Consumer Reports just published its annual research paper on which car makes the best vehicles. Every year, Consumer Reports ranks car makers based on the range of cars they have available for testing and on how customers rate their own experience and satisfaction with various brands. This year, BMW claimed the runner up spot, just behind the winner, Mazda, the Japanese brand outpacing all the competition in the end.

All the brands were ranked using the same four indicators: Predicted Reliability, Owner Satisfaction, Road-Test Score and a mix of how many cars Consumer Reports tested, how many they ended up recommending and how many of those were ‘green’ choices. When it came to the BMW brand, the overall score added up to 78 points, being one of the best-ranked brands in terms of driving enjoyment, on par with Subaru and just one point behind Porsche.

Mazda, however, won in the Predicted Reliability category, as mentioned above, as well as in ‘Owner Satisfaction’. What’s most interesting is that Porsche came in fourth, losing three places compared to last year’s rankings while BMW went up six places. Another very notable increase in this index went to Honda, the Japanese car maker managing to go up a whopping ten places, performance matched by Chrysler and Buick (in places 8 and 9).

At the other end of the scope was Lincoln, the American car maker losing no less than 15 places, ending up on 28th place. Genesis also lost 13 places in this year’s rankings, compared to last year and ended up in 15th place. And while Mazda won, Alfa Romeo came in dead last, in 32nd place. According to Consumer Reports, “Brands that rise to the top tend to have the most consistent performance across their lineup. However, it is important to research the individual models when shopping because every brand has a range of product performance.”