Consumer Reports Declares Tesla Model X “Fast And Flawed”



Consumer Reports has long been critical of the Tesla Model X. The leading consumer magazine was first to point out that the X is “plagued with problems,” most of which are linked to the falcon wing doors.

Tesla Model X

Tesla Model X

Now, with a full road test of the X under its belt, how does Consumer Reports rate the Model X for its January 2017 print edition? Poorly…

Here’s what Consumer Reports has to say of the X:

“…beyond the brag-worthy magic, the all-wheel-drive Model X 90D largely disappoints. The rear doors are prone to pausing and stopping. The second-row seats can’t be folded, limiting cargo-carrying ability. The big windshield is neat but not tinted enough to offset the brightness of a sunny day, and wind noise is excessive.”

Consumer Reports is mostly impressed by the SUVs bells and whistles (autopilot, insane acceleration, summon and so on), but overall the X fails on too many fronts to be recommended.

Quoting Consumer Reports:

“In spite of its virtues, the Model X’s complexity, compromised functionality, and dismal first-year reliability suggest that it’s a car for early adopters eager to one-up their peers.”

As for “Highs,” Consumer Reports lists “acceleration, handling, front-seat comfort, fit and finish, energy consumption, low running costs.”

And the “Lows” are “fussy doors, ride, wind noise, rear seats don’t fold, rear visibility, controls, reliability.”

Editor’s note:  Although the 2016 Model X did not feature a fold flat seating option, that does indeed limit cargo-carrying abilities as Consumer Reports suggest, Tesla has announced that the new base 5 seat option will fold flat, giving the Tesla SUV a “best-in-class” interior cargo space at 88 cubic feet (passing the Volvo CX90 @ 85.7 ft³).

So while there is still lost “person hauling” functionality if one does not opt for the 6 or 7 passenger configuration (not available with folding seats), Tesla has taken steps to address the problem of cargo space for the 2017 Model X at least in a limited way, as a tradeoff for vehicle occupants.

Tesla Model X available with fold flat seats as a 5 person configuration

Tesla Model X available with fold flat seats as a 5 person configuration

Basically, Consumer Reports concludes that Tesla focused too much on the fancy stuff and, in doing so, failed to deliver in a lot of the essential departments – which is why the Tesla was ranked by CR as the #6 least reliable vehicle on the market today, while the Tesla Model S (after years of troubleshooting) has returned to recommended status.

Here is Consumer Reports earlier “Quick Drive” review of the Model X:

Source: Consumer Reports

Categories: Tesla

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50 Comments on "Consumer Reports Declares Tesla Model X “Fast And Flawed”"

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So… what’s the drag coefficient of this vehicle again? Wind noise? Liars. Wind is about all you can hear from the car; next, they will complain that the tires are too loud. Sheesh. The Model X comes with a snap-in top visor for folks who can’t handle the cockpit feel of the Model X windshield.
The rear seats do fold, they mean the second row seats. And I think that’s an issue from a cargo perspective, not an accessibility perspective. Speaking of which, Tesla will be releasing an optional second row that folds. Might be a downgrade, though.
I Haven’t a clue why visibility was listed as an issue, given its advanced sensor suite and rear-facing camera.
8.0 fixed a ton of quirks. I wonder if they reviewed on an earlier software release. I hope they will re-review with the 8.1 software.

Many on the Tesla forums complain of wind noise. Usually it’s poor fitting front window seals and glass.

My X has a ton of problems. I would still rebuy it, though, because there is no electric minivan on the market, and it drives well.

Yes Four Electrics. I’m 68 and I love my Model S but I’d like to have the more upright seating posture of the Model X. The X is much more utilitarian.

I doubt it will happen but my wish is for a Model X with regular doors in the back and regular fold down seats in the second row.

“No other electric Minivan on the market.”

That’s why I think the PHEV Pacifica is going to drastically cut into sales of the “X” – even with flat 2nd row seating, there is still no ‘Stow and Go’.

In the back of my mind I’d worry about Chrysler’s reliability, but – it is apparently much better than the “X” so that won’t get any demerits for that reason.

Plus you could buy 2 or 3 of the Pacificas for the price of 1 X – depending on how nuts you went with the options. And the Pacifica has a large enough battery to get $7500 per vehicle tax credit – something that anyone who’d even consider an “X” can use.

Note it said noise, not wind noise.

Did you see edmunds took theirs in for air conditioner noise and Tesla said they can’t fix it, it’s normal?

Beyond that, note that glass is not a good sound insulator. Anyone with a sunroof will tell you even when closed it is noisier than no sunroof. And now you’re looking at a car with more glass than usual up near the A pillar where air is being pushed aside (upwards) and also in back where the doors effectively form t-tops.

