Why is it that people can argue about something you'd think could be quantifiable (which car is better for the environment) but then J.D. Power and Associates comes in and calculates which cars make their owners the happiest? Perhaps the answer lies in realizing that the Prius, which tops the 2007 J.D. Power and Associates customer satisfaction study (of UK drivers), is more than a car. It's a statement and then some.

Another car, the Lexus IS, actually tied the Prius for the top spot, but I think the idea that these satisfied drivers are getting around in a statment instead of a simple vehicle stands. J.D. Power and Associates conducts the satisfaction survey each year, and queries motorists on four principle areas: vehicle quality and reliability, service satisfaction, vehicle appeal and value for money. The environment isn't part of that list, but I bet part of being happy with your Prius is knowing it's a fairly clean way to get around.

There were three other Toyota models - Avensis, Corolla and Yaris - in the Top Ten, so the company has got to be pretty satisfied, as well.

[Source: Toyota]

HYBRIDS MAKE YOU HAPPY - PRIUS TOPS 2007 J.D. POWER AND ASSOCIATES AWARDS

KEY POINTS

* Prius is top model in 2007 J.D. Power and Associates customer satisfaction study
* Three other Toyota models ranked in top 10
* Toyota retains overall position as fourth highest-ranked manufacturer

The Toyota Prius has earned many plaudits worldwide since its launch in 2004, but its latest accolade demonstrates the high esteem in which it is held by the most demanding of judges – owners.

The hybrid power Prius – the world's cleanest family car – is the top-ranked individual model in the 2007 J.D. Power and Associates customer satisfaction study. To be precise, it is placed equal first, alongside the Lexus IS, another Toyota group model.

Prius emerged victorious from the independent study of thousands of UK motorists driving vehicles registered between September 2005 and August 2006. Further success was achieved by the Toyota Avensis and Corolla, which tied for eighth place, and Yaris, in tenth.

Within the vehicle type categories, the Toyota Verso was the best MPV, with Prius and Corolla first and third among the medium segment models.

The annual customer satisfaction index surveys motorists on four principle areas: the quality and reliability of their vehicle, service satisfaction, vehicle appeal and value for money. Toyota's points score was up on 2006 and maintained its fourth place overall among manufacturers.

Miguel Fonseca, Toyota (GB) Managing Director, said: "This is further proof that Prius, and hybrid in general, has been accepted by the motoring public as the car of the future that delivers today. Irrespective of the great technical achievement of Prius, it needs to succeed as an everyday car for real-world experiences of drivers. We always knew it could and this endorsement by existing owners is evidence they appreciate how Toyota is succeeding in delivering cleaner, more fuel efficient motoring without compromising the performance, convenience and reliability they demand.

"Overall the results demonstrate Toyota's all-embracing commitment to the highest levels of service to our customers as well as to quality, reliability and high driver appeal in all our products."