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On a Scale of 1 to 100, the Tesla Model S P85D is a 103 According to Consumer Reports. Really Now?
My, look how much Consumer Reports has grown as a magazine over the years. Since the first issue (January 1936), CR's popularity soared to over 3.1 million online subscribers and an annual budget of $21 million used to buy stuff to review. They deserve it, alright, but the way CR staff handled their Tesla Model S P85D road test is bush-league. Here's an opinion on Consumer Reports - your P85D review is your most humiliating automotive moment, the most overhyped, gratuitous, and cocky review to date.

On a Scale of 1 to 100, the Tesla Model S P85D is a 103 According to Consumer Reports. Really Now?

You have probably heard in the news about the Tesla Model S P85D review from Consumer Reports. More specifically, how CR gave it 103 points out of a potential 100. The absurdity of it all goes even further – "The Tesla initially scored 103 in the Consumer Reports' ratings system, which by definition doesn’t go past 100... The car set a new benchmark, so we had to make changes to our scoring to account for it."

I might sound like a conspiracy theorist now, but that sounds like two things to me.

Case in point 1 – the reviewing team is full of amateurs.

Case in point 2 – Tesla paid big bucks for the 103-point score.

But I'm not a conspiracy theorist. As such, I will gladly offer Consumer Reports three reasons why the Tesla Model S in P85D form is not the best car out there. Three arguments is all I need to explain why the P85D doesn't seem "like a car from another planet." But first, a disclosure.

As much as I love the sound of a 426 (7-liter) HEMI V8 and the nimbleness of a hot hatchback, the Tesla Model S P85D (and the P90D with its face-bending Ludicrous mode) is an astounding machine. All electric vehicle manufacturers wish to have something to beat it, at least in terms of out-and-out acceleration or range, but none of them come close. We're talking about companies with way bigger research & development budgets than what Elon Musk's outfit has in its bank accounts.

But while it may be top dog in EV land, the Model S P85D isn't the best car in the world. Additionally, most drivers aren't psychologically ready to take up electric zap over the black gold we refer to as highly flammable dinosaur juice. So, without further ado, here are the three arguments why Consumer Reports' 103-point review of the Tesla Model S P85D is an offense to us petrolheads and millions of CR subscribers.Argument #1 – It's under-engineered
Remember the Tesla Roadster? Well, it was produced until January 2012 because a contract with Lotus for supplying 2,500 gliders (Elise cars without a powertrain) expired at the end of 2011. As for the Tesla Model S, did you know that the power window switch control panel comes from an early 2000s Mercedes-Benz? What about the gear shifter, which is sourced from the more opulent S-Class? This is just one under-engineered detail that makes the Tesla Model S P85D a fine car, not the best car money can buy. An honorable mention - as opposed to other car manufacturers, which test cars on specially designed proving grounds and the Nurburgring, Tesla tests its pre-production mules on California's network of public roads.

Then there are the recalls. 1,228 examples from the 2013 model year have been called back over a problem with the left-hand seatback's durability in the event of a crash. Then there are the 29,222 examples from the same model year that could've posed a potential fire hazard due to faulty NEMA 14-50 Universal Mobile Connector adapters. Oh, and who can forget that the Model S got some underbody shields to protect its battery after the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency started an investigation into the problem?

But the ultimate argument is that the number one complaint among 1,278 Tesla Model S owners surveyed by Consumer Reports involves faulty door handles. Thank the Lord for the company's over-the-air software updates and high-rated customer satisfaction with Tesla's service dep. Oh, nearly forgot. Consumer Reports' $127,820 Tesla Model S P85D had a broken power door handle before testing begun. Which leads us to argument #2 on why the P85D doesn't actually deserve the score Consumer Reports awarded it.Argument #2 – It's excessively expensive
A base Tesla Model S P85D starts from $105,000, with options pushing the final price of CR's car to $127,820. As for the ultimate-accelerating P90D, that'll be $119,200 before federal tax, state incentives, and some options. You know where this is going – Dear Consumer Reports, maybe you should stick to reviewing refrigerators and mattresses. Sincerely, everyone with sense and everyone who loves cars.

Let's compare the base P85D sticker ($105,000) with the next three top scoring vehicles in Consumer Reports' long list of road tests. BMW M235i – 98 points, $44,150 ; Mercedes-Benz S550 4MATIC – 96 points, $99,575 ; Porsche 911 Carrera S – 95 points, $98,900. These are totally different machines when compared between them and to the Tesla Model S P85D. The Bimmer is less than half the sticker of the P85D, yet it sits in the luxury EV's shadow by a mere 5 (or 2) points. Is CR's way of reviewing cars consistent? Not by a long shot. More so when if you think that the ageless Jeep Wrangler is a 20-point vehicle from CR's point of view, which is a preposterous score for a nameplate that sold 198,383 copies worldwide over the course of the calendar year 2014.

Have a wild stab in the dark how much Tesla charges Model S owners for the Ludicrous Speed Upgrade. A grand? Two? How about five K? Nope, nope, nope. It's an option worth $10,000. Don't know about you, but that's a serious insult to those who paid over $100k for the base P85D. As a wrap-up, many have this sneaking suspicion that Tesla is capitalizing on its "fastest-accelerating electric sedan in the world" status. After all, we live in an era of consumerism that comprises of people willing to pay $300 for an iPhone 6.Argument #3 – The best is yet to come
This is a good one, so bear with me for a second. No, I didn't choose this heading as a tribute to Fernando Pulchino's awesome dancefloor filler from the Late Night Tales presents After Dark compilation. The thing with the Tesla Model S P85D is that it will be obsolete, from many points of view, in 5 years time or less.

Did it ever cross your mind what kind of score Consumer Reports will award the Tesla Model S P90D, if CR will ever review the darn thing? As an added bonus, there's a family-friendly Model X all-electric crossover SUV coming in September, which shares its technical know-how with the Model S. Soon after X marks the spot, Tesla Motors will debut the BMW 3 Series-sized Model 3 and the next-generation Roadster, which is rumored to ride on an evolution of the S' chassis.

Considering that Elon Musk's company cannot refrain from awarding these upcoming models with Performance variants, more luxury, and more get-up-and-go, it's easy to foresee that Consumer Reports' scoring changes after the P85D review are already obsolete. On an ending note, it's mandatory to highlight three things. A – the P85D isn't the best passenger vehicle in the world because Consumer Reports says so. B – Consumer Reports have a history of being inconsistent. C – some say "to each their own."

There's a Morris Marina owners club in the United Kingdom, so there's no need to explain how the concept of being biased towards one car over the other works. P.S.: the Morris Marina is a borderline awful car.

 
 
 
 
 

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