The magazine's consumer surveys have given the Model X lower marks because of the complexity of controls for front seats and infotainment systems, but this was unrelated to the car's driving characteristics.
The scores for cars they haven't seen, according to Consumer Reports, are based on consumers' experiences with other brands' models that are actually on the road, in addition to what the publication knows about what components a given new vehicle will be using, and how similar those components are to those in existing models. Tesla Inc's Model 3, despite recent production problems, should have "average" reliability because it relies on technology already used on the older Tesla Model S, Jake Fisher, the magazine's head of automotive testing said on Thursday at a meeting of the Detroit Automotive Press Association. Its scorecard is influential among consumers and industry executives.
In Tesla's case, the Model 3 is using numerous same components as the Model S, according to CR, which was one thing CR took into consideration in issuing their rating.
However, the magazine noted that owners of Tesla Model S have reported their car's reliability has improved, giving the EV sedan its first "above average" rating. The improvement by the Model S made Tesla one of the biggest gainers in this year's rankings, with the brand jumping four spots to 21st out of 27.
"Electric vehicles are inherently less complicated than gasoline or hybrid alternatives".
"Time and time again, our own data shows that Consumer Reports' automotive reporting is consistently inaccurate and misleading to consumers", the electric-car maker said.
Though the reporting agency indicates that they have yet to purchase a Model 3 and put it through its usual series of tests, likely because Tesla is still in the midst of working through its manufacturing bottlenecks and have not opened up orders to regular consumers, Consumer Reports believes that their average outlook on the vehicle isn't necessarily a bad thing. Consumer Reports said its survey found that owners of models in the first year of production reported twice as many complaints about vehicle electronics. But over-the-air updates are helping automakers alleviate problems more quickly, he said. The Model X exemplifies Tesla's checkered history of new product introductions, which larger automakers with decades of experience assembling in high volumes still struggle with, Consumer Reports said.
Has focusing on Tesla raised Consumer Reports profile?