The 2013 Tesla Model S has received a rave review from Consumer Reports. This was just published (though a subscriptions is required), and is bound to be huge for the car maker.
The car got a 99 out of 100, which is reportedly the highest it has ever rated a car. Here's Consumer Reports' overview:
The Tesla Model S takes everything you know about cars and stands it on its head. It's a very agile, super-quick electric luxury sedan (with a hatchback!) that seats seven and gets the equivalent of 84 mpg. Got your attention yet? With the 85 kWh battery, the largest available, it can go between 180 and 225 miles on a charge, depending on the weather. That's about twice as far as any other electric car. With optional equipment, it can be charged from empty in as little as five hours. Performance all-around is exceptional, with short stops, a superb ride, and an eerily hushed cabin. Almost all controls are done through a quick and capable iPad-like center screen. Tight access and visibility and initial teething pains are demerits, as is the luxury-car price.
Here's their quick take:
"We've been testing cars at Consumer Reports for a very long time, but we've never seen anything quite like the Tesla Model S," says Jake Fisher, Director, Auto Testing at Consumer Reports. "This car performs better than anything we'ver ever tested before. Let me repeat that - not just the best electric car, but the best car. It does just about everything really, really well."
The car, he says, ties as the quietest car they've ever tested, in addition to be extremely energy efficient.
It turns out that 99 out of 100 was originally 110 out of 100. Matt Hardigree at Gawker's Jalopnik says:
I spoke with CR's Jake Fisher who explained to me that the car actually scored 110 out of a 100-point scale, but that because of the limitations still inherent in owning an electric car (range, access to charging) they regularly subtract about 10% from a car's score. It's still the best score they've ever given, tied only with the 2007 Lexus LS but that car, according to Fisher, isn't even in the same league as the Model S.
The car is designed and built in California. The rear wheel drive vehicle does not use gasoline, and is engineered to perform in both hot and cold climates. It accelerates to 60 mph in 4.2 seconds, according to Tesla (though Consumer Reports said a "lightning quick 5.6 seconds"). More specs here.