Mazda Stands Atop the Consumer Reports List for First Time

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey
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mazda stands atop the i consumer reports i list for first time

Mazda just unlocked a first for the brand.

The “zoom-zoom” brand is now sitting atop Consumer Reports’ yearly list of most reliable automotive brands. That’s the first time that has happened.

The report, officially titled “Consumer Reports 2021 Brand Report Card”, was released Thursday, and the other four brands in the top five were BMW, Subaru, Porsche, and Honda.

Alfa Romeo’s reputation for reliability won’t be helped by its last-place showing on the list of 32 brands. Just ahead of Alfa were Land Rover, Mitsubishi, Jeep, and Lincoln.

Unlike most auto journalists/automotive publications, Consumer Reports actually buys the vehicles it tests, and does so anonymously. It also surveys its subscribers.

Last year’s top dogs were Porsche and Genesis, but Genesis dropped 13 spots this year. Lincoln had it even worse, falling 15 places to 28th.

Tesla, the darling of tech bros everywhere, slid from 11th to 16th. That still put it ahead of Mini, Kia, and Volkswagen.

[Image: Mazda]

Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for, CarFax,, High Gear Media, Torque News,,, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as,, and He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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12 of 37 comments
  • Stuki Stuki on Feb 20, 2021

    Isn't really al that surprising, considering how focused Mazda's portfolio is. They're missing a few niches, but what they do offer, bear very strong evidence of being designed and built by people who know cars. And hence of management who listens to people competent at what they do. The only possible fly in the ointment, is the rather arbitrary recent obsession with "moving upmarket." If there is ever a clear sign of capitulation, of giving up, it is just that: "We can no longer compete head on"in the toughest battlefields, so we're resigning ourself to make up for it with some nudge-nudge-wink-wink froo-froo instead." Never a good sign, i any competitive industry. But until such capitulation is fully locked in, Mazda has one heck of a product portfolio. With very little deadweight.

  • Starskeptic Starskeptic on Feb 20, 2021

    I put 277,000 miles on my Protege5 before I traded it...

    • Slavuta Slavuta on Feb 21, 2021

      My '98 Protege with 195K miles was super smooth. Engine - like a fine swiss watch. But it was loud passed 60mph in the cabin.

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Feb 20, 2021

    I have doubts about the results when: 1. Positions on this list are changing by double digits in one year. 2. Tesla ranks above Kia, or even VW. Yay for Mazda - the internet darling with overpriced products and stalled sales for the last 30 years.

    • See 3 previous
    • Daniel J Daniel J on Feb 21, 2021

      @CKNSLS Sierra SLT For Mazda 6, I'm comparing what I paid vs the lowest I could get dealerships on my Mazda 6. I couldn't get the dealer to even budge on an accord sport 2.0T.

  • Geo Geo on Feb 21, 2021

    I used to be obsessed with reliability ratings as a teenager, scouring literature and "Lemon-Aid" guides for info. I remember that almost no domestic models scored well on reliability except for old designs (eg. Crown Vic, Fifth Avenue, Mustang). Now that cars are generally built to last 200,000 miles with no serious issues it would seem that these ratings are not as important, meaning the difference between one or two extra trips to the dealer over three years. Still, nice to see Mazda, the little engine that could, get some accolades.

    • See 2 previous
    • CKNSLS Sierra SLT CKNSLS Sierra SLT on Feb 22, 2021

      jkross22- I don't keep cars past 100,000 miles. We are in "The Great West". You can literally be in the middle of no where for three hours or more-w/o a cellphone signal or passing another vehicle for hours. I get rid of them a tad before 100,000 miles-trade in values are still decent. They dive after 100,000 miles.