Consumer Reports hearts the Tesla Model S

Tesla Motors is riding a bit of a high mark on a wave lately, recently having very favorable first quarter financial results.

This has been followed now by a chart topping review score of 99 out of 100 by venerable consumer review and watchdog group Consumer Reports (CR) for its Model S electric sedan. To many this is the equivalent of winning an Oscar in the film industry, as such a positive response by CR brings with it much prestige and weight in the eyes of mainstream Americans.

The CR top mark of quality for the Model S follows on the heels of other major awards the electric car has received, including winning last year’s Motor Trend car of the year, in which the vehicle at the time was dubbed “”a quintessentially American automobile.” Consumer Reports seems to have similar feelings generally as well, noting it has certain limitations but in general “as we’ve learned through our testing and living with it, the Model S is truly a remarkable car.”

image via Tesla

“The Tesla Model S is packed with technological innovation,” said Jake Fisher, director of Automotive Testing for Consumer Reports, in a statement. “It accelerates, handles and brakes like a sports car, it has the ride and quietness of a luxury car and is far more energy efficient than the best hybrid cars.”

On the positive side, there was much CR had to say of the Model S. Highlights included going from 0 to 60 in 5.6 seconds; pinpoint handling reminiscent of a Porsche; a beautifully crafted interior that calls to mind an Audi; one of the quietest cars ever tested; a hefty lithium-ion battery that makes it very practical with its long driving range (for an electric car, anyhow) and the equivalent in fuel costs of running a conventional car on gasoline that costs $1.20 per gallon.

Lows in the review, which for the most part are minor, included a limited range compared to that of gas cars;  long charging times; and coupe-like styling that impairs rear visibility and impedes access. It should be noted as well the EV didn’t get a full recommendation rating as it falls into the old CR dogma that no vehicle can get a designation because of a lack of “reliability data. To be recommended, a vehicle must perform well in CR’s battery of tests, has average or better reliability in CR’s Annual Auto Survey and perform well in government and industry crash tests.”

Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling