Fortune Video: Tesla Model X Has Impressive Features, But Obvious Flaws


Sue Callaway from Fortune recently provided a video review of the Tesla Model X. The review is very straight-forward, personable, and concise. Overall, her takeaways of the luxury SUV leave it falling short. Callaway surely points out some pros, but the cons (especially at this price point) are not to be ignored.

Baby Seat And Baby Are "Squished" When Moving The 2nd Row Seats Forward

Baby Seat And Baby Are “Squished” When Moving The Second Row Seats Forward In The Tesla Model X

Tesla loaned the Model X P90D to Fortune for the opportunity, surely with confidence of a positive report. Had the reporter been “performance” and “tech” oriented, maybe the Model X would have fared better. Callaway was very impressed with the speed and autonomy of the vehicle. She also noted her love of the infotainment features. However, when it came to car seat issues, seat controls, cargo space, and detail build quality, she was let down.

Callaway tested a baby seat in the second row. She was assured by Tesla that although the seats all move together, the baby will not get “squished” if she moves them forward to access the third row. She borrowed a baby and tried it out but her test immediately “squished” the baby seat. Thus, with a baby in tow, the third row seats become inaccessible.

Callaway said:

“Oh! Nope. Baby’s getting squished. That’s not good. It’s not supposed to hit the back of the driver’s seat.”

A rep from Tesla told her that the concept only works if the baby seat is not occupied by a baby!

Carpeting Coming Unglued And Fraying

Tesla Model X Carpeting Coming Unglued And Fraying

Another baby issue was pointed out when Callaway tried to stow a stroller in the car’s front trunk space. Again Tesla told her that it would work and that there is plenty of space. The stroller didn’t fit, and Callaway even struggled to put the stroller in the car’s rear storage space. An SUV that can’t easily fit a stroller?

The quality issues that she noted boiled down to peeling weatherstripping and loose carpet. Definitely not issues one should expect on an ultra-luxury, high-priced vehicle. This type of report is surely not favorable for the close to 400,000 people waiting for a low-cost, mass-produced Tesla Model 3.

This is by far not the first report of Tesla Model X quality issues. Other reviewers have pointed out problems with the rear seat hinges, the windshield, and multiple detail “fit and finish” issues. Tesla has been diligent thus far in addressing and resolving issues. Hopefully, reviews such as this continue to push the company’s quality standards forward.

Source: Fortune, Jalopnik

Categories: Tesla

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105 Comments on "Fortune Video: Tesla Model X Has Impressive Features, But Obvious Flaws"

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I’ll say it before the fan-bois.
Sue Callaway is trying to short TSLA.

That’s the only valid reason not to understand that Tesla can do no wrong (at least on this InsideTesla fan site).

The title of the article is not balanced. “obvious flaws” are small cosmetic issues and from the video, the baby doesn’t get squashed at all. Th seat itself is pushed up a little. A small adjustment only is required.

Miss Calaway has done a good fair review IMHO.

Typical Tesla fanboi response.

Typical Tesla Troll Response.

Typical Tesla fanboi counter-response

Typical keyboard mercenary EV basher response.

Stop it.


I can tell you from personal experience that having a child move the second row seat forward while a baby is in the second row is common, and not entirely preventable by adults. In that case the seat back is at risk for scratching and the infant seat deforms. Infant seats are only made to survive one accident. Their plastics are cheap and are not designed for repeated stress.

Fit and finish issues will go away,
leaving you with a rocket with the most advanced features on the market, along with the best safety numbers.

I fear that these “fit and finish issues” on the Model X are the prelude to a post-warranty apocalypse.

..said an “expert” in forging EVs apocalypses..

I fear your fear is unwarranted and that there is an underlying reason for your absurd statements

Unwarrented fear? Absurd statements? Just look a the the Model S door handles. Tesla has been replacing all four of the self presenting door handles under warranty on a large percentage of Model S (those with the original, not updated design). Out of warranty, those self-presenting door handles cost $1,400 a pop replace or a whopping $5,600 to replace a set of four, down from previously costing $1,900 a pop and $7,600 for four.

