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Vehicle dependability drops for the first time in 15 years

Posted On Wed, February 12, 2014

Because vehicles on the road are older than ever, dependability is critical to consumers. However, according to a recent study from J.D. Power and Associates, for the first time in 15 years, vehicle dependability fell on a year-over-year comparison. 

In order to assess dependability, J.D. Power polled owners of 3-year-old vehicles. The data showed that in 2014, 133 problems were experienced for every 100 vehicles, marking a 6 percent increase from last year and the first gain since 1998. 

David Sargent, vice president of global automotive at J.D. Power, said that vehicle dependability has been consistently rising in the last decade. However, some changes made by automakers have led to more problems. 

The issues that were the most-reported on the study were engine and transmission issues. Sargent again noted that changes made by manufactures are likely the cause of the problems. 

"Automakers are continually looking for ways to improve fuel economy, which is a primary purchase motivator for many consumers, particularly those buying smaller vehicles," said Sargent. "However, while striving to reduce fuel consumption, automakers must be careful not to compromise quality. Increases in such problems as engine hesitation, rough transmission shifts and lack of power indicate that this is a continuing challenge."

Best vehicles for the money in 2014
As a vehicle is likely the largest purchase someone will make in their lifetime - aside from a home - value is critical. Whether it's finding a car with great gas mileage or one that comes with cheap insurance rates, shoppers are likely on the prowl for a good deal. 

Luckily, U.S. News and World Report, a publisher of consumer advice and information, released its list of the 2014 Best Cars for the Money. Here are some of the vehicles on the list:

  • 2014 Ford Fiesta
  • 2014 Mazda3
  • 2014 Scion FR-S
  • 2014 Ram 1500 
  • 2014 Chevrolet Volt 
  • 2014 Toyota Tacoma

"Finding a great car that's also a great deal is a challenge," said Jamie Page Deaton, managing editor of U.S. News Best Cars. "Our awards are designed to help consumers identify great value cars that have also received critical acclaim and high safety and reliability scores. A good value car doesn't have to be boring - cars with the latest features, great performance and comfortable interiors can also be smart financial choices."

In order to determine its list of best deals, U.S. News considered 255 vehicles. Shoppers are encouraged to use this data to make an informed decision on a vehicle purchase. 

Feedback or questions? Email the editor here.

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