The 26 Best New Car Models for Quality

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Happy driver
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Today’s new cars are declining in quality compared to those of the recent past, according to J.D. Power’s 2023 U.S. Initial Quality Study.

J.D. Power surveyed more than 93,000 purchasers and lessees of new 2023 model-year vehicles and found that cars are coming up short in many areas.

Models were ranked based on the number of problems per 100 vehicles, with the average new vehicle having 192 such problems. The number of problems has been sharply rising over the past couple of years.

J.D. Power says multiple factors are contributing to a “continuing decline in quality,” including:

  • Greater usage and penetration of technology
  • Continued integration of known problematic audio systems into other new models
  • Poor-sounding horns
  • Cupholders that don’t serve their purpose

New models also tend to have more problems per 100 vehicles than carryover models, J.D. Power says.

However, despite these issues, some car models are doing better than the industry average, including the following.

The best model overall

2019 Nissan Maxima
RickDeacon /

The Nissan Maxima ranked best overall with a score of 106 problems per 100 vehicles.

Edmunds praises the Maxima as “an appealing bridge to luxury sedans” and likes its sporty handling and classy interior.

The best minivan and pickup models

Kia Carnival minivan
Jonathan Weiss /

For those who want to step up to a bigger vehicle, here are the top minivan and pickup models:

  • Minivan: Kia Carnival
  • Midsize pickup: Ford Ranger and Jeep Gladiator (tie)
  • Large light duty pickup: Ram 1500

The best SUV models

Chevrolet Tahoe
BNFWork /

Americans love to drive SUVs, and the top models on J.D. Power’s list are:

  • Small SUV: Buick Encore GX
  • Small premium SUV: Audi Q3
  • Compact SUV: Chevrolet Equinox
  • Compact premium SUV: Alfa Romeo Stelvio
  • Midsize SUV: Nissan Murano
  • Midsize premium SUV: Lexus GX
  • Upper midsize SUV: Toyota 4Runner
  • Upper midsize premium SUV: Cadillac XT6
  • Large SUV: Chevrolet Tahoe
  • Large premium SUV: Cadillac Escalade

The best car models

2020 MINI Cooper Electric
VanderWolf Images /

If you want to keep things simpler and smaller, here are the top car models in the J.D. Power survey:

  • Highest initial quality model: Nissan Maxima
  • Small car: Kia Rio
  • Small premium car: Audi A3
  • Compact car: Kia Forte
  • Compact premium car: Lexus IS
  • Compact sporty car: Mini Cooper
  • Large premium car: BMW 8 Series
  • Midsize car: Toyota Camry
  • Midsize premium car: Kia Stinger
  • Midsize sporty car: Chevrolet Camaro
  • Premium sporty car: Chevrolet Corvette
  • Upper midsize premium car: Genesis G80

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