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Mazda Quietly Rises Toward the Top of An Important Dependability Study

The J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study is a helpful snapshot of which brands have the most dependable vehicles. Mazda has been above average for five years and is starting to climb toward the podium.

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One of the many great studies that J.D. Power publishes each year is the Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS). This study looks at reported problems per 100 vehicles. Unlike many “quality” studies, this one looks at vehicles that are three model years old. We like it because it is a gauge of how reliable and dependable a vehicle is after it is broken in. The study data is compiled from owner surveys.

Chart courtesy of J.D. Power

Torque News looked back five reported years, starting with the 2020 VDS. In each of the five years, Mazda has always been ranked at or above the industry average. In addition, Mazda has also ranked higher than many brands we think of when dependability is discussed. For instance, Mazda has ranked higher than Honda for the past five VDS studies. 

The new 2024 VDS has just been published, and Mazda’s ranking is the highest in the past five years of the study. This year, only six brands were higher ranked than Mazda. They are Porsche, Mini, Chevrolet, Buick, Toyota and Lexus. Given that there is almost no segment overlap between Mazda’s models and the vehicles that Mini and Porsche produce, Mazda’s position among its peers is even more impressive.

Some notable brands that Mazda scored meaningfully higher than include Genesis, Acura, Infiniti, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Volvo, and Tesla. These are all premium-priced brands and all of them have vehicles similar to those produced by Mazda. Yet, they are ranked lower in dependability.

There are three main areas that J.D. Power points to as trouble areas. They are infotainment systems, driver assist technology, and electrification. Presumably, Mazda’s approach to each of these three main areas has helped the company to avoid problems. Notably, Mazda’s infotainment system has been the same for about six years now, and the company had no plug-in models during any of the studies’ time frames.

We recently communicated with a spokesperson from J.D. Power and wish to convey that the company says, “...none of our studies are competitions.” We offer this analysis of Mazda’s ranking on the VDS over the past five years for those who may own or be considering a Mazda. 

You can view the VDS summary for each of the past five years using the links below. 

2020 J.D. Power & Associates Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS)
2021 J.D. Power & Associates Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS)
2022 J.D. Power & Associates Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS)
2023 J.D. Power & Associates Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS)
2024 J.D. Power & Associates Vehicle Dependability Study (VDS)

Top of page image of Mazda CX-50 by John Goreham. Chart courtesy of J.D. Power. 

John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his eleven years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can follow John on Twitter, and connect with him at Linkedin.

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