Mazda Dethrones Lexus as Most Reliable Brand, Miata and Jeep Gladiator Top the Charts: CR

Lincoln, Tesla, and Volkswagen, meanwhile, are hanging out at the bottom.

The reliability-obsessed folks at Consumer Reports have released their annual auto reliability rankings and, in a surprising result, defending champion Lexus has been dethroned not by parent-company Toyota, but Mazda, a relatively tiny automaker with a focus on fun and affordable luxury. What’s more, Mazda’s highest-scoring model happens to be the lightweight, rear-drive MX-5 sports car with an astounding predicted reliability score of 98 out of 100. Excuse the cliche, but sometimes, Miata is really always the answer.

Despite being one of the highest-rated models overall when you drill down into each manufacturer’s model-specific scores, the MX-5 does not appear at all in CR’s official “10 Most Reliable Cars” list. We reached out to the publication about this, and a spokesperson explained to us that CR “requires two years of data for any make/model to be included in the list of Most Reliable, and it only had one year of data on the Miata.”

It was a similar case for the popular Jeep Gladiator midsize truck, which despite scoring very high in reliability, could not make the  Most Reliable list due to the publication not having two full years’ worth of data.

Here’s the full, ranked list of automakers with their respective scores:

  1. Mazda (83)
  2. Toyota (74)
  3. Lexus (71)
  4. Buick (70)
  5. Honda (63)
  6. Hyundai (62)
  7. Ram (58)
  8. Subaru (57)
  9. Porsche (55)
  10. Dodge (54)
  11. Infiniti (54)
  12. BMW (52)
  13. Nissan (51)
  14. Audi (46)
  15. Kia (45)
  16. GMC (43)
  17. Chevrolet (42)
  18. Volvo (41)
  19. Jeep (41)
  20. Mercedes-Benz (40)
  21. Cadillac (38)
  22. Ford (38)
  23. Mini (37)
  24. Volkswagen (36)
  25. Tesla (29)
  26. Lincoln (8)

Opening up Lexus’s model-breakdown reveals that its slide to third place can mostly be blamed on its flagship LS sedan, which somehow scored an abysmal 13. Even taking the LS out of the equation, however, the Toyota luxury brand would’ve still merely tied Mazda for first place. 

Perhaps even more surprising than Lexus being toppled by Mazda is the presence of Buick in the top five. Coming in fourth place, the GM brand jumped 14 positions compared to last year, becoming the most improved automaker on the list by far due to “not many problems in its small product lineup.” The only Buicks that got their names on the board were the Encore and Enclave which came in at 91 and 50, respectively.

On the other side of the spectrum, electric carmaker Tesla dodged the honor of coming in dead last only because Lincoln managed to do so much worse, logging an average score of 8 out of a possible 100 thanks to the Corsair, Nautilus, and Aviator, which were awarded scores of 14, 9, and 2 respectively. Because we know you’re probably curious, the Tesla Model Y had a score of 5. 

You win some and you lose some, but there’s always next year.

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