J.D. Power Finds Kia, Genesis and Hyundai Vehicles Are the Most Dependable

2020 Genesis G90
The G90 is the automaker's flagship sedan. Genesis Motor North America

In the first year of the newly designed J.D. Power U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), Kia, Genesis and Hyundai, all owned by Hyundai Motor Group, earn three of the top four rankings.

The annual study examines asks participants to evaluate their vehicles after three years of ownership to determine which have the fewest reported problems.

The 2019 model-year vehicles that were examined in this year's study were first examined in the J.D. Power 2019 U.S. Initial Quality Study (IQS). Seven of the 10 highest-ranked brands in the IQS study are among the 10 highest-ranked brands in this year's VDS, suggesting a link between the results of the analyses.

"Many owners are holding on to their vehicles longer, so long-term dependability is even more critical," said David Amodeo, director of global automotive at J.D. Power, in a press release.

"Some automakers are performing much better than others at preventing problems from occurring. These problems include the vehicle's mechanicals, exterior and interior—but also infotainment systems, driver assistance systems and all the other electronic systems in today's vehicles."

Now in its 33rd year, the VDS was redesigned to consider all of the features and technology available in current vehicles. The study looks at 184 specific problem areas across nine major vehicle categories: climate, driving experience, exterior, features/controls/ displays, infotainment, interior, powertrain, seats and driving assistance — new for 2022.

The study also now measures satisfaction with the vehicle's condition after three years of usage. Owners are asked whether they find their vehicle more appealing now as when they first bought it; and what software updates have been made to the vehicle.

"Automakers are increasingly looking at owners' relationships with their vehicles as having similarities to other consumer technology," Amodeo said. "For instance, cell phones update all the time with over-the-air software releases and, increasingly, automakers must take advantage of this approach to fix problems, improve features and add capabilities to keep owners satisfied. Automakers that are able to do this best will have a huge advantage."

Of the top 10 problem areas in the study, seven of them are infotainment related: voice recognition, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity, Bluetooth, lack of sufficient power plugs/USB ports, navigation systems difficult to understand/use, infotainment touch screen/display screen, and navigation system inaccurate/outdated map.

The overall vehicle dependability named the Porsche 911 as the highest-ranked model, for the second consecutive year. This is the third time in the past four years that the 911 has earned this honor.

Porsche 911 Edition 50 Years
A GT Sport steering wheel in Slate Grey is special to the 2022 Porsche 911 Edition 50 Years Porsche Design. Porsche AG

Kia was the highest-ranking brand, up from third place in 2021. Other mass market brands ranking high for vehicle dependability include Buick, Hyundai, Toyota and Dodge, ranking second, third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

On the premium side, Genesis ranked the highest, followed by Lexus, Porsche, Cadillac and Lincoln.

Mass market brands like Kia and Hyundai saw fewer problems on average than their premium counterparts. Premium brands typically have more technology in their vehicles, which increases the likelihood for problems to occur.

The study also found that the quality of mass market vehicles has improved significantly in recent years and now matches that of the premium brands.