Mazda vs Toyota: Which Brand is More Reliable?

Toyota is a giant in the automotive industry. It became the largest auto manufacturer in the world by producing more than 9.3 million vehicles in 2020 alone. On the other hand, Mazda is an emerging brand with relatively lesser sales.

Mazda vs Toyota reliability has been an ongoing debate. Both brands have exhibited great character. They have been reliable, dependable, and long-lasting. But in this article, we’ll find out which one is better.

Mazda or Toyota? Which Brand is More Reliable?

Final Verdict: Mazda is rising but for us, Toyota is still the winner.

Toyota is more reliable than Mazda. Though, Mazda scored 83 as opposed to 74 of Toyota for reliability. But Mazda has a too small customer base in comparison to Toyota. Hence, fewer vehicles would automatically mean a lesser number of problems reported.

Both brands Mazda and Toyota inherit the Japanese reliability factor. But between the two, Toyota leads in global sales. Higher production rates have enabled them to perfect their quality management systems. So, Toyota has an upper hand as they receive positive ratings from a diverse set of users.

Also read: Mazda Depreciation: 7 Popular Models Compared

What Usually Break Down the Most in Those Two Car Brands and How Often?

Most Common Toyota Problems

Following are the most common parts in Toyota that break down or cause problems:

  1. Piston Rings
  2. Electrical System
  3. Transmission
  • Piston Rings: Faulty installation of piston rings in certain Toyota models can lead to their early breakdown. This issue is more serious than it seems. Because faulty piston rings can burn excessive fuel. More than 600 of these complaints have been recorded so far.
  • Electrical systems: More than 9% of Toyota vehicles have faced electrical systems malfunctioning. This problem got so out of hand that Toyota had to issue a recall on Prius in 2018. As faulty wiring led to short circuits and fires.
  • Transmission: Out of 11,000 complaints on a Toyota platform, more than 2,000 were related to transmission only. These problems included faulty gear shifting and jerks while shifting. Or in some cases condition worsened to the point of complete transmission failure.

Most Common Mazda Problems

The parts that break down most often in Mazda’s are:

  1. LED lights
  2. Clutch
  3. Valve Stem of TPMS
  • LED lights: Daytime LED lights in Mazdas are prone to failure. Due to corrosion, these lights are known to flicker and ultimately fail. This problem occurs after 40,000 miles.
  • Clutch: In Mazda 3 owners experienced the issue of clutch failure at 37,000 miles. After that, this became the most common problem with Mazda cars. Car owners had to replace the complete clutch after every 35,000 miles.
  • Valve Stem: A TPMS or tire pressure monitoring system is integrated with the valve stem. It collects data to indicate tire pressure. This sensor is prone to failure in Mazda. This issue is serious as it can lead to tire blowouts. More than 764 complaints have been received about this problem.

Also read: Mazda vs. Toyota (Depreciation Compared!)

What are the Average Mazda’s and Toyota’s Maintenance Costs?

Final Verdict: Toyota maintenance costs 20-30% lesser as compared to Mazda.

The average maintenance cost of Toyota is about $441. With most Toyota cars receiving above-average reliability ratings. A huge part of this cost is represented by oil and filter change. The oil and filter change for the best-selling Toyota Corolla can cost you around $105.

The maintenance of Mazda can be a bit costly. With average maintenance expense coming to $652. Mazda is ranked as one of the most expensive Japanese cars to maintain. Obviously with the exception of luxury brands like Infiniti and Lexus.

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The maintenance cost of Mazda is above the industrial average. Moreover, the ratio of major repairs in Mazda is also higher. That is why we have a clear decision on this question of maintenance. Mazda isn’t the most expensive car to maintain, but Toyota is among the cheapest.

Also read: 5 Mazdas with a Panoramic Sunroof (with Pictures)

Which Parts are More Expensive? Toyota’s or Mazda’s?

Final Verdict: Mazda spare parts are 10-15% more expensive.

