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JD Power names the top 2022 vehicles in initial quality

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JD Power’s 2022 Initial Quality Study named the best new cars for 2022 in terms of buyer satisfaction immediately after purchase.

This isn’t the report that suggests how long your car will last or how much it will cost to repair (that’s the annual reliability study). Instead, new car buyers are surveyed to learn about any problems they encounter in the first three months of ownership.

These issues aren’t necessarily things that broke, just that the buyer was unhappy with some aspect of the vehicle’s operation, even if that part works perfectly. The result is a score that represents the number of problems experienced per 100 cars (PP100)

For 2022, this happened more often than in the past, setting a new record for tricky cars in this Power survey. Nevertheless, General Motors managed to improve its scores and took 9 first places for its models in various segments and also took first place in the overall standings with the Chevrolet Corvette.

“Given the many challenges that automakers and their dealers have faced over the past year, it’s somewhat surprising that initial quality hasn’t dropped more dramatically,” said David Amodeo, director of global auto industry at JD Power. “Overall, the initial quality has steadily improved over the history of this research, so the drop this year is disappointing – yet understandable. Automakers continue to launch vehicles that are becoming more technologically complex in an era when there were many shortages of critical components to support them.”

  • Mass market vehicles experience fewer problems than premium vehicles Mass market brands average 175 PP100, which is 21 PP100 less than for premium brands (196 PP100). Buyers of premium brands tend to buy more technology in their vehicles, and the added complexity of that technology increases the potential for problems. Given the challenging task of launching new vehicles in the current environment, there is a high probability that mass market transfer vehicles will achieve high initial quality. “Premium brand car owners are experiencing more problems than mass-market car owners, continuing a trend that started in 2016,” said Amodeo. “But some brands, especially Genesis and Lexus, have been able to avoid that problem to a great extent.”
  • Infotainment systems remain the most problematic area The infotainment category remains the most problematic, with an average of 45.0 PP100, which is 19.5 PP100 more problems than the second-highest category. Six of the top 10 problem areas in the survey are related to infotainment, including: Android Auto/Apple CarPlay connectivity (5.8 PP100); built-in speech recognition (4.0 PP100); issues with touchscreens/displays (3.5 PP100); built-in Bluetooth systems (3.4 PP100); not enough plugs/USB ports (2.9 PP100); and inconsistent audio volume (2.7 PP100).
  • Battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) are more problematic: Owners of BEVs and PHEVs cite more problems with their vehicles than owners of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. ICE vehicles average 175 PP100, PHEVs average 239 PP100, and BEVs – excluding Tesla models – average 240 PP100. (Tesla models average 226 PP100 and are shown separately from the BEV average because the predominance of Tesla vehicles could obscure the performance of the older automakers that have recently introduced BEVs.)
  • Driving assistance problems are growing Problems with Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) decreased in 2021 but increased in 2022. The most problematic ADAS system is Lane Departure Warning/lane-keeping Assistance with 4.1 PP100.

JD Power divides the car market into 23 different categories so that they can compare similar vehicles. Click through this slideshow to see the top three models in each category. In some cases there were equal chances for second place, and in some cases there were no runners-up because there were no vehicles in the class after the winner that achieved the above-average scores needed to be ranked.