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Consumer Reports: Mazda This Year's Best Brand, Despite This One Car

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Alfa Romeo falls to last.

What makes a car brand the best? Is it the price? Reliability? Standard features? Comfort? Performance? It’s a complicated and complex question with an array of different factors that could influence already subjective tastes. Consumer Reports takes as objective a position as one can get, determining the best brand by accounting for several variables. Its latest study pegged Mazda as the best brand, usurping staples like Subaru and Porsche.

The publication determines an “Overall Score” by factoring in its road-test score, predicted reliability, owner satisfaction, and safety. What helped Mazda jump three places in the survey was its increase in its predicated reliability score. Owner satisfaction ticked upward slightly, though it trails the other top four brands with its road-test score. Surprisingly, Mazda earned its top spot while offering the publication’s least satisfy model – the Mazda CX-3. However, Consumer Reports recommends all seven of the Mazda models it tested this year.

Following Mazda was BMW, which jumped six places, riding high on its road-test score. Subaru kept its third-place spot while Porsche came in fourth. The German brand dropped four spots from last year’s lead. Rounding out the top five best brands is Honda, which saw a massive jump up by 10 spots. Improved reliability helped the Japanese firm. Other standout brands include Chrysler and Buick, though their increase in rank came at the expense of others that fell.

Genesis, Lincoln, and Kia fell 13, 15, and 10 spots, respectively, with predicted reliability hurting the two luxury brands. Bringing up the bottom of the list were Land Rover and Alfa Romeo, two other brands significantly hurt by their reliability scores. Alfa took the last place position from its corporate sibling Fiat, which wasn’t tested this year because Consumer Reports needs two models to test. Maserati and Ram also were excluded this year.

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