like Andrew said: there are no 'poor' quality offerings from the 'big' names, 17.5 with black/yellow is a great starting point. i am not familiar with savox and 1s, it might be great. (futaba 9650 is a standard to compare others to)
myself, i would go sm (rev-8 which was just released) the front end is bullet proof(old school frontend is also idiot proof!) the alloy parts are not soft (alloy parts from some other vendors feel soft when i snug up a fastener which leaves me squeamish)
i didn't know what you meant by 'good quality competitive car'. they are all competitive, and they are all perfectly adequate quality, but some use harder or softer materials which have a cost differential. All mfg's that Andrew mentioned give very good value, so personal taste and other factors (like what others at the track are familiar with) may be more important considerations.
the bottom line is that with 1/12, compared to the car kit there is substantially more $$ tied up in electronics, battery, tires and bodies(which are all reusable). so if even if you were to get a 1/12 up and running and decide to totally change direction, the cost to switch to a new kit is less than a 30% bump in total investment. that's not 0 but the total cost of a complete 1/12 setup and a 2nd kit is still less than setting up 1 touring car.