Tesla fires back after Model 3 fails to earn Consumer Reports recommendation

Consumer Reports found plenty to like when it tested the Tesla Model 3 but had serious issues with the mass-market electric car’s emergency braking performance and user controls, leading its testing group to not give the vehicle a recommendation.

Tesla took issue with Consumer Reports’ test results, citing its own test results, which showed braking to be superior.

First the good points from the Consumer Reports test: Similar to Digital Trend’s Tesla Model 3 review, Consumer Reports noted the Model 3’s 220-mile, Environmental Protection Agency-rated range with the standard battery and 310-mile capability with the $ 9,000 optional battery setup.

“The acceleration is swift and its handling is remarkably agile. The interior is uncluttered and nicely finished, and the front seats are comfortable,” Consumer Reports noted, again in tune with Digital Trends’ reviewer.

But then Consumer Reports listed its complaints, primarily braking distance and user control screens, which its testers found distracting and time-consuming.

Digital Trends didn’t test emergency braking distance but did comment on the graphical user control screen: “At first, this all feels too refined, too minimalist. Just an hour later, though, we can’t fathom why other cars have so many screens, dials and physical controls.”

So it’s possible to chalk up opinions about the Model 3’s user controls to personal preference and experience.

Sixty-to-zero emergency braking performance was the greatest concern in the testing group’s review. In a follow-up report about its review and Tesla’s response, Consumer Reports noted: “The Tesla’s stopping distance of 152 feet from 60 mph was far worse than any contemporary car we’ve tested and about 7 feet longer than the stopping distance of a Ford F-150 full-sized pickup.”

Responding to Consumer Reports and Electrek, Telsa reported that its Model 3’s 60-to-zero factory brake tests averaged 133 feet when equipped with the same tires as on the Consumer Reports tester.

In an identical statement sent to both organizations, Tesla also wrote, “Stopping distance results are affected by variables such as road surface, weather conditions, tire temperature, brake conditioning, outside temperature, and past driving behavior that may have affected the brake system.”

Tesla CEO Elon Musk also said Tesla would address the issue with an over-the-air (OTA) software update if needed and would physically update any Model 3 at no cost to owners if that’s what it takes.

“Very strange. Model 3 is designed to have super-good stopping distance [and} other reviewers have confirmed this. If there is vehicle variability, we will figure it out [and] address. May just be a question of firmware tuning, in which case can be solved by an OTA software update,” Musk tweeted.

“Even if a physical upgrade is needed to existing fleet, we will make sure all Model 3’s having amazing braking ability at no expense to customers,” Musk wrote in a follow-up tweet.

Editors’ Recommendations


Cars – Digital Trends

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