The Model S improved from the "worse-than-average" rating CR gave the model in its Annual Auto Reliability Survey last year to "average" this year, the publication said Monday. That means that CR can officially "recommend" the Model S based on its reliability. It wasn't the only plug-in to improve: the BMW i3 EV also moved up into the "average" reliability field.
Still, Tesla Motors has a lot of work to do when it comes to reliability because of issues related to the Model X electric SUV, which started production in September 2015. Not surprising, the SUV's falcon-wing doors have proven to be problematic, as well as the car's locks, latches, and climate system. Overall, Tesla Motors placed 25th out of the 29 car brands rated by CR, beating only Dodge, Chrysler, Fiat, and Ram. Toyota and its Lexus division topped CR's reliability rankings, followed by General Motors' Buick division. Also notable was that Subaru was dropped from the top 10 list because of issues with its Outback wagon and Legacy sedan
Tesla Motors chief Elon Musk has long said the company was pretty ambitious with Model X features, hence the glitches. That said, a Tesla spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that the number of Model X's reliability issues has fallen by more than 90 percent within the past year.
Last August, the Model S P85D was given a 103 out of a "possible" 100 points from Consumer Reports, effectively "breaking" the publication's ratings scale because of its stellar performance and massive array of features. That rating followed up the 99-point score CR bestowed upon a Model S in 2013. Alas, the glory was short-lived. Last October, Consumer Reports dropped the Model S to a "worse-than-average" ranking in the Auto Reliability Survey based on data from about 1,400 owner surveys. Interior squeaks, malfunctioning door handles, warping brake discs, and drive-unit replacements were among the issues owners cited, putting the Model S on the "not-recommended" list when it came to reliability.