For time immemorial, or at least the past six years, Toyota and Lexus have sat at the top of Consumer Reports' annual survey of vehicle reliability. It was almost as much a given as blue skies and taxes. Not any more. Mazda has dethroned them both, ascending to the No. 1 spot for the first time.
Mazda nabbed the top spot with powertrains and that used durable (and more fun) six-speed automatic transmissions instead of CVTs, which tend to be more fragile. Mazda also didn't rely on overly fancy infotainment systems, instead bucking industry trends with cockpits that discourage screen use during driving and encourage buttons and dials that can be handled without taking your eyes off the road. The most reliable Mazda was the MX-5 with a score of 98 out of 100, followed by the CX-30, CX-3, and CX-5, all scoring 85 or better.
Overall, Toyota and Lexus still rank far above the average, taking the second and third spots respectively. Lexus was dragged down by problems pertaining to the LS, but CR didn't specify the nature of those issues.
Buick was the most improved brand, jumping up 14 spots to claim fourth. Its show was attributed largely to the Encore, which received a score of 91. Honda moved up seven positions to round out the top five, but was denied a better position due to the Passport and Odyssey's scores in the mid-30s.
Among European brands, Porsche ranked highest, at No. 9. BMW moved up five spots to 12th, while Audi kept its mid-pack position at 14th, and Mercedes brought up the rear among the German big three in 20th place.
At the bottom of the list were Ford, Mini, Volkswagen, Tesla, and Lincoln falling 11 places to dead last. In particular, the Ford Explorer was called out for having the fewest points of any model, barely registering at all a score of 1, thanks to gremlins with engines, body, power equipment, electronics, and transmissions.
Tesla's newly introduced Model Y crossover dragged down the electric carmaker's standing to the penultimate spot. Owners of the Model Y, which began production in January, have reported misaligned body panels that had to be fixed and mismatched paint including, in one case, human hair stuck in the paint, according to Consumer Reports. The Model Y finished with a "much worse than average" reliability rating.
The rankings are taken annually based on a survey of 300,000 vehicles.
Information from AP was used in this report.