Tesla Model S Regains Consumer Reports’ “Recommended” Status, Model X Plagued With Problems


OCT 25 2016 BY MARK KANE 42

Tesla service

Tesla service

The latest Consumer Reports Annual Auto Reliability Survey revealed that Tesla has improved the reliability of Model S.



Last year, Consumer Reports dropped its recommended status for the Model S due to below-average reliability.

Now a year later, the Tesla sedan has made back some ground, and has been rated at average reliability, and regains its recommended status.

It is interesting to note that a year ago, Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted (below) that the Model S sedan’s reliability issues, that caused the car to fall off CR’s list, had already been addressed.

Elon Musk Tweets on the Model S sedan's fall from CR grace last year

Elon Musk Tweets on the Model S sedan’s fall from CR grace last year

On the other hand, the Model X probably will not be recommended any time soon, as it’s currently the #6 least reliable car on the market according to the publication:

“Tesla’s Model S has improved to average reliability, which now makes the electric car one of our recommended models. But its new Model X SUV has been plagued with malfunctions, including its complex Falcon-wing doors.”

Trouble spots Falcon-wing doors, locks and latches, power equipment, in-car electronics, climate system”

Jake Fisher,  Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing said via a USA Today article:

“”The Model X has a long way to go. It’s the sixth least reliable vehicle in our survey, and there are some monumental challenges with that vehicle,” Fisher said Monday in Detroit at an event hosted by the Automotive Press Association. “It’s unclear whether they will get the ‘falcon wing’ doors right ever.””

Overall Tesla “brand” can now be ranked as it has a second offering, but is not ranked very high – placing at #25 out of 29 in the Consumer Reports reliability rank.

Video (below):  Overall reliability rundown from Consumer Reports – note mentioning of Tesla brand rankings from the 1:24 mark

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42 Comments on "Tesla Model S Regains Consumer Reports’ “Recommended” Status, Model X Plagued With Problems"

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Model X improvements likely came too late to be well represented in this CR report. And inherently, it is a much more complicated vehicle. However, initial quality is not the same thing as reliability. That distinction seems to have been lost. Most of the issues seem to be initial sealing and initial alignment in Q2. Once fixed, we have not hear that much about additional problems. The vehicles made in Q3 seem to be vastly better on average. This should show up in next years’s report.

“Most of the issues seem to be initial sealing and initial alignment in Q2. Once fixed, we have not hear that much about additional problems.”

Are you joking? I didn’t see a “/s” tag at the end of your comment.

This will affect the 2016 CU survey. But if the Model X fixes are effective, 2017 survey will show better results.

The‘falcon wing’doors were a mistake, the X was a mistake. Make the 3 after the S then do a crossover 3, it would be done by now.

I do wonder about the reliability of CR which has lost credibility.


My personal experience is that the X has reliability problems. If you feel Consumer Reports has lost credibility, feel free to buy your own X and post about your experience. CR far and away more reliable than anonymous partisan comments on the Internet.

I am neither anonymous nor partisan, your own experience non-withstanding I regard CR views of Tesla as prejudiced.

They clearly should be reporting survey results and SAMPLE SIZE. Just so we can verify if they’ve got enough sample to put their foot in their mouth.

Also, a distribution graph of the purchase date of the cars.

and names and addresses of owners 😛

I wonder if there is a Plan B for regular doors for the X if they can’t get the wings to function properly.

Elon is so “Strong Minded” He will never give into defeat. That is his “Signature” Doors. The More people say it can’t be done & the More effort he puts out to perfect them.,& he will perfect them! He will never allow any changes to his “Signature” Doors.
Elon Doesn’t Give Up Or give in. Unless perhaps he comes up with another entry level model with conventional doors at a Lower Price,these X doors are here to stay !

Yup. Sadly, Elon still hasn’t learned the lesson he should have learned when he sent the development of the Tesla Roadster back to the drawing board by demanding that the door sills be lowered by 2 inches, long after the body design was supposedly finalized.

