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Consumer Reports Had an Unexpected Pick for Most Reliable Car of the Year

You might assume that the most reliable car would be something designed to be practical. You’d be wrong. After looking at its Annual Auto Survey, Consumer Reports has named a roadster as the most reliable car of the year.

Consumer Reports points out that Mazda adds “Japanese reliability” to the “charmingly eccentric British roadster.” Here’s a look at why the Mazda MX-5 Miata was selected as the most reliable car of the year.

Consumer Reports’ predicted reliability score

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Consumer Reports sends a survey to its members each year to learn about vehicle issues they’ve had across 17 different categories during the past 12 months. Those issues could range from small ones, like “squeaky brakes and broken interior trim,” to big ones, “like out-of-warranty transmission repairs or trouble with four-wheel-drive systems.”

The predicted reliability score is created by giving severity weightings to the various problems. For a brand-new or a redesigned vehicle, the predicted reliability score is developed based on brand history and similar vehicles.

The predicted reliability score is combined with data from Consumer Reports’ track testing plus owner satisfaction survey results to produce the vehicle’s overall Score.

Vehicles are then compared against other vehicles from the same model year. Based on the most recent Annual Auto Survey, which collected data about 420,000 vehicles, Consumer Reports has listed the 10 most reliable cars, and the list is headed by the Mazda MX-5 Miata.

The 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata’s predicted reliability

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When the overall reliability scores from the three most recent years are averaged, the Miata receives the top score of 95. It’s followed by the Toyota Prius Prime, with a score of 94, and the Toyota Prius, with a score of 92. When looking at other sports cars, the Subaru BRZ comes in with an 88 over the past three years and a five out of five for the 2020 Subaru BRZ.

The 2020 Miata has a predicted reliability score of five out of five and currently has top marks across all 17 categories. The 2019 Miata had the same scores. The 2018 Miata also had a five out of five overall reliability score but top marks in only 16 of the categories. That model year received just a one out of five for paint/trim.

What else the Mazda MX-5 Miata has to offer

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With an Overall Score of 86, the 2020 Miata is the #2 ranked roadster, coming in behind the 2020 Porsche 718 Boxster, which was rated with an overall score of 88. The 2020 Porsche 718 Boxster, though, has a four out of five rating for its predicted reliability.

Along with its strong reliability ratings, the 2020 Miata also has a five out of five for its predicted owner satisfaction. Its road test rating is 80 out of 100. The Mazda Miata has offered what Consumer Reports calls “affordable performance” for 30 years.

It got a positive review, although Consumer Reports admits it’s a “completely impractical car.” It’s not a car for people who need space or quiet, but it provides drivers with plenty of fun.

The top is easy to open with just one overhead latch. It then stores behind the seats. It’s also easy and fast to return to the closed position just by pulling it back into place.

The Mazda MX-5 Miata RF does have a power-retractable hard top. This entertaining roadster does have to build up its torque, but it’s able to go from zero to 60 MPH in 6.7 seconds. The 2.0-liter engine generates 181 hp, which is plenty for the just 2,300-pound car.

It’s important to note that predicted reliability, while built on the experience of Consumer Reports, is not a certainty. We’ll need to wait for future Annual Auto Surveys to see if the 2020 Mazda MX-5 Miata has proved to be reliable.