The most reliable car brands and models in 2023

 ·27 Jun 2023

J.D. Power, a provider of consumer insights, advisory services and data and analytics, has published its 2023 US Vehicle Dependability Study – showing that vehicle dependability is at an all-time high as the overall level of problems cited by owners continues to decline, but new technology is showing signs of its infancy

The 2023 study is based on responses from 30,062 original owners of 2020 model-year vehicles after three years of ownership – measuring the number of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) experienced during the past 12 months.

The study covered 184 specific problem areas – including features and technology that are available in current vehicles – across nine vehicle system categories:

  • Exterior;
  • Driving Experience;
  • Features/Controls/Displays (FCD);
  • Driving Assistance;
  • Infotainment;
  • Seats;
  • Climate;
  • Interior; and
  • Powertrain (engine).

“The study reported an industry average of 186 problems per 100 (PP100) vehicles, an improvement of 6 PP100 from 2022,” said J.D. Power.

Mass market brands are leading the industry’s improvement for fewer problems, with 182 PP100 – 8 PP100 lower than a year ago and 23 PP100 lower than for premium brands (205 PP100).

“The gap between the two segments is at its widest since the study launched 34 years ago and mirrors a trend that began in 2016,” said the report.

“A driving force for the dependability disparity between the two segments is the new technology introduced in vehicles. Premium brands usually have more technology, which increases complexity and the inherent likelihood of additional problems,” it added.

Some of the most deteriorated areas from 90 days to three years of ownership are starter battery failures, outdated maps, Android Auto/Apple Car Play and voice recognition problems.

“The increase in problems in the technology area shows the importance that over-the-air updates can play in correcting issues with audio systems and keeping the information in them up to date,” said the report.

Most reliable brands

Lexus ranks highest overall in vehicle dependability, scoring 133 PP100. Other premium brands ranking high for vehicle dependability include Genesis (144 PP100), Cadillac (173 PP100) and BMW (184 PP100).

Kia (152 PP100) ranks highest in the mass market segment for a third consecutive year, followed by Buick (159 PP100), Chevrolet (162 PP100), Mitsubishi (167 PP100) and Toyota (168 PP100).

Most reliable models

Toyota is the parent company receiving the most model-level awards, with several notable models scoring high in dependability. These are:

  • The Lexus NX;
  • Lexus RX;
  • Toyota C-HR;
  • Toyota Highlander;
  • Toyota Sienna;
  • Toyota Corolla; and
  • Toyota Tacoma.

BMW received four segment awards – for the BMW 4 Series, BMW X2, BMW X5 and MINI Cooper.

 Hyundai – the parent company of Kia Motors – received three segment awards for the Kia Forte, Kia Optima and Kia Sportage.

Read: The cheapest cars on offer by luxury brands in South Africa – and how much they cost

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