Normal doors just don’t work on the X. You need to get rid of that roof section to be able to get out of the 2nd row seats.

Getting rid of the X doors, would mean to get rid of the sloping roof, which would destroy aerodynamics and range.

20K miles under my belt. Love driving it. Actually they have most kinks worked out of the doors. A few revised versions of the sensors and of how the software interprets each of them. Mine are pretty solid at this point. Drivers side has occasional odd sensor reading (display indicates something there when not) but door is working. They are replacing my sensors on that door with latest version on my next visit.

There is so much lost, when a perception of fuel pump, filter, or other multi-thousand dollar perils of internal combustion engine ownership get lost by “Falcon Wind Door” issues.


Elon is the the wind beneath the “Falcon Wing Door” issues. 😀

I just hope they will not put falcon wing doors on model Y, I really really don’t want them for many different reasons.

“Falcon Wing doors right ever”. Wow, not a lot of next model year accommodation on the Model X, to work out the bugs and glitches, in an overly complicated door. Given a little time, Tesla has been vigilant about getting it “right” in the past. Consumer Reports has some more reporting to do, maybe they can keep a close eye on this Falcon Wing Door issue, and provide accurate and timely updates.

Even as a Tesla fanboy, I think CR spends far too much time on reporting on Tesla Motors cars. Consumer Reports is supposed to cover all consumer goods, not focus on just a few products. If I was paying for a CR subscription, I’d certainly want them to stop spending so many of their magazine’s pages on covering one or two models of cars.

Well, unfortunately, I must be counted amongst the issues written about, even though no one ever surveyed me. My X’s driver door actuator failed, but the first symptom was when I found the window had gone down BY ITSELF! My first thought was that I had left it open, but that would have meant that the insides were soaked by the rainstorm we had subsequent to my last operation of the vehicle. Nope. The inside was dry. But then I notice that the window went beyond its normal stopping point when I tried to raise it. But that was after discovering that the door wouldn’t open when pushing the button, so I had to get in on the passenger side and manually unlatch it. And then I noticed the door wouldn’t properly close, so that the car thought it still open. While the car was not totally undriveable, it was functionally dead in the water. Long story short about some bit of service runaround as I am so far from a service center, a road ranger came out and the vehicle was fine again in about an hour after the fellow arrived. He told me that a new part number… Read more »

I had an issue on my Model S were the driver window would not go up consistently. I took it to my service center and they adjusted a force sensor that prevents the window from going up if it detects an object in the way. The service center left two unique tools in my car used to make the fix, both of them had Mercedes Benz logos on them. It seems that besides the window switches, the entire window assembly is a Mercedes Benz part. I wonder if this issue occurs on Mercedes?

“. . . even though no one ever surveyed me.”

I believe that the Consumer Reports survey is limited to its subscribers and the cars that they own.

Love the X, safest most fun car I have ever driven, especially now in the rain season, the 4wd traction control is amazing. Love the FWD also, much better than the sliding doors in the Honda Oddysee that it replaced last May, protection from rain, access and looks wise. Long distance road trips so much easier with autopilot. This is a car of the future, and an amazing privilege to have it now already. That said there were glitches with obstacle detection the service center had to resolve (for free) and so I had to drive a loaner model S P85D for a week. Amazing too but so 2015 in comparison, like no motorized front door that closes for me while I buckle up simply by pressing on the brakes 🙂

The article says:

“Now a year later, the Tesla sedan has made back some ground, and has been rated at average reliability, and regains its recommended status.”

Great to see that Tesla has made significant improvements in the Model S’s reliability. That was something they really, really needed to do.

And it’s hardly surprising that the Model X is having similar difficulties, since it’s still early years in that car’s production and it’s a more complex car. Unfortunate, but that’s the reality.

Go Tesla!

