By on February 19, 2021

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]

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37 Comments on “Mazda Stands Atop the Consumer Reports List for First Time...”


  • avatar
    CKNSLS Sierra SLT

    Sorry-color me not impressed. This is being discussed over on another website. Mazda averaged 24,000/units a month USA sales in 2020. Someone said-Oh they are doing great in China-not so much-215,000 total units there last year. GM sold almost 3 million units.

    Basically Mazda is a niche player-and many are already complaining about price increases as they move “up market”. Consequently I fully expect volume to slip further.

    Bottom line-when you sell this many (or few) vehicles you should be able to get them out the door with a high level of quality.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I have 2010 and 2011 2L Mazda 3 cars and they have 250,000K miles for 2. 1 – 0 problems. Another – $100 worth of problems.

      On top, I have 2017 Mazda6. Given, under 25K miles, I simply don’t drive anymore. But this is my 4th Mazda. If I had issues before I would not buy it again

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      I would argue the opposite – if you have one tenth the resources of GM – building consistently reliable vehicles is very impressive.

  • avatar
    SaulTigh

    My sister has a ’15 CX5 that she bought new and it’s been an excellent and reliable vehicle. That Soul Red paint is also something else.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    It’s NOT the first time Mazda made #1 at CR. Consumer Reports first announced that conclusion in November 2020, but why would an editor in the car biz remember that, eh? There’s just so much info, a person can’t remember it all was the excuse a year ago. But a commenter like me somehow can remember, so my attitude tends to be if I can do it for nothing, I expect someone who’s being paid to be on top of things can do it too. Seriously.

    A competitor’s report from Nov 20, 2020:

    https://www.carscoops.com/2020/11/consumer-reports-names-mazda-as-the-most-reliable-automaker/

  • avatar
    Tele Vision

    My wife still misses her ’09 Mazda 3. Moreso now that her 2013 Equinox just threw the timing chain then barfed oil out the timing side. Valves met pistons. Why on Earth would a GM 2.4L inline four be an interference engine? [email protected]

  • avatar

    Looks like Lincoln outperformed die Deutschen marken in the race to the button. And Kia too. It becoming the true luxury brand. I do not see where is RR.

  • avatar
    kanu

    Go read the list more carefully. It’s the “best vehicles” based on an overall score that includes predicted reliability, owner satisfaction, and road-test score. Of the top five brands on that list, BMW, Subaru, and Porsche scored only average on predicted reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      Lorenzo

      Don’t forget also that it’s Consumers’ Reports, and their testers/evaluators and their preferences have changed over the years. That can lead to judgements that don’t mesh with what buyers are looking for.

      I remember their auto assesments fifty years ago, when their senior evaluators had tested cars from the 1940s and 1950s. By 1970, those late-middle-age testers were highly satisfied with reliable full size American sedans with V8 engines and relatively trouble-free automatic transmissions.

      By contrast, they severely downrated the small imports and subcompact domestics. Once you get into your late 50s and early 60s, butt comfort begins to overrule driving characteristics. Middle age spread and reduced mobility worked against smaller cars that the young thought were comfortable enough and fun to drive.

      The ratings incorporate value judgements of the testers, as well as soft data like owner satisfaction. Several models have high owner satisfaction, but low reliability ratings.

      Some of CR’s reliability ratings include non-mechanical things like fit and finish that don’t affect the vehicle’s driveability. CR has traditionally downrated Jeeps and other off-road vehicles, because they don’t measure up to the better road cars on pavement.

      CR’s ratings are good, but shouldn’t be used as the sole source for car buyers. Neither should TTAC reviews, but for the size of the investment, more data is always better before making a judgement.

  • avatar
    Art Vandelay

    BMW being average tells me all I need to know. I am not afraid of “lease only” brands to include Alfa Romeo, but I wouldn’t touch a BMW on a 12 month deal. It pains me. Of my favorite vehicles I’ve ever owned, a sub 3000 mile E30 318i Touring (Euro Spec) I haf in the 90’s is probably my favorite car I’ve owned. Modern BMW’s? Not with your money.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    Well, not that surprised. A lot of their best selling models are Made in Japan only ( CX5, CX9, Mazda 6). Recently they’ve opened up production in Mexico for the Cx30 and Mazda 3 I think. I’ve seen some reviews on the CX 30 and there seem to be some production issues but that’s probably just teething pains. The rest of the line up made in Japan, they are as solid as granite.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      I’mm not sure of the assumed correlation between where the car is built and its reliability. My ’08 Honda Pilot is a true “cockroach car” and it was not built in Japan. I believe it was built in Canada. Likewise, my ’15 GMC Sierra 1500, now with 115K miles, has also proved very reliable. It was built in Mexico.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        That’s true. Even China puts out some high-quality products. It’s just that they jack up the price appropriately. They’ve been making progress in camera lenses recently. Other areas as well. Because of the higher prices, you won’t see those products at Walmart because they aren’t cheap.

      • 0 avatar
        Carrera

        I can only speak from my experience DC Bruce. I owned throughout the years vehicles of the same brand (Honda) that were made in Japan and some that were made in USA or Canada. In my experience the Japanese made ones were flawless, the Canadian made were very, very good and the USA Hondas were good as well. The Canadian and USA made ones ( My 2006 Alabama made Pilot has 240,000 miles but had some issues throughout its 15 years while the Japanese CRV, never had ANY in 160,000 miles I’ve owned it. Same for the Honda Ridgeline Made in Canada. Very few issues but more than the Japanese.

  • avatar
    Imagefont

    My 1994 Miata still soldiers on. I replaced the water pump, just because it’s easy to do when replacing the timing belt. I put a new radiator in it 20 years ago. Brake work, new rotors and calipers just because. New master cylinder just because. Virtually no engine work, it still has the original clutch. It has never failed to pass inspection and had to be run on a treadmill since it’s OBD1. Best car I ever had, and still have.

  • avatar
    stuki

    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.

  • avatar
    starskeptic

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

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      Daniel J

      I’d be curious as to why you think they are overpriced.

      – for about 500 dollars more I got many more features in my 2018 6 GTR than the accord sport 2.0T I had test driven. Was even cheaper than a Sonata limited 2.0T

      – 2020 CX-5 reserve 2.5t AWD. Well, it’s hard to compare this with anything. We drove an Encore 2.OT preferred II which had less equipment but was 1.5K more. The Premium was 4K more. The escape with the ecoboost 2.0T was similarly priced but had a cheaper feeling interior and huge panel gaps.

  • avatar
    geo

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      “Now that cars are generally built to last 200,000 miles with no serious issues”

      How much money needs to be dumped into a car to get it to 200k miles? Replacing all gaskets, electrical gremlins, water pumps, etc.

      You can make anything last if you dump enough money into it. I’m not even talking about my favorite punching bag, BMW. Every car has bugaboos, and they’re usually thousands to fix correctly.

      • 0 avatar
        CKNSLS Sierra SLT

        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.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I agree this can and does happen but disagree with “cars are generally built to last 200K” because they are not generally built as such. They are generally built as cheaply and quickly as they can be given the regulations and price point. Gone are the days of the Volvo 200/700 being designed for a minimum service life of 19.4 years with recommended maintenance. If I had to guess, their targets are 10 years generally speaking. Other semi-commercial vehicles like the Ford F-Series may have longer intended lives depending on configuration but with all of the electronics and complexity required in any vehicle in USDM -including the fact electronics become outdated after six months- I don’t think they are setting the bar too high.

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