Kia, Genesis, Porsche have highest initial quality, JD Power IQS says

Fiat, Jaguar and Volvo are at the bottom. Womp womp.

Jon Wong/Roadshow

Oh, how (some of) the mighty have fallen.

JD Power

The JD Power Initial Quality Study (IQS) is one of the industry's main markers in determining how consumers feel about their vehicles shortly after purchasing them. It's not perfect, but at least it's somethin'.

This year, Kia claims the top spot on the IQS chart once again, after making history in 2016 by breaking a 27-year record of having a premium brand up top. It achieved a score of 72 problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100). The newly minted Genesis brand was in second place with 77 PP100, and Porsche rounds out the podium at 78 PP100.

Ford leapt up the rankings, dropping its PP100 score from 102 to 86 over the course of one year. Perhaps most impressive, though, is Ram -- it's in fifth place in 2017, with 86 PP100, moving way up from its below-average score of 114 last year. On the other side of the rise-and-fall spectrum, Toyota fell from fourth place to just above average with a score of 95.

At the bottom of the list, we have Fiat (163 PP100), Jaguar (148) and Volvo (134). Jaguar fell hard this year, after achieving a still-not-great score of 127 in 2016. Last year, Smart was last on the list, but it was not included this year due to an insufficient sample size. Perhaps Fiat should sell fewer cars.

In terms of specific vehicle segments, Kia and Hyundai reign supreme with five segment bests. General Motors and BMW/Mini are hot on their heels with four segments each. There are a whole lot of segments, and you can take a look at all the individual winners below.

It's important to note that IQS is far from perfect. As I noted last year, if someone is confused by the radio or can't get Bluetooth to work perfectly, it can be considered a "problem," and it's given equal weight as mechanical issues like an engine blowing up. But since nobody has come out with a more comprehensive breakdown of initial quality, JD Power's IQS still stands as an industry marker.

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