According to the latest Kelley Blue Book Market Intelligence data, Hyundai in the US recently surpassed Honda and Toyota when it comes to making customers happy and retaining them. In addition, Hyundai resale values have been outperforming the car segment average, which is something reserved only for Toyota and Honda in our market. The new Sonata YF was also the fifth most researched car in kbb.com’s Top 10 Most-Researched New Vehicles list.

Comparing February 2010 data to Q4 2009, Hyundai owners looking at new models within the brand increased by 10.4% to 56.3%, good enough for it to top the chart for the first time, up from third place in Q4 2009. In the same timeframe, Toyota fell from top to third spot while Honda held steady at second place. Toyota owners considering a repeat purchase fell by 4.4% to 53.3%. Honda’s score is 55.8%.

At the same time, Kelley Blue Book Values data for Feb 2010 showed that Hyundai outperformed the overall car segment average by a healthy margin, increasing 2% month-over-month, relative to a 0.3% increase for the entire car segment.

“Hyundai is clearly benefiting from ‘a perfect storm’ – a result of introducing passionate new products like the 2011 Sonata and 2010 Tucson, while Honda’s mainstream vehicles like the CR-V and Accord are a bit stale in the marketplace and Toyota is experiencing a huge consumer perception crisis,” said James Bell, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book’s kbb.com.

This should be another warning sign for the Japanese carmakers, whose models like the Accord and Camry have deep roots in the US top ten best sellers list. Hyundai, along with sister brand Kia and Subaru, were the only carmakers to have increased market share in a troubled 2009.