A number of factors come into the car-buying decision, but few are more important than reliability. Most of us are heavily reliant on our cars, and it's nice to know if your big, shiny purchase will still be running smoothly long after the new-car smell has worn off. The latest JD Power Vehicle Dependability Survey has revealed the cars that are least (and most) likely to cause you problems.
The survey ranked carmakers based on a survey of 35,186 owners of model year 2014 cars. It was conducted through October, November and December last year, and aims to nail down the full range of troubles that could befall a new car, from mechanical failures to smaller tech issues. JD Power uses the survey results to work out how many problems per 100 cars (PP100) each manufacturer suffered, along with an industry average.
More than 20 percent of all complaints were related to in-car technology, with plenty of owners reporting problems with their infotainment and audio systems, while battery failure was up by 44 percent compared to last year. That could mean people who bought 2014 model year cars are more likely to leave the interior light on overnight, but it's more likely a reflection on the increasing complexity of modern cars.
With an average of just 110 PP100 cars, Lexus and Porsche tied for top spot on the list, well clear of Toyota (123), Buick (126) and Mercedes-Benz (131). General Motors fared best out of the US Big Three, with Buick finishing fourth and Chevrolet (142) coming in eighth. GMC (151) and Cadillac (152) also sneaked in under the industry average of 156 PP100, something which can't be said for Ford and Chrysler.
Look away now if you've just bought a car from the Fiat Chrysler Group. Four of the bottom five marques were a part of the FCA umbrella, with last-placed Fiat (298) suffering 89 more problems than Jeep (209) in second-last place. Ford (183) didn't fare much better, falling well short of the industry average.
British cars have a reputation for poor quality but Jaguar (144) was only one spot behind Honda (143) on the list, while Land Rover (178) proved more reliable than Ford and Jeep. Speaking of reputations, the perception of Japanese cars as bombproof clearly doesn't take Infiniti (203) into account: the luxury arm for Nissan was the third-least reliable brand in this year's survey, beating only Jeep and Fiat.
This survey doesn't mean all Jeeps are going to cause problems, and Lexus isn't perfect. But it does provide a look at the brands most likely to give owners a headache and, in 2017, the majority are part of the Fiat Chrysler Group.
Source: JD Power