Recently the Volt was the highest rated compact car in the J.D. Powers and Associates 2011 U.S. Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study.

The study, appropriately enough, lists the vehicles deemed most appealing to consumers, and differs from the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study (IQS) in that it measures “things gone right” rather than “things gone wrong.”

"This news comes on the heels of being Edmunds’ consumer top choice as well,” said Volt Spokesman Rob Peterson.

Comparatively few own 2011 Volts, as only 4,488 were produced, but consumer scoring ranked the car highest in the compact car segment.

Peterson sent over the GM-related results which include the latest feather in the Volt's cap, as it has also collected honors from engineers, journalists, safety rating organizations, and consumers.

Another way of quantifying the significance of the APEAL study it is a measure of how gratifying a new vehicle is to own and drive, based on owner evaluations of about 80 vehicle attributes.

Its aggregate findings (for all vehicles surveyed, not just the Volt) were based on responses gathered between February and May 2011 from about 73,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2011 model-year cars and trucks who responded after the first 90 days of ownership.

Vehicle Appeal at a Historic High

J.D. Powers noted that since it began conducting the annual study in 1996, the market is at an all-time high.

This is essentially a barometer indicating that automakers are designing cars better than ever.

“The auto industry has taken a battering during the past few years,” said David Sargent, vice president of global vehicle research at J.D. Power and Associates. “However, it is clear that throughout this period, automakers have never lost sight of the fact that survival – and ultimately success – only comes from winning over customers in the showroom. Offering highly appealing vehicles is one of the primary means to succeed.”

While the Volt placed first in its segment, other GM products also did well.

And for that matter, other manufacturers garnered awards in this year’s APEAL study, in fact, some did better.

For the seventh consecutive year, Porsche was the highest-ranking nameplate in the 2011 APEAL study. Hyundai improved from 2010 more than any other nameplate this year, while Jeep and Chrysler also improved considerably, J.D. Powers said.

BMW and Dodge each captured three segment-level awards. Also receiving awards were the Hyundai Equus, Land Rover Range Rover, Lexus IS, MINI Countryman, Nissan Armada, Porsche Cayenne, Scion xB, Suzuki Kizashi and Volkswagen GTI.

Among GM vehicles, Peterson pointed out the Chevrolet Tahoe, Avalanche and Camaro placed second in their segments.

He also noted that Cadillac and Buick ranked above average at tenth and 17th respectively. GMC ranked 19th and Chevrolet placed at 22th.

Source: J.D. Powers