The non-folding 2nd row seats are an issue from a cargo perspective. That’s what CR said. It’s also an issue (but a smaller one) from an ingress/egress perspective. If you have forgotten, watch Musk squeeze behind the 2nd row to get into the 3rd row.

While the 5 seat config has been shown (not shipped), I’m not sure what it is fixes. Getting those basically puts you in the same place as the Model S cargo and passenger-wise. Just get a Model S and you don’t have to deal with the wonky doors. Admittedly you probably can carry a bit taller cargo, but for most people that’s probably not a big deal.

Maybe CR may be False & Flawed…

If they were truly informed and unbiased they could have mentioned the windshield shade Tesla provides if the tint isn’t enough for you. They could have mentioned the base 5 seat configuration that offers class leading cargo space if the 6 row version doesn’t have enough. They could have mentioned how 92% of the quality issues have been addressed by Tesla. They could have said that Tesla has sent over the air updates that have significantly improves door functionality instead of showing a guy purposely interfering with the door like an idiot.

It’s obvious that they choose to omit these things. It’s like watching a bunch of Grandmas do a half assed car review.

I found the review fair. There is a lot of bias out there, but mainly in forum comments like yours.

Of course no bias is ever found in any of your comments.
Maybe people would be better off int the sliding door Toyota Sienna. Oh wait 700k are being recalled because the doors can open while you are driving.

The ‘fairness’ of the review went out the window when they decided to make a VALUE judgment about why buyers would choose this car…apparently only to impress their friends. I have an X and you have an X. I have had one issue with the driver door actuator that had to be replaced. You say that yours is plagued with problems. I was not envious of those who had earlier VINs than me and I suspect, based on what the repair technician told me (using an upgraded part to replace my door actuator) that current Xs are doing much better… …but you need to reevaluate why you would chastise the writer as you just did when CR has decided why you bought your X. The X is currently in a class of ONE…there is no other all electric SUV. I have already bagged one deer this season…while hunting in my X…and I will be going out again this afternoon to hopefully repeat the process. I have had one person shake my hand for being ahead of the curve. He did this at the deer processing place. People can’t even imagine going hunting with an electric vehicle (which I started doing… Read more »

WE love our X90D that we traded a Honda ofyseee in for last May – I would never go back to a gas car, that’s like replacing my iPhone with a rotary landline Phone. We love the falcon wing doors, umbrella for you in the rain while getting into the car. Fully charged and ready to go every morning, no more trips to gas stations, oil changes and smog checks. All wheel drive in the snow was awesome, used to need snow chains with the Honda – not missing that at all lol.

The future is now and we are lucky to drive t. We have already done more long distance road trips in one year than we did in 3 with the Oddysee since going 400 miles down to LA is no longer making me want to take an air plane, thanks to autopilot assisting by taking over the micromanagement while I focus on overall traffic flow and safety. I would buy it again for sure.

I’m biased? I merely stated facts that Consumer Reports ignored.

By it’s very nature, a sample of the first cars are going to weigh down the score.
If CU has sufficient data they could have done a time series analysis of the problems. Sure, the first cars off the line will have the most problems, then they will see continuous improvement.

Why isn’t CU releasing it’s data?
Or, do they really not have sufficient statistical data to prove anything? What is their sample size. We at least have a right to know the sample size.

In the full review, which was just released, they do mention the base 5-seat configuration with fold flat second row.

The one you can’t buy yet anyway. Tesla keeps pushing orders back.

Is it really that unfair to ding the car for not having a feature that doesn’t exist except on paper?

Musk needs to GREASE these guys, Send them a few Perks like the Big Autos Do & watch their opinion change to be the Best Car on the Market…I DON’T TRUST OR BELIEVE ANYTHING THESE REVIEWERS/REPORTERS SAY! We live in Corrupt world where everyone is bought & sold Daily..

Well, they may be right aubout the points mentioned. Tesla doesn’t has the 50+ years of experience with interieur design and comfort fine tuning like the old manufacturers… but are these points really that important, if you deliver the fastest, safest production car on the planet, which doesn’t kill people with exthause emissions?

The fossil fuel mafia doesn’t care about safety or zero emissions.

The FFM ….LMAO…..

Funny watching the guy falsely manipulate the doors like that. Grabs the Falcon Wing to interrupt its operation, then pushes it around to make it look fussy, then grabs the front door mid-operation and moves it as though it’s going to hit the car next to it! I’m a long time subscriber to CR, but stuff like this makes me shake my head!

Yeah, we get it they don’t like the doors, and for that reason they are out prove how inconvenient they are. Confirmation bias. Yes, and they demonstrate they are not adequate by deliberately standing in the way when the doors are trying to operate. The same thing they did in the last review.

Implying that the complex doors somehow add up in parts numbers to what an ice has, or god forbid, a phev has, deserves extreme ridicule and disbelief. That it should be said at all is silly, and that it should be delivered almost as an afterthought indicates the lack critical thinking that went into this review, and its innate bias.

