J.D. Power’s annual survey of drivers has compiled the reliability scores for 2020 models, providing us the list of the year's most dependable models after three years of driving along with the brands whose cars scored below average in the survey.
The survey found an average of 186 problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), which means that the average 2019 car in the survey had 1.86 problems during the last three years. The worst-scoring brands had more problems than that, with the last-place brand averaging 273 PP100, or close to three problems in three years.
The study covers 184 specific problem areas across nine major vehicle categories: climate; driving assistance; driving experience; exterior; features/controls/ displays; infotainment; interior; powertrain; and seats.
The infotainment category continues to be the most troublesome, with an average of 49.9 PP100—almost twice as many problems as the next-highest category, which is exterior. Six of the top 10 problem areas in the study are infotainment-related, including built-in voice recognition (7.2 PP100); Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity (5.5 PP100); built-in Bluetooth system connectivity (4.0 PP100); touchscreen/display screen difficult to use (4.0 PP100); not enough power plugs/USB ports (3.8 PP100); and navigation system inaccurate/outdated map (3.3 PP100).
As a rule of thumb, premium brands fared worse than their mass-market counterparts. That’s because new technology tends to have more problems. “It is typical in the automotive industry to roll out concepts and features by putting them in premium vehicles first,” said Frank Hanley, senior director of auto benchmarking at J.D. Power.
The definition of “dependability” needs some explanation here; respondents complain about things like not having enough USB outlets in their cars.
Click through our gallery to see which brands ended up at the bottom of J.D. Power’s dependability list.