images
Robert Hradil/Getty Images

For years, the Porsche 911 has been named the midsize premium sports car that makes people the happiest. No other vehicle even comes close. Porsche simply outpaces the pack with all the features jammed into this car.

The Porsche 911 took the award for it’s 13th straight year thanks to it’s price tag, performance, quality, and durability. If you’re in the market for luxury but don’t want to pay luxury prices, the 911 is about low maintenance as sports cars come.

The Mini Cooper Clubman Isn’t So Small

mini cooper clubman happiest cars
Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images
Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The Mini Cooper isn’t just for people who like small cars. With additions to the lineup including the Clubman, the car is officially the compact that makes people happiest. Differentiating the Clubman from its small origins are rear doors and more leg and storage room.

Buying a Mini Cooper Clubman won’t break your bank account, either. The car starts at a reasonable $27,490 and can be found at cheaper rates on the used market. The most important thing, no matter how you choose to buy one, is that you’ll be happy you did.

More Awards For The Mini Cooper

mini cooper happiest cars
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

You thought Mini Cooper was done making people happy with just one car? Their classic Cooper has been around for a long time, and earned its place as the compact sports car that makes people happiest.

The third generation of the vehicle was upgraded for the masses, with more room on the inside, a turbocharged three-cylinder engine, and 134 horsepower. If you’re willing to pay a little more, you can also buy a version with a four-cylinder engine and 189 horsepower. That’s a lot of horses!

The Audi A4 Stands Alone In Elegance

audi a7 happiest cars
Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images
Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Luxury brands make compact cars, too, and the happiest of the bunch is the Audi A4. Given a redesign in 2017, the latest generation of the A4 is offered in several varieties: Komfort, Progressiv, and Technik.

The A4 has been around since 1994, and was originally based on the Volkswagon Group B platform. It was the 2017 facelift, based on the same platform as the Audi Q7 Crossover, that made people see the car in a new light.

There Is No Challenger For Dodge

Dodge Challenger happiest cars 2019
Dünzl/ullstein bild via Getty Images
Dünzl/ullstein bild via Getty Images

The Dodge Challenger is the midsize sports car that brings the happiest returns. Not only is this car a blast to drive, but it’s one of the most customizable on this list. You want it orange? You can have it orange! You want it hot pink? You can have it hot pink, too!

The basic design of the challenger has remained the same since the car was reintroduced in 2008, proving that some looks never go out of style. Even in hot pink.

The Honda Ridgeline Has Increased Hauling Capabilities

honda ridgeline happiest cars list
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

Honda stepped up their game for the second generation Ridgeline midsize pickup truck. Completely restyled, the truck was given more power to get any hauling or cargo job done, up to 5,000 pounds.

It was no easy task to claim the top spot as the midsize pickup with the most sunshine. Honda had to take down industry stalwarts GMC and Chevrolet. The Canyon and the Colorado were tied for second, which was surprising new territory for the American icons!

The Kia Niro Is The Hero We Deserve

kia niro cars that consumers love
Gerlach Delissen/Corbis via Getty Images
Gerlach Delissen/Corbis via Getty Images

Stuck somewhere between traditional SUVs and traditional hatchback comes a category known as small SUVs. In that category, the Kia Niro gets to wear the crown of the car that makes consumers the happiest.

We’ll admit, for an SUV-style car, the Kia Niro doesn’t have the same high level of performance as the Buick Encore. Still, its 139 horsepower is keeping commuters perfectly happy. It doesn’t hurt that the starting price tag is just $25,000. Let the negotiations begin!

There’s No Choosing Between The Audi A7 And Lincoln Continental

audi a7 and lincoln continental happiest cars list
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images and Paul Morigi/Stringer/Getty Images
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images and Paul Morigi/Stringer/Getty Images

There’s another tie for Audi on our list; this time in the midsize premium car category. In years past, the Audi A7 took this award without much competition. With the return of Lincoln, however, the luxury automaker has finally met its match.

The Lincoln Continental is a fun car. It comes with a 3.o liter V6 engine capable of 400 horsepower. Did we mention its 400 pounds per feet of torque? The Audi A7 comes off the showroom floor with only 333 horsepower and 325 pounds per feet of torque.

The Kia Cadenza Is Large And In Charge

kia cadenza happiest cars
Bryan Thomas/Getty Images
Bryan Thomas/Getty Images

Kia’s Cadenza is a huge hit with consumers. The car received a facelift in 2017, increasing horsepower to 290 and upgrading the engine to a 3.3 liter V6. All the changes were enough to push it past the Dodge Charger and Nissan Maxima in the large car category.

Another reason the car gets such high marks from consumers is for safety. In 2017, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named the Cadenza a top pick. Not only will you have a blast driving your Kia, but you’ll also feel invincible.

