Consumer Reports has had a love affair with the Tesla Model S. It named the electric car best overall vehicle in 2014 and 2015, and called the Tesla the best-performing car it’s ever tested. But the romance seems to have faded somewhat.
The magazine no longer considers the Model S to be the top car in its class, Jake Fisher, director of auto testing, told Reuters as Consumer Reports announced its list of best overall car brands. The Model S now sits behind the BMW 750i xDrive, Lexus LS 460L, and Audi A8 L in the rankings.
“They are having issues and they need to work that out before they introduce new models,” Fisher said. Tesla’s quality issues include problems with hatches, door handles, electric motors, and batteries, and have increased as the company has ramped up production of the electric car, he said.
Consumer Reports has noted quality and reliability issues with the Model S before. In its last Annual Auto Reliability Survey released in October, the magazine demoted the Model S from “average” predicted reliability to “worse than average,” owing to negative reports from Model S owners. That led Consumer Reports to rescind its “recommended rating” for the Tesla.
Staffers also found issues with the magazine’s own test cars. A 2012 Model S 85 suffered from several software glitches, and an adapter meant to allow it to plug into CHAdeMO DC fast-charging stations fell apart. The retractable door handles on the magazine’s current Model S P85D test car also failed to “present” themselves on occasion.
Tesla does not appear on the recently-published list of top automotive brands, but that has nothing to do with the Model S’ issues. Consumer Reports must test at least two models from a carmaker before the company can be considered for the brand rankings, and hasn’t been able to get ahold of the just-released Model X crossover. Audi topped the brand rankings, followed by Subaru and Lexus.