Tesla's love/hate relationship with Consumer Reports is getting another nudge from Cupid this week. Its bread-and-butter Model 3 and Model S sedans have rejoined CR's ranks of "Recommended" vehicles yet again.
Over the course of the past year, the Model 3 and Model S seem to have reached an equilibrium point; the Model X, on the other hand, remains too unreliable to recommend. In fact, CR says Tesla's crossover ranks among the least-reliable cars sold by any brand in the United States.
"The Tesla Model 3 struggled last year as the company made frequent design changes and ramped up production to meet demand," said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing at CR. "But as the production stabilized, we have seen improvements to the reliability of the Model 3 and S that now allow us to Recommend both models."
2019 Tesla Model S
Tesla itself remains in the bottom third of CR's overall brand reliability rankings, checking in at number 23—above Volvo (24) and Chevrolet (25); and below GMC (22) and Mercedes-Benz (21).
Many enthusiast brands and nameplates have had their ups and downs with the consumer-advocacy publication, but Tesla's roller coaster ride has been more dramatic than most.
When the Model S debuted, CR called it the best car the publication had evaluated since 2007, saying it was "like crossing into a promising zero-emissions future," and "easily the most practical electric car" ever tested.
The honeymoon was short-lived. Between 2013 and 2018, the Tesla Model S bounced on and off CR's "Recommended" list several times, often provoking strong responses from Tesla fans on social media.
When it reached customers last year, the Model 3 seemed to be doomed to follow in its bigger sibling's footsteps; this week's rankings update marks the first time it has found its way into "Recommended" territory.