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Mazda Tops Consumer Reports Reliability Ratings

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2020 Mazda CX-3
Photo: Mazda

Mazda is a budget-friendly brand presenting itself as a rising star in the world of luxury cars, but that doesn’t mean the automaker has neglected reliability and solid engineering. According to Consumer Reports, Mazda is the most reliable car brand on the publication’s 2020 list.

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Judging reliability

Mazda Essential Car Care
Photo: Mazda

To decide which cars are the most reliable on the road, Consumer Reports reviewed driver survey responses on 329,000 vehicles from the model years 2000-2020. The study asks drivers to report problems that their vehicle has had in the previous 12 months, as well as the severity of the issue in terms of safety, cost, downtime, and failure. This excludes issues caused by accidents or recalls.

Respondents were also asked to include warranty-covered issues, along with the vehicle’s pain points, from minor electrical issues, climate control failure, and power accessory malfunctions, all the way up to major powertrain problems. On top of that, survey participants have to give a verbatim, written account of what went wrong with their vehicle.

Taking first place among automakers

R-Sport Limited Edition Mazda Miata
Photo: Mazda

Using this data, Consumer Reports gives each brand a score from 0-100. And by this metric, Mazda earned 83 points, placing it at the top of the list. Consumer Reports praised the brand for making vehicles that are attractive, fun, and reliable. However, the publication nicked the Mazda infotainment system, on the grounds that it could use a bit of modernization.

With 83 points, Mazda dethroned Toyota from its usual top spot. Toyota took the silver medal, so to speak, with 74 points. Other long-standing top-five favorites remained, including Lexus, Honda, and Buick. For contrast, Tesla was among the lowest-scored automakers, with a survey respondent even reporting human hair stuck in their Tesla’s paint job.

“We don’t see other manufacturers having those types of issues,” explained Jake Fisher, the senior director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports.

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In addition to the Mazda brand earning the top spot on the Consumer Reports reliability ratings, the Mazda CX-5 won a place on the top 10 list of the most reliable models of the 2021 model year.