I dare you to own a Model X in a couple of years that is out of warranty.

Door handles = apocalypse lol!

You knew of course that the cost of spare parts sold by companies is much less than the price asked to the customer… of course you knew that…

But, but, but. . . Elon Musk said that Tesla Service Centers are not a profit center, and therefore don’t make a profit on parts and service. How can the cost of spare parts sold by Tesla be much less than the price Tesla charges its customers? Are you saying that Elon was lying? Turn in your Tesla fanboi pom poms to the Fremont headquarters immediately.

I guarantee that replacing the opening/closing mechanism on the Model X falcon-winged doors out of warranty is going to cost thousands upon thousands of dollars more than it would cost you to replace the door hinges on the oil cartel supporting Prius that you drive.

Yes, the cost of repairing a Model S and Model X out-of warranty will be daunting for all but the very well heeled.

Your the one who is constantly lying as you continue to carpet-bomb virtually every Tesla thread with your FUD sven.

I already proved you lied when you made the absurd claim that not paying Tesla’s annual inspection voids your car’s warranty.

“I f I choose not to service my Tesla vehicle, will this void my warranty or Resale Value Guarantee?

It is highly recommended that you service your Tesla vehicle once a year or every 12,500 miles. If you do not follow this recommendation, your New Vehicle Limited Warranty will not be affected. If you are financing your Tesla vehicle through Tesla Financing, you will only be eligible for the full Resale Value Guarantee if your Tesla vehicle is brought in for service per the above recommended timeline.”

From Tesla website:

Get Real said: “I already proved you lied when you made the absurd claim that not paying Tesla’s annual inspection voids your car’s warranty.” I did not lie. In my comment below, I gave a link to a direct quote from a GreenCarReports article by David Nolan. Here is the quote again: “But in a recent blog post on the Tesla Motor Club forum, Tesla vice president George Blankenship made it perfectly clear: Failure to fork over $600 for an annual inspection will void your warranty. Period.” David Nolan was absolutely correct. Here is a link to that TMC blog post, which David Nolan referred to, made by Tesla vice president George Blankenship. This is the official Tesla response to whether missing an annual service void a Tesla’s warranty: George Blankenship says the following in the above link: “@WONG.PETER ‘Is an annual inspection required to maintain the warranty?’ Yes. If you do not buy a pre-paid service plan or bring your car in for Inspection, when due, you will forfeit your warranty.” “@DR CHILL: “What will happen to Tesla owners that do not pay for these annual inspections from Tesla? Can they take their car to an independent… Read more »

Sven, I don’t owe you JACK. I put up the Tesla policy on maintenance as shown on their website right now in 2016!

You put up links from 2012 which anyone who can manage simple addition knows was 4 years ago.

This whole incident just proves once again your OC selective and often tortuous cherry-picking negativity on anything Tesla for what is almost certainly an agenda on your part.

It is you who owe the IEVs community an apology for constantly derailing threads on Tesla by twisting anything and everything you can to show Tesla in as negative light to justify your screeds.

THAT IS ABSURD ! It is going to change people’s thinking including mine . Service & parts costs are “RIDICULOUS” Worst Than Mercedes ..$8500 for a Brake Job ???… l o l .More Like Cry Out Loud!.. That’s MORE LIKE A SNOW JOB !! “OUTRAGIOUS” I can avoid Mercedes Service to a large degree & get Parts Cheap…. These Guys Got You by the Short & Curlyies..They’d better bring these prices DOWN & build a half *ssed decent car before I get Involved …Supercharger or not!

Your link only had one persons comment and no confirmation from anyone actually charged that much. That seems really high for a door handle. I just had my Model S windshield replaced because of a rock strike and it was $1200 including labor and camera alignment. It seems a door handle mechanism would be much less than that and no one would need the physical handle replaced just the motor mechanism.

$1200 for a new windshield? Yikes!

