Consumer Reports Reverses Its Decision on Tesla Model 3

Tesla spikes after Model 3 gets Consumer Reports' recommendation on its 2nd try (TSLA)

Just last week, Consumer Reports said it wouldn't recommend the Tesla Model 3, after testing revealed some unusual behaviour under brakes.

A previous test found that it took 152 feet for the auto to stop from 60. Tesla initially disputed the claim but CEO Elon Musk promised to fix the problem.

Since braking is an important part of Consumer Reports ratings, the car's overall score improved from 72 to 77 out of 100 points, on par again with the BMW 3-Series, and third among compact luxury cars behind the 3-Series and the Audi A4. Rather than the average of 152 feet taken to stop from 60 miles per hour when initially tested - 25 feet longer, it's worth noting, than the larger Model X required - the Model 3 did it in the same 133 feet that Tesla claimed its own testing found.

The Model 3, which starts at $35,000, is seen as crucial to Tesla's profitability at a time when it is battling reports of crashes involving its Autopilot software, questions over funding and production shortfalls.

We saw this happen in late 2015, when Consumer Reports assigned Tesla's Model S a "worse-than-average" rating in an annual report about the predicted reliability of new vehicles, knocking down the company's share price by more than 10 percent in one day.

CR also gave notably low marks to the Model 3's unique controls, which force drivers to make audio, phone, climate, and other changes nearly exclusively through a center-mounted touch screen. Musk said past year that Tesla was in discussions with the government, requesting temporary waiver of import penalties and other restrictions until a local facility is built.

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"I've been at CR for 19 years and tested more than 1,000 cars, and I've never seen a vehicle that could improve its track performance with an over-the-air update", says CR auto testing director Jake Fisher. Musk has added that their criticism about the car's road noise and ride comfort have also been addressed. Musk said in his tweet that user interface improvements are "coming via remote software update later this month".

"Braking & UI upgrades apply to all Model 3s".

Tesla's profitability depends highly on the success of its Model 3 production. The test is repeated multiple times with multiple cars, the publication says, and the brakes are cooled between tests to ensure they don't overheat.

Shares of Tesla jumped almost 3.5% after the report was released by the consumer organization Wednesday. Following a recent software update, however, the magazine is now giving Tesla its approval.

The magazine also found flaws with the Model 3's dashboard.

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