The Best-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 best-performing brand was Lexus, which makes some of the most expensive vehicles sold in America. It is the luxury division of Japan’s Toyota. (Click here for the worst-built car in America.)

The survey examined 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.

J.D. Power researchers pointed out one problem that is not in Lexus’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.” Because of its complex features, a Lexus can cost over $80,000.

J.D. Power ranked 31 brands based on problems per 100 vehicles. The industry average was 186. Lexus had 133 problems per 100 vehicles.

Toyota launched Lexus in 1989. At first, it did not do well against Mercedes, BMW, Lincoln and Cadillac. Now it is the best-selling luxury brand in America, with 254,798 vehicles sold last year.

A Lexus can cost over $100,000. The LX SUV with a full set of features has a price tag of $130,000. Most of its models have a base price of over $60,000.

Lexus’s quality ranking is another reason it bests its German and U.S. rivals. Quality counts.

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