J.D. Power's 2017 Vehicle Dependability Study has just been released and while there are some familiar winners, there are also some surprises. Lexus has been ranked highest in dependability, with Toyota and Lexus models winning 10 of 18 classes, but dependability scores are worse than last year - and some significantly.
The Vehicle Dependability Study surveys owners of 2014 model cars and trucks to see how they have held up after three years of ownership. There are 117 specific problems the study looks for, divided up into eight categories. Dependability is scored by the number of problems experienced and then calculated to a score of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100). The lower the score, the fewer problems, and the better the dependability.
For the second year in a row, the most common issues are tech related. The most commonly reported problems are issues with Bluetooth connectivity and voice recognition software not recognizing voices. Infotainment issues were nearly 1/4 of all problems. J.D. Power said that battery failure has moved to the top 10 for the first time, up 44 percent from last year; 6.1 percent of owners of the three-year-old cars and trucks reported needing to replace the battery.
This is the sixth consecutive year for Lexus at the top of the rank, but their score has moved from 95 PP100 to 110. Similarly, Porsche has now tied them for the lead at 110, up from 97 last year. The industry average is 156, up four from last year. Buick, number three last year, has dropped a spot on the rankings chart to Toyota, with Mercedes-Benz close behind. The biggest improvement was Hyundai. The brand improved by 25 PP100, jumping from 19th last year to sixth place for 2017. The biggest drop was from Fiat, with the brand falling from 171 problems per 100 to last with 298 for 2017.
Toyota and Lexus took 10 segment wins, with the Camry having the fewest problems per 100 of any vehicle. The other big winner is Chevrolet, with four. The Sonic, Camaro, Tahoe, and Silverado HD all scored best in segment.