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Study: These 3-Year-Old Cars Are the Most Dependable

lexus gx460 blackline 2022 04 badge black exterior grille suv scaled jpg 2022 Lexus GX 460 | Cars.com photo by Christian Lantry

J.D. Power’s latest dependability study indicates things aren’t getting much better for cars. The agency’s annual Vehicle Dependability Study measures the number of consumer-reported problems per 100 vehicles after the first three years of ownership in a variety of categories, and the 2024 survey results indicate an increase of four PP100 vehicles year over year to an average of 190 PP100. Additionally, the rate at which problems have increased between 90 days and three years of ownership is up by 5 percentage points compared with the same study a year previous.

Related: 2023 J.D. Power Initial Quality Survey: New Vehicle Problems Set New Record, Breaking the Previous One from Last Year

The study’s authors say this year’s results indicate a decline in long-term vehicle dependability, with increased levels of problems reported for nearly two-thirds of brands included in the study. Which are the biggest offenders?

Problem Areas

For the 2024 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, J.D. Power captured responses from 30,595 original owners of 2021 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership from August through November 2023. Among emerging trends, owners are annoyed with infotainment and driver-assistance systems; owners of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles also reported more issues than those with gas-powered vehicles, which reinforced a recent Consumer Reports study about electrified vehicle reliability.

The infotainment category was the most problematic, with a score of 49.1 PP100. Issues with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity are among the top complaints (6.3 PP100), followed by built-in voice recognition system issues (6.1 PP100).

Battery-electric vehicles are the most problematic this year with an average score of 256 PP100, followed by PHEVs (216 PP100) and hybrids (191 PP100). For reference, gasoline vehicles have an average of 187 PP100, according to the study. Nearly 40% of EV owners reported having to replace their vehicle’s tires within the past 12 months — 19 percentage points more than gas-powered vehicle owners.

Brand Rankings

The study covers 184 specific problem areas across nine major vehicle categories: climate; driving assistance; driving experience; exterior; features, controls and displays; infotainment; interior; powertrain; and seats. The lower the score, the better. The industry average this year was 190 PP100.

For 2024, Lexus (135 PP100) is again atop the list, followed by Toyota (147 PP100) — a big improvement over 2023’s survey results. On the flip side, Chrysler’s numbers landed it at the bottom of the list with 310 PP100, worse than 2023’s 25th place ranking with 226 PP100. Audi isn’t much better with 275 PP100, worse than its 2023 score of 252 PP100.

Here are this year’s rankings, followed by each brand’s PP100 score:

  • Lexus: 135
  • Toyota: 147
  • Buick: 149
  • Chevrolet: 174
  • Mini: 174
  • Porsche: 175
  • Mazda: 185
  • Kia: 187
  • BMW: 190
  • Dodge: 190
  • Jeep: 190
  • Cadillac: 196
  • Hyundai: 198
  • Subaru: 198
  • Nissan: 199
  • Genesis: 200
  • Ram: 201
  • GMC: 206
  • Honda: 206
  • Acura: 216
  • Mercedes-Benz: 218
  • Infiniti: 219
  • Ford: 239
  • Volvo: 245
  • Lincoln: 251
  • Tesla: 252 (Note that J.D. Power said Tesla does not meet its study award criteria to be officially ranked, so this number is unofficial.)
  • Volkswagen: 267
  • Land Rover: 268
  • Audi: 275
  • Chrysler: 310

Top Models

The survey also ranks individual models in a variety of segments. The Porsche 718 was rated as the model with the highest initial quality overall; below are the top models by each segment as defined by J.D. Power.

Cars

  • Compact Car: Toyota Corolla
  • Compact Premium Car: Lexus IS
  • Mid-Size Car: Toyota Camry
  • Mid-Size Premium Car: Lexus ES
  • Premium Sporty Car: Porsche 718

SUVs

  • Small SUV: Buick Encore
  • Small Premium SUV: BMW X1
  • Compact SUV: Chevrolet Equinox
  • Compact Premium SUV: Lexus NX
  • Mid-Size SUV: Toyota 4Runner
  • Mid-Size Premium SUV: Lexus RX
  • Upper Mid-Size SUV: Chevrolet Traverse
  • Upper Mid-Size Premium SUV: BMW X6
  • Large SUV: Chevrolet Tahoe

Trucks and Vans

  • Minivan: Kia Sedona
  • Mid-Size Pickup: Toyota Tacoma
  • Large Light-Duty Pickup: Toyota Tundra
  • Large Heavy-Duty Pickup: Ford F-Series Super Duty

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News Editor Jennifer Geiger joined the automotive industry in 2003, much to the delight of her Corvette-obsessed dad. Jennifer is an expert reviewer, certified car-seat technician and mom of three. She wears a lot of hats — many of them while driving a minivan. Email Jennifer Geiger

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