Consumer Reports has released the findings of its annual Car-Brand Perception Survey, which polls more than 2,000 drivers about how they view the major brands on the market.
Not much changed in the ordering of the brands from last year, with Toyota still on top and Ford in second place. However, the consumer guide did note that nearly all automakers' scores decreased from one year to the next. In addition, the gap between the major brands shrunk.
Buyers rated the brands in seven different areas - safety, quality, value, performance, environmentally friendly/green, design/style, and technology/innovation. Because the results were solely based on opinion, they're not actually indicative of each brand's quality.
While brand perception has shifted compared to last year, what buyers say they want in a vehicle has not. Of the seven factors Consumer Reports asked drivers to choose between, 65 percent had safety as one of their top three choices.
Many new cars now come with advanced safety features, but these aren't useful if the car is in poor condition. Simple auto maintenance like putting on new tires or taking the car in for brake service can reduce the likelihood of an accident due to mechanical failure.