Consumer Report Annual Reliability Survey Rates Model S ‘Average’

Consumer Reports’ annual reliability survey says the Model S is average, with earlier production models faring worse, while newer ones are statistically more reliable.

And, while “average” sounds rather, well, average, CR does mention the Model S edges out the Mercedes-Benz S-Class in its reliability ratings.

The widely read publication has a Model S of its own which initially it said was the best car it had ever tested – then revised the statement to one of the best ever while giving it its top rating – but the latest reliability ratings have little to do with CR’s own opinions.

The results were actually gleaned from a 2014 survey of 1.1 million readers who responded to a number of questions on all models of vehicles.

Of Model S owners, 1,353 were included among the respondents who were asked about the past 12 months worth of issues they experienced.

CR then crunched the data to come up with a “predicted reliability” score for cars, including Tesla, and this is how it says the Model S is average.

Issues the Model S owners reported included those with the retractable electronic door handles, locks and latches, and miscellaneous squeaks and rattles.

The publication’s own Model S was reported as having “more than its share of problems,” and a long-term test car reported on by Edmunds, the Model S did experience issues with its drive unit.

Consumer Reports says other Model S sedans from the first production year of 2012 also had drive unit issues, but Tesla has been updating and improving quality. “This is evident in our data,” said CR Automotive Engineer, Gabe Shenhar, and newer models are proving better.

“Overall, we predict average reliability if you buy a new Tesla,” said Shenhar. “That means you might have a problem or two, but it’s far better than many conventional, luxury cars like the Mercedes S-Class, or Cadillac XTS.”

Consumer Reports