Kia again ranks #1 in J.D. Power initial quality ratings


If you’re looking for a new car that won’t break down right after you buy it, J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Initial Quality Study has found that you don’t have to spend a lot of money!

New vehicle quality is at its highest level ever, according to the study, improving 8% from last year.

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Initial quality in this study was measured by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles during the first 90 days of ownership, so a lower score reflected higher quality.

“Automotive manufacturers are responding to consumer feedback and producing vehicles of the highest quality,” said Dave Sargent, vice president, global automotive at J.D. Power. “The industry has improved significantly in each of the past three years. Today’s vehicles have more things that could go wrong but fewer things that actually do go wrong.”

For the second year in a row, Kia ranked highest in initial overall quality. It had a score of 72 problems experienced per 100 vehicles. Genesis came in second, followed closely by Porsche.

Fiat placed last in the study based on responses from nearly 80,000 people who bought or leased 2017 model-year vehicles.

Vehicle brands ranked from best to worst

  • Kia: 72
  • Genesis: 77
  • Porsche: 78
  • Ford: 86
  • Ram: 86
  • BMW: 88
  • Chevrolet: 88
  • Hyundai: 88
  • Lincoln: 92
  • Nissan: 93
  • Volkswagen: 93
  • Mini: 94
  • Buick: 95
  • Toyota: 95
  • Industry average: 97
  • Lexus: 98
  • GMC: 99
  • Chrysler: 102
  • Mercedes-Benz: 102
  • Acura: 103
  • Cadillac: 105
  • Honda: 105
  • Dodge: 106
  • Infiniti: 107
  • Jeep: 107
  • Subaru: 113
  • Audi: 115
  • Mazda: 125
  • Land Rover: 131
  • Mitsubishi: 131
  • Volvo: 134
  • Jaguar: 148
  • Fiat: 163

Top models per vehicle segment

  • Small car: Chevrolet Sonic, Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit
  • Small premium car: BMW 2 Series, BMW i3, Lexus CT
  • Compact car: Kia Forte, Chevrolet Cruze, Toyota Corolla, Volkswagen Jetta
  • Compact sporty car: Mini Cooper
  • Compact MPV: Kia Soul
  • Compact premium car: BMW 4 Series, Lexus ES, Cadillac ATS
  • Midsize car: Toyota Camry, Kia Optima, Nissan Altima
  • Midsize sporty car: Ford Mustang, Dodge Challenger
  • Minivan: Chrysler Pacifica, Dodge Grand Caravan
  • Midsize premium car: Lexus GS, Lincoln Continental, Audi A7
  • Midsize premium sporty car: Porsche 911
  • Large car: Kia Cadenza, Toyota Avalon, Nissan Maxima
  • Small SUV: Kia Niro, Kia Sportage, Buick Encore, Volkswagen Tiguan
  • Small premium SUV: Mercedes-Benz GLA, BMW X1
  • Compact SUV: GMC Terrain, Ford Escape, Chevrolet Equinox
  • Compact premium SUV: Porsche Macan, BMW X3, BMW X4
  • Midsize SUV: Kia Sorento, Toyota Highlander, Buick Enclave
  • Midsize premium SUV: BMW X6, BMW X5, Porsche Cayanne
  • Midsize pickup: Nissan Frontier, Chevrolet Colorado, Honda Ridgeline
  • Large SUV: Ford Expedition, Chevrolet Tahoe, Toyota Sequoia
  • Large premium SUV: Infiniti QX80, Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes-Benz GLS
  • Large light duty pickup: Chevrolet Silverado, Ram 1500, Toyota Tundra
  • Large heavy duty pickup: Chevrolet Silverado HD, Ford Super Duty

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Listen to Clark discuss the study on The Clark Howard Show Podcast

Interestingly, domestic brands outperformed import brands overall for the second year in a row, but it’s only the third time that’s happened since the study was first published in 1987.

“The Initial Quality Study continues to demonstrate the critical importance of automakers responding to consumer feedback regarding vehicle quality,” Sargent said. “Any automaker that stands still will quickly start to fall behind. For consumers, the great news is that significant improvements are occurring in all model segments, meaning that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a quality vehicle.”


Read more about the study from J.D. Power.

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