Reliability studies are a great way of helping you make up your mind about what car to buy, either new or secondhand. The latest J.D. Power survey is a case in point. Set up in the United States in 1968 to promote the voice of the consumer and thus ultimately help brands to improve their products and services, J.D. Power crossed the Atlantic in 1995 and has since established itself as one of the more trusted sources of car reliability data.
Of J.D. Power’s various surveys, the most relevant to car buyers here is the UK Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), the results of which have just been published for 2017. The VDS measures satisfaction levels among original owners of one-year-old to three-year-old cars, which in this case meant contacting owners of vehicles registered from February 2014 to April 2016.
The top five marques for reliability are joint first Kia and Volvo, third Skoda, fourth Suzuki and fifth Hyundai. BMW is the bottom marque, coming below Audi, Land Rover, Fiat and Dacia.
J.D. Power attributes the poor showing from the likes of Land Rover, Audi and BMW to two factors. First, premium cars tend to have more features than those from mainstream car makers, creating a higher chance of something going wrong. Added to that, owners of premium vehicles place a higher importance on problem-free ownership than those who buy mainstream cars. So, those niggles you might let slide with your Kia, Suzuki or Skoda you wouldn’t with an Audi or BMW.