An "ideal" is defined as an excellent or perfect example. So, in search of the ideal vehicle, AutoPacific asked owners to rate their model year 2008 cars and trucks using a measurement of 15 key vehicle attributes.
According to AutoPacific, "The Volvo S40 was the clear winner in the Luxury Mid-Size Car category. With high rating for exterior size, visibility, ride, handling and safety it's easy to see why the S40 is an ideal vehicle. Volvo engineers and designers definitely hit their target. Luxury Mid-Size car owners' scores prove that Volvo understands their buyers very well. Top marks were also given for seat firmness, interior lighting, wheels and tires, and exterior styling."
In the Image Compact Car category AutoPacific cited, "Image Compact Cars are products where style typically trumps absolute function. In the case of the Volvo C30 it seemed to appeal to Image Compact Car owners on both an emotional and rational level. Owners' preferences for the C30's exterior styling, ride, and safety blended well with the interior lighting, seat firmness, and level of technology."
The Volvo C70 shared the top spot in the Aspirational Luxury Car category. AutoPacific summarized that, "Even though the Volvo C70 is only available in one trim level (T5) it seems as though the Swedes have packaged the vehicle just right. With the most modern convenience features, owners in the Aspirational Luxury Car segment found the C70 well-equipped, giving the C70 top honors as a 2008 ideal vehicle. Of course it comes standard with numerous safety features (it's a Volvo), sharp wheels and tires, excellent interior lighting and appreciate seat firmness."
AutoPacific's IVAs are quantitative gauges measuring how closely a vehicle matches an owner's expectations. The buyers who are least likely to want to change their vehicle: they are driving their "ideal" vehicle. The AutoPacific report concludes, "The automakers that best understand their customers and create the vehicle their buyers demand come closest to the ideal."
The results of the IVA were based on data collected from thousands of new car and truck buyers who rated 15 specific vehicle attributes: exterior styling, exterior size, passenger roominess, cargo space, driver's seat comfort, drivers seat visibility, interior technology, interior lighting, power and acceleration, ease of getting in and out, interior storage compartments, ride, handling, safety features and tires and wheels.