Tesla's software update for the Model 3, pushed out to address criticisms of the electric car's braking performance, seems to have done the trick. "The new shorter distance is typical for a compact luxury auto and matches the 133 feet that Tesla claims its own testing found, using the same tires as those on our Model 3".
"I've been at CR for 19 years and tested more than 1,000 cars, and I've never seen a vehicle that could improve its track performance with an over-the-air update", Jake Fisher, director of auto testing at Consumer Reports, told the magazine.
Fast forward to today and Consumer Reports has revealed the update has significantly improved the situation.
After downloading Tesla's update, Consumer Reports said that its test sedan stopped in 133 feet, a 19-foot improvement.
We saw this happen in late 2015, when Consumer Reports assigned Tesla's Model S a "worse-than-average" rating in an annual report about the predicted reliability of new vehicles, knocking down the company's share price by more than 10 percent in one day. The magazine's test drivers also took issue with wind noise, uncomfortable rear seats and and the car's relatively stiff ride.
The reversal - not the first time CR has done this with a Tesla vehicle - followed a public argument on Twitter between the consumer organization and Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who described the initial review as "very odd".
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"I've been at CR for 19 years and tested more than 1,000 cars, and I've never seen a vehicle that could improve its track performance with an over-the-air update", says CR auto testing director Jake Fisher.
On Twitter Wednesday, Musk wrote that he appreciates the "high-quality critical feedback" from Consumer Reports and said that noise and ride comfort already had been addressed.
CR plans to rent another Model 3 from Tesla at a later date to see these changes in action. Once Consumer Reports receives representative survey data on the Model 3, its reliability score could go up or down, just as the Model 3's test score did after the new braking test. The braking issues kept CR from giving the Model 3 its recommendation.
Musk pledged in a tweet last week that the braking improvements would make the Model 3 best in its class.
Calling the review "very strange", Musk also said that the variability in stopping distance was due to an ABS (Anti-Skid Braking System) calibration algorithm.
Also mentioned in CR's updated Model 3 ratings were the difficulties associated with the car's 15-inch center-mounted touchscreen, which handles nearly all of the vehicle's controls.