I don’t care for their tone. They sound like a TV talent show judge who is about to kick you off the program and praises you in false ways to lighten the blow. Your form was excellent and you are faster than anything on the planet, but yours arms are flailing around and that makes you look silly.
IMO this review makes CR look silly.

I guess they prefer the gate on my mom’s Subaru, which smacked into the garage door. Or has clobbered her in the face and head a couple times while opening of closing.


It’s like I said…

Another hit piece against Tesla by the fossil fuel mafia.

Another Euro point of view

So basically they say it is a good car except for the over complicated doors & limited cargo areas (as compared with Model S which has fold able rear seat). If that is a hit piece from the fossil fuel mafia then Musk is part of it has he himself admitted that if he had to do it again he would insist on a simpler design. Now as a foreigner I have difficulties to grasp the cult thing around Tesla but I had someone to explain it to me recently. He said that the Tesla owners are usually cool people, as opposed to the cultist who often do not own a Tesla . So my question to you Mister G, do you actually own a Tesla ?? Just checking if that theory is more or less correct.

Well, except the cargo area is still larger than the S.

It wasn’t that bad, they only stated the obvious.

I think it would be in Tesla’s best interest to come up with a cost-reduced version of this vehicle. Give it regular doors and a regular roof. Price it similar to the Model S.

Isn’t that supposed to be the Model Y?

No, the Model Y will be smaller and use the 3 platform, not the S.



“it’s a car for early adopters eager to one-up their peers”

That’s big time Projection Bias.
Tells you more about the author than the product, or the user base.

So, it this guy’s mind, after listing a host of advanced features, we’re only buying Tesla’s to impress the neighbors. Not the features, the neighbors.

I personally don’t thing my neighbors give a damn what I drive.

It does seem like it’s either “feast or famine” with Consumer Reports reviewing Tesla cars. First the Model S was so good that it “broke” their ratings scale, and then they said it was too unreliable to be recommended.

And seriously, the Model X has too much wind noise?!?! Well, how terrible is it that the car is so quiet you can actually hear the wind noise, instead of having that drowned out by the engine noise! /snark

I’d be happier if CR just gave unbiased reviews of Tesla’s cars, instead of appearing to weight them either pro or con in an apparent effort to whip up controversy, get more attention and thus more subscriptions for their magazine. 🙁

I don’t care for any of CR’s reviews for any car. They are like an entertainment industry trying to provide facts. I prefer the reviews from Alex on Autos.

Wow. Reading the Tesla defenders here is exactly like reading usenet Chrysler forums 25 years ago. All of the fans convinced that Consumer Reports was lying to make their cars look bad. Look, CR has problems. Perhaps its gotten better – I wouldn’t know stopped reading them maybe 15 years ago – but under their long-time editor from the late 1960s they had such an extreme stance regarding not being influenced by the manufacturer that they wouldn’t listen to any experts at all. The end result was some really poor science – the worst example was probably the infamous engine oil test using New York taxis, and before that the Suzuki Samari test. And yes, editorially they wanted everyone to drive a basic, practical car and that seeped into their writing. And there were lots of statistical issues that distorted their recommendations. But even with all that, when a car scores near the absolute bottom of the CR reliability charts – especially when it is an enthusiast car in which buyers = fans and thus survey responses tend to gloss over problems more than with, say, an average sedan – then it’s a huge red flag. Tesla forums are full… Read more »

Queston for Model X owners: one of the things that Consumer Reports criticizes the X for is that the ride is somewhat harsher than you’d expect from a luxury SUV, especially with the 22″ wheels.

What do owners think about the ride over rough and/or choppy pavement?

We have the 20″ wheels and feel the ride is very smooth compared to the Oddysee but because of the silent gliding and absence of shuddering and rumble from the gas engine you do notice wind and tire noise more, and if there is a new smooth lane and a rougher one I do pick the smoother one. The model X does have better seats than the Model S so I find especially long distance driving in our X 90D more comfortable than the rental Model S P90D I drove the same long distance before. I don’t have the comparison to a similar expensive SUV, wouldn’t be surprised if they were ahead in ride comfort on a rough road but not as good on a smooth road. Without being fully electric and autopilot it’s not really a contender for me personally though.

I suppose there’s nothing stopping people from choosing less noisy/softer/higher profile tires and wheels to match their driving conditions, right?

