Is Your Car Dependable?
The J.D. Power and Associates 2012 Vehicle Dependability Study reveals the big winners.
According to J.D. Power and Associates, 2012 is a banner year for automakers, with overall vehicle dependability better than ever. Each year, the research firm determines which are the most reliable vehicles on American roads and publishes the list in its Vehicle Dependability Study. Reliability is gauged by looking at the number of problems reported by owners of 3-year-old cars — in this instance, 2009 models — to see how they're faring after a few years of wear and tear. It seems that even though 2009 was a tough year for automakers because of the recession, quality did not suffer. Here are the most dependable cars on our roads:
Subcompact Car: Toyota Yaris
Toyota is a dominant force in J.D. Power's dependability study in 2012: Eight of the 14 vehicles to win top honors are made by Toyota. The Yaris, which made its debut in 2007 and is Toyota's top-seller in Europe, competes with cars such as the Scion xD and the Honda Fit, which took second and third places, respectively, in the subcompact category. The diminutive Yaris gets 38 mpg highway, and it comes standard with traction control and vehicle-stability control. In recent years, its fuel efficiency and safety features have been upgraded.
Compact Car: Toyota Prius
Although the Prius hybrid was involved in one of the biggest vehicle recalls of all time in 2010, it led the compact-car category in the J.D. Power study this year. This is also an accomplishment seeing as hybrid technology is newer, which means it tends to have more kinks. The Prius was the first mass-produced gasoline-electric hybrid when it entered the Japanese market in 1997, and today it's the best-selling hybrid worldwide. Even with electric cars infiltrating its ranks, it still gets impressive mileage: up to 51 mpg highway.
Compact Sporty Car: Scion tC
The tC is one of two Scions to get top honors in J.D. Power's 2012 dependability survey. Considering that only four Scion models are in production, those aren't bad statistics. The Scion, produced by Toyota, is geared toward younger drivers, with options such as subwoofers and yellow paint. The tC is Scion's more subtle 2-door sports coupe, whereas the cube-shaped xB, also on this year's dependability list, is the most recognizable Scion, perhaps because it cuts such a large and distinctive profile. Competitors to the tC include the MINI Cooper and the Volkswagen GTI, which were the runners-up in the category.
Midsize Car: Ford Fusion
Smaller than the Ford Five Hundred (now called the Taurus) but bigger than the Focus, the Fusion debuted in 2006, inspired by the Ford 427 concept car. It, along with the Explorer and the Lincoln MKZ, are Ford's most reliable vehicles, according to J.D. Power. The Fusion also scores well in terms of safety: It received the highest ratings in five out of seven categories in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety frontal offset crash test. The Mitsubishi Galant and the Toyota Camry were runners-up in the midsize car category, earning the second and third spots, respectively.
Large Car: Buick Lucerne
The best of the big guys, the Lucerne is Buick's sole top-ranking vehicle in the 2012 dependability study and one of only two for General Motors. Buick, which doesn't enjoy an image of dependability among consumers, is actually more reliable than several other automakers with better reputations, such as Honda, Subaru and Nissan, according to study results. The Lucerne also gets glowing reviews from MSN Autos users: "There is nothing I dislike about the Lucerne," one reviewer wrote. Actually, there was one thing: "Buick has made a mistake in discontinuing the Lucerne for 2012 with no replacement."
Entry Premium Car: Lexus ES 350 and Lincoln MKZ
The Lexus ES 350 and Lincoln MKZ tied for the win in the entry premium category, with the Acura TL ranking second. Overall, Lexus was the most dependable brand in J.D. Power's 2012 survey, and the ES is making its fifth appearance as an award winner. Along with Porsche, it was the only brand to have fewer than 100 problems reported per 100 vehicles. The MKZ is unusual in that it received mediocre quality ratings in J.D. Power's initial assessment of it back in 2009, when the car was new — usually a predictor of long-term dependability — but it still got stellar dependability ratings.
