New Tesla Testing Technique From Staid Consumer Reports: Drifting!

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We'd not normally advise getting information directly from Wikipedia, but its opening line on the sport of drifting is as good as any other definition you'll find:

"Drifting is a driving technique where the driver intentionally oversteers, causing loss of traction in the rear wheels, while maintaining control from entry to exit of a corner."

Compare that definition with the Consumer Reports video above and what you see is pretty clear: it really is a 4,600-pound Tesla Model S being drifted.

Following their highest-ever rating since 2007, the guys at Consumer Reports decided to have some fun.

After all, when you spend the day doing sensible, objective tests--measuring luggage space, recording noise, counting cupholders--it's natural that you'd want to unwind a little.

Anyway, their opinions on the car's fun factor are as high as its overall rating.

"Driving a Tesla Model S is like having your own private amusement park," said CR.

"Not that we advocate tire-smoking, tail-sliding turns on any public road--ever! But such drifting can be a measure of a car's great-handling chops, as well as its available power. And boy, can the Tesla drift!"

While the car's stability systems (wisely) cannot be switched off entirely, the traction control can. The laws of physics always win in the end, and with enough provocation and judicious use of the accelerator pedal it's apparently possible to get the Model S to wag its tail.

It's not something you'd do on the road (drifting is bad, mmmkay?) but on the track it's just another string to the car's bow.


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Comments (15)
  1. They should enter some drift competitions and events like Gatebil, Summernats, etc, etc. That would really get people fired up about Electric Cars.

  2. Agreed!

  3. Can't wait to see them drifting it on Top Gear.

  4. I'm afraid your in for a long one. Really long.

  5. Do you think this will hurt their credibility? Or, to paraphrase Mae West, they used to be Snow White and then they drifted. (the technical term for this is a "groaner")

  6. Well, I will give CR a little more respect now since their testers are at least capable of doing the drift...

  7. Even with all those nice drifting, CR still refuse to "recommend" the car b/c of lack of quality data.

    Well, let us look at it this way, CR needs to get off their butt and start a new quality system. Certainly the current rating don't apply to Tesla.


    Many of the so called quality category doesn't apply here or needs revamping...

  8. Consumer Reports NEVER recommends a new model. It's that simple. However, the Tesla rated the highest test score of any vehicle in their history of testing. That says a lot.

  9. Sure, but CR also recommends new Toyota models based on the past history, then 3-4 yrs into the ownership that year and model FALL out of favor b/c of quality issues. So, CR's predication is useless in that case. Try 4-runner as an example.

    So, the famous saying is that "past performance is no guarantee of future returns"....

  10. There simply has not been the time elapsed with the Model S on the road to get any meaningful reliability data.

  11. That is ONLY assuming the future equals to the past...

  12. If anything electric cars should be much more reliable than a gasoline powered car due to the sheer simplicity of the EV drive train. Since the car is made almost entirely of Aluminum it should last much longer than a traditional steel bodied car. Battery life is the only area where it could see some problems however it should last at least 8 to 10 year or so before seeing a significant loss in driving range. Yet even then the 85 KWhr vehicles should still be capable of 180 miles or so of range even 8 to 10 years out.

  13. Tesla Model S is the only EV that can compete with and beat gasoline powered sport sedans, that cost as much or even more, at their own game. It is a game changing automobile that proves electric cars can be as good or even better than a gasoline powered car. I am looking forward to their more affordable Blue star sedan that should be coming out mid 2015.

  14. Nope, Tesla has been postponing new models. Model X is late 2014 now, Blue Star 2016/17. I think prices of EV components need to come down substantially and Tesla first needs to establish itself as a reliable long term partner that can commit to large numbers to suppliers before an "affordable" long range EV becomes feasible. Those things take time and a lot will depend on whether Model S sales hold up. Time will tell.

  15. You haven't driven a Chevy Volt in "sport" mode.

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