That's on average, but the most reliable brand was Lexus.
You’d think that making the financial effort to buy a premium car over a mainstream model gives you that peace of mind in terms of reliability over the years. While that’s true in some cases, a new study shows that fancy cars actually have slightly more problems on average than regular models. The J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study is out, and for the first time, mass-market brands have fared better on average than luxury brands.
The study shows there were on average 141 problems per 100 premium cars studied whereas mainstream vehicles encountered only 135 issues. The study was conducted between October and December 2018 based on responses from 32,952 original owners in the United States of 2016 model year cars.
However, the fact that premium cars had on average slightly more problems than mainstream ones doesn’t tell the whole story. For the eighth consecutive year, Lexus, a luxury brand, ranked the highest in the overall vehicle dependability among all brands, with only 106 problems per 100 vehicles. Another premium marque, Porsche, shares the second spot with Toyota, with 108 issues.
The 2019 edition of the annual study has a new award for the Most Dependable Model and that one goes to the Porsche 911. Overall, the vehicle dependability has improved on average by 4 percent compared to the previous year, with the analysis showing six fewer issues per 100 vehicles, now at 136. It’s also worth mentioning that for the first time in the 30 years of the study, all German brands were better than the industry average.
At the very bottom of the rankings, Fiat owners spent the most time at repair shops, with the study showing 249 problems per 100 vehicles. It was a similar story with Land Rover as J.D. Power discovered owners encountered 221 problems on average. It may come as a bit of a surprise, but 2016MY Volvos also had many malfunctions as the study shows owners had 204 problems per 100 vehicles.
Source: J.D. Power via Automotive News
|Automaker||Problems per 100 vehicles|
|Segment||Highest ranked||Others ranked|
|Small Car||Chevrolet Sonic||Hyundai Accent, Nissan Versa|
|Compact Car||Buick Verano||Toyota Corolla, Chevrolet Cruze|
|Compact Sporty Car*||Mini Cooper||Mazda MX-5 Miata|
|Compact Multi-Purpose Vehicle*||Kia Soul||Toyota Prius v|
|Compact Premium Car||Lexus ES||Audi A5, Audi A4|
|Midsize Car||Toyota Camry||Buick Regal (Tie), Volkswagen Passat (Tie)|
|Midsize Sporty Car*||Dodge Challenger|
|Midsize Premium Car*||BMW 5 Series||Audi A7, Mercedes-Benz E class|
|Large Car||Buick LaCrosse||Chevrolet Impala, Toyota Avalon|
|Small SUV||Volkswagen Tiguan||Buick Encore (Tie), Kia Sportage (Tie)|
|Small Premium SUV*||Audi Q3||BMW X1|
|Compact SUV||Chevrolet Equinox||GMC Terrain, Toyota RAV4|
|Compact Premium SUV||BMW X3||Porsche Macan, Infiniti QX50|
|Midsize Pickup||Nissan Frontier||Chevrolet Colorado, GMC Canyon|
|Midsize SUV||Hyundai Santa Fe||Chevrolet Traverse, Toyota Highlander|
|Midsize Premium SUV||Lexus GX||Lexus RX, Mercedes-Benz GLE|
|Minivan*||Chrysler Town & Country||Toyota Sienna|
|Large SUV||Ford Expedition||Chevrolet Tahoe, Chevrolet Suburban|
|Large Light Duty Pickup*||Toyota Tundra||Chevrolet Silverado|
|Large Heavy Duty Pickup*||Chevrolet Silverado HD||Ford Super Duty|
|*No other model in this segment performs above segment average.|