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J.D. Power's Most Dependable Cars

Research firm J.D. Power & Co. surveys owners of three-year-old cars and has named the most dependable 2018 model in each category.

Survey company J.D. Power & Co. has released its annual survey of the most dependable cars for 2021. To determine this, the company polls owners of three-year-old cars to learn what problems they may have had. This means that the 2021 list is for cars that were built in the 2018 model year. An artifact of this is that some models included on the "most dependable" list have since been discontinued, so they don't provide an opportunity for anyone to go out and buy a new one hoping to benefit from this dependability.

Nevertheless, there are obvious trends. For example, vehicles built by Toyota and its Lexus brand and by Hyundai's Kia and Genesis brands account for fully half of the 18 category winners on J.D. Power's 2021 list. Additionally, domestic brands scored a number of wins and filled out the top-three scores respectably. The survey produces winners in different categories, plus one best-of-the-best overall winner, rather than simply providing a ranking of the top vehicles in order.

This is helpful, because potentially some vehicles, like mid-size pickup trucks, might be technically simpler than others, so the whole top ten could potentially all be small trucks. Which would do no one any good who wasn't shopping for such a vehicle. J.D. Power provides the best-scoring vehicle in each category, so shoppers can know what the best choices are in the class of vehicles they do want to buy. They also provide second-and third-place finishers, to provide some reliable options. In some cases, there is no third-place finisher that scored above-average on dependability, so in those cases, there is only a runner-up. The Large SUV category sees variations of one manufacturer's vehicle sweep the entire podium.

This year's "most dependable" winner is plenty desirable for other reasons, but dependability is a nice bonus to discover.

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