Knowing this, Consumer Reports decided to lower the ratings of the Model S and X until the feature is released.
To be clear, Consumer Reports bought and tested the vehicles with the second generation Autopilot hardware and gave them ratings (87 for the S and 58 for the X) knowing that they didn’t have (AEB) enabled yet.
Jake Fisher, director of Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center, wrote in a blog post:
“The Tesla Model S loses two points in the ratings, dropping to a score of 85, from 87. The original higher score was based on the AEB system in the earlier version of the Model S. The new lower score moves the ranking from the top spot in the ultraluxury car category to third behind the Lexus LS and BMW 7 Series, among the seven cars rated.”
Granted, Tesla has been late to deliver the feature, but as we reported yesterday, it’s a sensitive safety feature and Tesla needed to make sure that the false positive rate was as low as possible before releasing it.
It’s not clear why Consumer Reports gave them points for AEB before the feature was available, but it’s even less clear why they are removing those points now when they know Tesla plans to start rolling out the feature tomorrow:
They wrote in the same blog post:
“In an e-mailed statement, Tesla said the company expects AEB to be included in a software update this Thursday, April 27.”
It sounds like they are downgrading the vehicles only for one day – or however long the new update rollout takes to reach CR’s Tesla vehicles. Update: Tesla actually confirmed that they started rolling out the software update last night.
What is clear is that it’s not the first time that Consumer Reports has made controversial moves to create headlines about Tesla – sometimes positive and sometimes negative. Most notoriously, The product review magazine said that the Model S was “the best car it had ever tested” and that it “broke its rating system”. They had to be modified because the P85D was so good that it scored 103 out of 100, which didn’t stick right with a lot of people.
Last year, they have been calling for Tesla to disable the Autopilot and change the name of the system – something Tesla refuses to do. Ironically, the Autopilot is powering all of the company’s automatic and semi-automatic features, including the automatic emergency braking feature that they are now downgrading the vehicles for not having it.