Quality, as most automakers are quick to admit, has become the price of entry in today’s new car business. And the latest studies suggest that the gap between brands is smaller than ever. So, what are the factors that really differentiate one brand from another these days?
That’s what the Motorist Choice Awards intend to define. Created by California-based research firms IntelliChoice and AutoPacific Inc., the balloting is meant to balance high customer satisfaction and low cost of ownership.
And by those measures, Toyota came out on top for 2012, taken nine of 30 possible awards with its various mainstream and luxury brands, with products including the Scion xD, Toyota Prius V and Lexus CT Hybrid. European makers such as Mini and Mercedes-Benz, meanwhile, scored well in both “Popular” and “Premium” categories.