The X has a dream ride…on smooth roads. It is like floating on a cloud…on smooth roads. But throw in a crappy road and indeed, you might wish another route was taken. There is a road near us that I consider the ‘scenic route’ to Oswego. It was resurfaced over the summer. Thank goodness. My wife and I noted that the X felt awful and much worse than our Chevy Volt on that crappy road. We avoided the scenic route for a while just because the X response to crappy roads was…crappy. As I pointed out earlier, it is in a class of one, and I am generally happy with it. But once there are more electric SUVs on the road, this response to terrain will definitely be a point of comparison for Tesla versus the competition. Note that I point out one road. That road was particularly crappy before the resurfacing. I have not had reason to notice anything otherwise, but I generally don’t go on crappy roads. Note that I have put 8000 miles on the X since June, and I don’t a have a commute to anywhere. It is normally a dream to drive and you find… Read more »

Good info, thanks.

Kinda crazy that a 2 1/2 ton luxury SUV can’t handle a bad road as well or better than a Volt. I guess CR’s criticism on the subject is justified.

Not to rag your ride: I’m sure I’d love a Model X if I could afford one, though I reckon I’d go with an S personally. For now I’ll be happy with my 2012 Volt, which does have a very nice ride!

I took a ride in someone’s S and decided that it wasn’t enough of an upgrade over my Volt to justify the price. Sure it was all electric, but especially since the 2017 Volt now gets me at or above 60 electric miles, gas is rarely burned in the Volt. My opinion was based on our 2012 Volts. Holding just one more person, I just couldn’t see that much more utility. OTOH, once I saw that the X would hold 7 and tow 5000 lbs, I was happy to see an expanse of utility. I don’t regret my choices and would not buy an S over an X, regardless of CR opinion. We have a 2017 Volt, which stays in FL, and the X which spends half of the year in NY and then is driven back to FL…along the AWESOME supercharger network…that keeps getting better. In May, I believe, the last necessary step to my I-81 route was opened in Harrisburg, PA…and I just noted that a new SC just opened in Columbia, SC, giving me another travel option along I-77. Regardless of any X issues, the SC network gives Tesla a HUGE leg up compared to other options-… Read more »

The Model X was a huge mistake. With its limitations it’s really a niche vehicle. They should have plowed all their efforts into the Model 3 instead. That will pay off much more for them.

And please Tesla, remove the new Roadster from your schedule or at least push it out. Spending any time on that before the Model 3 is ramped up and the infrastructure built out (including stores and repair facilities) is a huge mistake.

Nah, Model X was a great idea to capitalize on the engineering already put into the Model S while entering one of the most lucrative segments of the auto industry.

The falcon wing doors are arguably a mistake, since they’ve caused delays and reliability issues as well as limiting the utility of the vehicle by interfering with a roof rack.

But given that the Model X has already become a top 5 selling high end SUV, and that they claim to have already ironed out most reliability issues with the doors and other problems, I think they’ll do just fine with it going forward.

Except that’s not what it turned out to be. Musk said so too. It required a lot of extra engineering that would have been better spent on the Model 3.

The Model S AWD was a great idea to capitalize on the engineering already put into the Model S. The Model X didn’t turn out to be so.

As has been said time and again: if Tesla had skipped the falcon doors and the panoramic windshield-roof glass then they could have shipped it a year earlier and at lower cost and higher volume.

Model X was a good idea, those two features were not. Well, not so sure about the windshield-roof glass, that would have probably been ok by itself, but the falcon doors were over-reach.

And at this point the investment in Model X has started to payoff. The sales the last quarter were awesome, and with reliability much improved along with the software controlling the doors, Model X is still going to be a solid hit. Not the homerun it could have been but it’s selling in plenty volume to make money for Tesla now.

I’m not sure where you get the reliability thing. Only Tesla has said so and you can’t trust that, it’s self-serving.

As to whether it is starting to pay off, it doesn’t matter. The Model 3 will pay off far more.

This was a bad investment of engineering resources. They could have been spent to better result on the Model 3.

I know the reliability improvement is, so far, mainly self-reported, and so should be taken with a grain of salt. But I trust Tesla wasn’t lying when they say they’ve solved 90% of the early problems (or whatever it was they said). That would open them to liability to investors if they’re making it up.

I agree the falcon wing doors were a waste of engineering effort.

The Roadster won’t slow development of other vehicles.

Despite what people think, you don’t get faster development on existing lines – software or hardware – by just shoving more people into the development crew.

And besides, there has been demand for the Roadster, and their S technology will be an easy fit. They’ve done this before. Lastly, you need candy projects for developers of all stripes, lest you burn them out and lose them altogether.

Poor rear visibility? I’ve been in an X and it has fine visibility. And it has a camera that is always on and all you need to see the rear is the side mirrors.

I have a Gen 2 Volt and its visibility out the rear is useless. But it doesn’t bother me one bit because i’ve realized a rear window isn’t even needed. Could easily do without one.

Most of the X’s problems have been worked out so this review is pretty useless.

And there will always be wind noise. Especially in a silent car lol and if you dont like it then turn on the damn music, you mean to tell me no one listens to music while driving? You drive in dead silence? What miserable time that sounds like!