There's been quite a shuffling of the top-ranked brands in this year's redesigned J.D. Power Dependability Study. Korean brands now dominate the list, with Kia, Hyundai and Genesis taking three of the top four spots, while both Lexus and Porsche are out of the top three. Lexus fell from number one in 2021 to number six. Porsche, which ranked second last year, drops to number seven (though the 911 retains its number one dependability status among models.) Cadillac falls from six to ninth place. On the other hand, Buick moved up from the 5th spot to 2nd in the list of brands with the fewest reported problems after three years of ownership.
“Many owners are holding on to their vehicles longer, so long-term dependability is even more critical,” said David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power. “Some automakers are performing much better than others at preventing problems from occurring. These problems include the vehicle’s mechanicals, exterior and interior—but also infotainment systems, driver assistance systems and all the other electronic systems in today’s vehicles.”
The study looks at three years of ownership so the 2022 study involves 2019 model-year vehicles. The vehicles were first examined in the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS). Seven of the 10 highest-ranked brands in the 2019 IQS are among the 10 highest-ranked brands in this year’s VDS.
New for 2022
J.D. Power says the study, now in its 33rd year, was redesigned for 2022 to include all of the features and technology that are available in current vehicles. The study covers 184 specific problem areas across nine major vehicle categories: climate; driving assistance (new in 2022); driving experience; exterior; features/controls/ displays; infotainment; interior; powertrain; and seats.
Also new for 2022, J.D. Power says the study now measures owner satisfaction with the vehicle’s condition after three years of use; whether owners find their vehicle as appealing now as when they first bought it; and what software updates have been made to the vehicle.
“Automakers are increasingly looking at owners’ relationships with their vehicles as having similarities to other consumer technology,” Amodeo said. “For instance, cellphones update all the time with over-the-air software releases and, increasingly, automakers must take advantage of this approach to fix problems, improve features and add capabilities to keep owners satisfied. Automakers that are able to do this best will have a huge advantage.”
Following are key findings of the 2022 study as outlined in the J.D. Power press release:
- Owners of mass market vehicles experience fewer problems: Mass market brands average 190 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), which is 14 PP100 lower than for premium brands (204 PP100). Premium brands typically incorporate more technology in their vehicles, which increases the likelihood for problems to occur. At the same time, the build quality of mass market vehicles has improved considerably and now matches that of the premium brands.
- Infotainment systems remain most problematic area: The infotainment category continues to be the most problematic, with an average of 51.9 PP100, which is more than twice as many problems as the next-highest category. Seven of the top 10 problem areas in the study are infotainment-related, including: built-in voice recognition (8.3 PP100); Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity (5.4 PP100); built-in Bluetooth system (4.5 PP100); not enough power plugs/USB ports (4.2 PP100); navigation systems difficult to understand/use (3.7 PP100); touchscreen/display screen (3.6 PP100); and navigation system inaccurate/outdated map (3.6 PP100).
- Most dependable model: For a second consecutive year, the Porsche 911 is the highest-ranked model in the study. This is the third time in the past four years that the 911 has earned this honor, a remarkable achievement.
Kia ranks highest overall in vehicle dependability, with a score of 145 PP100. This is the first year Kia leads the overall ranking after ranking third overall in 2021.
“The results of this year’s J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study substantiate Kia’s unrelenting commitment to the quality, durability and craftsmanship of our award-winning vehicle line,” said Sean Yoon, president and CEO of Kia North America and Kia America. “Furthermore, the Sorento’s category win speaks to the world-class ownership experience we deliver to our customers.”
Other mass market brands ranking high for vehicle dependability include Buick (147 PP100), Hyundai (148 PP100), Toyota (158 PP100) and Dodge (166 PP100).
Genesis (155 PP100) ranks highest in the premium segment, followed by Lexus (159 PP100), Porsche (162 PP100), Cadillac (168 PP100) and Lincoln (180 PP100).
General Motors Company and Toyota Motor Corporation each receive five segment awards for models with the fewest reported problems in their respective segments. General Motors Company receives segment awards for the Buick Encore, Buick Envision, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Silverado HD and Chevrolet Suburban. Toyota Motor Company receives segment awards for the Lexus NX, Lexus RX, Lexus UX, Toyota Corolla and Toyota Tundra.
Hyundai Motor Group receives three segment awards for the Hyundai Santa Fe, Hyundai Sonata and Kia Sorento.
Chart above published by J.D. Power with data from its 2022 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study in which it originated as the source. For a list of model rankings by segment click here.
About the Study
The 2022 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study is based on responses from 29,487 original owners of 2019 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership. The study was fielded from July 2021 through November 2021.
Feature Photo: 2019 Kia Sorento, the highest ranked upper mid-sized SUV in the 2022 study. Credit: Kia.