General Motors and Ford Motor Company each reported lower US sales in February, down year-on-year by 2.5% and 4% respectively.
But there was some consolation for GM as its big SUVs - notably the recently-launched Chevrolet Tahoe, the Cadillac Escalade and the Hummer H3 - all recorded robust sales.
Preliminary estimates show total US car and light truck sales rose to a seasonally adjusted annual 16.8 million vehicles last month, from 16.3m in February 2005.
The report ranked performance, comfort, safety and fuel economy - basing these on tests of over two hundred models. In all ten vehicle categories Japanese cars topped the list.
Honda is the report's first choice for low and mid-priced cars and minivans, also for pick-up trucks, a segment previously dominated by the three Detroit carmakers.
Honda's luxury brand, Acura, is ranked top among cars priced between $30,000 and $40,000, while the remaining six categories are shared by Toyota, Subaru and Nissan's luxury Infiniti marque. Among the larger SUVs, Toyota's Highlander hybrid won the day.
Data sourced from Financial Times Online; additional content by WARC staff