Consumer Reports gives Tesla Model S reliability a thumbs down

JC Torres - Oct 20, 2015
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Consumer Reports gives Tesla Model S reliability a thumbs down

After breaking ground and breaking Consumer Reports’ scoring system, the Tesla Model S is now breaking its heart. Despite praise for being the best performing car the consumer-centric publication has ever tested, it cannot with a clear conscience give it its “Recommended” mark of approval. That is because, based on a survey of 1,400 owners of the electric vehicle, Consumer Reports determined that while the current Model S tops performance, it flunks in reliability, in some parts even faring worse than the 2013 and 2014 models.

If you’re in the market for a new car, especially one that is still viewed as quite novel like an EV, you most likely want to be assured that car won’t start giving you problems within just two years of use. Sadly, Consumer Reports can’t give that kind of assurance, at least based on ratings from Tesla’s own customers. A survey has revealed a litany of problems that beset the Model S, including those affecting drivetrain, power equipment, charging equipment, body and sunroof squeaks, rattles and leaks. The most recent 2015 model was reported to have worse problems when it came to steering, climate control and suspension compared to last years EV. And as the 2013 model increased in age, so did its list of issues.

The disappointing tone of this latest report is in stark contrast to the one Consumer Reports released last August. There, the publication focused solely on output and discovered that the Model S was more than just a solid performer, it blazed past anything Consumer Reports had in the past, causing it to adjust its scoring system to accommodate the new top car. Sadly, it ended up as one that Consumer Reports could not recommend.

That said, most of these issues are covered by Tesla’s warranties, both the four-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper as well as the eight-year unlimited mileage power train. Tesla has also responded that it is working quickly to address these issues. However, some analysts point out that this is just a symptom of a bigger disease that is plaguing the car maker, a list which includes consistent delays. Reliability issues on the Model S will most likely raise some doubts about the Model X and the still unannounced Model 3. Tesla stock prices took a nosedive from $282 to $202 after the report was published.

SOURCE: Consumer Reports


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