The folks at the Mazda dealership serving Tempe recently received good news. The results of the latest Consumer Reports annual vehicle reliability survey ranked Mazda as the auto industry’s most reliable brand. These slots have been traditionally filled by Toyota and Lexus, so this a major achievement for Mazda. The top five brands also included Honda and Buick. Both brands moved up in rank.
“As far back as we’ve rated [reliability], it’s always been a Toyota brand in the top spot, whether Toyota, Lexus or even its now-abandoned Scion brand,” said Jake Fisher, the magazine’s senior director of automotive testing. “This is the first time we’ve seen another brand break into the top spot.”
According to the Tempe Mazda dealership, Consumer Union (CU), the parent organization of Consumer Reports, released the results of the reliability survey at an online meeting of the Automotive Press Association of Detroit. The survey included more than 300,000 vehicles owned by CU members between the 2000 and 2020 model years.
Buick moved up in the ranking, with fewer issues in its small lineup of vehicles. Honda also rose in the ranks, as improvements to some of its models outweighed problems with the Honda Passport SUV and the Odyssey minivan.
GMC moved up considerably due to the outstanding reliability rating of the GMC Sierra 2500HD. Chevrolet saw gains, thanks to the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Chevy Silverado 2500HD. Other brands that rose in the ratings included Jeep, BMW and Volvo.
Many of the problems that saw some automakers dropping in the survey included issues with transmission technology, including CVTs, as well as nine- and ten-speed transmissions. Other manufacturers struggled with their infotainment systems, specifically problems with new touchscreen technology.
Ford and Lincoln dropped precipitously in the survey due to issues with SUVs such as the Ford Escape, Ford Explorer, Lincoln Corsair and Lincoln Aviator, which all received low marks for reliability.
Perhaps the worst news was reserved for upstart electric automaker Tesla, which sank to next-to-last place because of problems with three of its four vehicles. Tesla Model Y owners reported issues such as mismatched exterior paint and misaligned body panels. One Tesla owner even described discovering a hair baked into the SUV’s paint job. “It’s surprising [that] with all the technology in Teslas, it’s somewhat the basic issues they seem to struggle with,” said Fisher.
According to the Consumer Reports survey, nearly half of all new models scored much less than average for reliability.
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