Japanese Auto Brands Rank Highest in This Year’s Consumer Reports

Japanese auto brands took five of the top ten spots for this year’s Consumer Reports Reliability Survey, with Mazda finishing on top for the first time, followed by Toyota and Lexus. Last year, Lexus ranked first, followed by Mazda and then Toyota.

Buick was the highest-rated domestic brand in this year’s survey, finishing fourth, with Hyundai and Honda taking the spots for “most reliable.”

The survey covers model year 2000 through 2020 and collects data from each organization’s members about their experiences with more than 300,000 vehicles. The nonprofit then assigns a predicted new-vehicle reliability score to various nameplates on a scale of 1 to 100. The scores of all brand’s models from which the magazine has gathered statistically sufficient information is used to determine that brand’s average reliability score.

Buick moved up fourteen spots from last year, followed by Ram and Dodge.  GMC, Chevrolet, Jeep and Cadillac improved from last year but still finished below average. Ford dropped six spots and fell into the “less reliable” tier.

Lincoln finished last among all brands, with an average reliability score of only 8, sitting 21 points lower than Tesla, which was seconds to last. Porsche took the spot for highest-ranked European brand. Consumer Reports said vehicle owners “reported everything from transmissions needing replacement after as little as 5,000 miles to display screens that required hardware replacement.” It also said all of Toyota’s models had average or better reliability but said Lexus’ standing was dragged down by the LS sedan.

Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports said “what we’re seeing now is, when automakers launch EVs, they’re changing a lot,” including new platforms instead of modifying existing vehicles with an electric powertrain. “Almost all automakers seem to use the opportunity to make these vehicles a technological tour de force, and as a result, they’re creating problems because they’re changing everything.”