In my link, commentor TroyGuy said in comment #11 that it cost $1,300 (including sales tax and labor) to replace the door handle mechanism. In another thread, TroyGuy indeed confirms that he paid $1,300 not once, but twice, to replace two door handles out of warranty. See comments #22 & #24 by TroyGuy: In my original link the poster in comment #10 stated that the service manager told them that the out of warranty cost to replace the door handle mechanism is “around $1000 per door handle” (apparently before labor and sales tax). The post in comment #15 said the price “used to be $1,900 per handle.” You are correct that the “physical door handle” does not need to be replaced, and only the door handle mechanism needs to be replaced. But Tesla in its infinite wisdom, originally replaced both the physical door handle and the door handle mechanism. At some point Tesla realized that the physical door handle itself cost $500, and that it was not fiscally prudent to replace the physical door handle when it replacing the door handle mechanism. I believe this is the reason why the price to “replace a door handle” fell from $1,900… Read more »

And for good measure, Tesla owner David Nolan from GreenCarReports stated the following:

“And I still worried about the “little” stuff. A door handle replacement would cost about $1,200. The touch screen runs $6,000, the air suspension $2,000 per axle. There is simply no data on the long-term reliability of these potentially wallet-busting items.”

How can that be? Isn’t the Model S warranty full cover for 4 years?

Some Model S cars have gone over 50,000 miles, ending the new vehicle limited warranty.

“Your Tesla vehicle is protected by a 4 year, 50,000 miles (whichever comes first) new vehicle limited warranty and 8 year, unlimited mile battery and drive unit warranty.”

Sven, most here probably don’t appreciate the considerable effort required to come up with all those links, but I do. As far as out of warranty pricing goes, I was told with my Roadster that the cost of the inverter module was $13,000 (for a used one – they didn’t make any brand new models at the time) – to which a user here said it was ‘obviously ridiculous’ to believe a little inverter would be priced that high. So whom am I to believe? A person who has a track record of a huge number of previous mistakes, or authorized Tesla maintenance personnel? The only reason I got it replaced gratis was I convinced the Tesla mechanic the service center themselves broke it! I owned my Tesla for 4 years, and the $860 maintenance (when done in Toronto, the only service center within battery range) was mandatory. I switched to an ELR due to the past history of required service which I was now required to pay for 100%. The warranty ran out at 36 months/36000 miles, a figure I hit both numbers almost exactly at the same time since I wanted to flush as many problems as possible… Read more »

The point being, for $151,000 you’d assume they would make sure the car is assembled correctly. The one guy who had all the trouble with the gull-wing doors spent $160,000.

My “Overpriced” “Expensive” new ELR I obtained for under $50,000. So I could purchase THREE of these flawless vehicles for one model X, with its ongoing problems.

My Roadster had zero options, so it was low-cost compared to the vehicles here. She said it was possible to get an “X” for $80,000. Do these zero optioned vehicles have the sameproblems the $151-160K vehicles do?

I would assume for half price, you don’t get any better glue, gaskets or actuators.

Thanks for the kind words bill. 🙂

I came across this Tesla out-of-warranty news story this morning. A Tesla owner from Toronto with 60,000 miles on his Model S was quoted $8,500 to repair his brakes. Actually, the whole braking system had to be replace due corrosion from road salt and the regenerative braking results in the mechanical brakes not being used often. The brake calipers were seized, the rotors were shot, and the parking brake assembly also needed to be replaced.

Tesla ended up waiving the labor costs and it ended up costing the Model S owner $5,824.
There are more video showing the extremely poor quality of Tesla Model X, be sure to click down arrow for more descriptions. Other people complained about this 2 months ago.
Now it is also revealed that Tesla could suffer from battery failure after driving on rough road, the car can burst into flame or the driver can be electrocuted due to loose electric connection and broken seal around battery pack

Please provide me with a link to that information. I don’t believe you will find it because you are lying for whatever idiotic reason

You post provides a link to a cosmetic issue not the battery issue which if true would have some exposure and you provided none. If your nonsense were true there would be an immediate recall as Tesla has always done. People like yourself male me sick.


LOL. That’s some reliable source. A description from the top of a youtube video that has one comment and 100 views.


That your caps lock button is broken?

Troll. No Teslas incinerate by driving on a bumpy road!

Burst into flames due to a loose battery connection might be a bit of an exaggeration. Being electrocuted is even further from what would most likely happen.

