• Image Credit: Toyota
Car owners are seeing an increase in problems with vehicles they've purchased in the past three years, says research firm J.D. Power, which recently released its Vehicle Dependability Study.

The research firm says car owners are seeing more problems with engines and transmissions than in prior years. The problems are particularly bad with 4-cylinder engines, Power says. Owners complain frequently about engine hesitation, lack of power, and rough gear changes, the firm says.

For 27 years, J.D. Power has been conducting surveys of  new car owners to gather data about problems with their vehicles. The dependability study collects this data and rates cars and brands based on the numbers of reported problems over three years of ownership. The results are adjusted based on sales numbers to determine a number of “problems per 100 vehicles.”

While J.D. Power does not release the specific numbers for each model, it does release the numbers for each brand, as well as for the industry as a whole. Additionally, it offers the top performers in each segment, such as  crossoverstrucks and  luxury vehicles.

We've compiled a gallery of the highest and lowest scoring brands in the 2014 Dependability Study. Head through to see who was at the top and bottom of the list.

  • Image Credit: GM

No. 5 Best - Buick

Problems Per 100 Vehicles: 112

Buick, one of GM's luxury brands, took the number five spot on the JD Power list this year with 112 problems per 100 vehicles. Hearing the word "Buick" probably doesn't immediately conjure the word "quality" in many minds, but the numbers don't lie: It's one of the most dependable brands out there right now.

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  • Image Credit: Honda

No. 4 Best - Acura

Problems Per 100 Vehicles: 109

Acura, which is Honda's luxury arm, took fourth place on this year's study with 109 problems per 100 vehicles. This isn't surprising. Honda has been known for making reliable vehicles for years, and with the extra attention and quality that goes into more expensive luxury rides, the end result is a brand that is among the most dependable on the planet right now.

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  • Image Credit: GM

No. 3 Best - Cadillac

Problems Per 100 Vehicles: 107

We already saw one GM brand on the list of the most dependable vehicles (Buick). Here's another. Cadillac is the higher-end luxury brand in GM's portfolio. It has had a resurgence as of late, bringing to market cars that are better looking, more fun to drive and, as this study suggests, much more reliable.

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  • Image Credit: Mercedes-Benz

No. 2 Best - Mercedes-Benz

Problems Per 100 Vehicles: 104

German cars tend to have a poor reputation for reliability. Mercedes-Benz, however, seems to want to put that sentiment to bed. With only 104 problems per 100 vehicles, the luxury brand took the number two spot on the list. Considering how much these cars tend to cost, it's nice to know that they will generally last you a while.

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  • Image Credit: Toyota

No. 1 Best - Lexus

Problems Per 100 Vehicles: 68

With just 68 problems per 100 vehicles, Lexus blew the other brands out of the water and took the top spot as the most dependable brand. These numbers suggest that the luxury arm of Toyota, which has a great reputation for reliability in its own right, is the most well-built car brand out there. This isn't really surprising: Lexus took the top spot in last year's study, too.

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  • Image Credit: Hyundai

No. 5 Worst - Hyundai

Problems Per 100 Vehicles: 169

While Hyundai has been on a roll with a stable of sharp, fuel-efficient vehicles, dependability seems to be holding the brand back. The Korean automaker, which, to be fair, has drastically improved the quality of its cars over the past decade, still suffers from having 169 problems per 100 vehicles.

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  • Image Credit: Chrysler

No. 4 Worst - Jeep

Problems Per 100 Vehicles: 178

Jeep is known for making some of the most capable off-road vehicles you can buy. But while they may be able to tackle the Rubicon Trail with minimal issue, dependability seems to be a mountain that the brand cannot scale. The American SUVs suffered from 178 problems per 100 vehicles, according to the study.

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  • Image Credit: Land Rover

No. 3 Worst - Land Rover

Problems Per 100 Vehicles: 179

Almost everything said about Jeep on the previous slide can apply to Land Rover. A Land Rover is arguably the best vehicle you can have if you need to get across the Sahara, but if you're tackling the concrete jungle, it's not a great option. The British brand, which is owned by India's Tata Motors, had 179 problems per 100 vehicles, according to J.D. Power.

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  • Image Credit: Chrysler

No. 2 Worst - Dodge

Problems Per 100 Vehicles: 181

The Dodge brand has suffered since the Great Recession decimated Chrysler, its parent company. Its cars have been mediocre, lagging well behind competitors from companies like Ford, Chevrolet, Toyota and Mazda in almost every aspect. A big problem that Dodge will have to overcome is dependability, as, according to the study, for every 100 of its vehicles, there were 181 problems.

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  • Image Credit: Mini

No. 1 Worst - Mini

Problems Per 100 Vehicles: 185

Mini, which is a British brand built by BMW, has always been known for its novelty, cute design and fun-to-drive demeanor. It has not, however, been known for reliability. According to the J.D. Power study, Mini suffered from 285 problems for every 100 vehicles, solidifying its place as the least dependable car brand out there right now.

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