October 1, 2022

Vehicle Definition

Comfortable Vehicle

J.D. Power: Kia, Genesis Make The Most Dependable Vehicles; Ram, Land Rover The Least

2020 Kia Optima in white.Kia builds the most dependable vehicles on the U.S. market. Its sister companies do pretty well, too.

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
1. Kia 145
2. Buick 147
3. Hyundai 148
4. Genesis 155
5. Toyota 158
6. Lexus 159
7. Porsche 162
8. Dodge 166
9. Cadillac 168
10. Chevrolet 171
11. Mini 173
12. Mazda 179
13. Lincoln 180
14. Mitsubishi 183
15. BMW 187
16. GMC 188
17. Mercedes-Benz 195
18. Jeep 201
19. Nissan 205
20. Volkswagen 217
21. Subaru 226
22. Infiniti 228
23. Honda 230
24. Audi 232
25. Jaguar 233
26. Chrysler 240
27. Acura 244
28. Alfa Romeo 245
29. Volvo 256
30. Ram 266
31. Land Rover 284

 

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: