Consumer Reports: Tesla Model S has 'more than its share of problems'

Consumer Reports, which last year gave top marks to electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc's Model S sedan, now says the car it owns has had "more than its share of problems."

While the car has impressed staff at the influential U.S. consumer magazine with its "smoothness, effortless glide and cleaver, elegant simplicity," there have been many quirks that might dampen consumers' experiences, Consumer Reports said in a statement on Monday.

Consumer Reports, which anonymously buys the vehicles it tests from auto dealerships, said the Model S it owns now has traveled nearly 16,000 miles. Its 2013 Model S was purchased for $89,650 in January of that year.

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"We've seen all different types of issues. Probably the most serious is that really large screen that's in the car, that's like the giant iPad, it went blank on us completely," which eliminated access to almost every function of the car, Consumer Reports' Jake Fisher said in an interview with CNBC's "Power Lunch."

Tesla Model S
Gianluca Colla | Bloomberg | Getty Images
Tesla Model S

Tesla fixed the issues on the magazine's Model S under warranty. These included a "hard reset" to restore the car's functions after its center screen went blank and problems with the automatic retracting door handles, which were occasionally reluctant to emerge.

Last November, Consumer Reports ranked the Model S best among all cars on the market in its annual survey of vehicles on U.S. roads. And in May 2013, the magazine awarded the Tesla sedan 99 out of a possible 100, one of the best ratings it has ever given an automobile.

The base version of the Model S starts at around $70,000.

"The truth is that this is a new car, this is a new car company and there are some issues going on with it," Fisher said.

In a statement to CNBC, Tesla said, "Tesla considers service a top priority, and we err on the side of being proactive to ensure the best driving experience possible. That means we are particularly attentive in addressing potential issues, even if those appear to be very minor or have a low likelihood of causing any future problems."

Quirky issues aside, Fisher said the Tesla Model S was "one of the most phenomenal cars we've ever tested. The car, it drives, it performs very well, it's fast, it's fuel efficient, it's roomy. In terms of the way it's performed it's been very impressive."

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Tesla has been one of the hottest U.S. stocks this year, more than doubling its value. It closed on Monday at $259.32 per share, up 4.5 percent.

Tesla's only production model is the Model S, but next spring it plans to introduce a crossover electric car, the Model X.

Fisher noted that the magazine plans on releasing a new survey in the fall after the cars have more miles on them, "and we'll see how they hold up."

—By Reuters. CNBC contributed to this report.

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