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Tesla offers some of the best electric cars available — but a problem area over the years has been reliability. Much to the ire of Elon Musk, many automotive experts have downgraded Tesla models due to various reliability issues. However, there’s usually one exception. The Tesla Model 3 is consistently the only Tesla model to score well regarding consumer dependability.

The Model 3 is the most reliable Tesla model on Consumer Reports

A red Tesla Model 3 vwith other Tesla models in the background at the Tesla Service Center in Hamburg, Germany
Tesla Model 3 models | Christian Charisius/picture alliance via Getty Images

According to USA Today, the Tesla Model 3 is the only EV from the automaker with an average reliability rating from Consumer Reports. Its Model S, Model Y, and Model X siblings all scored more poorly and did not qualify for a recommendation from the outlet.

Additionally, the Model 3 outperformed other EVs outside of its brand lineup. According to Consumer Reports, the Chevy Bolt, Ford Mustang Mach-E, Hyundai Kona Electric, and Volkswagen ID.4 scored below the Model 3 regarding reliability.

Common problems with Tesla models

For its Auto Reliability Survey, Consumer Reports evaluated 17 potential problem areas during the previous 12 months. Owners submitted surveys for over 300,000 vehicles, including the Tesla Model 3 and the rest of the Tesla electric car lineup. Examples of problem areas include noises, engines, electrical systems, paint, brakes, and leaks. While the Model 3 emerged relatively unscathed from the survey results, the rest of the Tesla lineup did not.

So, what are the most common problems with Tesla vehicles that seem to plague owners? While every driver’s experience may be unique, many quality control issues are persistent. Top Speed details some of the most annoying and costly faults with new and used Tesla EVs, including malfunctions with safety and infotainment tech, plenty of exterior and interior fit and finish issues, and high costs for repairs and insurance coverage.

EVs with excellent reliability ratings

For drivers searching for an EV outside of the Tesla brand, what are your options? Driving lists the top 10 electric vehicles ranked by Consumer Reports, which include the Kia Niro EV, Hyundai Ioniq 5, and Kia EV6 as top compact SUV contenders. For a compact alternative to match the size of the Model 3, there’s also the Nissan Leaf hatchback, which retails for over $10k less than Tesla’s most reliable model.

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