Consumer Reports' survey marks Tesla Model X 'least reliable'

In its new reliability survey, Consumer Reports ranks the Model X dead last, but Tesla says the survey is not up to date.

Tim Stevens/Roadshow

In this year's edition of Consumer Reports' annual automotive reliability surveyTesla's Model X, an electric SUV, finished below cars such as the Jaguar F-Pace and GMC Acadia on its list of the 10 least reliable cars. In fact, the organization's survey places the Model X as the least reliable car.

To come up with its reliability ratings, Consumer Reports asks car owners about service visits and maintenance issues, focusing on "17 trouble areas, from nuisances -- such as squeaky brakes and broken interior trim -- to major bummers, such as out-of-warranty transmission repairs or trouble with four-wheel-drive systems."

Tesla claims, in a statement responding to the survey, that current customer satisfaction with the Model X is much higher than the Consumer Reports survey suggests, due to ongoing improvements to the car. "Consumer Reports' reliability ratings lag well behind current reality given that their survey is conducted many months before the results are published," Tesla said.

Consumer Reports has been conducting its reliability surveys among car owners since 1952. The latest survey results rank the Kia Niro, an all-new hybrid model, as the most reliable. Cars from Toyota and Lexus hold seven spots on the top 10 most reliable list. 

Tesla raises a number of points to contest Consumer Reports in its response, noting that it initially gave the Model S, when that car launched, its best rating ever in its automotive reviews, but then revoked that rating after reader complaints. Tesla also notes that Consumer Reports doesn't take into account its over-the-air updates, which have added software-based safety features to existing vehicles.

In its press release about the reliability survey, Consumer Reports said that it expects the new Tesla Model 3 to have above average reliability based on the improved reliability of the Model S.