tesla model 3 car


Consumer Reports doesn’t recommend the Tesla Model 3—and Elon Musk isn’t having it

The business magnate wants the review site to retest.


Phillip Tracy


The Tesla Model 3 failed to earn a recommendation from Consumer Reports, and Elon Musk is already requesting a recount. The popular review magazine cited a handful of complaints, namely poor braking performance and difficult-to-use controls for why it urges prospective buyers to stay away.

“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,” Patrick Olsen wrote in the Consumer Reports review.

Olsen also noted that Car and Driver said it noticed “a bizarre amount of variation” in its tests, including one stop from 70mph that took “an interminable 196 feet.”

A spokesperson at Tesla was the first to fire back, claiming it ran internal tests and found a 0 to 60mph distance of 133 feet and as low as 126 feet depending on the tires. Those are solid figures, and significantly better than the 152 feet Consumer Reports recorded, which it said was “far worse than any contemporary car we’ve tested.”

However, instead of refuting the claims, Musk acknowledged them on Twitter and promised to make software updates to improve them. He also said Consumer Reports had an “early production car” and that ride comfort, wind noise, and other areas the publication criticized are no longer issues.

“Looks like this can be fixed with a firmware update,” he tweeted. “Will be rolling that out in a few days. With further refinement, we can improve braking distance beyond initial specs. Tesla won’t stop until Model 3 has better braking than any remotely comparable car.”

This isn’t the first time Musk and Consumer Reports have quarreled over a review. After scoring the Model S a record-breaking 103 out of 100, the review organization slammed the car with an “average” reliability score. Musk, at the time, argued the company looked at early production vehicles in its reliability survey. The Model S’s score was later increased to “above average.”

Musk is now requesting the Model 3 be retested with updated software. It’s not unheard of for the site to redo reviews and change scores. It initially didn’t recommend Apple’s MacBook Pro laptop after encountering battery life problems but changed its decision after retesting following a software update.

Consumer Reports has not yet released a statement, but we wouldn’t be surprised if it retests the Model 3 after Tesla makes over-the-air updates. For now, the car’s biggest rival in the Chevy Bolt EV will remain the publication’s top compact green car.

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