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Kia Has Suddenly Become One of the Most Reliable Car Brands

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author photo by Doug DeMuro December 2016

A few weeks ago, we posted the results of a Consumer Reports reliability study that placed Kia in fifth -- ahead of virtually all luxury brands and even ahead of car companies that consumers traditionally consider reliable, like Acura, Honda, Infiniti, Porsche and Subaru.

The study was unusual, but it wasn't that surprising. We know that Kia has made some big strides in recent years, going from bargain-basement economy cars and little hatchbacks to vehicles that you and I would be pretty excited to own, or at least pretty excited to rent.

More recently, a new study came out: the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, which surveys problems owners have with their vehicles in the first 90 days of ownership. While this isn't a long-term reliability study, it's a useful tool for understanding how well cars are received when they initially find buyers -- and guess who won? That's right... Kia.

Now, this might not seem like such a big deal to you, but trust me when I say it's huge news in the industry. One reason is the fact that someone finally unseated Lexus from the top spot, which they had held for approximately 9 million years. But the biggest news is that a scrappy little mainstream automaker like Kia beat out allllll the luxury brands to top this list. All the brands that normally find themselves near the top -- Porsche, Lexus, Buick, Lincoln, Infiniti, BMW -- were topped by Kia.

Of course, I freely admit that a couple of reliability surveys over a short term don't necessarily guarantee that a car company has become reliable. But from my time working at Porsche's corporate headquarters, I know the work that goes into winning the J.D. Power Initial Quality Study, and I know that it's not easy to finish near the top of a Consumer Reports survey, either.

And so, while we should all continue to monitor the situation, I'll say this: Kia has already debuted some excellent products, and it's now hard not to be impressed with its promises of reliability. Is there a new Toyota in town?

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Used 2016 Kia Sorento
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Used 2016 Kia Sportage FWD LX
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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
Kia Has Suddenly Become One of the Most Reliable Car Brands - Autotrader