J.D. Power Names the Top 2024 Vehicles in Initial Quality

The quality rating stalwarts at J.D. Power have bolstered the quality and credibility of their automotive initial quality scores for 2024 with the addition of real-world dealer service records in addition to their customary Voice of the Customer owner survey data.

The result is more trustworthy rankings that for 2024 show that U.S. domestic automakers are in top form, with Ram pickups grabbing the best score for a brand and six General Motors models leading their respective product segments in the IQS score. Click through our photo gallery to see the winners along with the runners-up and third-place finishers. In some cases, fewer than three are listed because not enough models had good enough scores to make the cut.

The overarching trend this year is that electronic gadgets are not making customers happy, so the premium brands and electrified models that have more of those gadgets than conventionally powered models from mass-market brands have gotten worse ratings.

“It is not surprising that the introduction of new technology has challenged manufacturers to maintain vehicle quality,” said Frank Hanley, senior director of auto benchmarking at J.D. Power. “However, the industry can take solace in the fact that some problem areas such as voice recognition and parking cameras are seen as less problematic now than they were a year ago.”

Related:J.D. Power Names the Top 2023 Vehicles in Initial Quality

Key findings from the 2024 Initial Quality Study:

  • Frustration rising from false warnings: Often, owners don’t understand what warnings mean. For instance, rear seat reminder technology, designed to help vehicle owners avoid inadvertently leaving a child or pet in the rear seat when exiting the vehicle, contributes 1.7 PP100 across the industry. Some mistakenly perceive it signals an unbuckled seat belt or cite the warning goes off when no one is present in the rear seat. Furthermore, advanced driver assistance systems, intended to save lives and reduce injuries, are irritating vehicle owners with inaccurate and annoying alerts from rear cross traffic warning and reverse automatic emergency braking features, a newly added feature to the survey this year.

  • Owners want to cut the cord: Problems with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay persist as the feature remains one of the top 10 problems. Customers most frequently experience difficulties connecting to their vehicle or losing connection. More than 50 percent of Apple users and 42 percent of Samsung users access their respective feature every time they drive, illustrating that customers want their smartphone experience brought into the vehicle and also desire the feature to be integrated wirelessly.

  • In-vehicle controls are out of control: Features, controls and displays is the second most problematic category in the study, slightly better than only the notoriously issue-prone infotainment category. From such seemingly simple functions like windshield wipers and rear-view mirror to the more intricate operation of an OEM smartphone application, this category is particularly troublesome in EVs. The PP100 incidence in this category is more than 30 percent higher in EVs than in gas-powered vehicles. This is exacerbated by Tesla’s recent switch to steering wheel-mounted buttons for horn and turn signal functions, a change not well received by owners.

  • One problem area that stinks: While, figuratively, all vehicle problems stink, there is one problem that is increasingly prevalent: unpleasant interior smell. This issue has worsened the most from 2023, with every brand except Kia and Nissan having an increase in unpleasant interior smell problems. Problem odors are described by owners to be emanating from their vehicle’s heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems.

Related:JD Power Names the Top 2022 Vehicles in Initial Quality

The U.S. Initial Quality Study is based this year on responses from 99,144 purchasers and lessees of new 2024 model-year vehicles who were surveyed after 90 days of ownership. For the first time, the study additionally incorporates repair visit data based on hundreds of thousands of real-world events reported to franchised new-vehicle dealers.

Related:J.D. Power Names 2024 Residual Value Winners

The study is based on a battery of 227 questions plus relevant repair data, all of which is organized into 10 vehicle categories: infotainment; features, controls and displays; exterior; driving assistance; interior; powertrain; seats; driving experience; climate; and unspecified (unique to repair).

The study is designed to provide manufacturers with information to facilitate the identification of problems and to drive product improvement. The study was fielded from July 2023 through May 2024.

On a brand level, Ram led the way this year, followed by Chevrolet and Hyundai.

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