Lexus and Porsche are the most dependable auto brands according to the 2017 VDS.J.D. Power has released its 2017 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), with Lexus and Porsche tying for the top spot in the annual report.As a refresher, the VDS looks as three-year old vehicles and measures dependability based on the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100). The lower the score, the higher a vehicle ranks in the study.
The Lexus and Porsche brands tied for tops in the study this year with a score of 110 PP100. This year marks Lexus' sixth consecutive year atop the VDS. Toyota, Buick and Mercedes-Benz round out the top five with scores of 123 PP100, 126 PP100 and 131 PP100, respectively.
A the other end of the scale, Fiat came in dead last with a score of 298 PP100, followed by Jeep (209 PP100) and Infiniti (203 PP100).
Hyundai came away as the most improvement nameplate in this year's VDS, moving from 19th place in 2016 to 6th this year with a score of 133 PP100. That's also Hyundai's highest-ever ranking in the VDS.
Land Rover, Ford and Dodge also posted big improvements over last year's results, although all three brands still remains well below the industry average. Land Rover improved by 21 points to 178 PP100 while Ford and Dodge each improved by 20 points to 183 PP100 and 187 PP100, respectively. This year's industry average was 156 PP100.
Toyota was the big winner of the 2017 VDS with the automaker walking away with 10 of the study's 18 segment awards. Awarded vehicles include the Lexus ES; Lexus GS; Lexus RX; Toyota Avalon; Toyota Camry; Toyota FJ Cruiser; Toyota Prius; Toyota Prius v; Toyota Sienna; and Toyota Venza. Additionally, the Toyota Camry had the lowest PP100 score of any vehicle in the industry.
Infotainment systems continued to dog automakers in this year's study, with Audio/Communication/Entertainment/Navigation (ACEN) category receiving the most customer complaints. In fact, 22 percent of all problems were related to ACEN, up from 20 percent last year.
Interestingly, battery failure appeared for the first time in this year's top 10 list of problems thanks to a 44 percent jump in complaints. J.D. Power found that 6.1 percent of all three-year-old vehicles in the survey had suffered from battery failure, up 1.3 percent over 2016. It remains to be seen if an increase in on-board electronics is causing the battery drain phenomenon.