Genesis, Kia and Hyundai top new vehicle dependability study


Looking for a reliable new vehicle to get around town in? The good news is that the overall dependability of new vehicles is on the rise for the fourth straight year!

RELATED: How to get a free VIN report before buying a used car

New study: Three Korean makes rule the initial car dependability roost

Each year, J.D. Power conducts research into new vehicle initial quality to determine which vehicles are the most reliable 90 days after they leave the dealer lot.

The results of the J.D. 2018 U.S. Initial Quality Study should bolster new car buyers’ hearts. That’s because J.D. Power noted a 4% increase in new vehicle quality since last year’s findings were released. In fact, reliability has been on the upswing since 2014.

Leading the pack this year were three Korean nameplates — Genesis, Kia and Hyundai — which all had far fewer reported problems per 100 vehicles than the industry average.

Keep in mind that a lower score reflects higher quality in the chart below:

J.D. Power initial quality study 2018

2018 top-ranked models by segment

  • Compact car: Toyota Corolla
  • Compact premium car: BMW 4 Series
  • Midsize car: Nissan Altima
  • Midsize premium car: Lincoln Continental
  • Small SUV: Hyundai Tucson
  • Compact SUV: Buick Envision
  • Compact premium SUV: Lincoln MKC
  • Midsize SUV: Kia Sorento
  • Midsize premium SUV: BMW X6
  • Large light duty pickup: Chevrolet Silverado

There’s more room for improvement as auto tech ramps up

While this is the fourth year in a row that reliability across the new vehicle industry has risen, there are still a couple of problem areas that J.D. Power says need to be addressed.

For example, the industry has made great strides in reducing problems with built-in voice recognition systems. Yet Audio/Communication/Entertainment/Navigation is still the most problem-prone area of a vehicle for any new car owner.

Meanwhile, J.D. Power noted an uptick in problems with driver assistance systems. Problems in this area have been rising by some 20% over the past three years as more manufacturers add things like collision avoidance and lane departure prevention.


“As we look to the future, avoiding problems with safety and driver assistance technology is critical,” said Dave Sargent, Vice President of Global Automotive at J.D. Power. “In an era of increasingly automated vehicles, vehicle owners have to be comfortable using foundational technologies like lane keep assistance and collision avoidance. Otherwise, automakers will not easily overcome consumer resistance to fully automated (driverless) cars.”

And don’t forget this other J.D. Power survey…

Meanwhile, there’s another survey J.D. Power does that money expert Clark Howard believes is more important than the initial quality study.

It’s simply called the U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study and it measures the number of problems owners report with their three-year-old vehicles.

Given Clark’s bias that you buy a two to three-year-old used car instead of a new vehicle, it’s not hard to see why the consumer champ favors this long-term measurement over the initial dependability stats.

So after three years of ownership, the nameplates with the fewest number of reported problems per 100 vehicles include Lexus, Porsche, Buick, Infiniti and Kia.

On the other end of this spectrum, Chrysler, Land Rover, Fiat, Jeep and Cadillac have the most reported problems per 100 vehicles during the first 36 months that they’re in your driveway.

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