The JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study

Chevrolet Camaro X10CH_CM133

There are many tools and resources out there to help you assess your options in your vehicle purchase decisions.

How to Use the 2017 Vehicle Dependability Study

The JD Power Vehicle Dependability Study is one of the most commonly cited indicators of quality for automotive lines in the United States. It is designed to track the long-term performance of various vehicles, allowing customers and auto manufacturers alike a glimpse into the way cars perform after a few years of regular use. This provides design teams with the feedback they need to understand how their choices work out over a long term and prospective car buyers with a glimpse into their future. It can also be useful for those on the used market, because it demonstrates how late model used vehicles are currently likely to perform.

The Structure of the Study

The VDS is run on three year old vehicles, and it follows those vehicles for a year, tracking the problems reported by owners over the entire period. This is expressed in PP100 scores, which stand for “problems per 100 vehicles.” A car with a P100 would be likely to have one problem per vehicle across a sample of 100, and it is a great and accurate way to let people know right away how the vehicles performed, because it simply reduces the overall results to a more accessible number.

This Year’s Notable Results

There are a variety of notable results this year, including the Honda Ridgeline’s performance at the top of the Midsize Pickup category and the Chevy Sonic’s performance in the Small Car category. The two results that were most striking, though, were those for Hyundai and those for Toyota.

Hyundai took the spot for most improved brand, moving its nameplate up a full 13 spots with a 16 percent increase in performance in this year’s VDS, a 25 point shift from last year. This is a startling change that reflects the company’s commitment to quality as a main design priority.

Toyota had an even better year, taking 10 of the 18 vehicle categories between its main Toyota brand and the luxury Lexus line. Lexus also enjoyed its sixth straight year as the top performing nameplate in the study, tying with Porsche at an average of 110 PP100 across all models.


Each year, the dependability study surprises automakers and enthusiasts alike with its results, but when you look at them from year to year, it is clear when there are trends in the industry and what they point to. One such trend showed up clearly this year, and it is sure to have design teams at every automobile manufacturer thinking about upcoming studies for years to come.


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