Consumer Reports will retest Model 3 if Tesla improves braking distance

Key Points
  • Consumer Reports will retest its Tesla Model 3 and recommend the car if Tesla improves its braking distance.
  • Tweets from Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday morning look like the automaker may take some steps to address the issue within days via a remote firmware update.
Tesla Model 3 falls short of Consumer Reports endorsement

Consumer Reports will re-evaluate Tesla's Model 3 if the electric car maker improves the vehicle's braking distance, the publication's director of automotive testing told CNBC on Tuesday.

Tweets from Tesla CEO Elon Musk on Tuesday morning appear to show the automaker may take some steps to address the issue within days. It was was one of the major factors that kept the publication from recommending the car, Jake Fisher, director of automotive testing at Consumer Reports, said on "Power Lunch."

Consumer Reports said earlier this week that the Model 3 had the worst stopping distance of any contemporary vehicle it has tested, including the far larger full-size Ford F-150 pickup truck.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk responded Tuesday on Twitter, saying the issue might be fixable through an over-the-air update to the car's firmware.

"From my readings of the tweets, it is clear they are acknowledging the issue and they have the ability to update the vehicle and fix it," Fisher said.

"If we see braking distances along the lines of what they are talking about, this will be a recommended model," he said.

Tesla was not immediately available for comment.

The stopping distance doesn't necessarily make the car unsafe — it has about the same stopping distance as a heavy-duty truck, Fisher said. But it is unusual for the midsized car segment.

Consumer Reports had other issues with the car, such as the difficulty of using the computer screen in the center console where passengers access most of the controls in the cabin.

But the Model 3 is a "really great car," Fisher said.

Consumer Reports buys cars at full sticker price and subjects them to rigorous testing, driving them for thousands of miles in a variety of conditions and environments. The publication does not recommend the Tesla Model X SUV but it does place the Model S sedan at the top of its list of "ultra luxury cars."

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