For its part, Tesla says that the automatic braking remains a “top priority,” and that it’ll arrive as soon as possible. It would be “morally wrong and counterproductive” to rush a safety feature out when it’s unfinished, the automaker says.
It’s easy to be cynical about the move. Consumer Reports has a history of pulling recommendations for high-profile products, and not always for the best reasons (unconventional testing methods, for instance). However, it’s not hard to see why the publication would make its move here. CR gave its initial ratings on the assumption that automatic braking would be available within weeks after it purchased its Model S tester, bring the vehicle up to the safety standard of its predecessor. How do you maintain the exact same recommendation when the feature is missing half a year later? Really, the ratings dip just makes sure that prospective buyers are buying the Model S and X for what they are right now, not what they’ll eventually be.