2008 Lincoln MKZ

2008 Lincoln MKZ

BMW, Buick, Cadillac, Lexus, Lincoln and Mercedes-Benz all received awards in the most recent high marks in the most recent 2011 J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). But the biggest surprise is that Lincoln, which came in second last year behind Porsche, beat out everyone to earn the top spot in overall brand durability.

The survey asks owners about problems they've experienced in the past 12 months with their three-year-old vehicles; in this case, the cars in question were 2008 model-year cars and trucks. The survey takers respond to nearly 200 questions in eight different categories. The scores are calculated according to how many problems-per-100 vehicles (pp100) are reported.

There are 20 different categories, of which seven are for premium vehicles. However, Buick managed to win in the Large Car segment with the Buick Lucerne. The remaining premium segments broke out as follows:

Entry Premium Car Lincoln MKZ
Compact Premium Sporty Car Mercedes-Benz CLK-Class
Midsize Premium Car Acura RL
Large Premium Car Cadillac DTS
Entry Premium Crossover/SUV BMW X3
Midsize Premium Crossover/SUV Lexus RX
Large Premium Crossover/SUV Lincoln Navigator

In the overall category, Lincoln continued the meteoric improvement that it showed in last year's rankings, where it moved up 30 pp100 from the 2009 scores. This year, it outscored Lexus, Jaguar, Porsche and Toyota in dependability to get the top spot.

Mine the data and you come up with a few other interesting tidbits. The Lincoln MKZ wasn't just the highest-scoring in its segment, but the second-highest scoring car overall, with 79 pp100. Only the Porsche 911 ranked higher, with 69 pp100. Conversely, the Infiniti M showed a sharp decline since last year's study, dropping 61 points for the third biggest decline after the Dodge Ram and Nissan Titan. Curiously, Audi -- which had won the Midsize Premium Car segment with the A6 last year -- was completely absent from the rankings this year.

Source: J.D. Power