The most reliable car brands 2020 list is a result of a well-known study called U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS).[1] This study is performed every year to rank vehicles’ reliability by three-years car owners reported problems for the past 12 months.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE
Engine Replacement: $1300+
Transmission: $1000+
Air Conditioner: $750+

Large SUVs

The results of this year are based on reported vehicle problems for the year 2017.

The 2020 results mark the 31st year of the VDS study. It was based on 36,555 vehicle owner’s responses over the period from July to November 2019.

Each car gets a score based on the number of problems per 100 vehicles or PP100—the lower the score, the fewer questions, the better the ranking. Issues are based on 177 specifications that are grouped into eight categories.

We will start with the 2020 J.D Power Result[2] list of most reliable car brands &  models for the year 2020.

we will highlight the key findings of the study and how do the results compare to last year’s results. We will also highlight which manufacturers received the most segments awards and which brands improved the ranking from last year.

Finally, we will highlight the 2019/2020 brands that will probably make it to the most reliable car brands in 2023.

Most Reliable Car Brands 2020

Most Reliable Car Brands 2020

The highest-ranked brand is the Genesis with 89 PP100. This is the first year for Genesis to be included in the study, and it climbed right to the top!

The second-highest ranked brand is Lexus. Lexus improved by 6 PP100 compared to last year’s study results (from 106 PP100 to 100 PP10).

Buick scored the third with 103 PP100, followed by Porsche with 104 PP100, and the fifth place was for Toyota with 113 PP100.

  • Genesis (89 PP100)
  • Lexus (100 PP100)
  • Buick (103 PP100)
  • Porsche (104 PP100)
  • Toyota (113 PP100)
  • Volkswagen (116 PP100)
  • Lincoln (119 PP100)
  • BMW (123 PP100)
  • Chevrolet (123 PP100)
  • Ford (126 PP100)
  • Mazda (130 PP100)
  • Cadillac (131 PP100)
  • Hyundai (132 PP100)
  • Kia (132 PP100)
  • Audi (136 PP100)
  • Nissan (136 PP100)
  • Acura (139 PP100)
  • Honda (139 PP100)
  • Ram (140 PP100)
  • Mitsubishi (146 PP100)
  • Mini (147 PP100)

Most Reliable Car Models 2020

The J.D. Power study highlighted the top three models per car segment in their last press release, and here is the summary:

  • Small Cars
    1. Honda Fit
    2. Chevrolet Sonic
    3. Chevrolet Bolt
  • Midsize Cars
    1. Buick Regal
    2. Volkswagen Passat
    3. Toyota Camry
  • Small Premium Cars
    1. BMW 2 Series
    2. BMW i3

There were no other models in this segment with performance above or on average.

  • Midsize Sporty Cars
    1. Ford Mustang

There were no other models in this segment with performance above or on average.

  • Compact Cars
    1. Nissan LEAF
    2. Chevrolet Cruze
    3. Toyota Corolla
  • Midsize Premium Cars
    1. Genesis G80
    2. Audi A7
    3. Audi A6
  • Compact Sporty Cars
    1. Mazda MX-5 Miata
    2. MINI Cooper

There were no other models in this segment with performance above or on average.

  • Large Cars
    1. Toyota Avalon
    2. Buick LaCrosse
    3. Chevrolet Impala
  • Compact Premium Cars
    1. Lexus ES
    2. BMW 4 Series
    3. Lexus IS

What are the key findings of the J.D Power U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study?

In general, the reported problems per 100 vehicles reduced by 1.5% as compared to last year’s results.

Newer vehicles are equipped with very modern technology, which makes it challenging for automakers to keep up with reliability and dependability.

According to Dave Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power: “There’s no question that 3-year-old vehicles today are better built and more dependable than same-age vehicles were in previous years,” and he also added: “However, the rapid introduction of technology is putting increased pressure on dependability, so it would not be surprising to see problem levels plateau, or even increase, over the next few years.”

Some of the significant critical findings for this study included:

  • Slow Rate Reliability Improvement

Although there is a 1.5% improvement in the reliability between 2020 and 2019, this improvement is considered slow as compared to 2018-2019 development. The 2020 average PP100 is 134, while the 2019 average PP100 was 136. One the other hand, the 2019 average PP100 improved by 6 points from the 2018 year.

This slow rate is expected to be even more deliberate with the added high technology features in newer cars, as we mentioned before.

Overall, the 2020 PP100 is the best performance in the history of the study.

  • SUVs and Crossovers Showed the Highest Reliability Improvements

Smaller cars are, in general, more reliable than the SUVs and Crossover. Last year showed a big gap between smaller car’s PP100 and SUVs/Crossover PP100.

In the 2020 results, this gap was narrowed with a PP100 for cars of 127 and SUVs of 134.

With the increasing demand for SUVs in the current market (~50% of car sales are SUVs), the automakers are challenged to keep up the reliability, too, as close as regular cars.

For the first time in the history of the study, Lexus ES showed the best PP100 of 52.

  • A First Award to An Electric Model

Again, for the first time in the history of this study, an electric vehicle receives an award, which was for the Nissan LEAF compact car.

  • Best Technology Improvements

One of the top highlights for this study was the significant improvement in Audio/Communication/Entertainment/Navigation systems.

Although it is the highest category in car problems, the ACEN showed the most significant improvements among all groups as compared to 2019 results.

Car Brands Improvements from 2019 Results

Many car brands showed significant improvements between 2019 and 2020.

Cadillac PP100 decreased by 35 as compared to 2019 results.

Mazda reduced the PP100 by 29, Lincoln showed a reduction of 28 PP100, Ford also showed a decrease of 20 PP100, Buick improved by 15 PP100, and finally, Volkswagen reduced the PP100 by 15.

Which Automakers Received the Most Segment Awards?

According to the 2020 results of the J.D. Power study, Toyota Motor Corporation was able to get six segment awards for the following vehicles:

  • Lexus ES
  • Lexus GX
  • Toyota Avalon
  • Toyota Sienna
  • Toyota Tundra

Another featured company was the General Motors Company. They received five segment awards for their next cars:

  • Buick Encore
  • Buick Regal
  • Chevrolet Equinox
  • Chevrolet Silverado HD
  • Chevrolet Tahoe

Predicted Most Reliable Car Brands 2023

Other studies are ongoing on more new car brands including the 2019 and 2020. Although one year of service might not be a very accurate representation of the expected reliability of the vehicle, we assume that the cars in this list are expected to make it to the most reliable car brands for the 2023 J.D. Power results.

Here is the list of 18 most reliable cars for 2020:

2020 Toyota Corolla is one of the top-selling vehicles for the year. It is expected to get a high rank in the 2023 J. D. Power results due to many features, including the fantastic fuel economy and the tremendous driver-assist system.

Toyota Corolla’s price is $19,600.

The 2019 Mini Cooper came with two-doors or four-doors hatchback. It has three engine choices.

Mini Cooper prices are $21,900.

The 2019 Mini Cooper Clubman is known for its larger cargo space as compared to similar models in this class. It also has a nicer second row.

Some of the cons include the relatively high price of $24,900.

One thing to note is that the car has not been crashing tested yet. Therefore, the crash test results might affect ranking.

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