Tesla Model S Earns Consumer Reports’ Top Score

The Tesla Model S electric car earned a top score from Consumer Reports. The score, a 99, tied that of an older Lexus as the highest ranking ever recorded in the magazine’s automotive testing.

The Model S, which has a base price of $62,400 after a federal tax credit, scored a 99 out of 100 in Consumer Reports‘ large battery of tests. Jake Fisher, the magazine’s director of automotive testing, stated on Thursday:

“It accelerates, handles and brakes like a sports car. It has the ride and quietness of a luxury car and is far more energy-efficient than the best hybrid cars.”

Consumer Reports tested out a Tesla Model S priced at $89,650. It was equipped with an 85 kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery — larger than what the electric car comes with standard. The magazine noted that the sedan handled like a Porsche, but was the quietest car it tested since the Lexus LS.

The interior reminded testers of an Audi and was beautifully crafted. As for performance, the Model S made it from zero to 60 in just 5.6 seconds, no laughing matter for an electric car.

The Model S also had an impressive range of about 180 miles on cold winter days and 225 miles in moderate temperatures. In comparison, most other pure electric cars get about 75 to 80 miles on one charge. Tesla states that the 85 kwh battery-car can go 300 miles if it is driven at 55 mph.

Sales of the Tesla Model S started last year, which is the main reason Consumer Reports could not give the sedan its coveted “Recommended Buy” ranking. The magazine explained, “Despite its stratospheric road-test score, we can’t recommend the Model S until we have sufficient reliability data.”

Until then, Tesla will have to settle with the magazine’s praise. Consumer Reports noted, “Slipping behind the wheel of the Tesla Model S is like crossing into a promising zero-emissions future.”

Would you consider buying a Tesla Model S? What about a different electric car?

[Image via Tesla Motors Inc.]