Do you have to live near the dealer
It's more convenient. No, you don't have to, but, for warranty work it helps.
To get a decent dealer I have a 200 mile drive. If you plan on having your car serviced at a dealer then proximity to a dealer could be a deciding factor in what kind of car to drive.
DavidTurel1- I understand. It's unfortunate that people living in remote areas have to make the choice of an unappealing vehicle, one that is poorly rated. I don't know where you live or what your situation is, but. I would definitely consider driving up to 100 miles, if necessary, to get the car I wanted. And, in case you didn't know, AAA Premier will tow your car one time up to 200 miles. So, even if your car were to become disabled, you could call them up and have your car towed to the dealer or the independent mechanic of your choice.
DavidTurel1- the AAA is one of the preeminent road side services, and has been serving their clients since 1900. They have many different levels and provide a whole range of services that make owning and driving a car more enjoyable. I've been a member for 35 years.