Three Big Surprises in Consumer Reports’ “Most Satisfying” Cars Survey

One sports car trounced the competition, and so did two unexpected EVs

The Rivian R1T truck in the wilderness. The electric pickup was voted as one of the "most satisfying" vehicles in a Consumer Reports survey.
A couple EV upstarts are delivering on their promises to buyers.

Consumer Reports offers a treasure trove of data for people in the market for a new car. One of the most helpful benchmarks they tabulate is owner satisfaction. This may seem like a difficult quality to measure, but the organization has owners rate their vehicles in five specific areas, and then has them answer a simple question: “Given the opportunity, would you buy or lease this vehicle again?”

The answers are in from Consumer Reports’ 2022 Annual Auto Surveys, and in terms of the “most satisfying” cars, we’re particularly surprised by three vehicles that made it into the top 12. Pleasantly surprised, in fact.

Before we get into the list, let’s take a look at how CR got these findings. The company received survey responses from the owners of more than 300,000 cars, SUVs, trucks and vans, all within the 2020 to 2023 model years (just a few of the latter year). As they note, “The owner satisfaction score is based on the percentage of owners who responded ‘definitely yes’ to the question of whether they would buy the same vehicle if they had it to do all over again (considering price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.).” 

For the second year in a row, the most satisfying vehicle, with a score of 94 out of 100, is the Chevrolet Corvette C8. While CR does note that “reliable workaday vehicles aren’t as prized as automotive peacocks that promise luxury, fuel and energy efficiency (gas or electric), or pulse-quickening performance — and actually deliver,” this two-year win for the mid-engine Corvette is a huge vote of confidence for Chevy’s relatively affordable take on the supercar. After all, we’ve seen new vehicles make this list before (potentially juiced by the excitement of first-year ownership) only to be absent the following year (possible due to the end of the honeymoon period); last year, for example, the Ford Mustang Mach-E came in as the number four “most satisfying” vehicle with a score of 87, but this year it slipped out of the top 12. The Corvette scored 97 last year, so it also fell a few points, but still trounced the competition.

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A couple other vehicles carried over into the top 12 of 2022 from the top 10 of the 2021 survey, including the Mazda MX-5 Miata (89 in 2021, 86 in 2022), Kia Telluride (87, 88) and the Toyota RAV4 Prime plug-in hybrid (86, 87). The latter two even went up a point! But the most surprising inclusions are two electric newcomers. 

Coming in tied for third place with a score of 88 (along with five other vehicles) were the Polestar 2 and the Rivian R1T. While Polestar is an offshoot of Volvo, both are new electric brands that have had a tough time gaining a foothold in the market and ramping up production to compete with EV-leader Tesla and the increasing competition from major automakers. Rivian has had an especially bumpy road after its red-hot investment period got hit with the cold bucket of water that is manufacturing, delivery and service. Yet, according to those who responded to this survey, it seems Rivian’s and Polestar’s vehicles are delivering on their promise of reinvigorating the automotive sector in the electric age.

There are a couple potential problems with drawing universal conclusions from this data. First, we don’t know how many Rivian and Polestar owners responded to this survey, so it could be skewed if only a few enthusiastic people responded; and second, as we mentioned earlier, this may be a case of initial elation at having what feels like a futuristic machine in your garage, a level of satisfaction that may end up fading with continued ownership. 

The Corvette C8 got a serious stamp of approval with this survey, as satisfaction with the sports car is not fading. Rivian and Polestar did too, but for those, it’ll be worth circling back on this a year from now to see if those vehicles keep satisfying their owners — or even get better with age, as with the Telluride and Miata.

Here’s the full list of the most satisfying vehicles from the 2022 survey: 

  • Chevrolet Corvette (94)
  • Porsche 911 (90)
  • Kia Telluride (88)
  • Rivian R1T (88)
  • Ford Maverick Hybrid (88)
  • Hyundai Ioniq 5 (88)
  • Polestar 2 (88)
  • Subaru BRZ (88)
  • Toyota GR86 (88)
  • Toyota RAV4 Prime (87)
  • Mazda MX-5 Miata (86)
  • Dodge Challenger (86)

If you want to read more about this survey, head to Consumer Reports.

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