Lexus still atop the dependability mountain

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The overall US auto industry average improved to 142 problems per 100 vehicles in 2017, down 9 percent from 156 problems in 2016, according to the study.

On the flip side, the Chrysler brand landed in the basement of the study with 211 problems reported per 100 vehicles.

Owners of three-year-old Lexus vehicles experienced 99 problems per 100 units, according to the report. "For people looking for a new or used model, now is a good time to find that special vehicle". The study aims to measure the long-term quality of vehicles, including new technologies and features now available to buyers. The study showed that complains from customers were most frequently about issues with voice recognition technology and Bluetooth connectivity. Another key finding is that mass-market brands appear to be gaining on their luxury counterparts in terms of dependability.

"For the most part, automotive manufacturers continue to meet consumers' vehicle dependability expectations", J.D. Power vice president of global automotive Dave Sargent said in a press release.

Consumers reported the most problems with their vehicles' infotainment systems. Buick, the highest-ranked mainstream brand, was third with 116 PP100 vehicles, followed by Infiniti (120), Kia (122), Chevrolet (124), BMW (127) and Toyota (127). However, the news isn't all bad as Fiat was the most improved brand and Dodge achieved its highest-ever ranking in the study which is now in its 29th year. Dodge and Nissan also earn their best rankings ever.

Toyota, meanwhile, drove off with six of the 19 segment awards - mostly among the Lexus nameplate. Winners include the Toyota Prius, which was the top compact vehicle, and the Lexus RX, which was the top midsize SUV.

General Motors models receive five segment awards for the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Traverse and Chevrolet Silverado. For the Q3, it was notable since 2015 was its introductory year. If the problems lie in an optional feature that you're not interested in, adjust your assessment accordingly. See if there's a story behind a dramatic improvement or disimprovement in the PP100 score of any model you're considering. How relevant are they to the way you plan to use the vehicles you're considering?

The J.D. Power 2018 Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS) has ranked the Kia Rio as the leader in the Small Car category. The study was conducted in the fourth quarter of 2017.

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