The on-again, off-again relationship between Tesla and Consumer Reports has taken another turn, with the reliability-focused US publication removing its recommendation for the Model 3.
In initial testing, the Model 3 was found to be "not good enough to recommend", before over-the-air updates fixed the issues – which saw the car stop worse than a Ford F-150 in braking tests – and earned the littlest Tesla a coveted recommendation.
Now, nine months after giving the Model 3 its tick of approval, persistent reliability issues mentioned by more than 500 owners have seen that tick removed. Keeping up?
According to Consumer Reports, owners have reported issues with the paint and trim, technology and body hardware. The article says some people have been suffering issues with the frameless windows, with cold weather even making some rear windows crack, and reports of infotainment screens with a mind of their own.
Tesla has responded, naturally, arguing it has made "significant improvements" to fix the problems, and "the vast majority of these issues have already been corrected through design and manufacturing improvements, and we are seeing a significant improvement in our field data".
“While Teslas perform well in Consumer Reports’ road tests and have excellent owner satisfaction, their reliability has not been consistent, according to our members, which has resulted in changes to their recommended status,” said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at Consumer Reports.
That's not to say people don't like their cars. Quite the opposite, in fact, with Fisher noting the brand's loyal fanbase.
“In most cases, reliability issues will undermine satisfaction,” Fisher opined.
The Tesla Model 3 might dominate conversation, but CR also removed its recommendations on the Acura RDX (infotainment glitches), BMW 5 Series (electrical gremlins), Chrysler 300/Dodge Charger (in-car tech, climate control), and Volkswagen Tiguan (body control modules).