Lincoln Top Brand in J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study
J.D. Power and Associates announces its picks for the 20 most dependable three-year-old vehicles.
Dependability is essential when it comes to cars, trucks or SUVs. It doesn't matter how well a vehicle rides or handles, how many impressive luxury amenities it has, or how frugal it is at the gas pump if it's in the repair shop as much as it's on the road. While new-car reviews are essential tools to use when buying a vehicle, they can't tell you how reliable a vehicle will be over time. That's what J.D. Power and Associates' annual Vehicle Dependability Study is for.
It examines the number of problems that vehicles have within the first three years of ownership. And the 2011 study packed a few surprises for us.
For the first time ever, Lincoln (yes, you read that right) topped the list of most dependable brands, besting 34 other automakers for the coveted title. Ford's luxury brand posted 101 problems per 100 units (PP100), the lowest ratio of any automaker. Lexus owners reported 109 problems for every 100 units, making the Toyota luxury subsidiary the second-ranked brand. Third and fourth spots were taken by Jaguar, which received 112 for every 100, and Porsche, last year's winner, with 114. Toyota rounded out the top five with 122.
The 2011 Vehicle Dependability Study surveyed more than 43,000 owners of 2008 model-year vehicles. The survey covers 202 different problem areas that may occur within eight major vehicle categories, such as the powertrain, seats and exterior. The rankings are then determined by the number of problems reported per 100 vehicles, with lower numbers being better.
J. D. Power also ranks the top three vehicles for dependability in each of 20 car and truck segments. Toyota models topped seven segments, more than any other automaker in this year's study. Ford placed three vehicles on the list.
What follows is a look at the winner in each segment.
Midsize Premium Car
Considering size, price and features, we'd opt for the Acura TL over its larger, costlier RL sibling, but both cars fared well in the J.D. Power study. The TL tied for third in the entry-premium car segment with its smaller sibling the TSX, both receiving a PP100 score of 116. Nonetheless, the RL proved to be more reliable than those vehicles, and it appeals as a roomy sport sedan with a wide range of technology features.
Entry Premium Crossover/SUV
The last-generation BMW X3, which is the vehicle included in the J.D. Power study, was built in Austria by Magna Steyr. An impressively sporty compact SUV, it suffered from a harsh ride and cramped space. BMW recently introduced an all-new X3 with more power, better ride quality and improved passenger space. The basic design is much the same, so the new model may do well too, if the new plant in Spartanburg, South Carolina, can maintain the quality.
Buick placed seventh overall among manufacturers and was the highest-ranking General Motors brand, with a PP100 score of 125. The Lucerne, a large, conservative sedan with a floaty ride and available V8 power, is the most traditional current Buick. Its more recent models are aimed at younger drivers, but the Lucerne should appeal to older buyers looking for a comfortable ride and rock-solid dependability.
Large Premium Car
Cadillac's most impressive car is the midsize CTS, which has a distinctly European flavor. The DTS offers more traditional American luxury, with a large footprint and a ride that is smooth but not sporty. It also offers a more reliable ownership experience, with only 90 problems reported per 100 vehicles after three years. Like its Buick Lucerne sibling, the DTS is built at General Motors' Detroit Hamtramck plant.
While the Tahoe's PP100 score of 157 seems high, it competes in a class with big, heavy vehicles that live hard lives. The Tahoe is based on the proven GMT 900 platform that also hosts the Chevy Suburban and GMC Yukon SUVs and the Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups. The heyday for large truck-based SUVs like the Tahoe may have passed — replaced by more efficient offerings such as the Chevy Traverse and GMC Acadia — but there is still a need for their towing and hauling capability.
Ford is challenging Japanese automakers in the J.D. Power study, with Lincoln at the top of the list and Ford just behind Honda. The Ford Fusion is a clear example of that success. The Fusion fared best in the ultracompetitive midsize car segment, beating the Buick LaCrosse and Mitsubishi Galant. Surprisingly, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry weren't in the top three. We like the Fusion's pleasant interior, smooth ride quality and efficient hybrid model.
Midsize Sporty Car
As if we didn't need another reason to love the Mustang, it has also proven to be reliable. The Mustang has steadily improved since 2008, with a nicer interior, better fuel economy and far more power. Among midsize coupes, it's the clear winner in our book for its sporty, lightweight feel, sharp steering and willing power delivery. Eat your heart out, Camaro and Challenger.
It may not be fun or luxurious, but the Honda CR-V is right-sized and roomy, and it offers excellent resale value. It's also very reliable, posting one of the best PP100 scores in the J.D. Power study. If you're looking for a trustworthy vehicle for the family, your kids or even your parents, the Honda CR-V is always a wise consideration.
Since it arrived on these shores for the 2006 model year, the Honda Fit has been the subcompact benchmark for fun-to-drive character and interior roominess. Other strengths include gas-sipping fuel economy, strong resale values and solid Honda reliability. Dave Sargent, J.D. Power's vice president for vehicle research, notes that the PP100 figure is typically high for this segment because younger buyers tend to report more problems than older buyers.
Midsize Premium Crossover/SUV
Lexus was the best-performing brand in the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study for 14 straight years. It gave up that title a few years ago and ranked second this year. The Lexus RX spawned the premium crossover market and is far and away the best-selling entry. It offers manageable size with room for seven, a glass-smooth ride, a trendy hybrid model and attainable everyday luxury. It also cements Lexus' reputation for quality and reliability.
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Ive had a Toyota Tundra and a Camry and had major problems with both. Unless you dont mind putting a very expensive transmission in the super tough Tundra(haha).And yes the Tundra is undersized and doesnt pull loads like a real Chevy or Ford truck.
While I was buying the Toyota hype I also purchased a Camry and had to have an engine rebuilt,among several other problems.
All of these problems occured with less than 70,000 miles,oh yeah Toyotas great,Lol. If you want to buy into the hype with the Japanese bulit,well I hope you have better luck than I did.
Ive got 2 Fords and a Chevy now,and I have been very happy with them,with very little other than maintenace on all 3.
I have had Fords Chevy's & a couple Dakota's Loved them all they all lasted all over 200,000 miles one Dakota 350,000 plus still running Don't forget to change the OIL!
It's hard to tell where a car is made. What I want to know is where are the taxes paid? Where does the money go? Have you seen this country's budget gap? Can we afford to send our money to Japan, Germany, or Korea to pay their taxes.