Mazda Tops The Charts In Automaker Quality

Illustration for article titled Mazda Tops The Charts In Automaker Quality
Photo: Mark Ralston/AFP (Getty Images)

If you ask the question, “What automaker makes the best cars?” you’re cracking open a big, messy can of worms. What defines best? Is it speed? Build quality? Comfort? And who gets to decide what’s best: car enthusiasts, soccer moms, or algorithms? Well, after some rigorous testing, Consumer Reports believes it has the answer: Mazda.

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While it isn’t infallible, CR has a pretty decent reputation for doing unbiased and in-depth testing. This isn’t just one reviewer saying the car is good. The score given to each brand reflects four different factors:

  • The CR road test that analyzes more than 50 different areas of performance.
  • Predicted reliability based on problems that have been pinpointed in 17 different areas.
  • Owner satisfaction based on what CR members say.
  • Safety standards—you get more points if you have proven safety features on all trims, not just the higher-end ones.

For this analysis, CR also looked at how many green options the automaker provides, which served as a little bonus tidbit.

And after all of that, Mazda ranked as number one, taking over the title of best automaker from Porsche. Here’s the top five:

  1. Mazda
  2. BMW
  3. Subaru
  4. Porsche
  5. Honda

I don’t know about you, but I was pretty shocked to see BMW rank so high—it jumped six places from 2020 to 2021 to secure its runner-up finish.

And, yes, I can’t let you go without pointing out the worst. In this list, number one represents the worst car on CR’s analysis:

  1. Alfa Romeo
  2. Land Rover
  3. Mitsubishi
  4. Jeep
  5. Lincoln

I was also really fascinated by the fact that Genesis was the biggest mover in this whole debacle, losing 13 spaces between 2020 and 2021 to finish 15th. The road test scores for Genesis machines were great, but it really suffered in the reliability department this time around.

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If you want more information on how the ranking was conducted, you’ll have to head over to Consumer Reports.

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

DISCUSSION

sidewaysisfaster
Sidewaysisfaster

I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that this CR report is probably marginally better than anecdotal evidence, at best.

The CR road test that analyzes more than 50 different areas of performance does nothing to look at reliability or long term quality. Not sure what “Predicted reliability based on problems that have been pinpointed in 17 different areas” means, but predicted says nothing about long term use.

“Owner satisfaction based on what CR members say” is also pointless. People get very emotional about cars and brands and will die by some brands no matter what happens. I know people that have spent their lives suffering through endless quality issues on BMWs and Audis and would never change brands. I will never abandon Lotus even after what my Evora put me through last year (30 hours of engine/tranny out, wire harness replacement) etc.

Safety standards—you get more points if you have proven safety features on all trims, not just the higher-end ones.” Again, not a long term quality thing.

For this analysis, CR also looked at how many green options the automaker provides, which served as a little bonus tidbit.” See point just above.