Consumer Reports has reversed its position and now recommends the Tesla model 3, after the car company sent a wireless update this week that improved the braking distance of the vehicle by almost 20 feet. The departure had previously said that the braking of the Model 3 "was much worse than any contemporary car we tested" in a review that was published on May 22.
Although the publication still has problems with some aspects of Model 3, the car's driving comfort and its dependence on a touch-screen interface, CR said that the best braking distance was sufficient to justify the recommendation. "There are still other defects with the vehicle," said automotive test director Jake Fisher, CR USA Today . "Those have not necessarily been addressed, it's not the best in its category, but it's certainly a vehicle that scores high enough to recommend it."
Fisher said today that he is impressed with the fact that Tesla was able to Quickly fix the problem with a wireless transmission software update. "I've been to CR for 19 years and have tested more than 1,000 cars," Fisher said, "and I've never seen a car that could improve track performance with a wireless upgrade."  "I've never seen a car that can improve track performance with a wireless update."
"I really appreciate the high-quality critical comments from @ConsumerReports Tesla's CEO, Elon Musk, he wrote on Twitter, adding that "road noise and driving comfort [were] have already been addressed" in the newer versions of Model 3 than what CR proved, and that improvements to Model 3's touch-screen user interface will arrive "later this month" (although it's not clear whether it meant May or June).
CR had tested two models 3 before the update that was issued and found it took them an average of 152 feet Stop at a speed of 60 miles per hour. That's seven feet more than a Ford F-150 needs to stop at the same speed, according to CR and 25 feet more than Tesla Model X.
Ultimately, the software update that Tesla pushed Model 3 on the road reduced that stopping distance by 19 feet to a total of 133 feet, which CR says is "typical for a compact luxury car." Tesla apparently achieved the best braking distance by adjusting the software that controls the anti-lock braking system of the Model 3, according to CR .
The story between Tesla and CR is as long as gridded. The publication has often praised the innovation of the automotive company, but it has also avoided criticizing its shortcomings, with each decision generating headlines. CR released its recommendation of the Model S in 2015 for reliability issues, even after having "broken" its own rating system to give the all-electric sedan a rating of 103 out of 100. CR then recommended the Model S again, but has also been critical of the Model X SUV for similar reliability issues.
Meanwhile, Tesla has employees working day and night to send as many models 3 to the door as possible, according to a recent email that Musk sent to staff. The company is trying to increase car production to around 5-6,000 per week by the middle of this year. Until that happens, Tesla says he is losing money on each Model 3 he delivers.