For the second year running Subaru is the top manufacturer in one of the world's most respected consumer surveys for car owners - the 2000 J.D. Power and Associates/'Top Gear' UK Customer Satisfaction Study.

And as if that weren't enough, the Subaru Legacy scored the highest points in the separate 115-strong model by model report, with the Subaru Impreza in runner-up position.

This is the third time Subaru has won the 1st Place Gold Award - previous wins were in 1997 and 1999. It is also the third time the Japanese all-wheel drive specialist has topped the model by model survey - the Impreza secured victory in both 1997 and last year with the Legacy placed second.

Subaru beat 30 prestigious and high volume marques to achieve the 1st Place Gold Award which was last night presented to Subaru (UK) Limited Managing Director, Ed Swatman, at a special ceremony in London.

He said: "We are delighted that the quality of the Subaru product has yet again been recognised. But, equally important, we feel tremendously indebted to our dealer network and our aftersales support team who have played such a vital role. Without their dedication to customer care and attention to the smallest detail, Subaru would not have retained this coveted title."

The survey of two year old 'R' registration cars covers all aspects of the car ownership experience including vehicle performance, quality, customer care, warranty, service and parts back-up and the speed of repairing faults.

No fewer than 24,089 owners completed the detailed questionnaire which covers 36 different areas of customer satisfaction.

They were responding to requests for participants made by the BBC's 'Top Gear' television programme and 'Top Gear' car magazine. Subaru's top score of 158 points - the same as in 1999 - remains the highest on record.

Areas in which Subaru beat all other makes included problem incidence and resolution - in other words the number of vehicle faults and the efficiency in solving them.

In the report, David Sargent, Director of European Operations for J.D. Power and Associates wrote; "Subaru tops the rankings again in 2000 as Subaru owners continue to enjoy superior performance and quality. On road performance ratings continue to excel and owners report few problems as well as a high ability among Subaru dealers to fix problems the first time round."

He continued in his report: "Dealers also contribute strongly to satisfaction with excellent ratings for helpfulness, knowledge/expertise, explanation of work, promptness and quality of work performed."

Subaru's Forester also performed well in its first year competing in the model by model survey which covered 115 models.

While the Subaru Legacy was No 1 and Subaru Impreza No 2, the Forester topped all sport utility vehicles with an overall No 8 placing.