In today's competitive market building reliable cars that customers are satisfied with is the key to improving sales and maintaining market share. A number of companies conduct vehicle satisfaction surveys to offer consumers a comparison between brands and specific models, and one of the most influential is California’s AutoPacific, which has just released its list of 2009's most satisfying vehicles.

Taking out the title for the ‘Highest Satisfaction Brand’ was Cadillac, which won the same award last year. Despite the financial turmoil surrounding its parent company General Motors, there appeared to be no affect on customer impressions of Cadillac vehicles after long term use, at least in this round of testing.

While Cadillac stayed in the same position it achieved last year, Hyundai managed to improve the most by jumping 11 positions in the overall brand satisfaction rankings. Hyundai also managed to take out two vehicle-specific awards for the Genesis and Sonata sedans, which were reportedly the most satisfying cars in the 'Aspirational Luxury Car' and 'Premium Mid-Size' segments, respectively.

Meanwhile, the vehicle registering highest overall satisfaction in 2009 was the Lexus LS luxury saloon. The LS scored 99 points above the industry average to place first among all 2009-model year vehicles in AutoPacific's survey of more than 25,000 new vehicle owners and lessees. The truck or SUV with the highest overall satisfaction score was the Cadillac Escalade.

In terms of its methodology, the survey was given to buyers of new vehicles that were purchased or leased during the fourth quarter of 2008, a period when the public was just realizing that a major economic downturn was occurring. Incidentally, AutoPacific also recently released its list of ‘Most Recommended’ brands and vehicles, which saw Porsche take home the title of most recommended brand in the country by owners and Infiniti’s G37 take home the gong for an individual model.

The full list of individual segment winners for the most satisfying vehicles can be found below:
Passenger Cars:
Premium Luxury Car - Lexus LS
Aspirational Luxury Car - Hyundai Genesis
Luxury Large Car - Lincoln Town Car
Luxury Mid-Size Car - Lexus ES
Premium Mid-Size Car - Hyundai Sonata
Mid-Size Car - Ford Fusion
Image Compact Car - Toyota Prius
Compact Car - Mitsubishi Lancer
Economy Car - Honda Fit
Sports Car - Porsche 911
Sporty Car - Scion tC

Light trucks:
Large Pickup - Dodge Ram 1500
Compact Pickup - Ford Explorer Sport Trac
Luxury Sport Utility - Cadillac Escalade
Large Sport Utility - Chevrolet Tahoe
Premium Mid-Size Sport Utility - Ford Explorer
Mid-Size Sport Utility - Jeep Liberty
Luxury Crossover SUV - Land Rover LR2
Large Crossover SUV - Mazda CX-9
Premium Mid-Size Crossover SUV - Toyota Venza
Mid-Size Crossover SUV - Volkswagen Tiguan
Compact Crossover SUV - Kia Sportage
Minivan - Toyota Sienna