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Top 10 Models in the 2015 Initial Quality Study

Top 10 Models in the 2015 Initial Quality Study

By Philly Murtha, June 29, 2015

The J.D. Power Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) measures the quality of new vehicles after 90 days. Both defects/malfunctions and design-related problems are measured, categorized, and analyzed. Good news this year is that new-vehicle quality rises by 3% from 2014, principally due to improvements in the quality of non-premium models and enhanced new-vehicle quality from Korean brands.

However, even with these quality improvements, entertainment and connectivity remain the most problem-prone areas for new car owners for a third consecutive year. "Smartphones have set high consumer expectations of how well technology should work, and automakers are struggling to match that success in their new vehicles," said Renee Stephens, vice president of U.S. automotive quality at J.D. Power. Yet, all 10 of the most problem-free new car, truck, SUV, and van models are offered with infotainment systems and in-vehicle connectivity.

In the gallery that follows, the 10 models with the fewest problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) as measured in the 2015 IQS are listed in order from the highest to lowest number of problems. Note: A lower PP100 score reflects higher quality. In the case of a tie, models are listed in alphabetical order.

10) 2015 Kia Cadenza (78 PP100)
The Kia Cadenza, introduced for the 2014 model year as the automaker's top-of-the-line sedan, is a large car that offers comfort and lots of features, including voice-controlled UVO eServices infotainment and Bluetooth connectivity. Considered by some to be an unpretentious front-wheel-drive (FWD) sedan, the initial quality of the Kia Cadenza outpaces higher-volume models in its segment, including the Chevrolet Impala and Toyota Avalon. Its overall score in the 2015 IQS improves by 3 PP100, compared with last year.

9) 2015 Kia Soul (77 PP100)
This boxy multi-purpose vehicle (MPV) earns an initial quality award in the Compact MPV segment for a fourth straight year and is among the 10 models with the lowest PP100 scores in the 2015 IQS. Additionally, the Soul improved by a significant 20 PP100 from 2014. Redesigned for the 2014 model year, the 2015 Soul is equipped with a telematics package that allows the owner to monitor vehicle activity when another driver is at the wheel.

7) 2015 BMW 5 Series (tie at 76 PP100)
BMW's premium 5 Series, which includes a host of body styles and powertrains, receives the Midsize Premium Car segment award in the 2015 IQS. The German luxury car's score improves by a significant 28 PP100 from the 2014 IQS. Loaded with safety and convenience technology systems, the 2015 5 Series is equipped with a BMW iDrive infotainment system with touchpad control, HD Radio, navigation, and BMW Online and Apps technology.

7) 2015 Mercedes-Benz SL-Class (tie at 76 PP100)
Although the Mercedes SL-Class 2-seat retractable-hardtop convertible ranks second in the Midsize Premium Sporty Car segment in the 2015 IQS, it is still one of the 10 highest-quality models in this year's study. Options for this premium touring car include a Bang & Olufsen audio system, adaptive cruise control, rearview camera, and Magic Sky Control, which adjusts the light level that comes in through the SL's glass roof panel.

6) 2015 BMW 7 Series (74 PP100)
BMW's flagship large premium sedan reflects the highest level of the German automaker's engineering advances and technology and also manages to improve its score in the 2015 IQS by a significant 34 PP100 compared with last year. Offered in five different varieties with several powertrain choices--including conventional gasoline, hybrid, and turbo-diesel--the 7 Series was refreshed for the 2013 model year with an upgraded premium audio system and a new iDrive menu, along with a voice-command system and an improved navigation system. A redesigned 2016 BMW 7 Series was recently announced.

5) 2015 Infiniti QX70 (72 PP100)
The Infiniti QX70, formerly the Infiniti FX, is the only crossover utility to make the top 10 list in initial quality. The QX70 receives the Midsize Premium SUV segment award this year and also improves its score by 5 PP100 from the 2014 IQS. Offered in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive, the QX70 offers a Technology package that includes intelligent cruise control, lane-departure and forward-collision warning systems, adaptive and auto-leveling headlights, and rain-sensing wipers. Bluetooth connectivity and iPod connectivity are also available.

3) 2015 Chrysler 300 (tie at 66 PP100)
Positioned between non-premium and luxury brands, the Chrysler 300 is built on a modified Mercedes platform and was last redesigned in 2011, although it features freshened styling and new exterior colors for 2015. Highest-ranked in the Large Car segment of the 2015 IQS, the 300 improves its score this year by a whopping 48 PP100. A new 300C Platinum trim level features a standard, next-generation Uconnect 8.4 infotainment system with 8.4-in. color touch screen and offers Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity and voice-texting capability.

3) 2015 Porsche Boxster (tie at 66 PP100)
Porsche ranks highest in initial quality for a third consecutive year and boasts two of the 10 models with the lowest PP100 scores. The Boxster 2-door roadster, which ranks highest in the Compact Premium Sporty Car segment of the 2015 IQS, offers three engine choices and comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission and also features Bluetooth connectivity. Interestingly, its brand-mate, the Porsche Cayman, while not among the top 10 models in initial quality, does rank second in the same vehicle segment.

2) 2015 Porsche 911 (65 PP100)
Highest-ranked in the Midsize Premium Sporty Car segment of the IQS for four consecutive years, the iconic Porsche 911 improves its score by 9 PP100 in the 2015 Initial Quality Study. Offered in three body styles, the current-generation, 2-door, 4-seat Porsche 911 will likely be redesigned for 2016. The 911 offers enthusiasts style and performance, even at the base level. Its initial quality surpasses all but one model.

1) 2015 Lexus LS (61 PP100)
The brand's flagship luxury sedan, the LS was the only model introduced by Lexus in 1989. More than 25 years later, it is the industry's most problem-free model, according to the 2015 IQS, improving its score by 13 PP100 to record an industry-leading 61 PP100 overall. Since 2006, the Lexus LS, currently available in standard, long-wheelbase, and hybrid versions, has ranked highest in the Large Premium Car segment in the IQS in eight of the last 10 years. A host of convenience, comfort, and safety features--including pre-collision and lighting and visibility systems--are standard on the fourth-generation LS, which also features Bluetooth connectivity, a 10-speaker audio system, MP3 decoder, turn-by-turn navigation, and 12.3-in. LCD monitor.

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