Porsche, Tesla, and Audi Had a 3-Way Tie in a Consumer Reports Study

When consumer site Consumer Reports took a look at which automotive brands make the best cars, it’s not surprising to see popular brands like Audi and Porsche on the list. Some might be surprised, however, to see Tesla on the same list. They might be more surprised to see that Tesla’s road-test score puts them in a three-way tie with Audi and Porsche.

How is Tesla able to compete on the same level as Audi and Porsche? The better question may be whether Audi and Porsche can compete with Tesla.

Consumer Reports’ annual report card

With a year like 2020 that saw big economic consequences as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, there were some big shifts on Consumer Reports’ yearly brand report card. Sometimes there are changes to predicted reliability in certain models in a brand’s lineup. The consumer site also relies on surveys from members and sometimes opinions on vehicles change.

The team reviews the overall score assigned to each brand’s models. It also considers the road-test performance of each model along with its predicted owner satisfaction, safety, and predicted reliability scores. They average these numbers to determine the overall score for the brand. For inclusion, each brand needs at least two models that CR has tested. 

Porsche appears on this year’s list in fourth place with Audi in 11th place and Tesla in 16th place. Yet, all three brands have an 88 out of 100 on the road-test score. Tesla scored better than the other two on owner satisfaction ratings. How is Tesla up there with Audi and Porsche?

A transition to electric cars

As the New York Times points out, Tesla has some things to learn. Tesla needs to figure out how to mass-produce the vehicles from the enticing prototypes they present. The automaker also needs to find a way to reduce quality issues in its lineup and become consistently profitable.

Tesla has only ever been about electric cars. As the need to move away from fossil fuels grows and the transition to electric cars gains momentum, Tesla has a head start on EVs. It’s has been producing electric cars for several years now.

Tesla calls its vehicles premium and compared to much of what is on the market today, they really are. Most automotive reviewers lump Tesla in with the luxury category out of habit either way.

In the last year, many automakers including Audi and Porsche have produced luxury EVs intending to compete with Tesla’s current dominance. So far, they really haven’t reached the audience they’re looking for in the U.S. Porsche sales of its Taycan electric sedan haven’t been anything to write home about. 

Audi introduced an electric utility vehicle (EUV) called the e-tron but according to the NYT, they’d sold just under 2.900 units by January 2021. The popular automaker has even marked the price below list in many states in the U.S. trying to boost sales which is an unusual move for Audi.

Performance and satisfaction with Tesla

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A quick glance at overviews of Tesla EVs at Consumer Reports not only shows strong road test scores but five out of five on predicted owner satisfaction on most models. The team at CR explains in the road test review for both the 2021 Tesla Model S and 2021 Tesla Model 3 that the driving experience is fun. The team loved the responsive steering of each car and mentions that the lack of engine weight over the front axle enhances the experience.

With the transition to electric vehicles in full swing and Tesla with its head start on producing luxury-level EVs that are thrilling to drive, it’s easy to see how it can keep up with well-known brands like Audi and Porsche. But can they keep up with Tesla moving forward?

At the moment, EV sales including Tesla’s only make up a small part of the 17 million auto sales in the U.S. over the last year. Still, the EV segment is the fastest-growing in the auto industry according to the NYT.