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Consumer Reports: "The Model S isn't a very good primary car"

mgboyes

Member
Apr 16, 2014
812
26
United Kingdom
Buried within a 25m video talking about testing methodology etc from the recent CR test, I found the most amazing statement from the CR test guys:

See How Did Consumer Reports Score the Tesla Model S P85D? - Consumer Reports about 19m45s in.

Quote "The people who are buying these cars, they have another car. This isn't your primary car because it's not a very good primary car."

I was really amazed by this, because I think it's complete nonsense. Of course I get that some owners operate ICE cars for long journeys, and for some drivers whose driving patterns involve lots of regular journeys the Model S isn't the best fit for them, and no doubt some owners even keep their Model S in a hermetically sealed garage and just look at it all day, but based on my experience the enormous majority of Model S owners use them as their primary cars. There are regular threads on here where people ask if others have kept a "backup ICE" or similar and the results are always overwhelmingly that they have not.

In the UK I've talked to perhaps 100 Model S owners, and out of that group I can think of exactly 1 person who bought a low-spec S60 to use for commuting while keeping his ICE to use for roadtrips. Literally everyone else is taking trips across UK, across Europe, often thousands of miles, in their Model S, and they're doing this even on routes without superchargers.

Are the Consumer Reports guys wrong? Did they actually ask any Model S owners about how they use their cars before making such a sweeping statement?

Am I overreacting here? :)
 
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atlg8or

5 Tesla family // 3 + 3 + FIL S + SIL Sx2
Jan 24, 2013
127
3
Atlanta
Agree it is surprising since they know a great deal about the Supercharger network for long range trips also. Few people drive more than MS range during daily commutes so it absolutely serves as a primary car for nearly every owner.
We not only use it as a primary car we loved it so much we bought a second MS and use both as our primary vehicles and for our long range trips. Ignorant quote overall.
 

yobigd20

Well-Known Member
Oct 28, 2012
5,929
532
Skaneateles, NY
Consumer Reports: "The Model S isn't a very good primary car"

It's been my primary car for 2.6 years and 81k miles, never having any range anxiety once. It's the perfect primary car.

Also I've met hundreds of owners by now. They all use it as their primary vehicle. I don't know if anyone that kept their previous ICE.
 

tstafford

Active Member
Jul 4, 2015
1,039
245
Nashville, TN
Crazy talk. MS is the best primary car I've ever owned. In part because it has a full "tank" every morning and I never go to a stinky, dirty gas station. Too bad that people can't own an MS for a week and then see how they feel. I think the LEAF (as awesome as it is) has set expectations and perceptions that are widespread. The number one thing non-techies ask me about the MS is about range - they are shocked by the answer and I think skeptical.
 

jaguar36

Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
2,069
1,570
NJ
There is already a very lengthy thread discussing this....

I love having our S for everything but I wouldn't want it to be my only car. If it was, I'd have been stuck renting an ICE once a month or so for road trips that either needed to be done quickly, or were out of supercharger coverage.
 

AnOutsider

S532 # XS27
Apr 3, 2009
11,957
200
There is already a very lengthy thread discussing this....

I love having our S for everything but I wouldn't want it to be my only car. If it was, I'd have been stuck renting an ICE once a month or so for road trips that either needed to be done quickly, or were out of supercharger coverage.

Agreed. Though we're getting a Model X to replace our Q7, we're keeping the Audi for the longer or sudden trips where it becomes necessary to have a gas tank. Other than that, I see no reason why an S or X couldn't be a primary car.
 
Mar 11, 2010
4,552
1,427
Humboldt/Los Altos
I pretty much have only driven my S for almost 3 yrs, we have a pickup for dirty dump runs but I have used my S for hardware runs- dirt and wood supplies more than the pickup even. My wife had a 5 series for a bit( terrible car!) and we used the s for all road trips. Much better primary car.
 

Yggdrasill

Active Member
Feb 29, 2012
4,107
7,107
Kongsberg, Norway
We'll likely sell our Hyundai when we get a Model X, and have the Model X as our only car for a while. Then if the need arises, we might buy a smallish city/commuter car to have on the side, maybe an e-Golf or Model 3.

We couldn't have the Model S as our only car, as it doesn't have a tow hitch. We tow stuff probably 5 times a year. Though it could easily be our primary car.
 

