Consumer Reports, Edmunds observe significant problems with Tesla Model 3 test cars

Long braking distances and infotainment gremlins are top concerns

  • Image Credit: Drew Phillips
The Tesla Model 3 has finally been making its way into the eager hands of owners, and since Tesla hasn't been providing test vehicles to the press (as every other car manufacturer does), publications have been relying on those owners to lend or rent them their cars for evaluation purposes. We did just that for our Tesla Model 3 First Drive.

However, two publications have actually gone ahead and purchased a new Model 3: as part of its long-term test fleet, and Consumer Reports as part of their standard testing procedure. Both publications have been having issues with it.

Consumer Reports went so far as to promote the fact that the Model 3 "falls short of a CR Recommendation" after completing its test. In particular, it noted poor and inconsistent emergency braking distances, which CR actually verified by obtaining a second Model 3. It also noted that Car and Driver observed similar inconsistency.

Other issues involved the touchscreen that controls virtually all vehicle functions. In this case, it was a matter of functionality, as CR found the touchscreen required too much attention be drawn away from the road. Other objective complaints included a "stiff ride, unsupportive rear seat and excessive wind noise at highway speeds." Positive points including exceptional electric range and "blistering" acceleration.

As for the Edmunds long-term Model 3, the editors there have been dealing with myriad problems that actually surpass those they experienced during their previous Model S and Model X long-term tests.

"Sixteen weeks into ownership, we've had so many issues with our Model 3 that we started a shared Google Doc to catalog various warning messages, necessary screen resets and general failures," they wrote in the most recent long-term update. Indeed, the number of issues Edmunds has had, especially in regards to the touchscreen and audio system, is shockingly atypical for a new car. They also observed a potentially dangerous problem with Autopilot that ultimately led to Tesla issuing a successful software update.

Edmunds also noted similar complaints about the touchscreen and back seat comfort.

As both CR and Edmunds purchased these vehicles, it's important to note that this is the type of ownership experience regular people could be experiencing. For people thinking about purchasing a Model 3 and for those who are awaiting one that's already ordered, it's certainly worth keeping an eye on these two publications' tests.

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