The Japanese ability to make damn fine cars hasn’t been lost in translation, according to a new report.

Once the joke of the Western world, Japanese car firms have turned their image around completely from being purveyors of cheap crap to creators of the globe’s most reliable and successful motors. Honda, in particular, has been singled out by Which? as top of the class, with its little Jazz, 4x4 CR-V and large Accord models topping their segments.

Based on a survey of 32,000 vehicles of under 2-years-old, Toyota, Mazda and Lexus also did very well. The only European manufacturer to triumph in a particular category was the Audi A6, which came top of the luxury cars. The Volvo V70 took second place.

Unsurprisingly, French cars did very badly, with the Renault Magane singled out as “by far the most troublesome medium-size car". Chrysler and Alfa Romeo were also slammed for the shocking levels of dealer service.

The message for US and European motor manufacturers is that they don’t produce enough quality cars, nor are they competitive enough on price. Japanese cars, while reliable, are also cheaper on average than equivalent European models.