Toronto, Ontario – Toyota’s Web site is the best for consumers, followed by Hyundai and Kia in a tie, according to a new study of automakers’ Canadian sites by J.D. Power and Associates.

Consumer satisfaction hinges on rich, customizable content along with a clear and intuitive navigation scheme, but the combination remains challenging for many automakers, the study concluded. In particular, vehicle shoppers who use Web site “build tools” to virtually customize a vehicle are increasingly seeking more detailed options, including a wider array of accessories and trim packages, and a greater variety and detail of vehicle images. Complaints included confusing navigation within the build tools, with consumers preferring proper placement of “next step” buttons, linear outlines of the steps, and tiered menus with option details.

“A build tool can have tremendous detail and immaculate images, but without proper navigation to move shoppers through the process expediently, they will likely be confused and disappointed,” said Ryan Robinson, Canadian automotive practice leader at J.D. Power and Associates. “Providing the proper combination of these attributes is what truly satisfies new-vehicle shoppers.”

The study found that while graphics-heavy pages take much longer to load, user perceptions of Web site speed are heavily influenced by aspects of navigation, and not solely by the length of time it takes for pages to load and appear. When Web site navigation features lead shoppers quickly and easily to the information they seek, satisfaction with the speed increases even if the page load times are relatively slow.

The study, now in its sixth year, looked at Web site information and content, speed of page loading, ease of navigation, and Web site appearance. Toyota ranked highest with a score of 828 points, while Hyundai and Kia tied at 812.

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