Car and Driver said they put the vehicles through a variety of tests, including a speed of 75 miles per hour driving range test – to see how far each car can travel on a full charge – various measured and timed performance tests and subjective driving feel tests on public roads. Then, all vehicles were taken on a 1,000 mile route from Car and Driver’s Michigan headquarters to Virginia and back.
By presenting the award to the Mustang Mach-E, Car and Driver staff recognized the SUV’s combination of functionality and performance.
“The Mach-E has the driving dynamics and design to push new buyers beyond just accepting electric vehicles into excitement,” Car and Driver’s Eric Tingwall wrote in an article on the award.
The Tesla’s in the competition – a Model S, Model 3, and Model Y – were hampered by quality issues.
At one point, the Tesla Model Y’s cruise control system abruptly stopped working without warning, Car and Driver editor-in-chief Sharon Silke Carty said in an interview with CNN Business.
“All of a sudden I was going 30 in the middle of the freeway,” she said.
The touchscreen system, which is essential because it operates most of Tesla’s controls, stopped working shortly after the car arrived for testing, according to the review. Car and Driver also noted poor fit between parts and a rear seat “grill squeal”.
The Model 3 had a large space around the hood, Car and Driver noted. Another Tesla they tested, the Model S, was only 3,600 miles, but its front engine failed. It was repaired and the car continued with testing, but the incident ended its chances of winning the award, Car and Driver said. Tesla Model X SUV was not included in testing due to low sales, according to
Tesla, which typically does not respond to media inquiries, did not respond to CNN Business’s request for comment on the Car and Driver report.
The 1,000 mile trip was one area where Tesla vehicles had an advantage. Tesla has its own proprietary charging network. It’s large, well maintained, and it only works with Tesla. Other EVs sometimes had to wait at public fast-charging stations behind other EVs in the test. This type of backup can happen with Tesla’s in California, where they’re ubiquitous. But testers said that didn’t appear to be a problem in the Midwest. Some of the non-Tesla chargers also had technical issues, so they either didn’t work at all or charge as fast as they were supposed to.
The Tesla Model S, Model Y, and Model 3 finished the trip first, second, and third, in that order. The Mustang Mach-E came in fourth, having been hampered by a slow loader.
The Car and Driver judges were impressed with some of the other cars, such as the Porsche Taycan 4S, which the testers found “invigorating” to drive. It has also moved closer to all vehicles within its highway range estimated by the EPA. The Kia Nero EV, aside from its “silly look” and “economy grade” interior materials, has been praised by Car and Driver for its responsive acceleration and handling, as well as its large cargo space.
Some car manufacturers did not provide cars for Car and Driver to test. This is why the Jaguar I-Pace, the Chevrolet Bolt EUV and EV, as well as the BMW i3 and the Mini Cooper SE were not included in the competition. The magazine was also unable to test models that are not yet in production, such as the GMC Hummer EV and the BMW i4. These models could be eligible for the award next year.