Tesla Model 3 gets CR recommendation after OTA brake update

The Tesla Model 3 has managed to earn a “Recommended” rating from Consumer Reports after a recent firmware update improved the vehicle’s braking distance by nearly 20 feet.

In a recently published update on its official website, Consumer Reports confirmed that its new test results for the Model 3 revealed that Tesla had reduced the braking distance of the compact electric car by nearly 20 feet through a recent OTA update. During the magazine’s retest of the vehicle, the Model 3 managed to hit a full stop from 60 mph in 133 feet, a 19-foot, or roughly 13%, improvement over its previous braking distance of 152 feet.

According to CR, the Model 3’s updated 133-foot braking distance now stands among typical compact luxury cars. The numbers also match Tesla’s own figures. Ultimately, the Model 3 firmware update pushed out this past weekend was enough to raise the compact electric car’s Overall Score enough to warrant a “Recommended” rating.

Consumer Reports Auto Test Director Jake Fisher noted that this is the first time he has seen a carmaker improve a vehicle’s braking system through an OTA software update.

“I’ve been at CR for 19 years and tested more than 1,000 cars, and I’ve never seen a car that could improve its track performance with an over-the-air update,” he said.

Consumer Reports noted in its updated score for the Model 3 that several points of concern still were still evident in the vehicle. Among these are wind noise, a stiff ride, and an uncomfortable rear seat. As we noted in a previous report, some of these were addressed by Elon Musk during a phone conversation with CR’s Jake Fisher.

According to Musk, some of these concerns had been addressed in the Model 3 production line over the past few months. With this in mind, Consumer Reports stated in its updated results that it would be renting another vehicle to validate Musk’s statements about the more recent improvements to the Model 3. Nevertheless, Musk has posted a few tips to improve the Model 3’s wind noise and ride quality. 

Also mentioned in CR’s updated Model 3 ratings were the difficulties associated with the car’s 15-inch center-mounted touchscreen, which handles almost all of the vehicle’s controls. Improvements to the touch panel and further automated features for the vehicle were discussed by Musk during his conversation with the CR Auto Test Director. According to the magazine, the recent OTA update already rolled out some changes to the electric car’s controls. 

“Now, when drivers adjust their seat position using the power controls along the edge of the driver’s seat, prompts to adjust the car’s mirrors and steering-wheel position appear on the center touch screen. At first glance, these changes seem to be an improvement, but we need to spend more time evaluating them,” CR noted in its updated Model 3 ratings.

Consumer Reports has a mixed relationship with Tesla’s offerings so far, with the magazine dubbing the Model S as the best car it has ever tested. The Model X, however, did not get much approval from CR, with the magazine describing the vehicle as “fast and flawed.”

Tesla Model 3 gets CR recommendation after OTA brake update
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