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 |  Jan 25 2012, 7:30 AM

That’s according to Consumer Reports’ fifth Car Brand Perception Survey, which gauges the perception of different vehicle makes across seven different categories: design, environmental friendliness, performance, quality, safety, technology/innovation and value.

The survey, which was conducted among 2000 adults with at least one vehicle in their household last December, illustrated that the most well-known brands kept their lead, with Toyota, Ford, Honda and Chevrolet rounding out the top four in terms of overall scores, yet other brands edged closer. For example Acura, which ranked twelfth, had a score of 46.8, while BMW, in sixth, scored 69.3 points.

Regarding the survey, CR‘s deputy editor, Jeff Bartlett, said that, “we’ve made [brand] awareness a non-factor, so we’ve equalized it across the brands. So everyone knows Toyota, [but] a few people know Fiat. The question is, of those brands that you’re aware of, which stand as exemplary in each of the seven categories that we’re looking at?”

He also noted that whereas in the past it was easy to differentiate the leaders from the rest in certain aspects, such as Volvo when it came to safety or BMW in terms of performance, in the future, it will be much more difficult for one single brand to stand out, especially as more vehicles are able to do more things better.