That happened even with the Model 3 winning two categories as the most reliable car.

Having a car considered as the most reliable EV and the most dependable executive car should have given Tesla a significant edge in the What Car? Reliability Survey 2020. But it didn't: despite the Model 3 going so well, Tesla is only better in that matter when compared to Land Rover and Renault, the two worst makes when it relates to dependability. In other words, Tesla was considered the third-worst make in a list that included 31 carmakers.

The explanation for that is that the Model S and allegedly the Model X do really bad in reliability terms. The Model S was considered the least dependable electric car in the UK. Curiously, the Model X does not even appear in the survey in any of its categories despite What Car? saying it helped lower Tesla's score.

When you look closer at the results, you can discover some flaws, such as a Sandero description text for the Suzuki Ignis. That leads us to think the Model X is not there due to some error on the website, even if it had a major role in getting Tesla in such an uncomfortable position – especially considering last year's result. In the What Car? Reliability Survey 2019, Tesla was the fourth most reliable brand in the UK.

Survey Places Tesla As One Of The Most Reliable Carmakers In The UK

Things get even more bizarre when you see that the Model S record was stunning: 98.9 percent of its owners did not report issues in 2019. In 2020, that number fell to 85.7 percent. Are we talking about the same cars? Probably not, which makes us wonder how consistent the survey is.

Last year, more than 18,000 owners replied to questions about the dependability of their cars. In the most recent survey, the British magazine asked almost 13,000 car owners how their cars behaved in the last 12 months. These cars can be up to five years old.

tesla model s blue james may

What made the Model S go so bad? New vehicles? Problems in the old ones that were almost flawless until now, according to the previous surveys? We have no idea. 

Apart from these consistency concerns, there is a risk the good results for the Model 3 may be temporary. The Model 3 sales in the UK started back in June 2019, which makes all units there very new. The Model S and the Model X, on the other hand, are sold in that country for much more time.

Despite the excellent reputation so far, the Model 3 did not escape presenting paint issues for British customers, as Ben Trudgill's case makes clear. A Dekra inspection even said the car's paint is "not of a good standard."

When these cars age, the risk is that buyers will start to point out to paint problems. Suspension issues are also a concern both for the Model 3 and for the Model Y, which is still not for sale in the UK. Tesla may prevent that by taking immediate measures to solve these issues, but will it?

More than that, will the What Car? Reliability Survey 2021 be able to explain any acute performance decline the Model 3 may eventually present? That is what happened with the Model S this year, and we are still wondering why that was so. And where the Model X is in all that.

Source: What Car?