The BMW X1 Is Going To Take You Places

The BMW X1 happiest cars list
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images
STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images

Unlike the Kia Niro, the BMW X1 is bursting at the seams with power. This premium small SUV has a turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 228 horsepower and 258 pound per feet of torque.

Of course, to own one of these happiness makers, you’re going to have to open your checkbook. The starting price for the BMW X1 is $40,3000, and it’s not much cheaper on the used market. For everything it comes with, though, we’d say the price tag is more than warranted.

The Honda CR-V Is Compact Perfection

honda cr v happiest cars list
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

Like other cars on this list, the Honda CR-V was given a facelift that helped propel it to the top of pack. Coming up just behind Honda’s compact SUV on the list were the Nissan Rogue and Buick Envision.

So what separates the CR-V from the rest? It might be the turbocharged engine, or it might be Honda’s reputation for reliability. Starting at $24,350, there’s never been a better time to get your hands one of the most popular and satisfying SUVs on the market.

The Porsche Macan Is As Stylish As It Is Fun

porsche macan happiest cars list
Sergei SavostyanovTASS via Getty Images
Sergei SavostyanovTASS via Getty Images

With a starting cost of $54,100, you know a lot of love went into making the Porsche Macan the best luxury compact SUV on the market. The automaker loaded the car with a four-cylinder engine, a double clutch transmission, and all-wheel drive.

For those looking for a little more power, a six-cylinder engine upgrade is available, but it will come at a cost. First introduced in 2014, the Macan became an instant hit. In 2015, it was even named the South African Car of the Year!

The Nissan Murano Is Unique

Nissan Murano happiest cars list
National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images
National Motor Museum/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The midsize SUV that makes consumers the happiest is the Nissan Murano. The car company has never been scared to think outside the box with their designs, and it shows in this uniquely individual chassis.

When it comes to performance, the Murano comes fully stocked with a 3.5 liter V6 engine capable of 260 horsepower. A variable transmission allows you to switch seamlessly from intuitive all-wheel drive to front wheel drive so you’re ready for any conditions.

The Porsche Cayenne Is Highly Customizable

porsche cayenne happiest cars list
Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Porsche Cayenne is the United States’ favorite luxury midsize SUV. It is also one of the most customizable. There are different variations of the Cayenne available to be purchased, with a starting price of $69,600 and an ending price of $182,600.

First introduced in 2003, the Cayenne really came into its own in 2018 when it set a Guinness World Record for the “heaviest aircraft pulled by a production car.” To set the record, a Cayenne successfully towed an Air France Airbus that weighed 285 tons 42 meters.

The Chrysler Pacifica Is Changing The Minivan Game

pacifica chrysler happiest cars list
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

There were no runners up on J.D. Powers APEAL study in the minivan category. The Chrysler Pacifica swept the competition, and with this family vehicle, the beauty is much more than skin deep.

The most recent model of the Pacifica was also the first minivan to ever be offered as a gas/electric hybrid. We never thought a minivan could get 28 miles per gallon on the freeway, but Chrysler proved us wrong. It also offers one of the best rides, with a roomy and quiet interior and high-end performance.

The Chevy Tahoe Is The Most High Tech Large SUV

chevy tahoe happiest cars list
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
Raymond Boyd/Getty Images

In recent years, Chevrolet has pulled out all the stops in their lineup. Perhaps no car has been given as many upgrades as the Tahoe, the large SUV that makes consumers the happiest. This vehicle is loaded with technology, including 4G connectivity.

If you’re worried that Chevy overlooked performance on the Tahoe, you don’t have to be. It easily can tow or haul up to 8,598 pounds. Putting a cherry on top of the Tahoe is its incredible 22 miles per gallon of the freeway!

The Cadillac Escalade Is The Classiest Large SUV

cadillac escalade happiest cars list
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Cadillac
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Cadillac

Cadillac faced stiff competition in the luxury large SUV category, but their Escalade came out on top. The Infiniti QX80 and Mercedes-Benz GLS-Class came in a close second and third, but were outdone by the American automaker.

Distinguishing the Escalade from the rest of its class is the cabin. Cadillac went all out with completely redesigning the inside, upgrading the SUV with a more luxurious fit and finish than ever, a roomier and cozier cabin, and active noise cancellation.

The Ford F-150 Is The Best Selling Large Light-Duty Pickup

ford f-150 happiest cars list
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Scott Olson/Getty Images

The Ford F-150 might just be the perfect large light-duty pickup truck. With a body made out of aluminum and smart technology running through its pistons, it’s not hard to see why consumers have fallen head over heels for it.

Ford first introduced the F series of pickup trucks in 1948. In 1953, the F-150 was brought into the world, and the landscape was never the same again. Today, the F-150 is more popular than ever, near-record sales of 909,330 in 2018.