Introducing the Tesla Model S:
Forbes.com wrote:“It’s truly a groundbreaking car,” Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports’ director of auto testing who oversaw this year’s review of 260 vehicles, said an interview with Bloomberg. “You get into it, and it really stands out. It’s the very best car I’ve ever driven.”
Here’s what the magazine said about the $89,650 Model S that it tested.
“Sure, you can talk about this electric luxury car’s blistering acceleration, razor-sharp handling, compliant ride, and versatile cabin, which can fit a small third-row seat. But that just scratches the surface of this technological tour de force. The Tesla is brimming with innovation. Its massive, easy-to-use 17-inch touch screen controls most functions. And with its totally keyless operation, full Internet access, and ultra-quiet, zero-emission driving experience, the Tesla is a glimpse into a future where cars and computers coexist in seamless harmony. Its 225-mile driving range and 5-hour charges, using Tesla’s special connector, also make it the easiest, most practical, albeit pricey, electric car to live with.”
And yet, the Model S also has been involved in some high-profile incidents in recent months, including five vehicle fires, causing some analysts to wonder if both the Model S — and Tesla stock — are overrated. Its most recent vehicle fire took place in Toronto last month.
The fire, during which nobody was hurt, happened Feb. 1 in Toronto, Canada, Toronto Fire Services confirmed to CNBC. TFS said the origin of the fire was in the engine area, but the actual source of the fire is unclear. Tesla confirmed the fire to the network, but said important components such as the battery, charging system, and adapter were not involved.
No deaths or injuries have been linked to other fires in Tesla Model S cars, which are being investigated by American safety officials. Tesla’s billionaire founder, Elon Musk, has said he believes the investigation will end without a recall.
A top Consumer Reports rating can be a valuable tool for automakers. The magazine’s consistently high ratings for vehicles built by Toyota and Honda are considered a reason why those Japanese companies were able to expand their sales in the United States. More recently, Consumer Reports’ endorsement of the Volkswagen Passat last decade launched the German automaker’s comeback in the United States.
Likewise, Consumer Reports has been harshly critical of some vehicles it once praised. Last fall, it removed the Toyota Camry from its recommended list when it failed a new test performed by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. In 2010, Toyota temporarily halted sales of the Lexus GX 460 when the magazine said it was susceptible to rollovers.
For now, at least, Tesla, which plans to add a sport utility vehicle in 2015, has the Consumer Reports crown to wave at anyone who questions whether its cars can be trusted.