Consumer Reports is now recommending Tesla's Model 3 compact electric vehicle after a company software update improved its poor braking performance. The improved braking distance pushed the Model 3's overall score up enough for the organization to issue a recommendation. However, Consumer Reports found it took "significantly longer" not only than that quoted distance, but than any other contemporary vehicle.
While others, such as Edmunds, have complained about problems with their Model 3s, Consumer Reports bases its reliability recommendations on a collection of reader surveys, not on its own test cars.
CR also gave notably low marks to the Model 3's unique controls, which force drivers to make audio, phone, climate, and other changes nearly exclusively through a center-mounted touch screen.
Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk went to Twitter after the Consumer Reports decision came out, and took CR's assessment to task by saying it had used an earlier production version of the Model 3 for its review. Musk also suggested the car's 15-inch touchscreen display could receive an over-the-air update to make it easier to use. "I've never seen a vehicle that could improve its track performance with an over-the-air update", CR Director of Auto Testing Jake Fisher said in a statement.
'Road noise & ride comfort already addressed too. The publication says the newest software update also seems to have made some operations, such as adjusting the mirrors, simpler.
Tesla's profitability depends highly on the success of its Model 3 production.
Consumer Reports announced the update to the Model 3's ratings Wednesday.
The magazine also said almost all of the Model 3's controls are on a center touchscreen direction with no gauges on the dashboard and few buttons inside the auto.
"Looks like this can be fixed with a firmware update", Musk said.
'While the negative reports of braking issues will not deter Tesla brand enthusiasts, it might raise doubts among the more casual buyer, ' said Neil Saunders, Managing Director of consumer research house GlobalData Retail.