Tesla has a knack for not performing well in some reliability and dependability surveys, and the most recently released assessment from Consumer Reports continued that trend after the electric automaker finished 27th out of 28 total brands. The report comes just days after Tesla’s Model 3 and Model S claimed two of the top three spots on Consumer Reports’ list of most satisfying cars on the market.
Only Lincoln, a brand of legacy automaker Ford, finished below Tesla. The Model X was rated Tesla’s least reliable vehicle and received 5 out of 100 possible points.
Tesla’s four all-electric vehicles boast some of the best performance and technology on the market. Ask some of the world’s biggest non-profit organizations that handle the automotive sector, and they will regularly conclude Tesla is near the bottom of the barrel. This year’s Reliability Survey from Consumer Reports showed that only the Model 3 was rated with “average” reliability, the highest mark Tesla scored in the assessment. Tesla’s other three vehicles were considered “below average.”
Consumer Reports says that it obtains its reliability data from the Auto Surveys sent to CR members every year. The organization received responses on over 300,000 vehicles this year, detailing information from model years 2000 to 2021. CR asks about reliability and satisfaction to obtain information regarding brands. On its website, Consumer Reports shows how it obtains its rankings for reliability:
“For reliability, we ask members to note any problems with their vehicles that occurred in the previous 12 months. They are asked to identify problems that they considered serious (because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime). We ask them to include problems covered by warranty, but not the ones resulting from accident damage or due solely to recall. Respondents check off problems from a list of trouble areas, ranging from the engine and transmission to climate system, brakes, electrical system, and power accessories. They also tell us in writing (verbatim) specifically what their experiences were to help us understand precisely what problems they are having.”
Interestingly, recent reports from Tesla owners have indicated that build quality has never been better. While customer service is a noted weak point of Tesla, the company still maintains relatively positive experiences with its service. Additionally, the lack of maintenance for an electric vehicle is significantly less. However, there are plenty of owners who are also members of CR that are indicating their cars are not super reliable.
The Model 3 obtained a score of 59 for its reliability rating. The Model S, Y, and X received 20,18, and 5, respectively.
CR Director of Vehicle Testing Jake Fisher said that the Model X received incredibly low scores because of continuing issues with its falcon-wing doors. Additionally, The Model Y SUV has build quality issues, Fisher said, especially with “poorly fitting body panels, leaks, and issues with its climate control system,” he said to Reuters. Additionally, in typical CR fashion, the publication took a dig at Tesla’s Full Self-Driving feature, where Fisher said, “Full Self-Driving is not Full Self-Driving at all. It’s a convenience feature.”
Consumer Reports’ has regularly been highly critical of Tesla, so the survey results should be taken with some caution. Tesla has had a tumultuous relationship with the build quality of its vehicles, but has refined manufacturing processes in its facilities for years. CEO Elon Musk has stated that he is open to constructive criticism, and Tesla has used it to improve their vehicles’ quality.