Midsize Premium Car: Hyundai Genesis
Hyundai, not the first manufacturer that leaps to mind on the subject of dependability, topped the midsize premium car category with its Genesis, a rear-wheel-drive luxury sedan. The real shocker, however, is that it muscled out the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, which came in second. The Volvo S80 took third. MSN Autos reviewers — among them former Lexus, Cadillac and Mercedes owners — were equally enthralled with the Genesis. "Hyundai has come a LONG way. Good job!" one wrote. It also gets high ratings for comfort: Its cabin is larger than those of the Mercedes E-Class and BMW 5-Series.
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Whaatever. How exactly can anyone rate dependability for a 2012 vehicle in...2012? Unless a real lemon, most will be pretty reliable so far - depending on what you deem as reliable. What's really funny is the Mustang added to this list. Ridiculous. I like them, it's a sharp car, but why are soo many in used car lots? I have a 2010 Challenger RT - a beast. Great style, seats 5, huge trunk, plenty fast (not Mustang Cobra fast) but who cares? I still get 15mpg avg for city driving & some fun. It's my version of reliable.
My question is how do they figure "dependability"??? What is dependability in one climate,
road conditions and driver might be totally UNDEPENDABLE under a different climate, roads and conditions and different and/or multiple drivers. The "little old lady who only drives to church and back" treats and MAINTAINS her car a lot differently than your son and teenage daughter treat the family car.
Wow! Another homerun for Toyota! Year in an year out, Toyota (and its subsidiaries Lexus and Scion) consistently dominates JD Power's rankings! Even in the face of a hostile Government Motors mainstream media that rips Toyota any chance it gets, Toyota still comes out as the clear winner! Ladies and gentlemen, the facts speak for themselves! That is the reason why I love my long-lasting superior Toyota Corolla. Fact: a UAW made clunker only makes this list sporadically. Fact: there are more Toyota makes on this list than all other American UAW junk-mobiles combined!! Fact: I will always prefer a Toyota over any junk from Detroit any day! There is simply no comparison. Thank you MSN autos for posting this great article!
I would figure with Toyota recalling 10 times the number they sell in the US in a year each year the owners would complain about that. I guess in 1 or 2 years when we are getting the submissions from the customers whos cars accelerated suddenly Toyotas quality rankings will drop like a bowling ball let go off the roof of a 100 story building.
Anyone who has been driving for at least 30 years knows that todays vehicles are not as well made as those from Japan circa 1980s. Ride a Honda Accord assembled in Japan in the 1980s and compare to today's Accord. The difference in quality is remarkable - the Japan version is much better. American car manufacturers may have improved their quality since the 1970s, but Japanese nameplates have declined in quality and reliability. JD Powers surveys are junk. Cosnumer Reports surveys are far more relaible indicators of quality and reliability.
Last October I purchased a 2008 P.T. Cruiser ,and I must say I am very well pleased
with the way it handles,and also the power available when you really need it !
I have however , changed it. completely over to the AMSOIL SYNTHETIC OIL .
Plus a Ceramic Gel that made a great improvement ,also made a Foam Air Filter
to replace the OEM filter. And finally installed a computer chip to gain approximately ,
4 mpg and occasionally add 8 oz. of the AMSOIL 100:1 Two-cycle OIL to my fuel,
and have reached between 21- 24 around town, and 28 - 30 mpg. on the highway
when going from Tacoma to Portland each week ! .
Looking forward to even better performance on my trip down to California in May !
I agree with Robert GrayEagle---My mother always told us never to buy a anything manufactured on Monday or Friday whether it was a washing machine or an automobile. She was a pretty sharp lady lived to be a ripe old age of 99 and was of sound mind til the minute of her passing. Yup Robert , you are 100 % correct. I could save all the auto manufacturing companies money by eliminating the inspector's position at their plants ----cause they don't know a damn thing about their responsibilities.