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Lexus, Toyota, Porsche most reliable cars in America, J.D. Power says

Published:Sunday | March 10, 2019 | 12:00 AM

Toyota dominated a prestigious annual study on vehicle dependability, but General Motors was close behind, and German automakers improved markedly this year.

Toyota’s luxury Lexus brand took the top slot in the 2019 J.D. Power US Vehicle Dependability Study for the eighth straight year. Toyota’s namesake brand tied for second.

Volkswagen Group’s Porsche shared the second-place spot and won the first-ever award for the most dependable vehicle in the industry: the Porsche 911 sports car.

GM’s Chevrolet and Buick placed fourth and fifth, respectively, among all brands.

The annual J.D. Power study gauges dependability of three-year-old vehicles over the last 12 months, meaning that this year’s survey assessed the 2016 model year.

Dependability is a key point of consideration for shoppers, and it typically factors into long-term resale values.

Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and VW all showed improvement as every German automotive brand beat the industry average for the first time in the study’s 30-year history.

Fiat Chrysler’s Fiat brand was last, registering nearly 13 per cent more problems than the next-worst brand, Land Rover. But the Chrysler brand delivered the most improvement of any brand, falling just short of the industry average.

One brand that wasn’t tracked: Tesla, due to “insufficient sample size,” in part tied to restrictions the company placed on the sharing of vehicle data, J.D. Power spokesman Kyle Reuter said in an email.

Of the 20 major vehicle segments tracked by J.D. Power, Lexus, Toyota, BMW, Chevrolet and Buick were the only brands that earned multiple most-dependable vehicle honours, with two each.

At least three of the nameplates honoured in this year’s study have since been discontinued or are poised to go out of production this year: the Buick LaCrosse, Buick Verano and Chrysler Town and Country. Several others have been since redesigned.

The study, which measures the number of problems per 100 vehicles, found a four per cent overall improvement for the industry from the previous year. That makes it the best-ever year for vehicle dependability.

“But I wouldn’t say that everything is rosy,” said Dave Sargent, vice-president of global automotive at J.D. Power, in a statement. “Vehicles are more reliable than ever, but automakers are wrestling with problems such as voice recognition, transmission shifts, and battery failures.”

Researchers tracked 177 specific problems in eight major categories.

The industry average was 136 problems per 100 vehicles.

How the major brands ranked:

- Porsche: 108

- Toyota: 108

- Mini: 119

- BMW: 122

- Audi: 124

- Hyundai: 124

- Kia: 126

- Volkswagen: 131

- Mercedes-Benz: 134

- Subaru: 136

- Nissan: 137

- Ford: 146

- Honda: 146

- Mitsubishi: 158

- Mazda: 159

- Jeep: 167

- Jaguar: 168

- Land Rover: 221

The most dependable vehicles in each segment:

- Small car: Chevrolet Sonic

- Compact car: Buick Verano

- Compact sporty car: MINI Cooper

- Compact multipurpose vehicle: Kia Soul

- Compact premium car: Lexus ES

- Mid-size car: Toyota Camry

- Mid-size sporty car: Dodge Challenger

- Mid-size premium car: BMW 5 Series

- Large car: Buick LaCrosse

- Small SUV: Volkswagen Tiguan

- Small premium SUV: Audi Q3

- Compact SUV: Chevrolet Equinox

- Compact premium SUV: BMW X3

- Mid-size pick-up: Nissan Frontier

- Mid-size SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe

- Mid-size premium SUV: Lexus GX

- Minivan: Chrysler Town & Country

- Large SUV: Ford Expedition

- Large light-duty pickup: Toyota Tundra

- Large heavy-duty pickup: Chevrolet Silverado HD