Looking for a trouble-free new car? These brands are best, says J.D. Power


Korean brands lead the way with fewest new-car problems, but domestic vehicles are outperforming imports on average, research shows.

J.D. Power’s 2017 initial quality study, which looks at the number of problems reported by new-car owners in the first 90 days of ownership, shows Kia and fellow Korean nameplate Genesis topping the list of reliable auto brands.

Next comes German automaker Porsche, followed by domestics Ford and Ram, which are two of the most-improved companies in this year’s study.

While American brands as a whole outrank their foreign counterparts, with 93 problems per 100 vehicles compared to 99/100, another notable trend is that owners of non-premium-brand cars encountered fewer new-car issues than those of premium brands.

In terms of individual models, these are the top-performing cars by segment, with Kia again doing well:

2017 Top-ranked models by segment

Compact car – Kia Forte

Compact premium car – BMW 4 Series

Midsize car – Toyota Camry

Midsize premium car – Lexus GS

Small SUV – Kia Niro

Compact SUV – GMC Terrain

Compact premium SUV – Porsche Macan

Midsize SUV – Kia Sorento

Midsize premium SUV – BMW X6

Large light duty pickup – Chevrolet Silverado

Quality among new cars in general has improved eight percent from 2016, the study reveals. Where problems do arise, technology is at the forefront.

The top two problems this year are built-in voice recognition systems failing to recognize or understand commands, along with pairing and connectivity issues between Bluetooth and mobile phones.

“The industry has improved significantly in each of the past three years,” said Dave Sargent, vice-president, global automotive at J.D. Power.  “Today’s vehicles have more things that could go wrong but fewer things that actually do go wrong.”

J.D. Power offers consumers the following car-buying tips based on the findings of their study:

  • Stay educated on new technological features and consider how problems with these features may affect your ownership experience.
  • Be aware that the more complicated and feature-laden a vehicle is, the greater the potential for problems – but sometimes the features are worth the possible hassle.
  • Drill deeper, when reading reports of problems with new vehicles, to pinpoint where the bulk of problems are occurring.

Full results of the study are available at the J.D. Power website here.


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