Tesla is still at the bottom of the barrel with regards to reliability, beating out only Fiat-Chrysler brands, which are infamous for their unreliability. That’s not saying much.

Tesla ranked 25th in reliability out of 29 car brands:
#25 – Tesla
#26 – Dodge
#27 – Chrysler
#28 – Fiat
#29 – Ram

But one Fiat-Chrysler brand did manage to beat of Tesla in reliability; Jeep came it at #23.


The Tesla Model X has the dubious distinction of being named one of the 10 Least Reliable Cars in Consumer reports annual survey.


ehe yeah…. BOb Lutz warned about the ‘falcon door’ problem and everyone attacked him as being ‘Senile’. I say he was spot on. Musk now claims his current “X”‘s are trouble-free? Stay tuned. The part I did not like is where CR was childishly exhuberant regarding the new Teslas. Its evident in the reviews: best car ever one month, then they rate it ‘not acceptable’. That issue looked so amateurish they just had to be gaming the stock and options markets. As far as FCA goes, Sergio Marchione stated 2018 is the year of cost-cutting, to get the profit margin percentage up to that of FORD and GM. All you new buyers of FCA products will be happy to learn the head-honcho has mandated the next few years of cars will be made of even cheaper parts and systems. He must think their ‘bottom of the barrel’ reliability will improve by spending less money in their manufacture. Of course, he could do like they did with all the Chryslers at the last cash crunch 40 years ago: Make all the instrument panels for every single car they made essentially the SAME to cut variability and costs. What’s left? Make all… Read more »

“Tesla is still at the bottom of the barrel with regards to reliability, beating out only Fiat-Chrysler brands, which are infamous for their unreliability. That’s not saying much.”

That’s nothing but cherry-picked data from a serial Tesla basher. As has been noted by many people with experience owning more expensive cars, those higher end cars tend to have reliability problems, because they’re made in fewer numbers and they have a lot more complex “premium” (or luxury) features which can malfunction or otherwise cause problems.

If those other 28 or so auto makers on the list made no lower-priced, simpler cars, then their average reliability rating would be much, much closer to where Tesla’s is.

And if there were other “premium-only” auto makers on the list, then Tesla wouldn’t be so close to the bottom. Are Rolls-Royce, Ferrari or Masarati on Consumer Reports’ list of auto makers? I think not!

Pu-Pu said:
“That’s nothing but cherry-picked data from a serial Tesla basher. As has been noted by many people with experience owning more expensive cars, those higher end cars tend to have reliability problems, because they’re made in fewer numbers and they have a lot more complex “premium” (or luxury) features which can malfunction or otherwise cause problems.”

How is that cherry picking? Because it’s unflattering to Tesla? It is what its is. Tesla has slightly more reliability than all the Fiat-Chysler brands, except Jeep, which is slightly more reliable than Tesla by a smidge.

Please explain how Lexus is #1 in reliability when all they sell are expensive higher-end cars in fewer numbers and that have a lot more complex “premium” (or luxury) features which can malfunction or otherwise cause problems? Hmmmm. . .

By your reasoning, the Toyota Mirai, an uber complex fuel cell car, will be very unreliable on Consumer Reports annual survey next year. Somehow I doubt that will be the case. The Mirai may even end up being one of the most reliable cars in next year’s CR survey. You will scream conspiracy, and claim that Toyota bought off Consumer Reports. LOL!

Another Euro point of view

One need to be rich to afford unreliability.

The one thing I, as a semi-disinterested possible future/and former Tesla owner, is what percentage of customers have SERIOUS problems with their car.

A $120-150,000 car that has so many door troubles that the car (as mentioned here) is not safely driveable, frankly is disgusting since – just as an informal poll of the commenters here – too high a percentage of the people just here seem to have problem after problem.

The drive train now being warranted for 8 years unconditionally ( I’d be interested to see if there are any cases where Tesla seemed to try to get out of this – I had a bit of trouble this way myself with my Roadster) is comforting IF they are rigorous in fixing problems.

