Reliability is paramount on the minds of new-vehicle shoppers, and with good reason. Nobody wants to wind up bring stuck with a proverbial lemon. Even with new vehicles being covered under warranty for at least the first three years of ownership, it’s a major hassle to bring a troublesome ride back to the dealership for multiple service visits.
Fortunately, new-vehicle reliability is on the upswing. According to the results of the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, it’s improved by four percent over last year’s numbers, which were themselves up by nine percent. That follows what had been five years of steady decline in reliability, due largely to the rise in fussy high-tech features. JDP surveyed 32,952 original owners of vehicles from the 2016 model year and asked them to rate their rides based on 177 potential problem areas. The results were winnowed down to scores for overall reliability, as well as for mechanical, interior/exterior, and features/controls issues.
Though we’re far from the era in which a new car would literally break down on the ride home from the dealership, the devil, as they say, is in the details. "Vehicles are more reliable than ever, but automakers are still wrestling with problems such as voice recognition, transmission shifts, and battery failures," explains Dave Sargent, Vice President of Global Automotive at J.D. Power.
We’re featuring 20 models in the hottest segments of the new-vehicle market – sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks – in the above slideshow. Each of them received a rating of nine or 10 points out of 10 for dependability, based on examples from the 2016 model year. We’re presenting them in alphabetical order. You can view the full report here.
In addition to the added peace of mind that comes with owning a vehicle that isn’t prone to suffer mechanical issues, J.D. Power’s analysis shows that a more dependable model will tend to bring back a higher resale value at trade-in time than would a less-durable one.