Are people driving into a bed of sharp rock and licking the area around the battery terminals that I don’t know about?

Brian I couldn’t have said it better. Maybe this guy was licking the terminals but that would probably kill him. . So are we responding to someone who is actually dead or just brain dead?

Doesn’t the third row fold flat? If not, that’s a bad design. It makes the added volume from folding the seats useless if you want to put something in the back that needs to lay/sit on a flat surface.

“She borrowed a baby and tried it out but her test immediately “squished” the baby seat.”

Lady, next time do the “squish” test without a baby in the child seat. This lady reporter will never win a Mother of the Year Award.

Why aren’t there any LATCH anchors to in the second-row center seat, the safest seat in a car to place a single baby seat. Using the center seat for a single baby seat would also eliminate the problem of “squishing” your baby when accessing the third row seats. Yes, I know you can use the center seat’s seat belt to secure the child seat, but that seems like an inferior/-less-secure attachment method.

I know there are latches and I don’t trust the writer because I have just read comments from Tesla owners staying they have issues with there baby seats

I meant to say Tesla owners stating they are having NO issues with their baby seats.

I am an X owner with issues with infant seats. I would also like latches in the center seat.

You do not own a Tesla.

Is it your neighbor’s? Or if you really own one, why do you spread your hate publicly? You hate this car? I do not understand why you comment so negatively about Tesla.

Sorry, I guess I confused you with Three Electrics.

Your argument is pertinent, obvious and convincing.

Three Electrics bought a Model X and changed his screen name to Four Electrics.


Per the Model X specs on

“Up to four LATCH child seat attachments”

So what are you saying?

That the second-row center seat doesn’t have LATCH attachments. From a safety and anti-baby-squishing perspective, the center seat should have LATCH child seat attachments.

Agreed. It should, but does not.


Your caps lock must be stuck on.
Tesla service centers operate at break even. They are not profit generating. I don’t doubt it’s expensive to repair a Tesla Model S or Model X. However, let’s keep in mind that both are manufactured in small quantity and are on the highest end of “Luxury” vehicles. $130K car isn’t going to be cheap to repair.

The third row does fold flat.

Below is a gif of the second row seat moving forward. It’s like watching a . . . oh, never mind.–DoNANioc–/c_scale,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/utq0ynjpa2awwbfgyasd.gif

Gives new double meaning to “rubbing it in”. 🙂

“The quality issues that she noted boiled down to peeling weatherstripping and loose carpet.”

Yes I know someone with an S and an X. He also pointed out this weather stripping issue. Seems the X has the weather stripping attached just with adhesive while the S has both adhesive and mechanical holding methods.

He also complains that the X has a lot more plastic fasteners then the S and as a result there are more issues with squeaks and rattles.

Lots of issues with the seats also.

Then of course there’s the service schedules. Tesla wants the vehicle in every 12 months or 12,000 miles for a 600$ service. Also if you buy the extended warranty potential claims on the warranty can be voided if you haven’t had the 12 month service.

Sounds like owning a BMW. A bit of a PITA.

Another lie! The service plan has no effect on the warranty.


You’re wrong. According to David Nolan on GreenCarReports (who is a Tesla owner himself), said the following:

“But in a recent blog post on the Tesla Motor Club forum, Tesla vice president George Blankenship made it perfectly clear: Failure to fork over $600 for an annual inspection will void your warranty. Period.

Will Model III ownership be like this? Being green is great, but I fail to see any cost savings in vehicle ownership of an EV, which is a selling point noted by Tesla, if you are forced to pay such a large fee at this schedule, or risk being denied warranty service when your car has a real issue.


LOL. serial Tesla/Musk hater FUDs again on IEVs:

If I choose not to service my Tesla vehicle, will this void my warranty or Resale Value Guarantee?

It is highly recommended that you service your Tesla vehicle once a year or every 12,500 miles. If you do not follow this recommendation, your New Vehicle Limited Warranty will not be affected. If you are financing your Tesla vehicle through Tesla Financing, you will only be eligible for the full Resale Value Guarantee if your Tesla vehicle is brought in for service per the above recommended timeline.

