For the first year ever, Kia leads JD Power’s annual Vehicle Dependability Study with a score of 145 problems per 100 vehicles. Buick (147) and Hyundai (148) round out the top three. The highest premium brand on the list is Genesis, with a score of 148. According to JD Power, it is common for so-called “mass market” brands to lead this particular survey, as “premium” brands “usually have more technology in their vehicles, increasing the opportunity on problems gets bigger” and are not necessarily built to a higher standard than cheaper brands.
The top-rated single nameplate is the Porsche 911. It’s the third time in the past four years and the second year in a row that the Porsche quintessential sports car has been given top honors. Porsche is in seventh place as a brand (162) just behind Lexus (159) and ahead of Dodge (166).
At the very bottom of the list is Land Rover with a dismal score of 284; the SUV specialist had the same unfortunate accolade on last year’s list. Ram (266), Volvo (256), Alfa Romeo (245) and Acura (244) also performed poorly. The overall industry average score is 192 – mass-market brands have an average score of 190, while premium brands are 14 points lower out of 204. While Tesla is unofficially included in some of JD Power’s results, the agency says the sample size it has access to for this study is too small to include.
As has been the case in recent years, infotainment systems dominate the list of issues reported by owners. Popular (or unpopular, depending on your point of view) complaints include built-in speech recognition (8.3 PP100), Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity (5.4 PP100), built-in Bluetooth system (4.5 PP100), insufficient power outlets / USB ports (4.2 PP100), navigation systems that are difficult to understand/use (3.7 PP100), touchscreen/display screen (3.6 PP100) and navigation system inaccurate/outdated map (3.6 PP100).
While issues with the car’s infotainment and technology packages are indeed a nuisance, it’s important to remember that such issues usually don’t leave owners stranded with an immobile vehicle, such as a broken transmission or blown engine. Taking infotainment complaints out of the results would reduce the average score per 100 vehicle by as much as 51.9 points.
The vehicles in this study are from the 2019 model year. That means owners have had three years to get to know their cars and trucks. It’s the 33rd year that JD Power has surveyed owners about reliability, but the survey has moved with the times. It was redesigned this year to include “184 specific problem areas across nine major vehicle categories.” For 2022, these categories include driver assistance technologies for the first time. You’ll notice that this year’s scores are dramatically different from last year’s, reflecting the change in survey design.
“Automotive manufacturers increasingly view owners’ relationships with their vehicles as similarities to other consumer technology,” said David Amodeo, director of global auto industry at JD Power, in a statement. “Mobile phones, for example, are constantly being updated with over-the-air software releases, and increasingly, automakers must take advantage of this approach to solve problems, improve features, and add capabilities to keep owners happy. being able to do the best will have a huge advantage.”
Individual models deserve the highest honors in their segment: