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Survey polls public’s picks for best, worst car brands

2014 Toyota Corolla

Toyota again ranked number one against other brands in the 2014 Consumer Report Car-Brand Perception Survey. (Photo: Toyota)

Consumer Report conducted its annual Car-Brand Perception Survey to determine which car brands were considered the best and the worst according to public opinion.

The telephone survey polled 1,578 random adults who owned vehicles.

Without providing a list of car brands, individuals were asked to name the brands they felt excelled in seven categories: quality, safety, performance, value, fuel efficiency, design/style and technology/innovation. They were then questioned about the brands they selected.

A comprehensive score was calculated based on how each brand did and how consumers’ rated the importance of each category.

The final results showed that brands like Subaru and Tesla had gained momentum since recent years, faring well among potential car buyers and catapulting the two brands into the top ten — Tesla landed at fifth and Subaru secured a sixth place spot.

Ford, Honda, Toyota and Chevrolet were the four best publicly perceived car brands, the survey said.

However, the scores were unconnected to Consumer Reports’ reliability survey scores or road and track test results. They were also not related to government- or private-conducted crash tests.

“The key word here is ‘perception,’ as influenced by word-of-mouth, marketing, and hands-on experience,” said CR.

Therefore, a brand that scored high on the consumer-perception survey may not necessarily make the best vehicles and vice versa, said Consumer Report. The publication did express a belief that this unbalance could shift, but it will take a substantial amount of time to do so.

Toyota held on to the number one spot with a 25-point advantage over Ford.

The survey pegged Tesla as the “brand to watch,” as its innovation, performance and style aspects have helped the brand gain a significant amount of public approval in the last year.

To view the full results of the Car-Brand Perception Survey, visit ConsumerReports.org.