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Consumer Reports: After a year, we still love our Tesla Model S

In May, Consumer Reports got everyone’s attention when it awarded the Tesla Model S a road-test score of 99 on a 100-point scale, making it the highest-rated car its team had tested in the last five years. Now that Consumer’s Union has owned a Model S for a full year, and driven it some 11,380 miles, it has published another glowing review.

“Everyone at CR who drives this car is still impressed by the quiet glide, instant and irresistible power, serene ride, agile handling, and well-done, ultramodern interior,” said the trusted consumer watchdog, noting that Model S earned highest-ever marks in owner satisfaction in the magazine’s latest annual auto survey, as well as an Average reliability score based on the reports of 637 owners. “That’s pretty darn good for an early production niche luxury vehicle from a California start-up company.” 

However, CR did describe “a few mild irritations.”

When charged normally (not to “max range,” which Tesla advises against doing too frequently), CR’s 85 kWh model has never gotten more than about 225 miles of range – much more than any other EV on the market, but less than the 245-mile EPA-rated range.

As is the case with all EVs, the Model S’s range is reduced in cold weather. CR found that, in freezing weather with the cabin heat on, the remaining-range indicator can drop as much as three miles for every mile actually travelled.

As several owners have noted on the Tesla Motors Club forum, the battery loses charge when left unconnected to a charger overnight. The company has beamed in a software update that reduced these “vampire” losses, but CR still sees a drop of 5 to 10 miles when the car is left off the charger for 24 hours.

Consumer Reports’ latest review was full of praise for Tesla’s Supercharger stations, which restore about 120 miles worth of range in 30 minutes, greatly reducing range anxiety and making the Tesla “a wonderful commuter car.” The company’s cloud-based software updates, which regularly add new features and fix problems, are another big plus.


Source: Consumer Reports

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