Consumer Reports Says to Avoid the 2020 Tesla Model S

by Gabrielle DeSantis

The Tesla Model S has been highly sought after for years and is getting a major refresh soon. The electric vehicle is not a bad car, but Consumer Reports took issue with a few major areas. Which areas impacted the reliability?

Does Consumer Reports recommend Tesla Model S?

Consumer Reports says to avoid the Model S | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Consumer Reports gave the 2020 Tesla Model S a reliability score of 26 out of 100. In certain areas, the Tesla electric vehicle did fine. For driving experience, the Model S scored 94. It scored a similar 91 for styling and a 74 for comfort. The value score was only 31.

For the highs, CR liked the green nature of the EV. It has a quiet cabin, accelerates quietly, and has two trunks. One in the back and one in the front where the engine might go. Tesla’s Supercharging stations have the whole charging thing figured out already while many other brands lag.

However, the list of lows is quite long. The range for the 2020 Model S is still pretty short compared to a gas-powered car. The charging times are fairly long, and longer trips require a bit of extra planning. If you like in extreme weather, this can impact the range.

The interior didn’t feel as luxurious as anticipated. But some aspects of the Tesla interior are lightyears ahead of other brands. The large touch-screen is a cool feature that other automakers seem apprehensive to adapt to.

Reliability from the Tesla Model S owners

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The owner reported trouble spots are a bit extensive. Some owners took issue with the suspension. The air suspension did not work upon delivery for one driver. After repair, the vehicle still vibrated.

Some noted the voice controls did not work, and the body hardware often malfunctioned. However, the brakes, body integrity, exhaust, paint, and many other categories scored five out of five for reliability.

The Model S comes standard with things like forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking. Pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and anti-lock brakes are all standard too.

The crash test scores from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) were “good” and “acceptable.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) did not rate the Model S.

Edmunds Recommends the Porsche Taycan over the Model S

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Edmunds tested all sorts of new electric vehicles on the market. The 2021 Porsche Taycan, Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X, Volkswagen ID.4, and Ford Mustang Mach-E to see which ones pulled ahead.

The Porsche Taycan is Porsche’s first foray into all-electric vehicles. Edmunds calls the vehicle “quick and engaging to drive, with sharp and athletic handling that doesn’t compromise comfort or refinement.”

The Taycan had an initially disappointing EPA-estimated range, especially compared to the Tesla Model S. But the Taycan exceeded the range estimations by almost 60% during the real-world testing. The price starts at $79,900 and goes up to $150,900. 

Edmunds liked the large battery pack in the Tesla Model S, and the price was better. But in comparison for performance sake, the Model S lacked where the Taycan shined. The S was spacious and offered a lot of cargo room. The price starts at $74,490 and goes up to $144,490 for the 2022 Plaid+ model.

If you have been considering a Model S, it might be worth the wait to get a newer version. While the car can have the software updated over-the-air, some of the new features might be worth having.

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