Kia's ascent to the top of J.D. Power and Associates' 2016 Initial Quality Study was no overnight success. The Korean automaker has been improving steadily for several years, finishing No. 2 in 2015.
Over the past five years, other brands also have made notable improvements, including Hyundai, BMW, Buick and Volkswagen.
Then there are the brands that have lost ground.
The biggest loser was Jaguar, which tumbled to No. 27 in 2016 after consistently scoring in the top 10 since 2012, including No. 3 last year.
Honda and Acura also posted notable declines in quality, according to the study. In 2012, Honda was No. 5 and Acura No. 6. This year, Honda was No. 24 and Acura No. 25.