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Vehicles Are Becoming More Dependable. These Are the Best and Worst.

Vehicles are becoming more dependable than ever, a J.D. Power study found with brands Lexus, Porsche, and Buick earning the best scores. Meanwhile, Chrysler was ranked the least dependable brand. Land Rover, Fiat, Jeep, and Cadillac rounded out the bottom five.

The J.D. Power 2018 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, which focuses on three-year-old vehicles, found overall dependability improved 9% from 2017—the first time the industry score has improved since 2013. The study is based on responses from 36,896 original owners of 2015 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. Tesla was not included in the study because there were not enough reponses.

The overall dependability list, once dominated by luxury brands, is now seeing mass market brands creep up the rankings.

J.D Power measures the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles during the past 12 months by original owners of 2015 model-year vehicles. The industry average is 142 problems per 100 vehicles. The study covers 177 specific problems grouped into eight major vehicle categories, including exterior, features/controls/displays, seats, interior, the driving experience, audio/communication/entertainment/navigation, HVAC , and engine and transmission.

Despite the improvements, there are trouble spots. Notably with in-vehicle technology like infotainment systems. The two most common problems relate to built-in voice recognition and built-in Bluetooth connectivity, J.D. Power said.

“For the most part, automotive manufacturers continue to meet consumers’ vehicle dependability expectations,” said Dave Sargent, vice president of its global automotive division at J.D. Power. “A 9% improvement is extremely impressive, and vehicle dependability is, without question, at its best level ever. For people looking for a new or used model, now is a good time to find that special vehicle.”

The Most Dependable Vehicles

Small car segment:

  1. Kia Rio
  2. Chevrolet Sonic
  3. Nissan Versa

Small car premium segment: (only two listed because no other car qualified)

  1. Lexus CT
  2. BMW 2 Series

Small SUV:

  1. Hyundai Tucson
  2. Chevrolet Trax
  3. Volkswagen Tiguan

Small premium SUV:

  1. Audi Q3
  2. BMW X1
  3. Mercedes-Benz GLA

Compact SUV:

  1. Chevrolet Equinox
  2. GMC Terrain
  3. Ford Escape

Compact premium SUV:

  1. Mercedes GLX Class
  2. Porsche Macan
  3. Lexus NX

Compact car:

  1. Toyota Pruis
  2. Buick Verano
  3. Nissan Leaf

Compact car premium:

  1. Lexus ES
  2. Infiniti Q40
  3. BMW 4 Series

Midsize car:

  1. Chevrolet Malibu
  2. Toyota Camry
  3. Buick Regal

Midsize car premium: (only two listed because no other car qualified)

  1. Lexus GS
  2. BMW 5 Series

Midsize pickup: (only two listed because no other car qualified)

  1. Toyota Tacoma
  2. Nissan Frontier

Midsize SUV:

  1. Chevrolet Traverse
  2. (tied) Buick Enclave; Hyundai Santa Fe; and Toyota Venza

Midsize premium SUV:

  1. Lexus RX
  2. Lincoln MKX
  3. Lexus GX

Large car:

  1. Buick LaCrosse
  2. Chevy Impala
  3. Ford Taurus

Large SUV:

  1. Ford Expedition
  2. Chevy Tahoe

Large Heavy Duty pickup: (only two listed because no other car qualified)

  1. Ford Super Duty
  2. Chevrolet Silverado HD