What Are the Most Reliable 2019 Model-Year Vehicles? | News

NEWS

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2019 Kia Sorento | Cars.com photo by Brian Wong

As used-vehicle prices continue to hover at record highs, it’s more important than ever to do your homework when choosing a pre-owned car. To help shoppers get the most bang for the (elevated) buck, JD Power has released its 2022 US Vehicle Dependability Study. Now in its 33rd year, the research measures the total number of problems experienced by original owners of their 3-year-old vehicles.

Related: Shopping for a Used Car? Here Are the Most Reliable 2018 Vehicles According to JD Power

With new methodology that evaluates a more robust set of features and technologies, JD Power collected responses from nearly 30,000 original owners of 2019 model-year vehicles. We detail the features measured for 2022, as well as the top-ranked cars and key takeaways for used shoppers.

What’s Wrong With Your Car?

The VDS evaluates 184 specific problems experienced by 2019 vehicle owners that fall into one of nine larger categories: climate, driving assistance, driving experience, exterior, features/controls/displays, infotainment, interior, powertrain and seats. Automakers and individual models are assigned a score based on the number of reported problems per 100 vehicles, a metric JD Power calls PP100. The lower the score, the higher the ranking.

New Criteria for 2022

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Most of the safety features can be turned on and off within the instrument panel screen, via controls on the steering wheel. | Cars.com photo by Brian Wong

The driving-assistance category is newly added for 2022 as more vehicles begin to offer advanced driver-assist features. The JD Power study also adds a measure of satisfaction with the vehicle’s condition after three years, as well as any software updates made to the vehicle. The firm evaluated the process of how and when such updates were made, as well as the results. Although the industry’s average PP100 score increased a giant 58% from last year, it’s important to note that different criteria were used in the redesigned study, so you can’t compare VDS ratings for 2022 (which is to say, used 2019 models) with 2021 (used 2018 models).

“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 JD Power, in a company statement. “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.”

Most Reliable Car Brands

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2019 Kia Optima | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

South Korean brands prevailed in the 2022 study. Kia came out on top for the first time, while related brands Hyundai and Genesis took third and fourth place, respectively. Buick and Toyota also landed in the top five, while Land Rover brought up the rear for the third consecutive year.

Notably absent from the list is Tesla, which offers too small of a sample size to include, according to JD Power. However, the Tesla Model 3 earned a top accolade in the firm’s new Electric-Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Study.

Here’s the complete list of brands examined in the 2022 Vehicle Dependability Study, ranked by their PP100 score (the industry average is 192):

1. Kia (145)

2. Buick (147)

3. Hyundai (148)

4. Genesis (155)

5. Toyota (158)

6. Lexus (159)

7. Porsche (162)

8. Dodge (166)

9. Cadillac (168)

10. Chevrolet (171)

11. MINI (173)

12. Mazda (179)

13. Lincoln (180)

14. Mitsubishi (183)

15. BMW (187)

16. Ford (188)

17. GMC (192)

18. Mercedes-Benz (195)

19. Jeep (201)

20. Nissan (205)

21. Volkswagen (217)

22. Subaru (226)

23. Infiniti (228)

24. Honda (230)

25. Audi (232)

26. Jaguar (233)

27. Chrysler (240)

28. Acura (244)

29. Alfa Romeo (245)

30. Volvo (256)

31. Ram (266)

32. Land Rover (284)

Most Reliable Cars

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2019 Buick Envision | Cars.com photo by Brian Wong

The Porsche 911 takes the top spot for the most dependable model overall for the second year in a row, but JD Power also breaks down its rankings by vehicle type. General Motors and Toyota take the most segment-level awards, claiming five each.The Buick Envision topped the popular compact SUV category, and the Toyota Tundra drove away as the most dependable light-duty pickup truck. Below is the full breakdown by vehicle type:

  • Compact Car: Toyota Corolla
  • Compact Premium Car: BMW 4 Series
  • Compact Sporty Car: Mazda MX-5 Miata
  • Mid-Size Car: Hyundai Sonata
  • Mid-Size Sporty Car: Ford Mustang
  • Mid-Size Premium Car: Lincoln MKZ
  • Large Car: Chevrolet Impala
  • Small SUV: Buick Encore
  • Small Premium SUV: Lexus UX
  • Compact SUV: Buick Envision
  • Compact Premium SUV: Lexus NX
  • Mid-Size SUV: Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Mid-Size Premium SUV: Lexus RX
  • Upper Mid-Size SUV: Kia Sorento
  • Upper Mid-Size Premium SUV: Porsche Cayenne
  • Large SUV: Chevrolet Suburban
  • Mid-Size Pickup: Nissan Frontier
  • Large Light-Duty Pickup: Toyota Tundra
  • Large Heavy-Duty Pickup: Chevrolet Silverado HD
  • Minivan: Dodge Grand Caravan

The Takeaways

Several trends emerged that can help used-car shoppers choose the most dependable models.

Skip the Luxury Badge, Skip the Headaches

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2019 Land Rover Range Rover Sport PHEV | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

Premium brands like Genesis and Lexus performed well in the study, but overall dependability rankings for luxury vehicles fell short of their mass-market counterparts. While mass-market brands averaged 190 PP100, premium brands averaged 204, meaning luxury owners experienced more problems than those who drive a mass-market vehicle. JD Power says the reason is twofold: luxury models have more advanced technology, which leads to more problems, and automakers have made significant improvements to the build quality of mass-market vehicles.

99 Problems and Infotainment Is One

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2021 Volkswagen ID.4 | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The most problematic category among used vehicles once again proved to be the infotainment systems. The average PP100 for this category was 51.9, twice as high as the next most problematic category. According to JD Power, infotainment systems resulted in seven of the top 10 problem areas.

  • Built-in voice recognition (8.3 PP100)
  • Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity (5.4)
  • Built-in Bluetooth system (4.5)
  • Not enough power plugs/USB ports (4.2)
  • Navigation systems difficult to understand/use (3.7)
  • Touchscreen/display screen (3.6)
  • Navigation system inaccurate/outdated map (3.6)

It’s worth noting that among the frustrations above are apparent aspects of owners simply didn’t like (too few USB ports, for example), not just objective malfunctions. It wasn’t immediately clear how much the VDS weights the two, but past JD Power reliability studies have incorporated both sides.

Initial Quality Correlated to Dependability

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2019 Genesis G70 3.3T | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

The 2022 VDS evaluates 2019 model-year vehicles, which were first ranked in JD Power’s 2019 Initial Quality Study. IQS measures vehicles and brands with the fewest problems in the first three months of new ownership. Interestingly, seven out of the 10 highest-ranking brands from the IQS appeared in this year’s VDS: Kia, Genesis, Hyundai, Toyota, Lexus, Chevrolet and Dodge. For shoppers considering a newer used model, the 2020 JD Power IQS can offer some guidance.

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