The Tesla Model S high-end electric sedan has garnered a rare honor from Consumer Reports, with one significant caveat.
The magazine gave the Model S its highest score, a 99 out of 100. In the past, the Lexus LS has also achieved a score of 99.
But the Tesla still has too limited a history on the road to earn the equally coveted "Recommended Buy" rating from CR.
"Despite its stratospheric road-test score, we can't recommend the Model S until we have sufficient reliability data," Consumer Reports explained.
Sales of the Model S began last summer. Business began to ramp up toward the end of the year, with the Palo Alto, Calif., automaker exceeding its first-quarter 2013 expectations by selling 4,900 of the cars.
"Slipping behind the wheel of the Tesla Model S is like crossing into a promising zero-emissions future," Consumer Reports said.
There is uncharacteristic gushing throughout the CR review, such as the following passage:
The car is "brimming with innovation, delivers world-class performance, and is interwoven throughout with impressive attention to detail. It's what Marty McFly might have brought back in place of his DeLorean in Back to the Future."
Consumer Reports said the car, with its lithium-ion battery, delivered road testers a consistent range of about 200 miles, running from a low of about 180 miles on cold winter days to 225 in warmer weather.
CR tested an $89,650 version of the Model S, which begins around $69,900.