Pump the Brakes: Consumer Reports Dings Model 3 For Lackluster Stops

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
pump the brakes em consumer reports em dings model 3 for lackluster stops

“Lackluster” may be an understatement. In its test of the Tesla Model 3 Long Range model, Consumer Reports discovered plenty of things to like about the California automaker’s smallest electric vehicle, but two large gripes kept the publication from bestowing a coveted “recommended” tag on the sedan.

We’ve complained before — and online videos have aptly demonstrated — about how the Model 3’s massive center screen diverts too much attention away from the road by consolidating simple tasks (like adjusting the dash vents) into the menus and submenus of the vehicle’s interface, and CR‘s opinion was no different. However, the largest issue seen while driving the Model 3 was its lengthy average stopping distance.

The publication went so far as to borrow a privately owned model just to make sure its observations were legit.

They were, though Tesla takes some issue with them. In its test of panic braking from 60 mph, CR recorded an average stopping distance of 152 feet — a result “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.” It’s also 25 feet longer than that of the Tesla Model X SUV.

In a recent test of various 2018 F-150s, Motor Trend recorded a 129-foot stopping distance for the 3.3-liter XL Supercab model, while an upscale Lariat trim made the stop in 10 fewer feet. For comparison, a Chrysler 300S tested by the same publication made the stop in 109 feet.

When contacted, Tesla said its tests of the sedan — which weighs in at just over 3,800 pounds — returned an average of 133 feet while shod with the same tires. “The automaker noted that stopping-distance results are affected by variables such as road surface, weather conditions, tire temperature, brake conditioning, outside temperature, and past driving behavior that may have affected the brake system,” CR wrote.

The publication countered the statement by noting its braking test “is based on an industry-standard procedure designed by SAE International,” and that it uses a dedicated braking pad “monitored for consistent surface friction.” Between tests, CR testers drive the vehicle for about a mile to help cool the brakes.

Because the first test of the Model 3 yielded a result of 130 feet (a measurement never repeated, even after being parked overnight), CR picked up a Model 3 from a private owner. Those tests saw “almost identical results.”

We’ve seen brake fade complaints crop up from owners who took their Model 3s on the track (one owner destroyed his after 9 miles at Laguna Seca), but a panic stop in regular driving and a stock vehicle hitting a challenging race course are two different beasts. Issues encountered in the latter scenario are to be expected. The former, at least for Consumer Reports‘ purposes, isn’t forgivable. The braking issue, plus the distracting touchscreen and a few minor ride quality issues, kept a recommendation at bay, though the publication lauded the model’s lengthy driving range and acceleration.

While Tesla CEO Elon Musk didn’t detail what brakes we’ll find on the performance variant of the Model 3, an owner’s manual lists upsized front rotors for “plus” versions of the sedan. Those rotors, squeezed by new calipers, were spotted in a recent video released by Tesla.

[Image: Tesla]

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 46 comments
  • EBFlex EBFlex on May 22, 2018

    152 feet. Is that with hitting traffic at a red light or without?

  • Dukeisduke Dukeisduke on May 22, 2018

    They're gonna need good brakes when they're fiddling with the screen to adjust the a/c vents, as they're rapidly closing on a stopped, lifted F-350 Super Duty with a receiver hitch and triple ball mount on the back.

  • Jeff S Corey--We know but we still want to give our support to you and let TTAC know that your articles are excellent and better than what the typical articles are.
  • Jeff S A sport utility vehicle or SUV is a car classification that combines elements of road-going passenger cars with features from off-road vehicles, such as raised ground clearance and four-wheel drive.There is no commonly agreed-upon definition of an SUV and usage of the term varies between countries. Thus, it is "a loose term that traditionally covers a broad range of vehicles with four-wheel drive." Some definitions claim that an SUV must be built on a light truck chassis; however, broader definitions consider any vehicle with off-road design features to be an SUV. A [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crossover_(automobile)]crossover SUV[/url] is often defined as an SUV built with a unibody construction (as with passenger cars), however, the designations are increasingly blurred because of the capabilities of the vehicles, the labelling by marketers, and electrification of new models.The predecessors to SUVs date back to military and low-volume models from the late 1930s, and the four-wheel drive station wagons and carryalls that began to be introduced in 1949. The 1984 [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeep_Cherokee_(XJ)]Jeep Cherokee (XJ)[/url] is considered to be the first SUV in the modern style. Some SUVs produced today use unibody construction; however, in the past, more SUVs used body-on-frame construction. During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the popularity of SUVs greatly increased, often at the expense of the popularity of large [url=https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sedan_(automobile)]sedans[/url] and station wagons.More recently, smaller SUVs, mid-size, and crossovers have become increasingly popular. SUVs are currently the world's largest automotive segment and accounted for 45.9% of the world's passenger car market in 2021. SUVs have been criticized for a variety of environmental and safety-related reasons. They generally have poorer fuel efficiency and require more resources to manufacture than smaller vehicles, contributing more to climate change and environmental degradation. Between 2010 and 2018 SUVs were the second largest contributor to the global increase in carbon emissions worldwide. Their higher center of gravity increases their risk of rollovers. Their larger mass increases their stopping distance, reduces visibility, and increases damage to other road users in collisions. Their higher front-end profile makes them at least twice as likely to kill pedestrians they hit. Additionally, the psychological sense of security they provide influences drivers to drive less cautiously. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sport_utility_vehicleWith the above definition of SUV any vehicle that is not a pickup truck if it is enclosed, doesn't have a trunk, and is jacked up with bigger tires. If the green activists adhere to this definition of what an SUV is there will be millions of vehicles with flat tires which include HRVs, Rav4s, CRVs, Ford Escapes, Buick Encores, and many of compact and subcompact vehicles. The green movement is going to have to recruit millions of new followers and will be busy flattening millions of tires in the US and across the globe. Might be easier to protest.
  • Sckid213 I actually do agree that most Nissans are ultimately junk. (I also think many BMWs are also). I was talking challenging the 3 in terms of driving dynamics. Agree all were failures in sales.
  • THX1136 More accurately said, we are seeing exponential growth in the manufacturing capabilities in this market. Unless, of course, all those vehicles are sold with customers waiting until more a produced so they can buy. Indeed, there are certainly more EVs being purchased now than back in 2016. Is demand outstripping manufacturing? Maybe or maybe not. I sincerely don't know which is why I ask.
  • ToolGuy The page here (linked in the writeup) is ridiculously stupid https://www.tyreextinguishers.com/how-to-spot-an-suvLike, seriously stupid, e.g., A) Not sure that particular Volvo is killing the planet as quickly as some other vehicles we might choose. B) A Juke is "huge"??? C) The last picture shows a RAV4 Hybrid?
Next