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

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
129
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
5,942
559
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.
 
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
2,154
1,968
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
Moderator
Apr 3, 2009
11,957
210
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.
 
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.
 
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.
 
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
1,894
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!
 
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, 4 CT reservations and counting
Supporting Member
Dec 25, 2011
4,780
21,588
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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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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