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J.D. Power shared the results of the highly anticipated U.S. vehicle dependability study last month, and those brands at the top might surprise you. This study indicates overall vehicle dependability has improved over 1.5% from last year. So, it’s clear that most automakers have invested in quality, including those brands typically associated with building dependable cars. You might expect Lexus and Toyota to top the three-year dependability list. But there is only one automaker badge that beats even Lexus.

How J.D. Power determines dependability

This is the 31st year of the study, and J.D. Power evaluates the frequency of problems per 100 vehicles over the previous year of ownership. The vehicles represented are three-years-old, and the year-end review is based on those still with the original owners. The lower the score, means higher dependability. The measurement tallies 177 specific problems across eight vehicle categories.

Notable dependability improvements

The results of this study indicate vehicles overall are on a trajectory of dependability improvement, albeit at a slow and steady pace. The SUV and crossover segment is showing better dependability scores as well, although they are still slightly less dependable than cars.

The most significant improvements can be seen within the tech-based features, including audio, connectivity, and infotainment across all vehicles. In-car tech enhancements have come a long way over the last three years, but it’s clear there’s still considerable room for improvement.

Another notable victory includes the Nissan Leaf, which represents the first all-electric model to land at the top of any list.

The two car brands that top the list

Based on the results and scores of ownership problems, there are two automaker brands that top the luxury division of this dependability study. The Lexus ES is the highest-ranked model with a score of 52, which is the highest score ever earned by a single vehicle in the history of this study.

However, there is one brand overall that receives the highest vehicle dependability of all brands in the luxury segment, and it might surprise you. After all, the competition is steep with the likes of Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, and BMW.

It was Genesis that earned an 89 PP100 as a brand and top honors. It’s an equally impressive win, considering this is the automaker’s first year participating in the study at all. Genesis dethroned Lexus, the winner from 2019, although Lexus did come in second overall this year with a PP100 score of 100.

This brand’s first year at the top, and in the game

Genesis, fresh to the luxury brand competition, continues to expand its lineup. It’s the first year of participation in the J.D. Power dependability study, making the award for most dependable over all of the brands in the running, that much sweeter.

What began with the G70, has over the last three years, expanded to include the G80 and G90. The SUV lineup is landing soon as well, with the GV80 turning heads as the company’s introduction in the segment.

Toyota is worth a head-nod

Other brands performed well in this dependability study, including Toyota, coming in at fifth overall. It’s no secret Toyota has a history of building quality and dependable vehicles.

The results this year awards the Toyota 4Runner, Avalon, Sienna, and Tundra. Toyota Motor Corporation also wins with its Lexus fleet, including the Lexus ES and GX models. Lexus is of course a brand under the Toyota umbrella, lending to the overarching dependable design of vehicles across the badges.

When it comes to car buying, consumers often look to studies like these to help them make smart decisions about which model to choose. While the landscape of dependability continues to improve, Lexus, Toyota, and now Genesis are topping this year’s roster of dependable brands.