Kelley Blue Book (KBB) collects a serious amount of data from new car shoppers, most of which comes from Market Intelligence’s Brand Watch survey. From that information, KBB compiles an annual list of “Brand Image Awards,” representing the car-buying public’s perception of various automakers.

For 2012, luxury sports car builder Porsche has been named as the “Coolest Brand” by KBB’s readers, and the website is quick to point out that Porsche carries this off by not boasting of its achievements. The Stuttgart-based automaker wins as the “Best Performance Brand,” too, a title it regularly trades with BMW.

Mercedes-Benz repeats for the fifth straight year as the “Most Prestigious Brand,” which KBB sums up by saying, “there’s just something about the three-pointed star and the rich history of sophistication behind it.”

BMW doesn’t go home empty-handed, as the automaker earned the award for “Best Exterior Design Brand, Luxury” which is clearly a sign that the public has gotten past Chris Bangle’s awkward earlier designs. We agree with KBB’s assessment that “BMW has a knack for expressing its cars’ inner power... to their exterior sheet metal.”

Cadillac picked up a pair of awards this year, including “Best Interior Design Brand, Luxury” and “Best Comfort Brand.” While Cadillac’s exterior styling remains polarizing, its interiors have steadily improved, and even sporting Cadillacs (like the CTS-V) remain comfortable to drive on a daily basis.

Honda grabbed two awards as well, for “Best Value Brand” and “Most Trusted Brand,” which seems to be reflected in sales of the Civic, Accord and new CR-V. Critics may hate the new Civic models, but the public still sees them as reliable cars that deliver solid value for the money.

Finally, Ford was the big winner this year, picking up four separate awards for “Most Family-Friendly Brand,” “Best Interior Design Brand, Non-Luxury,” “Most Rugged Truck Brand,” and “Best Exterior Design Brand, Non-Luxury.” Lagging Mustang sales aside, it’s pretty clear that consumers have indeed driven a Ford, lately.