But what about the Model X?
Tesla's vehicles have won mostly wide praise from owners and the media over the years, but there was one annual report where two out of its three electric vehicles suddenly found themselves struggling recently. Every year, Consumer Reports releases its list of recommended vehicles and the Model 3 and Model S failed to make that list last year. Fortunately, Tesla was paying attention. The publication has just announced both vehicles have regained their recommended status because Tesla fixed what needed to be fixed: reliability.
"The Tesla Model 3 struggled last year as the company made frequent design changes and ramped up production to meet demand," says Jake Fisher, head auto testing at CR. "But as the production stabilized, we have seen improvements to the reliability."
Both EVs have been recommended in the past. This year, CR found fewer issues and reports of Model 3 problems, such as stuck latches and malfunctioning door handles. Problems previously plaguing the Tesla Model S like issues with paint and trim quality have also gone down.
However, the Tesla Model X crossover is still not recommended based on owners' claims of numerous problems, including noises and leaks. Even its falcon-wing doors are not proving to be popular. In general, it has worse-than-average reliability. For all three vehicles, however, in-car electronics remain a reported problem area. For example, some owners have reported issues with the displays, such as when it suddenly freezes or even going blank while the vehicle is in motion. There have been reports of the software rebooting without warning for no specific reason.
Information from a total of nearly 4,000 Tesla vehicles was included in this year's study, but CR still uses the reliability results from the three previous model years as a basis for predicting future reliability. Another piece of great news for the Model 3 is that it's now CR's fifth-most reliable luxury compact car out of a total of 12. It's placed just below the Audi A3 and above the Acura TLX and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. The Model S scored even higher for its segment. It is the second-most reliable out of four other large luxury cars, earning a spot just below the Genesis G90. Amazingly, it's predicted to outscore the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Lexus LS.
One possible reason why Teslas have a spotty yearly reliability record is because Tesla does not make assembly line improvements all at once, but rather does so throughout the model year. The more frequently new and more reliable components are introduced, the longer it takes to see results.