Buick trailed only Lexus for fewest problems per 100 vehicles from the 2012 model year in J.D. Power’s 2015 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study released Wednesday. Lexus led results for 31 brands with a score of 89 problems per 100 vehicles. Buick was second, with 110 problems, followed by Toyota with 111, Cadillac with 114 and Honda and Porsche tied for fifth with 116 problems per 100 vehicles.
Buick’s high score comes one day after Consumer Reports chose the Regal as its top sport sedan in the magazine’s 2015 top picks issue. Subaru also scored well at CR, with the Subaru Legacy chosen its best midsize sedan — beating the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry – the Subaru Impreza chosen its best compact, and the Subaru Forester its best compact sport/utility.
The fast-growing Subaru brand, which sold more than half a million in the U.S. to nab ninth-place among automakers here last year, had a J.D. Power score of 157 problems per 100 vehicles, good for 20th place and just below the industry average of 147 problems. The U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study differs from J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study, which surveys owners to find out what problems they had in the first few months of ownership.
In the study released Wednesday, J.D. Power surveyed more than 34,000 owners of 2012 model cars and trucks (who bought them new) to find out what problems they had over a twelve-month period, after three years of ownership. The top two problems uncovered in the survey are 1.) Bluetooth pairing; and 2.) built-in voice recognition systems misinterpreting commands, which explains the Ford brand’s 25th-place ranking with 188 problems (tied with Hyundai).
However, J.D. Power uncovered 177 specific problems, with “nearly 30 percent powertrain problems,” the result largely of “automatic transmission hesitation” and “rough shifting,” an indication that new six-speed-plus automatics and twin-clutch transmissions are still having teething problems with American consumers.
J.D. Power singled out top models – those with low problems per 100 — at General Motors, including the Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Camaro, Malibu and Silverado HD, and the GMC Sierra HD, Terrain and Yukon. Top models at Toyota include the Lexus ES and GX, Scion TC and xD, and Toyota Corolla and Sienna.
In addition to listing the 2015 Buick Regal and the three Subarus, Consumer Reports’ top picks were the Chevrolet Impala (best full-size car), Toyota Prius (12th year as best “green” car), Toyota Highlander (midsize SUV), Honda Odyssey (minivan), Audi A6 (luxury car) and Tesla Model S (best car overall).
After Honda and Porsche, the J.D. Power rankings are:
7. Lincoln – 118 problems per 100 vehicles
8. Mercedes-Benz – 119
9. Scion – 121 (improved by 13 places)
12. Acura – 124
13. Nissan – 128
14. Ram – 134 (up 11 places)
15. Audi – 138
18. Infiniti – 144
19. BMW – 146
20. Subaru – 157
21. Kia – 158
22. Volkswagen – 165
23. Chrysler – 173
24. Volvo – 174
25. Ford and Hyundai – 188
27. Dodge – 192
28. Mini – 193
29. Jeep – 197
30. Land Rover – 258
31. Fiat – 273
Jaguar was not ranked due to insufficient sample size.