The 2013 J.D. Power & Associates Vehicle Dependability Study shows vehicle dependability is improving, with owners reporting the lowest number of vehicle problems since the study launched 24 years ago.
To determine which brands and vehicles are most dependable, J.D. Power calculates the number of vehicle problems reported by more than 37,000 consumers who own vehicles that were all-new or significantly redesigned for the 2010 model year. Compared with the results of the 2012 VDS, dependability has improved by five percent.
“For the first time, cars and trucks that were new or redesigned for 2010 performed better than those that were unchanged from the 2009 model year,” The Associated Press explains. “Owners of new models experienced 116 problems per 100 vehicles compared with 133 for models that weren't new in 2010. That result challenges the conventional wisdom that it takes carmakers one or two model years to work out all the glitches in new cars.”
Last year, Lexus had the lowest number of problems reported per 100 vehicles, and for 2013, Lexus holds its spot at the top, followed by Porsche, Lincoln, Toyota and Mercedes-Benz. Lincoln is the only domestic nameplate in the top five, but J.D. Power says that the dependability gap between domestic and foreign brands is narrowing. Volkswagen, Jeep, Mitsubishi, Dodge and Land Rover are the five lowest-ranking brands.
The study also highlights vehicles with the fewest reported problems for their classes. Seven of those vehicles are Toyota models, while four are made by General Motors. The vehicles in bold are number one in their category:
- Subcompact Car: Scion xD, Toyota Yaris, Hyundai Accent
- Compact Car: Toyota Prius, Ford Focus, Mazda3
- Compact Sporty Car: Mazda MX-5 Miata, Mini Cooper, Scion tC
- Compact Premium Sporty Car: Nissan Z, Mercedes-Benz E-Class Coupe, Volvo C70
- Midsize Sporty: Chevrolet Camaro, Ford Mustang
- Midsize Car: Hyundai Sonata, Ford Fusion, Buick LaCrosse
- Large Car: Buick Lucerne, Toyota Avalon, Chevrolet Impala
- Entry Premium Car: Lexus ES 350, Lincoln MKZ, Cadillac CTS
- Midsize Premium Car: Audi A6, Volvo S80, Lexus GS 350/GS 460
- Compact Multipurpose Vehicle: Scion xB, Chevrolet HHR, Kia Soul
- Compact Crossover/SUV: Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Toyota FJ Cruiser
- Midsize Crossover/SUV: Honda Crosstour, Toyota Venza, Toyota 4Runner
- Large Crossover/SUV: Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon, Toyota Sequoia
- Entry Premium Crossover/SUV: Acura RDX, Audi Q5
- Midsize Premium Crossover/SUV: Lexus RX, Volvo XC70
- Minivan: Toyota Sienna, Honda Odyssey
- Midsize Pickup: Ford Ranger, Ram Dakota, Honda Ridgeline
- Large Pickup: GMC Sierra HD, GMC Sierra LD, Chevrolet Avalanche
“This year the Lexus RX was the model with the fewest problems at just 57 problems per 100 reported,” says The New York Times. “Authors of the study point out that this is the first time in the history of the study that a crossover or sport utility vehicle has been in that position.”
Improvements in vehicle dependability should give used car shoppers confidence. David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power & Associates, says that "there are a lot of dependable off-lease vehicles in the used-vehicle market. It also means that owners who keep their vehicle beyond the manufacturer's warranty period are able to have greater peace of mind that vehicles are becoming increasingly more dependable. That said, it is virtually certain that new vehicles being sold today will be even more reliable in three years."
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