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Tesla tops Consumer Reports’ annual owner satisfaction survey

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Tesla owners are still in love with their electric cars, according to Consumer Reports’ Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey. The Silicon Valley automaker has gotten high marks from owners in the past, and it topped the charts this year.

The Consumer Reports survey asked owners of cars from model years 2014 through 2017 if they would buy their vehicles again. In the case of Tesla, 91 percent of owners surveyed said “yes” to that question. Porsche came in second place, with an 84 percent positive-response rate, followed by Audi and Subaru. These rankings are unchanged from last year.

The owner satisfaction rating is separate from Consumer Reports’ reliability and road test ratings. The survey, which covered more than 300,000 vehicles, is based solely on how owners feel about their cars. It’s possible for cars to get low reliability or road test scores, but still be well liked enough by their owners to score high in the owner satisfaction rankings.

Tesla actually didn’t do that well in this year’s reliability rankings. This was the first year it appeared as a brand, and it ranked 25th out of 29 brands surveyed. For the brand ratings, Consumer Reports requires an automaker to have two models on sale with sufficient available data for the survey. While it noted an improvement in predicted reliability for the Model S, the new Model X scored poorly.

Consumer Reports has a love-hate relationship with Tesla. It once declared the Model S to be the best car it ever tested, saying the luxury sedan “broke” its rating system. But the magazine has noted reliability issues with the Model S, and was not very keen on the Model X in a road test published earlier this year. Staffers were impressed by the crossover’s performance, but criticized things like ride quality and the layout of the interior.

The magazine has also been one of the loudest critic’s of Tesla’s Autopilot system, which has taken plenty of flak since a fatal crash in May involving a Model S driving with the system activated. Consumer Reports has said that Tesla should add more safeguards, and has called the “Autopilot” name misleading, arguing that it implies the system enables fully autonomous driving. Autopilot only offers a limited set of driver-assist features, although Tesla CEO Elon Musk has repeatedly discussed plans to sell fully autonomous cars in the future.

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