JD Power Asia Pacific just gave away the awards for the best cars and SUVs in India for the year 2012. These 22 awards covered five broad categories of research that threw up the best cars. Maruti walked away with the highest number of awards, followed by Honda, Toyota and Hyundai. Interestingly, the only non-Japanese or Korean brand that got mentioned in the awards was Chevrolet (for a car that has Korean origins).

None of the other Indian, German, Czech or US brands got any awards in the five studies conducted by JD Power in the Indian car market, although some Indian brands have been making significant improvements in terms of quality. If it’s any consolation, cars in India fare better than Chinese cars when it comes to problems per 100 vehicles in initial quality study – Cars in India have an average of 77/100 compared to 93 problems per 100 cars in China. Also read: Game changer cars of 2012

So here’s a look at the winners across the various award categories.


Most Dependable Vehicles

(2012 JD Power India Vehicle Dependability Study)

The 2012 India vehicle dependability study covered 7,866 owners who bought vehicles between July 2008 and September 2009. This long-term ownership study gives insights into the problems vehicle owners face in long-term ownership. It covers 62 vehicle models from 16 brands in India, across 25 cities. The study found that during this period there was a 11% increase in diesel powered cars in the survey, and also an increase in the number of problems per car over the previous year. The average increased to 225 problems per 100 vehicles compared to 195 per 100 in 2011. The study covered four major areas of the car – overall dependability, powertrain dependability, body and interior dependability and feature and accessory dependability.

Most Dependable Compact Car: Hyundai Santro

Most Dependable Premium Compact Car: Hyundai i20

Most Dependable Entry Mid-size Car: Maruti Dzire

Most Dependable Mid-size Car: Hyundai Verna

Most Dependable Premium Mid-size Car: Honda Civic

Most Dependable MUV/MPV: Toyota Innova

Most Dependable SUV: Honda CR-V

The study covered four major areas of the car – overall dependability, powertrain dependability, body and interior dependability and feature and accessory dependability.


Best Brand in Sales Satisfaction

(2012 India Sales Satisfaction Index Study)

This study tracks the car maker who provides the best sales experience to someone buying a car. It was conducted across 7,382 new vehicle owners who bought vehicles between September 2011 and April 2012, tracking 85 models of cars. In this study, customers satisfaction with the sales experience they received was tracked on a 1000 point scale. Honda topped the charts with 835/1000, followed closely by Hyundai at 829, and Maruti at 824. The industry average was taken as 820, with Tata being the worst at 800 points. Rival Mahindra managed a respectable 820. Skoda and Toyota were above average, while the rest were below average. Also read: Five upcoming car trends for India

Best Brand in Sales Satisfaction: Honda

The study tracked factors like overall experience, sales initiation process, dealer facilities, deals on offer, salespersons knowledge and manner, ease of paperwork, delivery timing and delivery process.


Best Brand in Customer Satisfaction

(2012 India Customer Satisfaction Study)

This study tracks how satisfied customers are with their vehicles when it comes to servicing their cars. It tracks speed and convenience of having their vehicles serviced. Overall customer satisfaction on a 1000 point scale has increased 10 points to 834 in 2012. The study covered 7.594 vehicle owners who visit authorized service stations of all car brands in India. Only one carmaker was above average and the winner here – Maruti Suzuki. All the other car brands fell below the average ranking when it came to total customer satisfaction, with Honda and Hyundai coming in second and third, while Skoda and Volkswagen were at the bottom of the pack.

Best Brand in Customer Satisfaction: Maruti Suzuki

The study tracked overall service satisfaction, service initiation (time to open job card etc), service advisor (knowledge, helpfulness), service facility, vehicle pickup facility, and overall service quality.

toyota fortuner sportivo photo

Best quality cars in India

(India Initial Quality Study)

This study looks at problems vehicle owners face in the first two to six months of ownership of the vehicle. It tracks about 200 symptoms covering eight vehicle categories including engine and transmission, vehicle exteriors, driving experience, HVAC related issues, features, controls and displays, vehicle interiors, seating comfort, audio and entertainment. The overall average score for cars in India is 120 problems per 100 vehicles across all these areas.

Best compact car in Initial Quality: Hyundai Santro

Best premium compact car in Initial Quality: Honda Brio

Best entry mid-size car in Initial Quality: Maruti Dzire

Best mid-size car in Initial Quality: Honda City

Best MUV/MPV in Initial Quality: Toyota Innova

Best SUV in Initial Quality: Toyota Fortuner

The study tracked 8,688 owners who bought a new vehicle between November 2011 and July 2012, across 94 models of cars from 16 car brands.


Most Appealing cars in India

(2012 India Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout Study)

This study surveys how vehicle interiors and features raise satisfaction levels among car owners. It looks at the experience and delight that owners get from their cars in the first two months of car ownership owing to what the car has to offer. The study measure satisfaction on a 1000 point scale in 10 categories – vehicle exteriors, vehicle interiors, storage and space, audio and entertainment, seating comfort, HVAC functioning and effectiveness, driving dynamics, engine and transmission, visibility and driving safety, and overall fuel economy.

Most Appealing compact car: Chevrolet Spark and Maruti Estilo (same score)

Most Appealing premium compact car: Honda Jazz

Most Appealing entry mid-size car: Maruti Dzire

Most Appealing mid-size car: Maruti SX4 and Nissan Sunny (same score)

Most Appealing MUV/MPV: Toyota Innova

Most Appealing SUV: Toyota Fortuner

This study had an average score of 836, with fuel economy and vehicle interiors increasing in appeal over the previous year. It tracked 8000 vehicle owners who bought a new vehicle between November 2011 and July 2012. Also read: Best cars in India with least quality problems

The fifth category of awards was for the highest customer satisfaction with original tyres that the car came with. The award went to MRF, who was significantly ahead of JK Tyres and Apollo in second and third place, while Goodyear and Bridgestone ranked below average.

Share your thoughts on these most-awarded cars. Who would you have picked?


  1. Hi Roshun….i am always facinated by a Delhi – Leh trip but every time i think of doing it, i stop due to my car since i don’t have a modern car or SUV. Mine is a 1998 model, 65 bhp, carburattor Maruti Esteem. Do you think it is advisable to do this route on my Esteem and can an Esteeem handle this terrain…….
    Eagerly waiting for your response….
    Thanks in advance…..

  2. @rupeshgoyal, just chanced upon this comment – sure you can do it with an Esteem, as long as the car is in good condition. Go post July/August when the roads are better.

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