Putting problems with our Tesla Model S test car in perspective

    BMW i3 and Subaru Outback are also discussed in latest Talking Cars podcast

    Published: August 13, 2014 04:00 PM

    Jake, Tom, and Gabe

    It's been a blast driving our 2013 Tesla Model S—the innovative electric car that earned the highest Consumer Reports test score ever. But there's a bit of a dark cloud on the otherwise-sunny horizon; our test car has had more than its fair share of problems over the 20 months and 15,000 miles that we've owned it. Episode 42 of our "Talking Cars" podcast discusses these issues at length, public reaction to anything Tesla (especially bad news), and what all of it means.

    Another electric car just joined the Consumer Reports test fleet, the BMW i3. Ours is equipped with the "range extender" feature—a two-cylinder engine that keeps the car going when the battery runs out of range. Unique features abound, including an interior that's more furniture than cockpit.

    Finally, we discuss a comparatively normal car that is near and dear to Consumer Reports subscribers: the 2015 Subaru Outback. First impressions are that Subaru fixed a lot of the gripes we had with the previous (2010-2014) version. We also answer a viewer question from a young buyer who wants to plan ahead; is an Outback the right car for him?

    Next week, we'll discuss the Honda Fit and Porsche Macan. They both have a rear hatch, but these new test cars otherwise occupy very different places in the practicality vs. price spectrum.

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