When it comes to reputation among consumers, Mazda and Subaru are at the top of the heap, according to Cars Commerce’s latest research.

The Cars.com Experience Report measured the reputation of the major automotive brands based on analysis of consumer reviews about dealerships nationwide on Cars Commerce’s Cars.com marketplace.

Cars Commerce said the Experience Report’s findings show the strong and underperforming areas that impact a dealership’s reputation in an era in which online reviews “significantly influence” consumers’ decisions on what to buy and where to buy it.

“More than 75% of shoppers on Cars.com are undecided on make and model, and a standout customer experience and stellar reputation are often the influential tipping point,” Cars Commerce vice president of reputation Jamie Oldershaw said. “Based on the 13 million consumer-submitted reviews on Cars.com, we’re able to provide data-driven insights — across brands, dealership groups and down to the individual dealer level — about strengths and gaps in the retail experience.

“The auto brands that rose to the top of our list have local retailers across the country that are meeting the rapidly evolving needs of today’s consumers and delivering exceptional car-buying experiences.”

The brands that earned the highest overall review ratings from consumers on Cars.com over a 24-month period were Mazda and Subaru, with Acura, Lexus and Volvo leading the luxury brands.

The report analyzed six categories that impact a brand’s overall rating.

Pricing transparency: Affordability and price influencing 53% of car shoppers, according to a Cars.com consumer survey in May. The report found Mini and Mitsubishi led this category in the mass-market category, with Porsche at the top in the luxury segment.

Trade-in experience: An August survey by Cars.com showed 50% of car shoppers plan to trade in a vehicle before their next purchase. Fiat stood out for delivering a positive trade-in experience in the mass market, as Alfa Romeo, Porsche and Volvo led the luxury brands.

Transaction speed: Acura, BMW, Porsche and Volvo were the luxury brands cited for exceptional customer service during transactions, while Chevrolet, GMC, Mini and Subaru were recognized for efficiency in the mass-market segment.

Financing experience: With 44% of car shoppers planning to get financing in person at the dealer, according to a 2021 Cars.com survey, a positive experience is crucial, the company said. The Experience Report found many brands doing well in this area, including Buick, Chevrolet, Ford, GMC, Honda, Jeep, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Subaru, Volkswagen, Acura, Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, Cadillac, Genesis, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Porsche and Volvo.

Review responsiveness: While Cars Commerce analysis found just 40% of dealers respond to all reviews, 88% of consumers are inclined to use a business that actively engages with reviewers, according to a 2023 BrightLocal survey. No brands surpassed an experience rating of more than 50% in this category, but Honda and Toyota led the mass market and Lexus paced luxury brands.

Vehicle inquiry responsiveness: Cars Commerce said this area is equally important as review response and can significantly impact sales — a quick response is a critical factor in securing a sale. Mini (mass market) and Alfa Romeo (luxury) were the leaders in their segments.

More information on the Cars.com Experience Report and how to get one is available here.