Tesla had long been a darling of Consumer Reports magazine since the time the Model S electric car was first revealed, and it consistently scored well in the magazine's tests.
However, when Tesla pulled its automatic emergency braking feature when it switched to all-new vehicle sensors and AutoPilot active-safety software—called Hardware 2—the respected consumer guide was less than impressed.
Tesla saw the Model S's safety rating downgraded significantly, but now Consumer Reports has restored a few lost points after the automaker updated cars built since October to include the emergency braking feature.
Both Tesla models currently in production earned back one point each from the addition of the safety feature, according to Consumer Reports.
The Model S now returns to the number-two spot among luxury sedans, right behind the Lexus LS.
Even with the update, however, the Tesla Model X still remains at the back of the pack when it comes to luxury crossovers.
Tesla Model S Autopilot system
Tesla Enhanced Autopilot
It should be noted that the update has not restored the automatic emergency braking system, which was included on cars built before the hardware changeover.
Originally, the system was capable of applying the brakes at speeds up to 90 mph; the revamped system presently works at speeds only up to 28 mph.
The publication has stated it will re-evaluate the ratings if Tesla chooses to make the system operational at highway speeds.
“It’s uncommon for a newer vehicle to be less capable than an older vehicle," said Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing for Consumer Reports, "especially when it comes to safety."
Tesla plans to roll out another update in the future to restore the system completely, according to the report.
The Model S, in particular, has had a bumpy road with Consumer Reports ratings.
2017 Tesla Model S
2017 Tesla Model S
The publication initially named the luxury electric sedan one of its most recommended cars in 2014.
The accolade was retracted in 2015 when the publication dropped the car from the list due to owner reports of less-than-stellar reliability.
Tesla's habit of updating cars outside model-year breaks also applies to its owner policies on things like free Supercharger DC fast-charging.
After saying it would charge new buyers to use the DC fast-charging system after January 15, it recently expanded the free Supercharging to all current owners.
Through its longstanding referral program, first-time buyers can also qualify for free Supercharging if a current owner gives them a purchase code, which comes with a discount as well.
While continuing to sell Model S and Model X electric cars around the world, Tesla's main focus this year is the upcoming launch of its lower-cost Model 3 sedan, which it says will go into production before the end of this year.