Mazda’s spare parts are 10 – 15% more expensive as compared to Toyota’s. Take the rear taillights and lamp for an example. In Toyota RAV4, the rear taillight is available on eBay for $208. On the other hand, a similar part in Mazda CX 5 is priced at $295.

Mazda justifies its higher spare part prices with its lower production and better quality. It is true that Mazda parts are of better quality and offer longer life. But the pricing difference has more to do with the previous reason for low production.

Mazda vs Toyota: Which of Them Have More Rust Problems?

Final Verdict: Toyota has had more rust problems in past as compared to Mazda.

Toyotas were highly criticized in the past for being rust buckets. In fact, they had to settle for 3 billion dollars in a lawsuit that marked Toyota cars for their weak rust proofing. But Toyota has solved this issue now and upcoming cars offer extended corrosion warranty.

Mazda isn’t great either in this field. They exhibit an uncanny behavior towards rusting. Their cars either rust very fast or don’t rust at all. Both cars coming from Japan aren’t built to fight corrosion. As they don’t use salt to melt ice on roads during winter.

Also read: 15 Cars that NEVER Rust (100% Galvanised)

Does Mazda Typically Last Longer than Toyota?

Final Verdict: Toyota can easily outlast Mazda.

Toyota has the best reputation when it comes to lasting longer. You can get an average mileage of 200,000 to 250,000 miles out of your Toyota. Toyota has most cars in the elite 500,000 miles club. Their cars are designed meticulously with extra care. Hence, they can stand through thick and thin with you.

Mazda also tends to have a long and healthy life span. A Mazda can last somewhere between 150,000 to 200,000 miles. The most realistic yearly mileage of a car is 14,000 miles. With this average, your Mazda car is expected to have an average life span of 10-15 years.

Mazda and Toyota both coming from Japan have long life spans. But an average 250,000 miles life of a Toyota has a slight edge over Mazda. Still, both have way better mileage than European cars which only last about 100,000 miles. Life span is a subjective matter though. A comparison between different models and makes may bring variable results.

What about Safety in Those Two Car Brands?

Final Verdict: It is somewhat a tie between Mazda and Toyota when it comes to safety.

Toyota vehicles are widely appreciated for being the safest cars. More than 10 Toyota cars have been chosen as the top safety pick of the year by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, or the IIHS. The cutting-edge safety tech installed in Toyota is the Toyota safety sense. It is a multi-feature protection system to prevent accidents.

On the other hand, Mazda isn’t bad either in the safety department. Mazda CX3, CX5, 6, and 3 all have been named as IIHS’s top safety pick. All Mazdas perform exceptionally well in crash testing. They are laced with modern safety tech of the highest quality.

It is difficult to say which brand is better in terms of safety. But here also, I’ll give Toyota an edge due to technical superiority. Their systems have advanced over the course of time. But Mazda isn’t lagging behind either. So, honestly, it is somewhat a tie when it comes to safety between these two brands.

Does Mazda Have Better Driving Experience than Toyota?

Final Verdict: Mazda offers a better driving experience as compared to Toyota.

Mazda doesn’t shy away from experimenting. This has paved way for better tuning between their cars and users. You will definitely have a better driving experience with Mazda. They are more fun to drive and offer excellent stability and handling.

Toyota has been stuck in the loop of being the largest auto producer in the world. They have achieved so by sticking to the basics of quality and reliability. They might be good, but the overall driving experience is dull and boring.

Also read: Why are Mazdas so Cheap? Is it Because They’re Unreliable?

Insurance Costs- Which Brand is Cheaper?

Final Verdict: The insurance cost of Toyota is slightly lesser than Mazda.

Mazda and Toyota both brands offer cheap insurance rates. The average insurance cost of a Toyota is $1,486. While the average insurance premium for a Mazda is about $1,608 per year. Though, insurance cost is a subjective matter. It depends upon the country, car model, and make.

