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Auto blogSat, 30 Mar 2013 08:58:00 EST
The sixth edition of the Kelley Blue Book Brand Image Awards have crowned a wide range of winners - in a couple of cases the recipient of the laurels might say more about KBB users than they do about the actual winner. Compiled from the responses of more than 12,000 shoppers on KBB.com over the past year, there are 13 categories broken into non-luxury, luxury and truck segments "representing the combined wisdom of the American car-buying public."
The award categories have been revamped this year, with some dropping off, some new ones appearing and at least one other given a new term. What isn't surprising is that Honda won Most Trusted Brand for the second year running, Best Value Brand for the third year in a row and took Best Overall Brand, which wasn't on last year's list of awards.
On our own shores, in the non-luxury categories Chrysler got Most Refined Brand and Buick took Best Value Luxury Brand. Neither one of those marques won anything in last year's Brand Image Awards, while Cadillac, which won Best Interior Design Brand and Best Comfort Brand last year - those awards disappeared this year - went home without a single accolade.
Turbocharging isn't really Toyota's specialty, and the Japanese automaker isn't being shy about acknowledging it. Koei Saga, a senior managing officer in charge of drivetrain research and development, says that eschewing turbos and increasing displacement of engines using the Atkinson cycle can produce better power gains without sacrificing fuel economy, Automotive News reports.
Toyota is investing heavily in larger-displacement Atkinson-cycle engines in addition to turbocharged engines, but Saga doesn't think the automaker will use turbocharging across many product lines. He apparently remains unconvinced that the technology "makes the world better."
In Toyota's eyes then, Atkinson cycle engines do make the world better, and here's how. Their pistons complete four processes - intake, compression, power and exhaust - in one revolution of the crankshaft, and the power stroke is longer than the compression stroke. Traditional Otto cycle engines require two crankshaft revolutions to accomplish those same four operations and have equal-length compression and power strokes. Atkinson cycle engines are more efficient, but less power dense, though increasing displacement can offset that shortfall.
Toyota and Lexus stormed the 2014 Kelley Blue Book Best Resale Value Awards, winning a combined 18 categories including best brand and best luxury brand. This marks the third year in a row that both automakers have won the Brand and Luxury Brand resale value awards. In all, Toyota won 11 categories and Lexus won seven.
Honda made a good showing, as well, winning two segments (Accord Plug-In Hybrid and Civic Si) and putting one car on the top-10 Best Resale Value list (CR-V). Chevrolet did even better, winning two segments (with the V6 Camaro and the Corvette) and placing three cars on the top-10-overall list (again, the Camaro and Corvette, plus the Silverado 1500).
The other winners came from Jeep, Dodge, Infiniti, Subaru and Audi. To give you a clearer picture of the Toyota and Lexus domination, their 18 mentions represents more than half of the 34 awards (including the top-10-overall list).