By on August 27, 2015


Consumer Reports says that Tesla’s Model S P85D initially scored 103 points out of a possible 100, which initially “broke” their rating system.

Consumer Reports adjusted the overall score to 100, and said that the Model S P85D wasn’t perfect, but that it was very good:

To be clear, the Tesla’s 100 score doesn’t make the P85D a perfect car—even at $127,820. It has imperfections. The interior materials aren’t as opulent as other high-ticket automobiles, and its ride is firmer and louder than our base Model S.

What’s more, a lengthy road trip in an electric car with a 200-plus mile range can be a logistical hurdle if a quick-charging station isn’t along your route.

It’s also important to note that our Rating doesn’t include the Tesla’s reliability. The Model S has average reliability, according to our owner-survey responses.

The Model S P85D sports upgrades beyond the Model S, including “insane” and “ludicrous” speed modes that can propel the car from 0-60 in fewer than 3 seconds.

Previously, the Model S was the highest-rated car Consumer Reports had ever tested. The 1996 Porsche Boxster also scored a “perfect” 100 almost 20 years ago.

Consumer Reports said that the 103 score and its subsequent re-scoring of 100 wouldn’t impact other cars’ ratings.

“This car is not perfect in every single way,” said Jake Fisher, Auto Test Director for Consumer Reports. “It doesn’t fit in the rest of the automotive marketplace.”

Fisher added that the scoring system was “non-linear,” meaning cars wouldn’t need to accelerate from 0-60 mph in around 3 seconds to score well on the test.

According to the testers, the Model S P85D’s interior shortcomings and initial buyer satisfaction were more-than compensated by the car’s performance and fuel economy, which are both greater than the Model S.

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44 Comments on “Consumer Reports Rates ‘Imperfect’ Car With Perfect Score...”

  • avatar

    I think 103 is also the number of times you get to feel a bit smug telling people you have an electric vehicle, before it gets old!

    • 0 avatar

      “What’s more, a lengthy road trip in an electric car with a 200-plus mile range can be a logistical hurdle if a quick-charging station isn’t along your route.

      Well there goes the Australian Market, LOL, absolutely ridiculous. I thought ” range anxiety”had ceased to be a factor?

  • avatar

    In before BTSR says something!

    Long term powertrain reliability is going to be the interesting one to watch over the next few years. I expect it should be fairly good, given that it’s mechanically simple.

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Seems like CR no longer considers reliability so important because one of their top cars for 2015 is the entire Golf line-up, a car not known for its stellar reliability record.

    • 0 avatar
      Richard Chen

      CR rating ≠ recommendation. The latter requires a year of reported reliability records.

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      Consumer reports “Top Picks” and “Reliability Ratings” are separate sections of the magazine.

      One is a subjective ranking, and is in the front of the magazine, surrounded by descriptive paragraphs. One is an objective ranking, and is in the back of the magazine, surrounded by pages and pages of charts & tables.

      For an otherwise endorsable car to get axed from the “Top Picks,” It has to be “Below Average” or worse in reliability. CR frequently “Picks” cars that it gives a mediocre reliability ranking to. The Sportswagen TDI has been recommended for several years running, while consistently being ranked only average in the reliability rankings.

      A car typically only gets a significant sales boost when it aces BOTH sections.

    • 0 avatar

      The Golf actually scores quite well in their used car reliability rankings.

  • avatar

    I rather prefer the CR of 20+ years ago. They were nerdy, made no pretense of being “car guys”, and were more objective.
    These days they seem a bit drunk on their power/influence they have over manufactures, and they blend in occasional blatantly subjective as well as biased opinions.
    Their frequency of repair records are the feature of their auto coverage I trust the most.
    Years ago they did interior noise levels at 30 mph on coarse vs smooth pavement. Great way to find out the road noise prone vehicles.

    • 0 avatar

      ^ This!

      They’ve also gone very left-wing, eco-weenie, which is why they have nocturnal emissions over cars like this and the Prius, despite (in the Tesla’s case) obvious limitations; furthermore, IIRC, one of the early Teslas in their care died completely! If a GM or Ford did that to them, it’s the black circle of death, to be sure!! (And yes, the disconnect between reliability and recommendation is weird; they had a hard-on for VW in the aughts, with the B5 Passat constantly at the top of their Ratings, and lately, Subarus have been doing the same, despite head-gaskets and droning CVTs.)

      • 0 avatar

        Whatever happened to the real conservatives like Teddy Roosevelt? You know, the republican who created the National Park system. Now he would be called a Rino or Eco-weenie by the party faithful. Now one’s manliness is judged on much you can show mother nature who’s boss.

        • 0 avatar

          I agree. I like to think of myself as that kind of Republican, but it basically makes me not one.

          I honestly have no party anymore because both parties make such a mockery of social issues. L Brooks Patterson, who is Oakland County Michigan’s County Executive, said it best:

          “When we keep the focus on economics, we Republicans do very well, but when the ‘Taliban’ – my name for the religious right – makes it about abortion and who is kissing who, then the Democrats can beat us.”

        • 0 avatar

          I’m just saying that CR is of the same hippie ilk that is bound and determined to have everyone driving 1-cylinder, Trabant-esque shitboxes by 2022 in the name of hitting an impossible mileage goal and saving the damned Earth!

          CR used to be more objective, is all! But calling something that costs more than most people could afford, and with the inherent limitations (range, even with Superchargers; then once finding one, having to wait 30-45 minutes to get enough charge to be worthwhile instead of, say, ten minutes, and that is, if your car HAS the high-speed charge capability) their “BEST CAR EVAH” goes against that egalitarian thing I’d think they want to project.

