Most Dependable Vehicle Models

Despite the fact that 2011 model-year cars had more problems than previous year models, consumers looking to purchase dependable used cars will pay a premium: the vast majority are luxury cars.

Consumers looking to purchase used luxury cars

likely

will be disappointed to learn that owners of 2011 model-year vehicles experienced more problems than owners of a year ago. And those looking for dependable cars will be paying a premium: the majority are luxury cars.

J.D. Power recently released the results of its 2014 US Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS), naming the most depending 2011 models. The study measures the dependability of new vehicles after 3 years of ownership based on the level of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100). A lower score reflects higher quality.

Unfortunately, the overall dependability averages 133 PP100 for 2011 models, which is a 6% increase from the 126 PP100 in 2013. In fact, this is the first time since 1998 that the average number of problems has increased.

"Until this year, we have seen a continual improvement in vehicle dependability," David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power, said in a statement. "However, some of the changes that automakers implemented for the 2011 model year have led to a noticeable increase in problems reported.”

See which company managed to take over half of the entries of the top 12.

Photos from Edmunds.com

10. (tie) Lincoln MKZ

MPG city/hwy: 18/27

The MKZ is Lincoln’s best-selling sedan and it scored 81 PP100 in the dependability study. Buyers have some choice when purchasing the MKZ: a V-6 engine or a gas-electric hybrid powertrain, and front-wheel or all-wheel drive.

The MKZ received the same score last year. However, buyers beware: the Lincoln MKZ is the seventh most stolen luxury car.

10. (tie) Lexus GX

MPG city/hwy: 15/20

Be prepared to see Lexus show up quite a bit on this list. The GX Midsize Premium CUV earned a dependability score of 81 PP100. There’s not much choice here since the car is only available with a V-8 engine and 4-wheel drive.

10. (tie) Chevrolet Volt

MPG city/hwy: N/A

The Volt has an electric drivetrain with a small gasoline engine for when the battery pack is at minimal charge, which allows this car to drive long distances without having to plug in and recharge the battery. The Volt, like the Lexus GX and the Lincoln MKZ, scored 81 PP100.

Last year the 4-passenger hatchback Volt was named one of the top-rated vehicles for performance and design by J.D. Power.

8. (tie) Lexus IS

MPG city/hwy: 18/25

According to J.D. Power, all 4 of the sedans Lexus sold in 2011 made this list—the company is clearly doing something right. The IS is the smallest member of the sedan lineup, scored 79 PP100, and was available as a rear-drive convertible or sedan in the IS 250, IS 350, and IS-F.

Kelly Blue Book recently listed the 2014 Lexus IS as the fourth most affordable luxury car, while The Car Connection named the car one of the best overall luxury cars of 2014. However, it was one of the most stolen luxury cars in 2012, according to The Car Connection.

8. (tie) Honda CR-V

MPG city/hwy: 21/28

The Honda CR-V is the most budget-friendly model on the list of dependable cars and scored 79 PP100 in J.D. Power’s study. The 2011 model was sold with a 4-cylinder engine and a choice between front-wheel and all-wheel drive.

7. Lexus GS

MPG city/hwy: 18/25

With a score of 77 PP100, the 2011 GS was the highest-ranked model in the Midsize Premium Car segment of the VDS, according to J.D. Power. The car came in multiple versions with a V-6 engine, a V-8 engine, or as a gas-electric hybrid.

6. Porsche 911

MPG city/hwy: 18/25

The car earned a score of 76 PP100. The 2011 model of the Porsche 911 was the last one before a redesign. The redesigned models are doing well, though—the 2012 Carrera model was named one of the top-rated vehicles for performance and design in the coupe and convertible segments by J.D. Power.

5. Buick Lucerne

MPG city/hwy: 15/23

This full-size sedan, available with a V-6 or V-8 engine, scored 70 PP100. In last year’s VDS, the Lucerne received the same score, which landed made it the second most dependable car, behind the next car on the list.

4. Lexus ES

MPG city/hwy: 19/27

Last year’s most dependable car, the 2011 Lexus ES leads the Compact Premium Car segment with a score of 67 PP100. The 2010 model had received a score of 58 PP100 in the 2013 VDS. The 2014 model was named one of the most affordable luxury cars.

3. Lexus RX

MPG city/hwy: 18/24

Lexus probably isn’t too bothered by the ES falling to fourth considering the company has yet another model higher up on the list. With a score of 65 PP100, the 5-passenger crossover SUV is the most dependable vehicle in its segment.

1. (tie) Lexus LS

MPG city/hwy: 16/23

The final of 6 Lexus models in the list of most dependable vehicles list ties for first with a score of 62 PP100. And while the score still isn’t as good as the 58 the 2010 Lexus ES received last year, the LS has improved considerably from the 72 PP100 given to the 2010 model in last year’s VDS. The flagship sedan had multiple options: rear-wheel or all-wheel drive; regular or extended wheelbase; and V-8 engine or a gas-electric hybrid powertrain.

1. (tie) Cadillac DTS

MPG city/hwy: 15/23

Tied with the Lexus LS for top honors in the overall study and in the Large Premium Car segment, the DTS’ score of 62 is much better than the 84 the 2010 model received, which had landed it at seventh. However, the DTS is the only Cadillac on the list, whereas last year the 2010 CTS was ranked ninth in the VDS.