AndyM

Member
Apr 10, 2012
663
8
Sherwood, OR, USA
Seriously, Model S is the primary car. Range for 95% of the time is MORE than enough, 4% on SuperCharger routes, and 1% where I might have to spend a little more time at lunch or dinner or overnight. 1%.
 

ecarfan

Well-Known Member
Sep 21, 2013
19,281
13,950
West Vancouver, British Columbia
Yes the CR guys are wrong about that. For most people (not all) it seems clear that the S can be a primary car, if not the only car. There is another thread about this. My S has been the primary car for my wife and I since we got it 20 months ago. Then 10 months ago I bought a Roadster and now we are 100% EV. Works for us!
 

jaguar36

Active Member
Apr 10, 2014
2,069
1,570
NJ
Seriously, Model S is the primary car. Range for 95% of the time is MORE than enough, 4% on SuperCharger routes, and 1% where I might have to spend a little more time at lunch or dinner or overnight. 1%.

Its more like 3-5% for me, which is too much for it to work as my families only car.
 

Bonlaw

Member
May 26, 2013
394
237
Orange County, Ca
It is our more than PRIMARY car. Only use the Prius to store our golf equipment and when parking lot is ridiculously crowded, like Costco. Whoops- now that there are SCs at Fountain Valley Costco I will now park there. We drive over a 1,000 miles a month!
 

AnOutsider

S532 # XS27
Apr 3, 2009
11,957
200
I think maybe he would have been better saying something like "not the ONLY car". Wouldn't be accurate in all cases, but probably closer to reality than saying "primary". Primary to me means daily driver, and it's certainly a good daily.
 

EarlyAdopter

Active Member
Jun 24, 2012
2,824
2,048
Redmond, WA
Complete nonsense. Suggests CR never talked to any owners.

There have been multiple surveys here over the years, two even just last week, that consistently show that the Model S is peoples primary, and in most cases, only car.

100 out of 100 respondents (100%) said the Model S is their primary car
Welcome to SurveyMonkey!

And this one that showed that 91% said it was their primary car, with 57% saying it was their only car
EV your 'primary' car?... could it be your only car? Is it? Choose all that apply.

Sad to see Consumer Reports get so much right and this completely wrong.
 

Gizmotoy

Active Member
Sep 16, 2013
3,669
871
Bay Area, CA
We have two cars, an ICE and the Model S. Since getting the Model S in 2013, we've put just over 2k miles on the ICE. Not even a thousand miles a year. How's that for being a good primary vehicle?

I could see, maybe, the argument that the Model S isn't a good "only car". For some locations and usages gas is king. To argue that it's not a good primary car, however, strikes me as completely illogical.
 

mknox

Well-Known Member
Aug 7, 2012
10,103
1,868
Toronto, ON
Sad to see Consumer Reports get so much right and this completely wrong.

...and weird that they can still score it "above perfect". How can a car that can't serve as a primary vehicle even be considered as "perfect"?

FWIW, I've driven mine for 2.5 years and 53,000 miles as my "primary vehicle" without issue.

EDIT: 56,000 miles, actually.
 
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electrish

I Sing the Body Electric
Nov 8, 2014
242
6
Ohio
They are probably phrasing it incorrectly; what they most certainly mean is that you cannot 100% depend on your Model S to do all your driving (see wk057's recent story). There will be the exceptional trip where you cannot or don't want to make repeated stops at Superchargers.

Having said that, my Model S is now my primary car and actually replaced two cars, a Civic that I only drove in the winter and an MB SLK AMG convertible that I only drove from Spring to Fall!
 

ZachShahan

Active Member
Dec 3, 2014
1,051
5,349
Sarasota, FL / Wroclaw, Poland
I pretty much have only driven my S for almost 3 yrs, we have a pickup for dirty dump runs but I have used my S for hardware runs- dirt and wood supplies more than the pickup even. My wife had a 5 series for a bit( terrible car!) and we used the s for all road trips. Much better primary car.

Out of curiosity, what was terrible about the 5 series (other than the typical ICE downsides)?
 

Discoducky

P100DL, 2021 M3, 3 CT reservations and counting
Dec 25, 2011
3,590
4,997
My mountain
The problem to me is using loaded terms like "primary". I, like nearly all owners, drive the S everyday including long trips. There are fewer and fewer extreme corner cases where it is more convenient to drive ICE with more and more chargers and faster and faster superchargers and more convenient routes.
 
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Brass Guy

Active Member
Jan 5, 2014
1,157
947
Holbrook, MA
Not good as a primary car huh? Let's see... that implies there is another car, and since I can't think of another reason it probably has an ICE.
I'm trying to imagine someone's day-to-day routine, "I don't feel like plugging in all the time, it's too much hassle. I think I'll go to the gas station instead."
You know, lots of gas pumps have little TV's so you can watch car ads while you pump. That's pretty cool.
 

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