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Lexus, Porsche and Buick lead 2016 J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study

Technology hiccups with Bluetooth, voice recognition and navigation remain stumbling blocks

2014 Lexus GS 450h
Josh Miller/CNET

J.D. Power has released its 2016 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study, and it's with little surprise that Lexus sits atop the chart again as the most dependable nameplate for the fifth consecutive year. The 2016 study took feedback from 33,560 original owners of 2013 model-year vehicles, and determines the number of problems experienced per 100 vehicles (PP100) with a lower number signaling better quality. There are 177 specific problem symptoms covered by the study that are grouped into eight vehicle categories.

In Lexus' case it scored 95 PP100, followed by Porsche with 97 PP100 and Buick that received a score of 106 PP100. At the bottom of the list are Smart (199 PP100), Ford (204 PP100) and Dodge (208 PP100). The industry average for the study is 152 PP100.

General Motors was a big winner, taking home eight segment awards for the Buick Encore, Buick LaCrosse, Buick Verano, Chevrolet Camaro, Chevrolet Equinox, Chevrolet Malibu, Chevrolet Silverado HD and GMC Yukon. Toyota also had a strong showing with six segment honors for the Lexus ES, Lexus GS, Lexus GX, Toyota Prius V, Toyota Sienna and Toyota Tundra.

Additional segment accolades were given to the Fiat 500, Honda Fit, Mercedes-Benz GLK-Class, Mini Cooper, Mini Coupe/Roadster and Nissan Murano.

A key finding in this year's study was the rise in problems with infotainment, navigation and in-vehicle communication systems that now accounts for 20 percent of all customer-reported complaints. Bluetooth pairing issues, built-in voice recognition system misinterpretation of commands and difficulties using navigation systems were among the most common problems. J.D. Power blames the uptick in technology-related issues for the auto industry's 3 percent year-over-year decline in vehicle dependability.