The Worst-Built Car in America

Once a year, J.D. Power releases its U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study. The new edition for 2023 looks at how cars sold in 2020 are performing in terms of quality. The yardstick is problems per 100 vehicles. The worst-performing brand was Land Rover, which makes some of the most expensive sport utility vehicles sold in America.

The survey examines 184 potential problems across nine categories: “climate; driving assistance; driving experience; exterior; features/controls/displays; infotainment; interior; powertrain; and seats.” As has been the case in the past, drivers do not like complex electronics, which tends to bring down scores.(Click here for the most fuel-efficient full-size SUVs.)

J.D. Power researchers pointed out one problem that is not in Land Rover’s favor. Frank Hanley, senior director of auto benchmarking at J.D. Power, commented, “It is typical in the automotive industry to roll out concepts and features by putting them in premium vehicles first.” Land Rovers are sometimes priced above $100,000.

J.D. Power ranked 31 brands based on problems per 100 vehicles. The industry average was 186. Land Rover posted a score of 273. For comparison purposes, the top brand was Lexus, the luxury division of Toyota, which had 133 problems per 100 vehicles.

Land Rover has a long history as a brand. Its first model was launched in 1948. The brand’s success was based on its rugged SUVs, which performed in even the worst driving conditions. India’s Tata Motors now owns the British brand and has had no luck improving the Land Rover’s quality.

Land Rovers can be extremely expensive. The high-end Range Rover has a base price of $106,500. One model carries a price above $200,000.

It is hard to sell one of the most expensive cars in America if people think its quality is poor.

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