Some cars have more problems than others, but the bottom line, according to a new car reliability study published today (Feb. 12, 2014), is that owners are reporting more problems with their cars this year than they did last year.
The study was published by J.D. Power, a Westlake Village, Calif., marketing information company, and takes into account “problems experienced during the past 12 months by original owners of 2011 model-year vehicles,” the firm said.
J.D. Power ranks mechanical troubles on a “problems per 100 vehicles” system and points to an increase in “engine and transmission problems.” Researchers found that “the decline in quality is particularly acute for vehicles with four-cylinder engines.” J.D. Power said these small engines, along with “large diesel engines tend to be more problematic than 5- and 6-cylinder engines.”
As it has for the past three years, Lexus, Toyota’s luxury line, topped the three-year vehicle dependability study with the fewest owner complaints. Mini, which makes the Mini Cooper small car, was at the bottom of the list, with the most reported problems.
In some of the various categories of dependable cars, these were the highest rated: sub-compact, Honda Fit; compact, Chevrolet Volt; compact premium, Lexus ES; midsize, Toyota Camry; midsize premium, Lexus GS, large car, Buick Lucerne; large premium, a tie between Cadillac DTS and Lexus LS.
On the dependability list itself, the top 10, in descending order, were Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Acura, Buick, Honda, Lincoln, Toyota, Porsche and Infiniti. On the bottom half of the list, in ascending order, from the brand with the most reported problems, were Mini, Dodge, Land Rover, Jeep, Hyundai, Mitsubishi, Ram, Volkswagen, Chrysler and Scion.