As the automotive industry recovers in the U.S., the experts at J.D. Power say the market is filled with fierce competition as newer vehicles become more and more dependable. That is why the consumer intelligence company released its updated 2020 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study on Wednesday, which analyzed common performance issues found in vehicles released in the last three years. Models released before 2017 were not considered "new" by J.D. Power's standards.
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“Despite the increased adoption of complex vehicle technology, dependability continues to improve,” said Dave Sargent, a vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power. “There’s no question that three-year-old vehicles today are better built and more dependable than same-age vehicles were in previous years."
J.D. Power not only combed through its 2020 index to reveal that newer cars are more reliable than ever, but the company’s study also acknowledged that its work has helped automakers and suppliers identify which features contribute to consumer loyalty.
After 12 months of surveillance per 100 vehicles, J.D. Power evaluated eight problem symptoms found across various auto categories, including the exterior, controls and displays, seats, interior, driving experience, audio and multimedia communications, HVAC system, engine and transmission.
Here are five of the 21 selected vehicles that are said to be most dependable by J.D. Power as well as 2019 sales data compiled from the Automotive News Data Center.
Most dependable small car:
Price range: $16,190 to $20,620
Number sold in 2019: 35,408
J.D. Power found the Honda Fit to be one of the most dependable non-premium small cars for 2020. This sub-$21,000 vehicle is said to have a roomy interior and cargo capacity with its rear-seat configurability. The car’s informant and safety features have also been listed as pros along with its driving range that can reach up to 40 miles per gallon.
In 2019, there were 35,408 Fits sold, which is a 2.6 percent increase from the number sold the previous year (34,516), according to the Automotive News Data Center.
The other small vehicles mentioned in J.D. Power’s dependability list include the BMW 2 Series, Buick Encore and Mercedes-Benz GLA.
Most dependable compact car:
Price range: $30,885 to $35,878
Miles-per-gallon-equivalent: 112 (combined)
Number sold in 2019: 12,365
The Nissan Leaf was found to be one of the most dependable non-premium compact cars by J.D. Power. This $30,000-plus vehicle is said to offer quiet operation, quick acceleration and assistance features for driving. For an electric car, it offers impressive mileage that can reach up to 112 miles per gallon-equivalent combined.
There were 12,365 Leafs sold in 2019, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
Other compact vehicles that made the list on the premium and sporty side include the Lexus ES, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Chevrolet Equinox and Porsche Macan.
Most dependable midsize car:
Price range: $29,370 to $39,070
Miles-per-gallon: 29 (TourX) / 32 (Sportback)
Number sold in 2019: 10,363
The Buick Regal might be one of the older vehicles on the list with its last model released in 2017, but it still made an impression with J.D. Power as the most dependable non-premium midsize car. This $27,000-plus vehicle is said to have a generous list of standard features as well as a quiet cabin and a tank that can take a driver up to 29 or 32 miles per gallon depending on the model.
The 2017 Buick Regal and 2020 Buick Regal TourX are tied at 29 miles per gallon, while the 2020 Buick Regal Sportback can reach up to 32 MPG.
In 2019, there were 10,363 Regals sold, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
If you need a midsize car that can provide a little more, J.D. Power’s list includes the Genesis G80, Ford Mustang, Toyota 4Runner, Lexus GX and Nissan Frontier.
Most dependable large car:
Price range: $35,875 to $42,575
Number sold in 2019: 27,767
The Toyota Avalon is J.D. Power’s pick for the most dependable non-premium large car. This $35,000-plus vehicle is said to offer a comfortable and quiet ride with its roomy cabin and has several advanced safety features. It can also reach up to 32 miles per gallon.
There were 27,767 Avalons sold in 2019, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
J.D. Power didn’t find many large vehicles making the cut this year, but the Chevrolet Tahoe SUV did make the list.
Most dependable heavy-duty pickup:
Chevrolet Silverado HD
Price range: $34,100 to $43,200
Miles-per-gallon: 16.5 (2500HD) / 15.7 (3500HD)
Number sold in 2019: 575,600
The Chevrolet Silverado HD was found to be the most dependable heavy-duty pickup by J.D. Power. This $34,000-plus vehicle is said to offer quick acceleration and power as well as a roomy cabin and storage space. It also has a 15-view camera system for making towing easier. The 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 2500HD can reach 16.5 miles per gallon in cities while the 2020 Chevrolet Silverado 3500HD can reach 15.7 miles per gallon. Both models claim the vehicle can reach up to 33 miles per gallon on highways.
The Silverado was one of the most popular vehicles in 2019 with 575,600 sold, according to the Automotive News Data Center.
However, if you need a less intense pickup, J.D. Power has listed the midsize Nissan Frontier and light-duty Ford F-150 and Toyota Tundra.