Dependability is a highly desirable feature to have in a new vehicle, even more so after three years. Thus, with the annual release of its vehicle dependability study, J. D. Power and Associates gets the attention of owners of those three-year-old (2013 model year) cars, trucks, minivans and SUVs, as well as consumers considering highly rated brands for new purchases. The J.D. Power 2016 U.S. Vehicle Dependability Study shows five domestic brands in the top 10. In vehicle segment awards, General Motors took home eight and Toyota-Lexus six.
Here are the segment-leading vehicles in nine passenger car and 10 light-truck segments.
Passenger Car Segment Winners
City Car: 2013 Fiat 500 – Engaging to drive, especially in urban environments, the 2013 Fiat 500 sports nice exterior styling and interior details, good fuel efficiency and is well equipped for the price. Still, the interior is a bit small and the car isn’t as quick as it could be.
Small Car: 2013– Considered fun to drive, the 2013 Honda Fit subcompact hatchback is well rounded, has extraordinary cargo space and versatility for its size, a spacious back seat, excellent visibility and simple controls. It’s also a bit noisy, there’s no way to adjust the driver’s seat height, braking is so-so and the automatic transmission not that quick.
Compact Car: 2013 Buick Verano – Offering a quiet interior, a comfortable and composed ride, efficient and strong turbocharged engine and a competitive price, the 2013 Buick Verano has many of the features of a full-size luxury sedan in a compact version. The back seat, however, isn’t as large as some competitors and the base engine isn’t remarkable.
Compact Sporty Car: 2013 Mini Cooper – Sharp handling, excellent performance and high fuel economy are stellar attributes of certain of the 2013 Mini Cooper models. Available in coupe and convertible models, the Mini Cooper is a good compact sporty car pick.
Compact Premium Car: 2013 Lexus ES – Completely redesigned for 2013, the Lexus ES entry-level luxury sedan offers a comfortable ride, composed handling, a powerful V6 engine, excellent crash test ratings, a luxurious interior and generous rear-seat legroom. The mouse-based electronics interface, however, is considered distracting.
Midsize Car: 2013 Chevrolet Malibu – With its upscale interior, comfortable and composed ride, high-tech features and roominess, the redesigned 2013 Chevrolet Malibu makes an excellent choice for a midsize family sedan.
Midsize Sporty Car: 2013– If its head-turning exterior design isn’t enough to strike your fancy, the pavement-burning acceleration in V8 models and the fuel-efficient V6 models might be. Any 2013 Chevy Camaro offers more-than-capable handling. Downsides: poor outward visibility, small rear seat and meager trunk room.
Midsize Premium Car: 2013 Lexus GS – Its redesign made the 2013 Lexus GS a strong contender among midsize luxury sedans. Cutting edge technology in safety and entertainment certainly helped attract buyers, as did the high-quality interior, capable handling and refined ride quality. The electronics interface, however, is considered “finicky” by most auto critics.
Large Car: 2013– Stylish and practical, the 2013 Buick LaCrosse also boasts top safety scores, available all-wheel drive, rich interior styling, good driving dynamics, a smooth and quiet ride, and good fuel economy with the hybrid version.
Light-Truck Segment Winners
Small SUV: 2013 Buick Encore – Buick debuted an all-new model in the 2013 Encore crossover SUV. Smaller than the brand’s larger Enclave crossover SUV, the Encore offers nimbleness, user-friendly high-tech features (although some are a bit hard to learn, say auto critics and consumers alike), a quiet cabin, comfortable ride, good fuel economy and attractive price.
Compact MPV: 2013 Toyota Prius V – Family-oriented car shoppers have a lot to like in the compact crossover/wagon 2013 Toyota Prius V. Exceptional fuel economy and outstanding utility are high on the list of commendable attributes of this sibling to the standard Prius. So is generous cargo capacity, a quiet and comfortable ride and roomy interior.
Compact SUV: 2013– In the highly competitive compact crossover SUV segment, the 2013 Chevrolet Equinox has proved to be a top choice. The Equinox looks good, has quite a lot of style, is comfortable, quiet, spacious and offers a comfortable ride.
Compact-Premium SUV: 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK – A compact, entry-level luxury SUV, the 2013 Mercedes-Benz GLK isn’t the cheapest or roomiest in the segment, but it does have a solid feel, is impressively built and boasts an impeccably crafted cabin. Ride and handling are impressive as well and safety features are abundant.
Midsize SUV: 2013 Nissan Murano – Compared to other crossovers in the midsize segment, many find the 2013 Nissan Murano a good blend of ride comfort, smoothness, high quality interior build and value for the money. The back seat is spacious, the powertrain responsive and controls are user-friendly. There isn’t as much cargo space as some of the Murano’s competitors, however, and rear visibility is a bit compromised.
Midsize Premium SUV: 2013 Lexus GX – With plenty of standard features and a capable off-road manner, the 2013 Lexus GX luxury midsize SUV also offers a high-quality interior. Some critics say the second-row seats are uncomfortable and the side-swinging cargo door is inconvenient.
Minivan: 2013– For large families, the 2013 Toyota Sienna minivan is an excellent vehicle choice. It’s also the only minivan available with all-wheel drive. The Sienna is roomy, well-built, comfortable, available in several trims and has a smooth and powerful V6 engine. Options packages can be expensive and the cabin has some lower-grade plastics.
Large SUV: 2013 GMC Yukon – Consumers looking for a traditional large SUV with impressive towing ratings and terrific passenger and cargo capacity have a good choice in the 2013 GMC Yukon. The Yukon can seat up to nine, tow up to 8,500 pounds, boasts a quiet, comfortable and well-built cabin, and the navigation system is easy to use. Negatives include a third-row seat that doesn’t fold flat or stow away and lack of a telescoping steering wheel.
Large Light-Duty Pickup: 2013 Toyota Tundra – While not as refined as some competitors, the 2013 Toyota Tundra full-size pickup truck is nonetheless a strong, workhorse truck that delivers the utility and strength many buyers want. The Tundra comes in a variety of body styles and three different engines so consumers can tailor it to their needs.
Large Heavy-Duty Pickup: 2013 Chevrolet Silverado HD – Among heavy-duty pickups, the 2013 Chevrolet Silverado HD is a compelling choice. Besides a seemingly endless number of choices (cab size, bed size and engines), the Chevy Silverado HD can tow up to 17,800 pounds (with a fifth-wheel connection), haul a payload up to 3,670 pounds (or 4,212 pounds when equipped with high-payload package). Responsive steering, solid build quality and a refined and quiet ride are other desirable attributes.