While Consumer Reports finds some good qualities in the Tesla Model 3, its faults drag its score down and rob it of the publication's approval.

***UPDATE: Just moments ago, Consumer Reports announced that the Tesla Model 3 is now recommended following the over-the-air software update to address a braking concern. Consumer Reports states:

Consumer Reports now recommends the Tesla Model 3, after our testers found a recent over-the-air update improved the car's braking distance by nearly 20 feet. 

CR says it found "plenty to like" about the Model 3, such as top-notch all-electric range, dynamic handling, and intense acceleration. These qualities were so good that the story said the Model 3 could be a healthy rival to European sports sedans like the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. However, "big flaws" made CR think twice about recommending the electric sedan. However, those flaws may be overshadowed by a new electric car range record set by the Model 3 in Consumer Reports tests.

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The Bad

So, what made the Model 3 fall short of CR's recommendation?

The Model 3's stopping distance seems to be CR's primary concern. According to its tests, it took 152 feet to stop from 60 mph. CR says this is:

 ... far worse than any contemporary car we’ve tested and about 7 feet longer than the stopping distance of a Ford F-150 full-sized pickup.

However, Tesla says the car stopped at 133 feet during its tests. Interestingly, Edmunds achieved the same 133-foot result, and when switching to 19-inch wheels, its results dropped to 128 feet. CR elaborates:

As its name implies, CR’s braking test is meant to determine how a vehicle performs in an emergency situation. The test is based on an industry-standard procedure designed by SAE International, a global engineering association. Our testers get a car up to 60 mph, then slam on the brakes until the car comes to a stop. They repeat this multiple times to ensure consistent results. Between each test, the vehicle is driven approximately a mile to cool the brakes and make sure they don’t overheat.

In CR's first test, the Model 3 achieved a 130-foot stop. However, they were not able to recreate those results in other tests. The publication even obtained a second Model 3 to compare results, which turned out to perform similarly. The story also points to Car and Driver's 70 mph-to-zero test that resulted in a one-time 196-foot stop. A Tesla spokeswoman said:

Unlike other vehicles, Tesla is uniquely positioned to address more corner cases over time through over-the-air software updates, and it continually does so to improve factors such as stopping distance.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk also Tweeted about CR's results:

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In terms of other issues pointed out by CR, the Model 3's in-car controls (or lack thereof), stiff ride quality, excessive wind noise at high speeds, and lack of support in the rear seats pushed the car's score down considerably.

The Good

On the positive side, the Model 3 set a record for range in CR's test, at a surprising 350 miles. Consumer Reports states:

In addition, the Model 3 set a range record in CR testing. It managed to go 350 miles on a single charge—the longest distance we’ve ever recorded in an EV—when set to Tesla’s higher regenerative braking mode (which the company refers to as Standard Regenerative Braking Mode). This mode will aggressively slow the vehicle to charge the battery as soon as the driver removes his or her foot from the accelerator pedal.

When set to the lower regenerative braking mode, which more accurately reflects the driving experience of a conventional vehicle, the EV still managed to go an impressive 310 miles, which is in line with what Tesla estimated for the car. CR tested the Chevrolet Bolt EV and the Tesla Model S using the lower regenerative braking mode when we compared the range of these two cars.

That much range could make an EV a viable choice as a daily driver for even more consumers.


For more detailed information from Consumer Reports, follow the link below.

Source: Consumer Reports


Gallery: UPDATE: Tesla Model 3 Now Recommended By Consumer Reports

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