Consumer Reports said Wednesday it now recommends the Tesla Model 3, reversing an earlier decision over the car's long stopping distance and other issues. The group said Tesla's ability to fix the issue with a remote software update was a first for a carmaker.
Tesla improved the car's braking distance by about 20 feet through a remote software update, placing the car within the typical stopping distance for its class, the group said. Consumer Reports had previously said the Model 3 had the longest stopping distance of any contemporary car it tested, including the much larger Ford F-150 full-size pickup.
It is not unusual for an automaker to make changes to a vehicle in response to criticism from Consumer Reports, but it is unique that Tesla was able to address this problem with an over-the-air update, Consumer Reports director of automotive testing Jake Fisher told CNBC.
"This really is an industry first," Fisher said.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that he appreciated the criticism, and that improvements addressing the group's other complaints are forthcoming.
Fisher had said the group would recommend the Model 3 if Tesla solved the braking issue, but in its updated review the group still had other issues with the car, such as wind noise, stiff ride, and uncomfortable rear seat. Musk told Consumer Reports that Tesla was making changes to its production line to eliminate those problems. The group will rent another car from Tesla to see if those changes make a difference.
"The change to the brakes is enough it recommend it, but it is certainly not at the top of its category and there is definitely room for improvement," Fisher said.
Shares of Tesla were up nearly 2 percent on the news. The stock is on pace for its third straight day of gains for the first time since Apr 5th. Shares are still 26 percent below their all-time high of $389.61, set on September 18, 2017.