Every year, Consumer Reports compiles a list of global automakers with the best and worst reliability rankings for new cars. That time is upon us for 2021, and if the list looks familiar, it's because little has changed in terms of which brands new car buyers find the most reliable.
Before diving into the rankings, a word on how these stats are generated. According to Consumer Reports, overall automaker rankings are an average of rankings for specific models in the brand. The rankings come from member surveys and are tabulated to create a Consumer Reports predicted reliability score on a scale of 0-100, with 41-60 being average.
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To qualify for a ranking, sufficient data for at least two models from a brand is needed to create a score. Because of that, several manufacturers aren't ranked this year due to a lack of data. You won't find Alfa Romeo, Dodge, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Mitsubishi, or Polestar on this list.
You will, however, find Japanese automakers. In fact, you'll find all of them in the top 10 with Lexus leading the way. Mazda was the previous reliability champion, but it trails Lexus by just one point to take second place. Toyota falls to third, followed by Infiniti in fourth. Buick is the highest-ranking US automaker by a wide margin, sneaking into the top-five behind Infiniti. Honda, Subaru, Acura, and Nissan occupy the bottom half of the top scorers, with Mini holding the final spot. All the brands achieve an above-average score, save for Mini which just misses that range at 60.
The less impressive side of the list sees quite a few US brands, though Kia leads off as the best of the worst with an average ranking of 43. Volvo, Ram, GMC, and Mercedes-Benz occupy the upper portion of the lower list, with Ram entering the below-average range at 40. Volkswagen, Genesis, Jeep, and Tesla follow, all in the below-average range. Lincoln has the distinction of being the lowest-rated brand on the list, with a well below-average rating of 18.
Beyond the rankings, Consumer Reports highlights interesting trends on more specific levels. SUVs from US brands trending better than the overall rankings suggest. In the electric realm, hybrid vehicles are scoring higher than every other genre, but all-electric SUVs come in as the lowest-ranking category.
The full survey showing all ranked automakers is available at the Consumer Reports website.