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Tesla Model S declines in Consumer Reports reliability survey

by Justin King

Fiat sat at the bottom of the reliability rankings, while Lexus took the top spot.

Lexus has once again taken the top spot in Consumer Reports' annual reliability rankings, based on a survey of nearly 750,000 vehicle owners.

The luxury brand achieved an average score of 64 percent, while parent Toyota maintained its status in the number-two spot with a 56-percent score. Audi rose to the third position, ahead of Mazda and Subaru in the top five.

At the other end of the spectrum, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles brands continue to struggle. Fiat was considered the least-reliable, following directly behind Jeep and Ram.

"In fact, no Fiat, Jeep or Ram model even managed an average score," CR points out.

The magazine again cites infotainment systems as a common source of trouble for car buyers, though new transmissions with more gears have become problematic for some automakers.

" Honda models with the new continuously variable transmissions (CVTs) were troublesome," the report noted. " Acura was hit with a double-whammy; it experienced problems with the eight-speed dual-clutch and nine-speed automatic transmissions."

Tesla's Model S also received a "worse than average" rating, with a broad mix of problems ranging from door handles to drive motor replacements. Despite vocally praising the electric sedan for its driving performance and highlighting its industry-leading customer-satisfaction rating, Consumer Reports has withdrawn its 'recommended' designation due to the reliability problems.

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