From Tesla website:

…october 2012?

Your link is from October 2012 and we all know Noland as writing repeatedly negative articles on Tesla.

“Fully loaded Model S Performance 85 cars or Tesla Roadsters as loaners Tesla will seamlessly valet the loaner cars to your location $600 annual service now optional with no effect on warranty
Unconditional warranty for Model S battery, even for user error”
– Elon Musk, Chairman, Product Architect & CEO April 26, 2013

That’s the battery and drive unit warranty, not the new vehicle limited warranty.

@ Rex

Teslarati does some good stuff. He actually owns a Tesla. It’s not a lie according to him.

sorry wrong link. here’s the Teslarati article. I’m not against Tesla. I’m just looking at the issues in buying a used Model S.

Non transferable warranty is a different matter.

“The extended warranty can be transferred to a new owner for a $100 fee, but it cannot be transferred to a car dealer or third party reseller.”

So, you better buy one from an individual if you wish to get the remaining extended warranty …

The quality control issues are a result from pushing the production too hard. This is going to be a support nightmare and might kill Tesla. I fear that with Musk’s new plan to push even harder is going to end up in tears.

(and no, I’m not a stock shorter)

Kill Tesla I can’t stop laughing.

Anything is possible , stranger things have happened….Laugh now…., cry later ??….I hope this never happens….

Maybe not, but you’re a serial Tesla basher.

No I’m not but neither am I a Tesla fanboy or an Elon Musk sycophant. I want Tesla to succeed but I’m not giving Tesla any free passes, they need to succeed on the same playing field as everyone else. I have no problems criticizing Tesla or Musk when I think they are wrong but that doesn’t make me a basher, that makes me someone who cares.

Today’s Tesla Apocalypse:

1. The seats don’t work as advertised
2. The carpet was not glued properly.
3. The door molding was not attached right

Ho hum…. Wake me up when this is over.

Why do you care you’re not buying one.

To Mitchell Burns,

You misunderstand me. I was being sarcastic and making fun of posters who make a big deal out minor and easily fixed issues like gluing the Model X carpet down properly.

For Tesla critics, every little minor problem with the factory, or the cars or Musk himself is blown way out of proportion into a mountain of doom and gloom.

It’s the same old apocalyptic nonsense from the Troll Patrol that we endlessly hear over and over again on Inside EVs. That’s why I said:

“Ho hum… Wake me up when it’s over.”

The car seat hits the front seats in most cars. If that is her basis of “squished” then she is not to be trusted.

While these issues are valid, they are not my main beefs with my X. Many of my initial quality issues have been addressed but some remain:

– the passenger door no longer opens (!)
– kids in the third row can have their legs crushed by the second row repositioning logic

However, I have every expectation that these will be resolved. If a car seat in the second row no longer scratches the seat back and prematurely wears the car seat, that would be a bonus.

You do not own a Tesla, troll.


Rex, you’ve proven wrong twice. Apologize to Four Electrics.

Four Electrics,
Overall, are you happy with the Model X?

I have barely had time to drive it due to service issues, but yes, I am very satisfied. It is, overall, a safe car with a lot of room, and the sense of freedom that the large battery affords is a huge relief. Coming from short range EVs, it really is night and day.

There are missing features which can be annoying (no iPhone playlist support, no profiles tied to key fob, no scheduled climate control, some UI slowness/weirdness) but autopilot works well, the windshield is amazing, and the car is fast. At times you can’t help but wonder what Tesla was thinking (the falcon wing and front doors need more sensors, and Summon is unsafe, as examples), but if you must drive an EV you can forgive these boneheaded lapses in judgement.

The BMW i3 is built better and is preferred for city use due to its small size, but for family activities and trips the Model X can’t be beat.

In summary: would I buy it again? Yes. Does it piss me off sometimes, even often? Yes. However, I expect most issues to be resolved in time.

As a Model 3 reservation holder, I find this last comment reassuring (and not an uncommon one from the early days of the Model S, as well).

However, moving up their ludicrous manufacturing target (500k by 2020) to a plaid target (by 2018) is very worrying.

