Special Report

America's Best and Worst New Cars

For the second straight year, Kia scored highest in an initial quality ranking for new cars, according to the findings of the J.D. Power 2017 U.S. Initial Quality Study that was released today.

The study examined problems experienced by vehicle owners during the first 90 days of ownership. Initial quality of each make was determined by the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles. 24/7 Wall St. reviewed quality scores for all 32 car brands considered by J.D. Power.

J.D. Power, based in Costa Mesa, California, said new-vehicle quality is at its highest level ever, improving 8% from last year. Even so, some manufacturers continue to sell cars that cause grief to new-car buyers. A new owner of some of these poorly rated cars is more likely than not to report at least one problem in the first three months of ownership.

Click here to see the best and worst new cars.

MINI is the most improved brand, with owners reporting 33 fewer problems per 100 vehicles than in 2016. Other brands with strong improvement include Ram, Acura, Volvo, and Ford.

“Today’s vehicles have more things that could go wrong but fewer things that actually do go wrong,” said Dave Sargent, vice president, global automotive at J.D. Power, in a press release.

Car technology continues to improve, offering seemingly endless options of special features. According to the J.D. Power study, plenty of problems remain despite technological advancements. Based on reported problems, the quality of a number of luxury add-ons including cruise control, lane departure warnings, collision alert systems, and blind spot warning systems, got worse.

When the study was first published in 1987, people reported problems with their carburetors, cassette players, and their manual wind-up windows. Drivers were concerned about their vehicle not starting in the morning and not being able to get them where they needed to go without breaking down. Cars have become more reliable and people now worry about their voice-recognition system not being perfect, or the sensitivity of their lane-departure warning system.

To identify the best and worst new cars, 24/7 Wall St. listed the problems per 100 vehicles score for each of the 32 nameplates measured in J.D. Power’s 2017 U.S. Initial Quality Study. The study is based on responses from more than 80,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2017 model-year vehicles surveyed after 90 days of ownership. 2016 vehicle sales figures for each brand were obtained from GoodCarBadCar.net.

These are the best and worst new cars.