Kia tops 2017 JD Power quality study while Jaguar, Volvo rank near bottom

For many shopping for a new car, something that’s well-built and reliable can be more desirable than how fast it goes or how many bells and whistles it comes with.

One of the best means of determining these attributes is checking the annual studies  conducted by J.D. Power, and the two most useful from the influential market research firm are the Dependability and Initial Quality studies.

J.D. Power on Wednesday released the results of its 2017 Initial Quality Study and for the second-straight year it’s humble Kia that ranked highest. And right behind it, for its first year in the rankings, is Hyundai’s new luxury brand, Genesis. Interestingly, Hyundai itself only ranked eighth. Porsche, a perennial leader, was ranked third this year.

At the other of the spectrum, you have Fiat, Jaguar and Volvo ranking at the bottom.

The study looks at problems experienced by roughly 80,000 buyers of new, mainstream cars during their first 90 days of ownership. It calculates scores using the average number of problems per 100 vehicles (PP100), with lower scores meaning a better result. The study ranks both brands and individual models in popular segments.

According to the researchers, new car quality is the highest it’s ever been—an impressive feat considering how many new features are fitted to cars these days. This is good news for automakers as things like quality and dependability correlate strongly with loyalty rates.

However, the study shouldn’t be taken as a be-all and end-all on the matter. For example, many of the reported problems are design-related, as  in vehicle functions that could be confusing or difficult to use as opposed to actually defective. Some of the most problematic areas this year were infotainment and electronic driver aids.

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