Toyota, Ford Top Consumer Reports' Brand-Perception Survey

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People love Toyota but think Land Rover stinks, according to Consumer Reports' 2014 Car-Brand Perception Survey. The magazine quantified Toyota's brand image to an indexed score of 145, which put it ahead of second-place Ford (120 points), third-place Honda (109) and Chevrolet (105). On the flip side, Land Rover's 4-point index score placed it last; sister brand Jaguar scored just 9 points.

Consumer Reports Survey Shakes Up Rankings

Consumer Reports said brand perception reflects how consumers view auto brands across seven categories: quality, safety, performance, value, fuel economy, design/style and technology/innovation. Myriad factors, from marketing and recalls to actual hands-on experience and awards, influence the scores. And it's those categories — in that order of importance — that consumers find most important in cars, the magazine said.

By Kelsey Mays | February 5, 2014 | Comments (0)

Recall Alert: 2013 Tesla Model S

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Vehicles Affected: Approximately 29,222 model-year 2013 Model S electric cars equipped with 240-volt NEMA 14-50 Universal Mobile Connector adapters.

The Problem: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reporting that during charging, the adapter, cord or wall outlet could overheat.

By Jennifer Geiger | January 14, 2014 | Comments (0)

How Quickly Does the Tesla Model S' Battery Charge?

"How quickly does the Tesla Model S' battery charge?"

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By Rick Popely | November 9, 2013 | Comments (1)

Tesla Chief Wants To Sink 007's Lotus

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At first, his identity was as secret as British super-spy James Bond's next mission. But the name of the mystery bidder who purchased the Lotus submarine-car prop used by Roger Moore's 007 in "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977) ultimately was revealed: Musk … Elon Musk. The "eclectic billionaire" CEO of Tesla Motors purchased the Lotus for $989,000 last month at a London auction, according to USA Today.

Musk told USA Today that the car held great childhood nostalgia for him and he had been disappointed to learn that it did not really transform into a submarine; Musk plans to change all that by outfitting the vehicle with a Tesla powertrain. While the Aston Martin perhaps is the car most closely associated with the iconic Bond character, the Lotus is easily one of the most famed gadgets in 007's arsenal. In the film, Bond drives the car off a pier and into the ocean, the car's wheels retract, fins extend and voila, a luxury-sub sports car. (Bond, after all, would never be seen in a sub-compact.)

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By Matt Schmitz | October 21, 2013 | Comments (1)

2013 Tesla Model S: More Photos

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It's been a few months since we've tested the Tesla Model S, but the electric car continues to grab headlines. Fires, recalls and controversy aside, Tesla's electric sedan is gorgeous, impressively quick and full of innovative features. However, a few big issues crept up during our test, causing Cars.com reviewer Joe Wiesenfelder to call the Model S a "work in progress."

Click here for the full review and continue below for the Cars.com photos by Evan Sears.

By Jennifer Geiger | October 17, 2013 | Comments (3)

How Do I Find Tesla Charging Stations?

"How do I find Tesla charging stations?"

Anonymous

By Rick Popely | October 6, 2013 | Comments (4)

Tesla Model S Safest Car Overall? Not So Fast

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On Aug. 19, Tesla announced it had the safest car in America with the 2013 Model S, which earned the top score, five stars, across six different crash tests from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Just 1% of cars tested earn five stars across all six grades, Tesla said, and the agency's overall vehicle safety score, which automakers receive from the agency, captures a rating above five stars — in this case, 5.4 stars. That makes the Model S the safest car ever tested by NHTSA under its tougher 2011 standards, Tesla said.

The Model S earns an overall vehicle safety score of 0.42 (lower is better), which beats other five-star cars like the Buick Verano (0.5) and Cadillac ATS (0.53) sedans. Tesla says that translates to 5.4 stars. But NHTSA demurred: "NHTSA does not rate vehicles beyond five stars and does not rank or order vehicles within the starred categories," the agency said in a statement to The New York Times. What's more, a number of other cars — from the ATS to the Honda Accord coupe — also get five stars across the board.

Dig into the details, and the stars reflect assessments of specific crash data — the individual readouts from various sensors on a crash-test dummy. Tesla argues, for example, that the Model S beats the Volvo S60 sedan (another car with five NHTSA stars across the board) because it preserved more driver space in NHTSA's side-pole test.

By Kelsey Mays | August 26, 2013 | Comments (3)

NHTSA: 2013 Tesla Model S Earns Five Stars

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Tesla's electric sedan aced the government's crash safety test. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that the 2013 Model S earned an overall score of five stars and five stars across all areas of testing, including front, side and rollover tests.

While the five-star rating is impressive, the road has not entirely been smooth for the sedan. Earlier in the summer 1,228 Tesla sedans were recalled for improperly welded seat brackets. Tesla did not receive any reports of related accidents or injuries. Despite the recall, the news has been mostly good for the plug-in electric sedan maker; it recently announced that it sold a healthy 5,150 Model S electric vehicles in North America last quarter.

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By Jennifer Geiger | August 9, 2013 | Comments (2)

Tesla Quick-Charge Stations to Offer Quick Battery Swaps, Too

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In front of gathered media and Tesla enthusiasts in Hawthorne, Calif., on Thursday night, California electric-vehicle maker Tesla did something quite remarkable. It parked a Model S sedan over a staging area with guided rails (similar to the rails at an automated car wash) and, via robotic arms beneath the car, swapped out the car's battery pack for a new one in about 90 seconds — nuts, bolts and all.

Currently, Model S owners who show up at Tesla's network of quick-charge "supercharger" stations can get enough juice for 180 miles' range in just 30 minutes for free.

Now, if you're in a hurry — or the station already has a line for the fast chargers — Tesla will perform an automated battery swap for about as much as it costs to fill up at a gas station.

By Kelsey Mays | June 21, 2013 | Comments (1)

Recall Alert: 2013 Tesla Model S

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Tesla is recalling 1,228 model-year 2013 Model S electric vehicles due to a problem with the seats that could cause seatbacks to come loose in an accident, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Affected vehicles were manufactured between May 10 and June 8, 2013. An improper method for aligning the left-hand seatback striker to the bracket may have weakened the weld between the bracket and the frame of the vehicle. In the event of a crash, the left-hand seatback may not stay mounted, increasing the risk of injury to passengers.

Tesla will notify owners of the recall but has not yet provided a notification schedule; dealers will inspect the left-hand second-row strikers and fix the problem for free by installing additional mounting hardware to ensure a proper joint between the bracket and the frame. Owners can call Tesla at 650-681-5000, NHTSA’s vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or go to www.safercar.gov.

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By Matt Schmitz | June 19, 2013 | Comments (0)

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