Consumer Reports compiles data collected from owners of more than 300,000 vehicles and gives a 2020 survey of vehicle reliability. This year’s big winner is Mazda. For the first time in its history, the Japanese carmaker topped the list thanks to its conservative attitude to powertrains and infotainment technology. By avoiding large, unproveated changes year after year, Mazda continues to hone its reliability, and by sharing many technologies and components in its stable vehicles, these reliability improvements are shared across the brand.
The second and third places are held by the often reliable darlings Toyota and Lexus, respectively. The story here is similar to Mazda’s, where Toyota achieves quiet, conservative reliability. All of Toyota’s current models received an “average or better reliability” rating in the survey, while most Lexus models received an “outstanding reliability” rating, with the exception of the new LS Sedan, which scored “well below average.”
The most progressive award went to Buick, the most reliable U.S.-based automaker, which climbed 14 places this year to fourth overall, because Consumer Reports offered minimal improvements to its smaller and older product lines. Encore has remained largely unchanged since 2012, and Enclave is two years old, so Buick has plenty of time to solve many of their problems. Honda has also made significant progress, climbing seven places to fifth place despite reported problems with its Sports SUV and Odyssey minivan. Ninth overall, down five places from last year. Porsche is the highest ranked European brand.
Ford, by contrast, has been dragged down by the recently redesigned Escape and Explorer SUVs, which have been recalled several times this year, with Consumer Reports calling it one of the lowest-scoring models of any manufacturer at home or abroad this year. Lincoln, which shares the platform with Ford, was also affected. However, Without the recently cancelled Continental and MKZ sedans to support its score, Ford’s luxury division dropped to the bottom of the list of 26 brands.
In second place was Tesla. The electric car maker’s new Model Y SUV is in more trouble, with owners reporting misalmed body panels, mismatched paint and even some people’s hair stuck in the paint. It’s not just Model Y: Model S and Model X that have dropped below average ratings this year, losing their Consumer Reports recommendations in the process. In fact, the only Tesla that has been recommended by Consumer Reports is the Model 3 sedan.