JD Powers has deemed Lexus, Porsche and Buick, followed by Toyota and GMC, as the top 5 the most dependable car brands, based on the number of problems reported by owners. The study, now in its 27th year, surveyed 33,560 owners of 2013 model-year vehicles about any problems, noting that most of the complaints had to do with voice-recognition systems that screwed up commands related to navigation, entertainment systems and phone connectivity. In fact, the survey noted that the industry average is 152 problems per 100 vehicles, although Lexus averaged just 95. Porsche had 97, Buick 106, Toyota 113 and GMC 120.
Those deemed least dependable were Jeep (181 problems), Land Rover (198), Smart (199), Ford (204) and Dodge (208). Meanwhile brands with the sharpest decline in their scores this year were Scion, Nissan, Cadillac, while the most improved vehicles were Fiat, Mini and Volvo. Segment-level winners Included Chevy Malibu, seen as the most dependable mid-size car and the Nissan Murano as most reliable mid size SUV. Toyota Tundra can in as most reliable pick-up truck.
GM brands Chevrolet, Buick Cadillac and GMC had the most segment-level winners, with 8, while the Buick Encore and Chevy Equinox were the most reliable small compact SUVs. Best performer among large SUVs was the GMC Yukon.
Automakers rely on the JD Powers report to find out which cars are likely to sell in the future. Those with the lowest ratings are less likely to attract repeat buyers the next time they look for a new vehicle.