Model S Tops Consumer Reports’ Owner Satisfaction Survey

Saying the Tesla Model S scored the “highest owner-satisfaction score Consumer Reports has seen in years: 99 out of 100,” the influential consumer publication placed the electric luxury sedan atop this year’s standings.

The Model S combines all the attributes that other cars may only offer in part, says CR. These are that it’s fun to drive, delivers great fuel (electric) economy, is fashionably green, and envelops owners in a high-tech, luxurious driving environment.

“In testing, the Model S stands out for its innovative design, outstanding performance, and surprising practicality. These results suggest Tesla owners are very, very satisfied,” said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of automotive testing.

The annual owner satisfaction survey was done at the Consumer Reports National Research Center.

Its key question?

“Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had it to do all over again?”

Scoring is based on the percentage of respondents who answered “definitely yes.” This year, Consumer Reports said it received responses on about 350,000 vehicles and more than 285 models and variants spanning the 2011 through 2014 model years.

Among cars that tend to do well are luxury and high-performance models, said CR. Audi had more high-scorers than any other luxury brand, but less scintillating cars also did well, including the redesigned Mazda6 and Subaru Forester.

These moderately priced, mainstream vehicles outscored all models from BMW, Lexus, and Mercedes-Benz.

Among other electrified vehicles that came and went are the Prius c. Last year it was all the rage, but the newness soon wore off.

“Novelty can play a big role in launching a car into the top ranks, which isn’t surprising because brand-new designs can generate a lot of excitement. But enthusiasm can wane quickly if a car turns out to be not very special,” said Anita Lam, Consumer Reports automotive data program manager.

Although the Prius c did well in owner satisfaction in 2012, Consumer Reports never did endorse the car wholeheartedly, in fact last June it did not recommend its readers buy it at all.

Coming back to Tesla, the Model S may also be basking in the novelty factor to a point, but it is by far an outstanding vehicle in numerous respects.

Whether it will join the ranks of CR readers’ perennial favorites – such as BMW’s 3 Series, Chevrolet Corvette, Ford’s V8 Mustang, Jeep Wrangler, Lexus LS, Mazda MX-5 Miata, Porsche 911, and Toyota Prius – remains to be seen.

The positive news comes at a good time for Tesla which in other quarters is having to defend itself as a federal fire safety investigation opens this week.

Complete details on the CR survey can be found at the publication’s Web site.