Drivers enjoy being behind the wheel of a Subaru, and Kelley Blue Book made this apparent with its Brand Image Awards.

Buyers like what they see in Subaru

If you had to pick an automaker that had the best reputation – the type that you associated with positive characteristics like reliability, dependability, and overall awesomeness – which one would you choose? If you selected Subaru, you’re in good company, as many Americans believe the Japanese nameplate to be the top dog when it comes to brand image.

Yes, the music and film industry award season may be over, but the automotive award season is in gear, as dealers roll out 2016 and 2017 models for buyers to feast their eyes upon. Vehicle valuation firm Kelley Blue Book annually holds a new-car buyer perception study to see which automakers are viewed most favorably. This year, Subaru won the Best Overall Brand award in a landslide, supplanting Honda, which had maintained the coveted title since 2013. In fact, Subaru won in a clean sweep, amassing the highest number of votes in a dozen different variables, including affordability, comfort, driving performance, exterior styling, fuel efficiency, interior layout, and ruggedness.

Hwei-Lin Oetken, Vice President of Strategic Insights at Kelley Blue Book, indicated that Subaru’s popularity can’t be denied, given the 12,000 new-car shoppers who participated in the survey.

“We’ve seen an interesting shift in consumer perception of Subaru over the last few years,” Oetken explained. “They won their first-ever Brand Image Awards last year, and now this year they swept the major categories of Best Overall Brand, Most Trusted Brand and Best Performance Brand. Consumers undoubtedly are taking serious notice of Subaru.”

Subaru won Most Trusted, Best Performance in 2015

Subaru’s string of stellar rankings among buyers largely derives from some of its more popular models, namely the Outback and Forester, KBB.com detailed from the study. The 22nd-biggest automaker in terms of sales also reclaimed titles it assumed in the 2015 Brand Image Awards, specifically Most Trusted and Best Performance.

Subaru’s Legacy is making a name for itself as well. In a separate awards “ceremony,” which highlighted the vehicles that shoppers simply must add to their test-drive bucket lists, AutoTrader.com selected the 2016 Subaru Legacy as chief among them. Of the most appealing highlights that made the Legacy a no-brainer to take for a spin, the mid-size boasts an abundance of modern safety gadgets, all-wheel drive, blind spot monitoring, and forward-collision braking.

AEB to come standard within six years

Automatic emergency braking has received increased scrutiny over the past year or so, and by most accounts, its reliability has passed the test. In a study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, researchers found that automatic braking reduced rear-end crashes by 40% compared with models that didn’t have this feature. This is part of the reason why 99% of automakers have committed to installing AEB in new models as a standard feature by 2022 at the latest, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration confirmed in March.
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Subaru isn’t the only nameplate that’s made a splash. In the Best Luxury Brand category, Lexus came out on top, knocking Porsche from its previous perch in the KBB.com’s Brand Image Awards. Lexus was credited for two upper echelon models in the ES and RX.

For more details on which automakers received the red carpet treatment, visit KBB.com.