Mazda takes the top spot on Consumer Reports ratings for the first time
Long the underdog from Japan, Mazda has taken the CR ratings #1 spot for the first time in its history.
Ahh, Mazda; the long-time underdog from Japan. The plucky little company has finally done it; they achieved the number one spot from Consumer Reports for reliability. This glorious victory should rank among the likes of their LeMans victory or the fact they created the Miata (MX-5 to those of you too insecure to own the name).
I have no idea how Mazda has secured such a high ranking without resorting to bribery. Mazda isn't the first name in reliability when I think of a Japanese automaker. My first thought has always been Toyota or Honda, but those are long-held beliefs that were forged many decades ago - they're still reliable, just not as much as Mazda?! This latest victory obviously has nothing to do with long-time beliefs. Mazda is apparently killing it to get such a high rating.
Thinking about it, I've actually had quite the history with Mazda. At one point in my life, I raced SpecMiata with SCCA. We'd absolutely beat the ever-living dog snot out of those cars and they just keep going. Have you ever taken a mostly stock NA Miata well past 9,000rpm? I have, and it lived to keep racing (no I didn't mean to, it was a downshift a bit too early). The same cars I raced are still at it, a decade later, even though they're probably more of a 'Ship of Theseus' than the cars I once knew.
Back in 2013, we actually bought a new '14 Mazda CX-5 AWD Touring. It was - and still is - touted as more of a driver's car in the compact SUV line. We had great luck with that car. Except for the time, it wouldn't start and had to be towed back to the dealer for a bad battery with 15k miles. Or the time my kids left an interior dome light on and we came back from a week and a half trip to Maui to find the car was dead in the nosebleed area of the airport parking lot at 11 pm. Or the fact when I sold it 3 years later with 40-thousand miles it retained less than half of its initial purchase price...
Okay, so I've got some happy memories and some that elicit some post-traumatic type stuff. I couldn't be happier for my favorite Japanese underdog. It goes to show you some automakers are putting in the long hours to bolster their brand. Now if they'd just bring back the MazdaSpeed line of cars, we'd all be happy... or maybe something with a Wankle?
Oh! And if you're curious about the other highlights of the list, let's just say you wouldn't be surprised to hear Alfa Romeo is dead last. We all know Alfa's reputation for reliability. But once you get your Alfa started, they're epic cars. Every true gearhead needs to own one at some point. But I find it a bit amusing that Jeep was near the bottom next to Alfa and Land Rover... I'll chalk that one up to 'reasons why I bought a Toyota 4wd instead of a Jeep'.
It's going to take a little while to forget about all the cheap 'Zoom-Zoom' I was sold in order to rank Mazda in my mind as one of the foremost reliable Japanese autos. Naturally, my next thought is maybe Mitsubishi should be copying every move Mazda has made in order to survive well into this decade... but enough about me! How do you feel about this?!