That’s the conclusion J.D. Power researchers reached in their 2022 Vehicle Dependability Study.
Korea’s Hyundai Motor Group operates three car brands in the U.S. market – mainstream brands Kia and Hyundai, and luxury badge Genesis. All three land in the top five for dependability, with Kia the most dependable overall brand and Genesis the most reliable luxury marque.
Study Looks at First Three Years
J.D. Power’s annual study counts the problems owners report in the first three years of owning a new vehicle. It tracks 184 specific problems across nine aspects of ownership: climate; driving assistance (new in 2022); driving experience; exterior; features/controls/ displays; infotainment; interior; powertrain; and seats.
Kia owners reported an average of 145 problems per 100 vehicles. Genesis owners reported 155. Land Rover finished dead last with 284 complaints per 100 vehicles at the other end of the scale. Ram finished second-to-last and did the worst among non-luxury brands, with 266.
Ram is a curious case. The brand finished on top of J.D. Power’s own Initial Quality Study last year. That study examines problems reported in the first 90 days of ownership. Since this study considers three years, it’s looking at vehicles purchased in 2019. It’s possible that Ram made a big quality leap between 2019 and 2022 or that problems tend to pop up in Ram trucks after the first 90 days.
More Features = More Failure Points
Luxury vehicles often have more problems than mass-market cars simply because they are more complex. More parts mean more parts that can break. More high-tech features mean more lines of code that can hide glitches and conflicts that emerge over time.
“Some automakers are performing much better than others at preventing problems from occurring. These problems include the vehicle’s mechanicals, exterior, and interior — but also infotainment systems, driver assistance systems, and all the other electronic systems in today’s vehicles,” said David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power.
Infotainment systems cause the most problems. Out of every 100 vehicles, owners reported an average of 52 complaints about infotainment systems. Inaccurate or difficult-to-use voice recognition systems were the single most common complaint.
Rank by Manufacturer:
The industry average was 192.
|Rank||Manufacturer||Problems per 100 Vehicles|
Scores by model:
Luxury cars may prove less reliable than affordable cars. But it’s possible to build a complex, luxurious high-performance sports car that buyers can depend on. The Porsche 911 proved the most dependable car in the study – the third time in four years Porsche’s halo car has worn that crown.
That could be an argument for sticking with what works. While the 911 is a complex machine, it is also a mature one. Its design has undergone decades of evolution but has retained its basic form since the 1960s.
The top-scoring model in each segment: