Tired of hearing about a certain California carmaker? Well, sorry. Tesla’s name is all over the press this week, from gushers about stock market success to sour-grapes hit pieces about ZEV credits to tantalizing hints of next-gen batteries and self-driving sedans. However, this is the most important news of all for a prospective Model S buyer: Consumer Reports has awarded the electric luxury sedan what is presumably its highest possible rating: 99 out of 100.
No vehicle ever tested by CR has performed better, and the last car to earn a 99 was the Lexus LS 460L, in 2007.
“The Tesla Model S is packed with technological innovation,” said Jake Fisher, CR’s Director of Automotive Testing. “It accelerates, handles and brakes like a sports car, it has the ride and quietness of a luxury car and is far more energy efficient than the best hybrid cars.”
Calling it “the electric car that shatters every myth,” CR’s report says that Model S outscores every other car because it is electric:
Built from the ground up as an EV, this car’s overall balance benefits from mounting the battery under the floor and in the lowest part of the body. That gives the car a rock-bottom center of gravity that enables excellent handling, a comfortable ride, and lots of room inside.
From a start, the Model S catapults from 0 to 60 mph in a mere 5.6 seconds. Engineers said its pinpoint handling is reminiscent of a Porsche, and the beautifully-crafted interior calls to mind an Audi. It’s also the quietest car that Consumer Reports has tested since the Lexus LS.
With a hefty 85-kWh lithium-ion battery, CR’s Tesla is easily the most practical electric car that has been tested to date. While the Ford Focus Electric and Nissan Leaf, for example, can go about 80 and 75 miles, respectively, before needing a charge, the Model S has been delivering closer to 200 miles – ample for commuting, running plenty of errands and still being able to take the long, winding road home. Range has varied from about 180 miles on cold winter days to about 225 in more moderate temperatures.
The electric motor delivers impressive power, right now, and it is impressively efficient. The Model S uses about half the energy of a Toyota Prius every mile.
CR stopped short of calling Model S “the best car ever,” noting a few limitations:
The Model S isn’t perfect. Its lows include limited range, long charging times, and coupe-like styling that impairs rear visibility and impedes access. Another concern is investing in a new car and startup company with no track record for reliability or resale value, and a skimpy (although growing) service network.
Source: Consumer Reports