Toyota’s best-selling sedan Corolla can cost $1,244 which is below the average insurance premium for Japanese cars. Mazda’s CX isn’t too expensive, either. It will cost $1,588 to get complete coverage for a full year.

Also read: Why Do Toyotas Hold Value so Well? (Buy These Models)

Overall Costs: Which Car Brand is Cheaper?

Final Verdict: Toyota is a cheaper brand by a slight margin. It has low buying prices, slower depreciation, and low fuel cost.

The buying prices for similar segment cars of Mazda and Toyota are somewhat close. But Toyota is slightly cheaper in comparison. The average buying prices of Toyota are 4-6% lesser than Mazda. This is also why Mazda depreciates 5% more than Toyota.

The base price of the 2019 Toyota RAV4 is $33,995 and for the 2019 Mazda CX-5 Signature AWD is $37,935. Similarly, the starting price of the Mazda 3 is set at $23,700. However, the Toyota Corolla hatchback is available at a cheaper price of $20,290.

When it comes to depreciation both brands exhibit a steady trend. They hold most of their value. Toyota can hold up to 65% of its value, and a Mazda is expected to retain 60% value after 3 years of operation. So, both brands have excellent resale.

In terms of fuel mileage, Toyota Corolla is known to deliver 100 km in 6.6 liters only. On the other hand, Mazda 3 consumes an average of 7.2 liters of fuel for every 100 km.

Toyota has managed to trump Mazda in each department, simply due to the number game. Bulk production always brings overall costs down. This is why Toyota has better fuel consumption, higher resale value, and lower initial costs.

What are the Most Reliable Mazda and Toyota Cars?

If you’re looking for the most reliable Toyota cars then here they are:

  1. Toyota Prius
  2. Toyota Corolla
  • Toyota Prius: Prius has been ranked as the most reliable Toyota. The car hardly had any issues. It came with a versatile hybrid powertrain. This car gave an exceptional fuel mileage of 52 MPG. 2017 Toyota Prius with a powerful 134-hp engine has been regarded as its best model.
  • Toyota Corolla: 11th generation of Toyota Corolla launched in 2014 won appreciation from car lovers all around the world. It comes with a 139-hp, 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine. Corolla went on to become the best-selling sedan of Toyota for many consecutive years.

My top picks for the most reliable Mazda cars are:

  1. Mazda MX-5
  2. Mazda CX-30
  • Mazda MX-5: 2019 Mazda MX-5 has been named as the most reliable car in various surveys. The car garnered positive reviews for its dependable nature and powerful engine. It was offered in 2 different variants with 1.5-L and 2.0-L engines.
  • Mazda CX-30: Mazda CX-30 was jam-packed with high-end features. The car is laced with a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 186 horsepower. Which is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. If you’re looking to buy, go for the latest 2021 CX-30. Since, it has addressed and resolved all problems in previous models.

What are the Least Reliable Mazda and Toyota Cars?

Following are the least reliable Toyota cars:

  1. Toyota RAV4
  2. Toyota Camry
  • Toyota RAV4: Toyota RAV4 was promoted by the company with a full blow. But it turned out to be a total disaster. It had fuel consumption and multiple engine-related issues. The car was reported to be rough during gear shifts as well. 2013 Toyota RAV4 has collected the most complaints so far.
  • Toyota Camry: Camry is another rare car produced by Toyota which didn’t perform up to our expectations. 2014 and previous models of Camry were extremely unreliable. They had high problems frequency and would often run into mechanical trouble.

When it comes to reliability following Mazdas have to be the least reliable:

  1. Mazda CX-7
  2. Mazda RX-9
  • Mazda CX-7: Mazda CX-7 had multiple issues with the engine, transmission, and electrical system. 2007-2012 models were good, but after that, the car lost its way. Finally, Mazda had to discontinue the production of CX-7 due to poor sales numbers.
  • Mazda CX-9: Mazda CX-9 offered average performance and average reliability. The car reported a lot of critical parts failures. The most common major issues for the Mazda CX-9 include brake system problems, engine failures, and coolant system issues.