Consumer Reports' 2016 Annual Auto Issue is running hot and cold on Tesla

The cover of Consumer Reports' 2016 Annual Auto Issue. Readers get mixed signals on the all-electric Tesla Model S.  


The editors at Consumer Reports boast that "our 327-acre Auto Test Center in rural Connecticut" allows the magazine to "give you the most trusted ratings anywhere."

But the 2016 Annual Auto Issue delivered to subscribers sends mixed messages on the all-electric Tesla Model S.

Highs and lows

A graphic called Standouts and Stinkers From Our Road Tests shows the Tesla Model S P85D achieved a perfect score of 100, the first and only car ever to do so.

Another graphic, this one on owner satisfaction, says that Tesla Model S owners find their EV "most satisfying" among buyers of luxury midsized/large cars.

The Acura RLX and Cadillac XTS are listed as "least satisfying."

Still, the Tesla Model S earns an overall score of only 77 in a section called Profiles, which says "reliability has dropped to below average."

I recall earlier reports describing problems that I haven't seen in the 11 month I've owned a 2015 Tesla Model S 60, including failure of the flush-mounted door handles to extend on a car purchased by Consumer Reports.

Then, another graphic shows which Brands Make the Best Cars

Tesla isn't shown, because as a footnote says, "a brand must have at least two models with test and reliability data to be included," and Tesla lacks "sufficient data."

In a final insult, the Used Cars section of the 2016 Annual Auto Issue lists the 2012-13 and 2015 Tesla Model S among the Worst of The Worst.

Consumer Reports' 2016 Annual Auto Issue is missing any reporting on the Autopilot features of the Tesla Model S, including the driver's ability to "summon" the car and have it back out of the garage.

New car ratings

Eight pages of rating charts appear in the April issue, but the Tesla Model S isn't listed among Electric Cars and Plug-in Hybrids.

Instead, the EV appears under Ultraluxury Sedans, even though the BMW 750i, Lexus 460L and all the others listed are powered by an internal-combustion engine, which has quickened climate change.

In fact, Consumer Reports apparently gives no points to the Model S for being one of only a handful of cars with zero emissions.

Nor does the magazine report Tesla's claim that the Model S and Model X SUV are the safest vehicles made.

And upstart Tesla also isn't praised for being first with such technological advances as Autopilot -- automatic steering, speed, lane-changing and parking.

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