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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I have also driven an Elantra (2001) now 140k . No problems yet.
Get your oil changed every 90 days and yearly check-ups and
most cars should serve you well. I honestly feel no one car is
inherently better than another it's just driving habits, service habits,
and a little bit of luck.
J D Powers YOU can't be serious! You people put yourselves out there to be experts in judgeing the dependiability of 1999 autos.
I purchased a 1999 Dodge Journey and it is a manufactured auto considered a "LEMON" according to several lawyers and according to my repair receipts in my file as proof of this statement. I only have 14500 miles on it and it is continually in the service department for repair for the same problems. WHY HAVEN'T YOU INCLUDED THIS IN YOUR REPORT TO INFORM THE PUBLIC NOT TO PURCHASE THIS VECHILE. Drinking lemon ade in Iowa.