Hyundai Santro, Ford Ikon, Honda City and Tata Safari have been ranked highest in their respective vehicle segments in a study conducted by global research and consulting firm J D Power.
The 2003 India Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) study released on Monday measured owners' delight with the design, content, layout and performance of new vehicles during the first two to six months of ownership.
The Santro topped the competitive premium compact car segment for the fourth consecutive year, ahead of rivals like Maruti WagonR and Alto, a J D Power release said.
Ford India's Ikon improved on its rankings and was at the top in the entry-level mid-size segment, followed by General Motors' Opel Corsa, Swing models.
The APEAL study, now in its sixth year, focuses on the satisfaction of car owners through eight categories -- engine/transmission, ride, handling and braking, comfort/ convenience, seats, instrument panel, heating, ventilation and cooling, sound system and styling.
"Internationally, most models follow a distinct life cycle with APEAL scores declining each year. However, models like the Santro and Ikon have successfully stemmed this decline in India by continuously introducing new variants to improve their appeal," J D Power Asia Pacific, India country manager, Mohit Arora, said.
Honda City was ranked the highest in the new mid-size segment, ahead of Mitsubishi Lancer and Hyundai Accent.
The utility-vehicle segment was topped by Tata Safari, followed by Mahindra Scorpio and Toyota Qualis tied in the same spot.
The 2003 India APEAL study was based on responses from over 3,300 owners of personal-use vehicles covering 11 makes and 28 models.
It included customers who purchased their vehicles between January 2003 and July 2003.
The J D Power study showed the domestic car industry has maintained a steady year-over-year improvement, increasing three index points over 2002 to 765 index points out of a possible 1,000.
Seven out of the 12 vehicle makes included in the study experienced improvements in their APEAL scores over 2002.