          We’ll see what happens when they get their hands on the new Volt, which to me, at least, seems to be a better compromise: an EV without the need for range anxiety.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m of that hippie ilk (for safety reasons, F- the enviros) and I’ve always been saddened by how much emphasis CR gives to going fast and turning hard.

            They’re no puritans, that’s for sure.

          • 0 avatar

            “I’m just saying that CR is of the same hippie ilk that is bound and determined to have everyone driving 1-cylinder, Trabant-esque shitboxes by 2022 in the name of hitting an impossible mileage goal and saving the damned Earth!”

            Yes, because a $100K car that can do 0-60 in three seconds while outbraking and outcornering most supercars while seating seven people and maintaining average reliability is “Trabant-esque”.

            Heck, if that’s the kind of cars Trabants were, sign me up, Comrade!

            I think CR just really likes this car. I really like the car. I can’t afford one, but if I could, I’d certain cough up for it because I don’t drive anywhere beyond it’s distance in a day.

  • avatar

    “The 1996 Porsche Boxster also scored a “perfect” 100 almost ten years ago.”

    Either somebody is bad at math, or I just got a decade younger.

  • avatar

    “Average” reliability is disappointing given that electric motors are so much simpler and more durable than ICEs. I think they still have a bit of learning how to be a car company ahead of them.

    Still glad to see them using electric motors to build something other than a compliance car.

    • 0 avatar

      Motor Reliability is a subset of Total Reliability. I think the “average” score is for Total Reliability.

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      I have the 2015 CR reliability rankings in front of me.

      The Model S’ “Average” score is due to issues in the categories of “Body Integrity,” “Body Hardware,” and “Audio System.”

      In every powertrain and chassis category, the Model S got the highest possible score.

  • avatar
    Menar Fromarz

    This here amplifier is better, see…it goes to eleven…

  • avatar

    No one believes what CR has to say…unless it is about the model car they drive/love and it supports their view. Then CR has no fault.

    You see it here all the time in the B&B comments.

    The truth lies somewhere between.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This obviously means the CR scoring system is imperfect, ie, they’re omitting some metrics that matter to people but are not recorded.

  • avatar

    -range anxiety
    -interior of a $30,000 car
    – lacks comfort features you find in $55,000 cars from Chrysler/Hyundai/GM…

    +Fastest production electric sedan ever
    +Fastest production sedan

    I’m disappointed the “pros” never put the A8 against the Model S, the S7 against the P85 and the RS7 against the P85D.

    Perfect comparison, similar pricepoints… The Model S loses on EVERYTHING except straight-line performance and cost of ownership over 6 years – though most people do 3 – 4 year leases.

    The fun part is watching TESLA doing the damage control on Facebook and in emails when anyone says anything less than perfect about their cars.

    • 0 avatar

      “The Model S loses on EVERYTHING except straight-line performance…”

      Isn’t that all you care about, BTSR?

    • 0 avatar
      Lack Thereof

      This stock post needs to be refined.

      Inflation has eaten the $30,000 interior argument… I don’t think you can find a $30,000 interior to match the Tesla any more. Maybe at $40,000.

      Not sure you can say it loses on “EVERYTHING except straight-line performance”, when it matches the skidpad grip of the others, and no one’s published a side-to-side handling comparison. That’s very much an unsettled point still.

      If C&D included a Tesla in their Lightning Lap this year, we might finally get some numbers to clear that up. They HAVE a long-term P85D, I really can’t think of any excuse for them to not include it in their next round of testing or at least a comparo against the germans.

      • 0 avatar

        A Honda Accord with leather has as good or better an interior than a Tesla and the new Nissan Maxima’s interior, especially in SR trim is vastly superior.

      • 0 avatar

        but…how can 100% ever be use when rating anything let alone a car!?
        And to top that…they use 110%! This is not even possible

        If you are going to rank a 130K plus car…without performance data makes you come across as amateur. Or biased.

        Having driven Tesla…I know the car and promise you there are better buys

    • 0 avatar

      You forgot to add safest available car ever tested and huge interior and cargo volume as pluses, and ridiculous crash repair costs as a minus.

  • avatar

    Consumer Reports has become a joke now, especially with their clear bias towards Tesla. I watched the video and it was a joke, half the time they spent showing their bias and then the other half they spent trying to pretend they were objective and claiming they would buy other cars. Beginning to wonder if they were paid by Musk to to this review so they could pump up the stock? While the Tesla has a lot of pluses, it also has a hell of a lot of minuses, to claim this car is a 103 out of 100 is just plain nonsense, even ludicrous;)

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    Congratulations, Tesla!

    (Just wanted to put in a post utterly free of too-cool-for-school snark.)

  • avatar

    I don’t even know how Consumer Reports continues to have a sustained readership–one that pays for their shoddy advice at that when it’s so easy to research independently. They’re biased, and I’ve used products that happened to receive good scores from CR, yet in real life it was terrible (and vice versa). Anecdotal, but only to an extent.

    What’s more, CR is limited in what it reviews–so many superior products are left untested. An example: Speed Queen washers and dryers and Sanitaire commercial-grade vacuum cleaners are far superior products than anything that can be had at Lowes, Walmart, Sears, Target, etc., bar none. Instead, most people miss out because the best they can do is offer a high score toward undeserving products like the glitzy laundry toys from Korea and space-age vacuums that have to be replaced as often as a razor (and so on).

    Candid reviews from owners who use the product on a daily basis trumps CR, along with research and personal criteria that need to be met. Relying on CR only means that the consumer cannot think for him/herself and needs to be (blindingly) led to buy what CR wants the reader to buy.

  • avatar

    This is the same 100% perfect car that locked the testers out due to a faulty door actuator system? The only thing broken is CR goofy rating system and there Musk wearing iPhone addicted kids writing these reviews!

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