What we knew heading into today was that Car and Driver had lambasted Tesla yesterday in a glowing review of Ford's Mustang Mach-E, which it named its 2021 EV of the year.
What we didn't know was just how bad the publication's review of a Tesla Model S, Model 3 and Model Y went as part of the selection process. A follow up report now makes it clear that Car and Driver's reviews of the three Tesla models were "hampered by quality problems", according to CNN.
For example, "the cruise control system on the Tesla Model Y abruptly stopped working with no warning," Sharon Silke Carty, Car and Driver's editor-in-chief, told CNN. "All of a sudden I was going 30 in the middle of the highway," she continued.
The touchscreen in the vehicle she was reviewing also "stopped working not long after the car arrived for testing".
Additionally, there were "poor fits between parts" (stop us if you've heard this one before) and a "grating squeak" from the Tesla's rear seat.
The Model 3 arrived with a "large gap around the hood", the report said, and the Model S, which only had 3,600 miles on it, had its front motor fail upon driving.
Despite the quality issues, the Teslas did excel in the 1,000 mile trip, thanks to Tesla's charging network.
Recall, we wrote yesterday that Ford's Mustang Mach-E was named 2021 EV of the year by Car and Driver. The review also took shots at Tesla, stating that the Mach-E improved on many features that Tesla first offered.
"If an automaker wanted to convert people from EV skeptics to EV evangelists, it's hard to imagine a better vehicle for the job than the Ford Mustang Mach-E," the review started by saying.
It continued: "The Mach-E has the range and charging speed to wave off the most common EV criticisms, and thanks to Electrify America's recent work, there's a nationwide charging network that makes long interstate trips not just possible but tolerable."
The review then said that "Best of all, the Mach-E is fun." Car and Driver gushed: "It moves us past the argument that we should drive EVs because they're better for the environment and proposes a simpler, more fundamental truth: EVs can be as rewarding to drive as their gas counterparts. The Mach-E strikes a sweet balance between practical and visceral, landing in the space where Mazda often operates. Ford has built an EV that's suited to kid-hauling duty, Costco runs, and daily commutes but that doesn't strip the soul out of driving."
Car and Driver raved about the Mach E's handling, saying the "family crossover is surprisingly neutral if you push the speed in corners, and quick steering places the Mach-E exactly where you want it". The review also complimented the space inside the vehicle: "Back-seat space is generous, and the deep cargo hold is roomy despite the fastback roofline."
And then the review noted that Ford "borrowed" ideas from Tesla and improved on them, noting that Tesla resorted to "gimmicks" and "cost cutting measures":
Ford clearly borrowed a few ideas from Tesla: panoramic fixed-glass roof, unconventional door handles, vertically oriented center display. While these highlights aren't particularly original, Ford managed to make the cabin design feel fresh without resorting to gimmicks or trying to pass off cost-cutting measures as innovation the way Tesla does.
The review also lambasted the learning curve necessary to drive a Model Y: "And unlike in, say, a Model Y, there's no learning curve for driving a Mach-E. The gear selector doesn't double as the cruise-control switch, like it does in Teslas."
The review continued:
At long last, an automaker has given us an EV that competes head to head with Tesla on design, performance, price, and range, and it neither looks nor feels like it was built in a tent.
Recall, at around the same time Car and Driver was likely delivering its trophy to Ford, Elon Musk was seen sulking and lamenting about how hard the Full-Self Driving promises he has been making to customers for the last 5 years have been to fulfill.