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11 Most Improved Models in the J.D. Power 2014 Initial Quality Study

By: Jeff Youngs, 7/3/2014

The annual J.D. Power Initial Quality StudySM (IQS) measures the number of problems experienced by new-vehicle owners with their new car, truck, SUV, or van during the first 90 days of ownership. Based on more than 86,000 survey responses, the 2014 IQS finds the following 11 models experience the largest decrease in problems year over year. They are listed in alphabetical order by make and model, accompanied by their improvement as measured by problems per 100 vehicles (PP100) and commentary about what changed for each model in 2014.


2014 Dodge Dart
For the 2014 model year, Dodge cancelled the turbocharged engine and automated manual transmission in the SXT and Limited trim levels, replacing it with the more conventional 4-cylinder engine and automatic transmission offered in the Dart GT. In the 2014 IQS, the Dart improves by 42 PP100 from last year.


2014 Ford C-Max
The C-Max is a gas-electric hybrid offered in standard and plug-in C-Max Energi models. After revising the C-Max's fuel-economy estimates to make them more reflective of what owners will actually get, Ford says the 2014 C-Max is equipped with the newest version of the company's Sync with MyFord Touch infotainment system. The C-Max improves more than any other model in the 2014 IQS, with 110 PP100 fewer than in 2013.


2014 Ford Escape
Following a difficult launch of the redesigned 2013 Escape, one plagued by recalls, this compact crossover SUV improves by 41 PP100 in the 2014 IQS. Ford made no significant changes to the Escape this year.


2014 Ford Taurus
Ford refreshed the Taurus for the 2013 model year, adding several new technologies to the full-size sedan including an available Sync with MyFord Touch infotainment system. A new version of MyFord Touch debuted for the 2014 model year, along with a new Lane Keeping Aid system. The Taurus improves by 37 PP100 in the 2014 IQS.


2014 Honda Crosstour
Refreshed for the 2013 model year, the 2014 Honda Crosstour added numerous infotainment and safety technologies, in addition to revised styling and other modifications. For 2014, the Crosstour is unchanged, yet has 37 PP100 fewer in the 2014 IQS than in the 2013 study.


2014 Hyundai Accent
For 2014, Hyundai made numerous small changes to the Accent. In addition to new voice-recognition technology for the available Bluetooth system, the Accent gained a revised stereo layout and several changes to improve comfort and convenience. The car's 2014 initial quality score improves by a notable 38 PP100.


2014 Lincoln MKS
A reversing camera made the standard equipment list for the 2014 MKS, and buyers could choose from a few new colors. The MKS full-size sedan's initial quality score improves by 39 PP100 in the 2014 IQS.


2014 Lincoln MKZ
Following a slow launch in 2013, the year the MKZ was completely redesigned and became available with a long list of technologies including MyLincoln Touch, the 2014 MKZ has improved by 41 PP100 in the 2014 IQS. Lincoln made no changes this year, except to offer new paint colors.


2014 Nissan Altima
Aside from introducing new NissanConnect Apps service to the Altima's option list, Nissan repackaged desirable extra-cost features in a way that makes them more accessible to consumers. More sound insulation is also claimed to quiet the interior, and occupants sit on revised seat cloth. In the 2014 IQS, the Altima's initial quality score improves by 52 PP100.


2014 Nissan Pathfinder
A new hybrid version of the Pathfinder debuted for 2014, and Nissan offered a new Technology package for SL models. In the 2014 IQS, the Pathfinder's score improves by 46 PP100.


2014 Toyota Prius C
Aside from adding a new color, Toyota made no changes to its smallest hybrid model, the Prius C. Nevertheless, the car's initial quality score improves by 37 PP100 in the 2014 IQS.

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