A trio of Korean brands continues to set the standard for new-vehicle quality in an influential study.
Genesis, Kia and Hyundai have widened the gap between themselves and other automakers in the 2019 J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, which assesses vehicles early in the ownership experience.
It’s the second year running these nameplates, all part of Hyundai Motor Group, have filled the top three positions and they account for six of the highest-ranking models within the 20 vehicle categories.
Genesis, newcomer to the luxury segment, tops the list with fewest reported problems in the first 90 days of ownership, while Kia is the highest-placed mass-market automaker.
Eight other brands score higher than the industry average, starting with Ford and Lincoln and including three more domestics, as well as three Japanese badges.
Overall, the quality of new cars in 2019 was flat compared to 2018, although there were improvements in areas including infotainment. Problems with driver assistance systems are increasing as the technology becomes more widespread and complex, the study finds.
Top ranking brands for initial quality in 2019
Including problems per 100 vehicles
- Genesis, 63
- Kia, 70
- Hyundai, 71
- Ford, 83
- Lincoln, 84
- Chevrolet, 85
- Nissan, 86
- Dodge, 90
- Lexus, 90
- Toyota, 90
- Buick, 92
Industry average: 93
Top ranking cars
Small car – Kia Rio
Small premium car – BMW 2 Series
Compact car – Kia Forte
Compact sporty car – Mini Cooper
Compact premium car – Genesis G70
Midsize car – Chevrolet Malibu / Ford Fusion
Midsize sporty car – Dodge Challenger
Midsize premium car – Mercedes-Benz CLS
Large car – Nissan Maxima
Top rankings SUVs, vans and pickups
Small SUV – Kia Sportage
Compact SUV – Chevrolet Equinox
Compact premium SUV – BMW X4
Midsize SUV – Hyundai Santa Fe
Midsize premium SUV – Lexus RX
Large SUV – Chevrolet Tahoe
Large premium SUV – Cadillac Escalade
Minivan – Kia Sedona
Midsize pickup – Ford Ranger
Large light-duty pickup – Nissan Titan
Large heavy-duty pickup – Chevrolet Silverado HD
The car with the best initial quality score overall was the Porsche 911.