Tesla Model S tops Consumer Reports survey

(MoneyWatch) A few fires in the Tesla Model S apparently isn't keeping owners from loving the electric car. The Model S topped this year's survey by Consumer Reports measuring owner satisfaction, putting up one of the highest scores ever recorded.

In a survey of 600 2012 and 2013 versions of the vehicle, the Model S got 99 out a possible score of 100. That is the same score Consumer Reports gave the Model S after their round of test-driving, also one of the highest scores ever awarded by the magazine.

"In testing the Model S stands out for its innovative design, outstanding performance and surprising practicality," said Jake Fisher, Consumer Reports's director of automotive testing. "These results suggest that Tesla owners are very, very satisfied."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened an official investigation into three recent fires involving the Model S. All three fires ignited after the car struck something in the road with its underside. No one was injured in the incidents, and the company insists the Model S is completely safe.

Other cars that led their categories in the satisfaction survey include the Porsche Boxster sports car, which came in No. 2 overall, the Audi A6 luxury sedan, the Mazda6 midsze sedan and the Subaru Forester SUV. Luxury cars tend to do well in the survey, and Audi had more high-scoring models than any other brand.

But testing director Jake Fisher points out, "The redesigned Mazda6 and Subaru Forester are moderately priced, mainstream vehicles that outscored all models from BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.

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    Jerry Edgerton, author of Car Shopping Made Easy, has been covering the car beat since Detroit companies dominated the U.S. market. The former car columnist for Money magazine and Washington correspondent for Business Week, Edgerton specializes in finding the best deals on wheels and offering advice on making your car last.

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