Hyundai AzeraClick to enlarge picture

The Azera is one of five vehicles from Hyundai Motors that ranked highest for quality in its vehicle segment, according to Strategic Vision.

Hyundai

Surprisingly, perennial winner Toyota Motor Company only fielded one vehicle to rank as best of its segment—the Lexus RX 350 as top Near-Luxury SUV. Last year four Toyota/Lexus models ranked highest.

The Total Quality Index was calculated based on responses from more than 27,000 buyers who bought 2007 models in September, October and November of 2006. Each year buyers are asked to rate all aspects of the ownership experience, from buying and owning to driving. Top ratings were broken down into 19 different product segments.

Strategic Vision has been calculating the TQI every year since 1995. "Unlike last year, we're seeing many new or redesigned vehicles not ranking near the top of their segments," said Strategic Vision Founder and CEO Darrel Edwards.

Photo Gallery: Total Quality Winners

Although no single automaker dominated the awards this year, three of the 19 segments were led by vehicles from Hyundai. These included the Azera at the top of the Large Car segment, Entourage in a tie for the Minivan segment and the Santa Fe leading the Small SUV segment. Kia models led two segments, giving Hyundai Motors a total of five top-scoring vehicles.

"Even though Hyundai is often overlooked by the U.S. customer, Hyundai's success in 2007 is not surprising given its current products and press in leadership that is looking to the near and distant future with new designs from styling to powertrain," Edwards commented.

Ford earned the most top spots among domestic automakers, leading three of the segments. The Expedition was ranked top Large SUV, the F-150 tied with the Nissan Titan as top Full-Size Pickup and the F-250/F-350 Super Duty ranked highest among Heavy-Duty Pickups.

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Nissan was the only other brand with three leading vehicles, all locked in ties with the closest competition. Maxima tied with the Saturn Aura for Medium Car, Quest matched up with the Kia Sedona and Hyundai Entourage in the Minivan segment, with the Titan and Ford F-150 both at the top of the Full-Size Pickup segment.

BMW was also a top-scoring brand—a feat the German company has managed eight of the last nine years. Volkswagen of America once again earned the top spot as best full-line corporation.

Only five vehicles were repeat winners in 2007, including the Chevrolet Corvette, Dodge Magnum, Honda Civic, Lexus RX 350 and MINI Cooper.

Here are the 2007 Total Quality Index winners:

Small Car

Honda Civic

Small Multi-Function Vehicle

Volkswagen Rabbit

Medium Car

Saturn Aura (tie)

Nissan Maxima (tie)

Large Car

Hyundai Azera

Small Specialty Under $25,000

MINI Cooper

Near-Luxury Car

BMW 3-Series

Luxury Car

Mercedes-Benz S-Class

Convertible Under $30,000

MINI Cooper Convertible

Convertible Over $30,000

Chevrolet Corvette

Minivan

Kia Sedona (tie)

Hyundai Entourage (tie)

Nissan Quest (tie)

Small SUV

Hyundai Santa Fe

Medium SUV

Kia Sorento

Medium Crossover

Dodge Magnum

Large SUV

Ford Expedition EL

Near-Luxury SUV

Lexus RX 350

Luxury SUV

Mercedes-Benz ML

Standard Pickup

Honda Ridgeline

Full-Size Pickup

Nissan Titan (tie)

Ford F-150 (tie)

Heavy-Duty Pickup

Ford F-250 /Ford F-350

Source: Strategic Vision

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