The popular electric vehicle features retractable door handles that are supposed to pop out when the driver arrives. It's a cool feature, when it works. After less than a month of driving its vehicle, though, CR said the driver's side door handle stopped popping out, rendering the car undrivable. The upside is that a Tesla technician made a next-day house call and quickly repaired the problem, so the California-based automaker gets points for being as responsive as its super-quick sedans.
"Model S's connectivity paired with over-the-air software updates allow Tesla to diagnose and fix most problems in Model S without the owner ever coming in for service. In instances when hardware, like the door handle, need to be replaced, we strive to make it painless for a customer to get their Model S serviced," Tesla spokeswoman Alexis Georgeson wrote in an e-mail to AutoblogGreen. "Every fix is an opportunity for us to learn and apply towards making owning a Model S a great experience."
Last fall, Consumer Reports gave the Model S an "average" reliability rating after factoring in responses from 1,300 Tesla owners as well as its own experience driving the car for about 16,000 miles. The most-prominent issues at the time were creaky windshields and, yes, faulty door handles. CR was more charitable with its May 2013 assessment of the Model S, which it gave a score of 99 out of 100 and called the vehicle the most practical electric car it had ever tested.