Lexus Leaps to the Top 3 in Quality and Beats All Other Luxury Brands

Before buying a new car, it would be helpful to know about other drivers’ thoughts and experiences in their first few months of ownership. Luckily, J.D. Power collects this information in its annual U.S. Initial Quality Study. The 2021 study marks a big leap for Lexus because owners had fewer problems with their new 2021 Lexus vehicles than in previous years. Though the survey doesn’t guarantee quality and long-term reliability, it makes Lexus a brand to consider.

How J.D. Power ranks brands and cars for this study

The Lexus logo on a car dealership sign
Lexus dealership sign | Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

The J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Initial Quality Study reports the results of a 223-question survey of new-car owners, detailing the problems they had with their vehicles in the first 90 days and ranking brands based on the problems reported per 100 vehicles. Lower brand scores are better.

J.D. Power has administered the survey since 1986, and the 2021 survey collected responses from 110,827 purchasers and lessees of new 2021 model-year vehicles. Problems range from powertrain issues to infotainment system problems. Interestingly, the most reported issue for 2021 is smartphone connectivity (often wireless problems), and infotainment is the most problematic subcategory.

Lexus is the best-scoring premium brand. Along with Genesis, Lexus is the only premium brand that performs above the industry average. Generally, mass-market brands outperform premium brands.

Brand rankings and the 2021 improvement for Lexus

Among brand rankings in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Initial Quality Study, Ram comes out on top, Dodge ranks second, and Lexus advances to third.

Ram boasts a 2021 score of 128 PP100 (problems per 100 vehicles), while Dodge has 139 PP100, Lexus and Mitsubishi get 144 PP100 each, and Nissan scores 146 PP100. Lexus owners had fewer problems with their new 2021 vehicles, leading to a major jump in ratings for the luxury automaker and placing it first among premium brands.

Last year’s J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Initial Quality Study deemed Genesis the best premium brand for the fourth year in a row. Dodge and Kia tied for the top brand, each with a score of 136 PP100. Lexus, Genesis, and Cadillac were the only premium brands to score better than the industry average.

Lexus received 159 PP100 in last year’s study and placed 12th overall. Compare that to its much better 144 PP100 score and third-place ranking this year.

Owners say these are the best Lexus cars

The car companies that received the most model awards in 2021 are Hyundai Motor Group, with seven awards; Toyota Motor Corporation, with five awards; BMW AG, with four awards; Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., with three awards; and General Motors and Stellantis NV, each with two awards.

Lexus was a big contributor to its parent company’s collection of awards. Toyota Motor Corporation models that rank highest in their segments are the Lexus RC (compact premium car), Lexus RX (midsize premium SUV), Lexus UX (small premium SUV), Toyota Sequoia (large SUV), and Toyota Tundra (large light-duty pickup).

About J.D. Power


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J.D. Power is a data analytics and market research company that shares customer opinions to “help brands improve the value of their products and services.” The company has been analyzing several industries since 1968, and the automotive industry is a primary focus. J.D. Power is headquartered in Troy, Michigan, but has offices in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.

Lexus had a standout year in the J.D. Power 2021 U.S. Initial Quality Study. Fewer owner-reported issues for 2021 earned the automaker an improved score and catapulted it to the top three overall, beating all other luxury brands.