'A glimpse into the future': Consumer Reports names Tesla's Model S the best vehicle of 2014
Tesla Model S (Isaac Z. Ortiz/Flickr)

Consumer Reports on Tuesday named the US electric luxury car Tesla Model S the top vehicle of 2014 to buy, calling it a "technological tour de force".

The US consumer shopping guide selected Tesla as the best overall in test performance, reliability and safety as the car made its first appearance on the annual list of top 10 vehicle categories.

"The Tesla is a glimpse into a future where cars and computers coexist in seamless harmony. Its 225-mile (362-kilometer) driving range and five-hour charges, using Tesla's special connector, also make it the easiest, most practical, albeit pricey, electric car to live with," said the magazine.

The Model S the magazine tested had a sticker price of $89,650, compared with an average of about $34,900 for the remaining nine best model categories.

Tesla, founded by tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, is expected to announce soon the launch of a "gigafactory" to make improved batteries that would reduce the cost of its battery packs.

There were three other new model winners on the Consumers Reports list: South Korea automaker Hyundai's Santa Fe sport-utility vehicle; the Subaru Forester small SUV and Chrysler's Ram 1500 pickup truck.

It was the first time in 16 years that a Chrysler model has made the ranking. The Consumer Reports's thumbs-up came a month after Italian automaker Fiat completed its takeover of Chrysler that helped the company get back on track following a US government bailout.

Japanese companies Honda and Subaru were the only automakers to have more than one spot.

Honda's Accord topped the midsized sedan ranking and its Odyssey came in as best minivan. In addition to the Subaru Forester's small SUV win, Subaru's Impreza landed the best compact car nod.

German automaker Audi's A6 took the luxury car prize. Compatriot BMW's 328i was named best sports sedan.

[Image via Isaac Z. Ortiz, Creative Commons licensed]