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  • Lexus topped latest J.D. Power study
  • Porsche, Lincoln, Toyota close behind
  • Study examines 3-year-old vehicles

Lexus and Porsche are the big winners in J.D. Power's latest Vehicle Dependability Study. The annual study, now in its 24th year, examines the reliability of 3-year-old vehicles. Lincoln also performed well in the study, grabbing top honors among domestic brands.

According to J.D. Power, Lexus is the most dependable overall brand with just 71 problems per 100 vehicles. The ranking is based on surveys taken by customers driving 2010 models, which are now three years old. That's different from J.D. Power's other well-known study, the Initial Quality Survey, which examines problems in the first 90 days.

Finishing second in the survey was Porsche, which averaged 94 problems per 100 vehicles. Lincoln and Toyota tied for third at 112 problems per 100 vehicles, while Mercedes-Benz ended up in fifth place with 115 problems.

In addition to being the top-rated brand, Lexus also had two models top their segments. They were the RX 350 crossover, which topped the Midsize Premium Crossover class, and the ES 350 sedan, which beat out the Lincoln MKZ and Cadillac CTS to head the Entry Premium Car segment.

Given Toyota's third-place finish, it's no surprise the popular brand also topped several segments. The Prius hybrid, Sienna minivan and RAV4 crossover each finished first in their respective classes, ahead of competent rivals from Honda, Ford and other brands. The xB and xD hatchbacks from Toyota's youth-oriented Scion brand also topped their market segments.

Of course, it wasn't just Toyota models that scored high finishes. The Honda Crosstour topped its class, while the RDX from Honda's luxurious Acura brand also boasted a number-one finish. And Chrysler's RAM truck brand boasted the title of most improved, reducing its score by 52 problems per 100 vehicles to finish ahead of the national average. While some automakers did better than others, nearly all posted improvements.

"The continuous improvement in long-term dependability means consumers should have more confidence in 3-year-old vehicles," said David Sargent, J.D. Power's vice president of global automotive. "This means there are a lot of dependable off-lease vehicles in the used-vehicle market. It also means that owners who keep their vehicle beyond the manufacturer's warranty period are able to have greater peace of mind."

High-end SUV manufacturer Land Rover finished at the bottom of J.D. Power's Vehicle Dependability Study at 220 problems per 100 vehicles. Dodge was second-to-last at 190, while Mitsubishi and Jeep shared third-worst honors with 178 problems per 100 vehicles.

What it means to you: Lexus, Porsche, Lincoln and Toyota are J.D. Power's top choices for drivers who don't want to deal with issues and service visits.

author photo

Doug DeMuro has a wide range of automotive industry experience, from work at a Ferrari dealership to a manager for Porsche North America. A lifelong car enthusiast, Doug's eclectic vehicle purchases include a Porsche 911 Turbo, an E63 AMG wagon, an old Range Rover and a Mercedes Benz G-wagen.

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