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When it comes to the typical American family car, there is no vehicle type quite like the humble sedan. Sedans hit the perfect medium in the marketplace. Minivans are limited for drivers unless you need the space and extra seats, and SUVs are not for everyone. However, sedans are for anyone. From a family of four who needs a car to a college student who needs a reliable vehicle with a good amount of space to grow a family in the future, sedans are nearly perfect for everyone.

However, the age of the family sedan is reaching its conclusion in America. While minivans were a formidable foe, their polarizing bodywork and social stigma kept people out of these family haulers. Crossover SUVs, on the other hand, have been getting cheaper and cheaper with each passing year, making them more enticing for all kinds of drivers and taking away some of the market share for sedans. Recently, J.D. Power released its list of the most dependable sedans, and ironically, two of the three most dependable sedans on its list are already dead. Here is everything you need to know about the most dependable sedans on the market and why the market is shrinking in this automotive segment.

What is the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study?

The J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study is a highly respected study that uses an interesting metric to determine which vehicles on the market are the most dependable. This metric uses the number of problems found per 100 vehicles on the road, abbreviated as PP100. A lower PP100 score indicates that a particular car has fewer issues than a vehicle with a higher PP100 score.

Currently, the industry average is about 186 problems per every 100 vehicles on the road. This may sound like a ton of issues, but this is an improvement of around six problems compared to last year. According to the study for 2023, infotainment system issues continue to plague the market, and consumers expect their vehicles to continue to get over-the-air updates as they age over time. There has been an overall reduction in component replacement as well, which means brake parts, key fobs, light bulbs, and other extra parts are lasting longer. For this year, Lexus has been ranked as the company with the highest vehicle dependability rating, and Land Rover is the least dependable.

What are the most dependable sedans on the market?

For 2023, J.D. Power indicates that the Kia Optima, Chevrolet Malibu, and Ford Fusion are the top three most dependable sedans on the market today. What makes this ironic is that the Kia Optima and Ford Fusion are both already discontinued. The Kia Optima’s final model year was the 2020 model year, and they can be found for around $18,150 on the used marketplace. The Ford Fusion was also discontinued after the 2020 model year and can be found for a bit less on average at $17,500.

The Chevy Malibu, on the other hand, is an interesting case. It has been rumored that the Chevy Malibu would be discontinued for years now. The Malibu has been essentially unchanged since the 2016 model year. Of course, the engine and transmission options have swapped out, and now it’s only available with a single engine option paired with a CVT automatic transmission. Still, it seems Chevrolet will continue to make the Malibu for a while longer. The Malibu starts at around $25,100 MSRP, according to Chevrolet.

Are these sedans still worth it?

These dependable midsize sedans are still worth buying today. The Ford Fusion was a quality vehicle but was simply losing in sales compared to other crossover SUVs on the market, according to Get Jerry. The Kia Optima is actually still on the market today, just under a different name: the Kia K5. This K5 designation was given to the old Optima to streamline the Kia brand’s vehicle names. The Optima was known as the K5 elsewhere in the world, so renaming the American market Optima to the K5 just made sense for the brand.

The Chevy Malibu, on the other hand, is a tough sell. The Malibu does get solid fuel economy at 29 city mpg and 36 highway mpg, but its aging looks and pedestrian rental car-like interior could be hard to live with long term. Of course, looks aren’t everything, but the Chevrolet Malibu relies on a turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with a CVT transmission. Not exactly a beacon of reliability on paper, but J.D. Power’s assessment of the Chevy Malibu may live up to expectations as time goes on. The Malibu is a solid choice if you don’t mind the looks and anemic powerplant.