There just plain aren’t this type of trouble with brand new GM products; perhaps because they test and test, and get rid of marginal designs before the first car is sold.

The most important feature of a new vehicle to me, is that it be reliable. It is getting to be the point where certain vehicles constantly have negative articles written regarding their reliability. This makes any future decisions for me easier.

So Bill, how does that explain how GM deliberately killed multiple people by installing deficient ignition switches it KNEW ABOUT but did nothing about because it was saving a few cents per defective switch?

No matter how much you complain about your Roadster as an early adopter, you have to admit your Tesla didn’t kill you and in fact Tesla cars have been proven to be very safe cars especially considering how high performance they are.

GM could have dismissed that ignition issue by making one simple statement:

“Only GM supplied keys are allowed to be used on the GM supplied key ring in the ignition switch. Since we have no control over what type of key ring or how many keys are on it, we must be held harmless if the driver decides to use any other key ring or keys having no relation to the safe operation of the car, namely, the ignition switch key itself, and an optional trunk key”.

I’m sorry there were people who have had problems or who have died, but I simply never saw this as a safety problem that the corporation would be responsible for. Drivers themselves are responsible for overloading the keyrings and when the car hit a bump the engine shut off.

My roadster had plenty of problems with safety, but I can’t blame those particular issues to Tesla Corporate, and therefore have never mentioned them until just now.

Oh, by the way – in each of these silly comments, you say that I am “complaining about my Roadster as an early adopter”.

You guys are the only ones who are complaining. I was happy to own my Roadster, as I kept the car a full year past its warranty expiration, as I’ve mentioned several times.

SparkEV-Fiat500-Leased - M3 Reserved - Bolt- TBD

If the quality build and service is like this for a $80K+ car built at a clip of 30-50,000 a year; what quality/finish/service issues are going to arise when building the $35k car at 200,000 yearly rate?

Simpler cars have fewer initial problems, for obvious reasons. Cars made at higher production rates have their flaws noticed sooner, also for what is hopefully a self-evident reason.

I’ve noticed a definite tendency in your posts, SparkEV-Fiat500, to bash Tesla. Now, is it that you have a biased but honest negative opinion about the company’s cars? Or, like too many serial Tesla bashers here, are your posts motivated by a “short” stock position?

You’re accusing yet another person of shorting Tesla stock. Oy vey! I’ve lost count of how many you’ve accused of shorting Tesla’s stock. You’ve obviously drank too much Tesla Kool-Aid.

P-P, the new, grand-poohbah P attern P erceiver.

can Anyone report on the actual election that produced this P-P-oliceman? I missed it..

boundless self-importance..

Just to be honest here, how many of the brand’s mentioned, are actually made in America, really? Because Tesla is uses remarkable and real leadership skills unlike most companies.

I should add here, while it sounds like I’m trying to make a brief for GM, I’m not in the general case. I’m aware that some of the earlier compacts, both Saturns and cheap Chevys, had reliability issues/ignition switches on the cheap side which got litigious, and also I’m aware that the 5 cyl OLDER Colorado engines were maintenance headaches. I guess they always ran, but the mileage would suddenly get awful, and dealers were ill-equipped to find precisely the problem’s cause. When I commend GM, I’m commending a subset of their PREMIUM vehicles where it is obvious they have spent more care than any other manufacturer to make sure things are right. The VOLT, for 2011 on has been the safest car on the planet. Unfortunately, my Nephew and his GF found this out by personal experience. I’m not sure if the GEN 2 volt is as safe, but as the articles here have shown, they are making demonstrable improvements, such as VASTLY increased range, even more performance, even more silence, and decreased cost of operation through a higher MPGe, both electric and gasoline – which now uses 10% CHEAPER regular. BOth my current vehicles, 2012 Volt and 2014… Read more »