Granted, Tesla has now debuted two in-house vehicles…the S had manufacturing and design mistakes, most of which have been fixed within the first two model years.

Now, the X is much more complicated, and they’ve totally blown the manufacturing debut, and significant design flaws are just beginning to appear (no middle seat LATCH tethers, FDs not quite performing to spec, seat movements a bit over-the-top and quirky).

I’m really nervous. I think I speak for a majority, if not most, of the current Model 3 reservation holders when I say that I would rather have a car in 2019 that works, rather than a car in 2017 that drives me up the wall more than on the road.

I can’t argue scientifically one way or another if the i3 is built better than the X but I do have a data point for our i3 experience. We lease an i3. The day after we took delivery it was 85 degrees and my wife discovered after coming out to the car after work for her 35 mile commute home that the AC wasn’t working. It worked on the way to work. Drove home with AC blasting hoping it just took awhile to cool down but no luck. So we took it directly back to the dealer the next morning and dropped it off. After a day I called to get an update and was unable to talk to our assigned guy and no one else knew anything about our brand new car that we were already making payments on but didn’t have in our possesion. Guy called back the next day and said they didn’t know what was wrong with it and were awaiting a specialist to get back to them. This went on for a week of me calling and bugging them to know where our new car is while we drove their loaner car that smelled like… Read more »

Sounds like mass-production to me, in terms of the problem. New cars shouldn’t do that, and it’s disappointing as hell, but someone has to draw the short straw.

The rest of it sounds like a dealership issue: poor service, either from chowderheads, or just simply insufficient, underpaid and overworked staff.

I toured the interior of the X, yesterday.

I believe Tesla already know their chips are on Model 3. X space issues in the SUV segment, are nothing to sneeze at. That said, lots of “3 row” SUVs have crappy 3rd rows. So, people with infants may not be the best customers. Honestly, the third row isn’t for kids much bigger than the rear facing seats of the MS.

Since I’m archetypal with long-term ownership, I struggle enough with post-warranty S ownership. If you move a 2nd row seat forward, 4 seats begin moving by motor at different rates. I’m intimidated by that, and there is no manual over-ride.

The Model X ate my baby. Krikie!

the dingo ate your baby….lol…on seinfeld

I own a Yesla.. that front glass is way too big.. lets in way too much sublight and heat..the windows on the gull doors do not function. . Can’t even be opened a crack for air flow.. the 3rd is way tight.. confined.. and it is very hard to reach the door operator for the gull doors back there.. the middle seat in the 2nd row is confined and has limited headroom.. the plastic wheel mouldings are cracking and popping loose esp. the front ones.. the vehicle is hummer huge and really doesn’t offer the interior space for it’s overall exterior size.. the windshield will be hard to clear of snow and ice.. and so will the gull wing doors… also that windshield will get damaged by cracking due to stones, etc. and be a major cost to a whole.. IMHO it is not that attractive compared to the MS.. the gull doors will fail.. and they WILL cost a bunch for Tesla to fix or the owner.. and yes.. you must have a service plan to take advantage of the 36 month repurchase plan or the lease.. and NO modifications to the vehicle by any other but Tesla… Read more »

The first thing you should do is trade in your ‘Yesla’, and go take a look at a TESLA Model X. Check out the size and you’ll see it’s NOT Hummer huge, that the windows on the ‘FALCON WING’ doors do work and that the rearmost seat is actually not too bad.

You’ll also find that Tesla is very good about fixing any issues you have with your new vehicle, including giving you another if they can’t fix the current one.

If you fear that the vehicle will be too costly to own or lease, then don’t do either. No, you’re not going to modify a leased vehicle.

I generally agree, but I should point out that the Model X is both longer and wider (but not taller) than a Hummer H2. It is narrower than the original Hummer.

Question: If you’re going to be moving a seat forward with a child seat on it, wouldn’t you move the front seat forward a bit to accommodate? It’s akin to having someone in the seat while moving it forward.

The X does this for you, sometimes, but it’s buggy, and it doesn’t go far enough.

Interesting – thanks for sharing all your experiences. It’s useful, and a refreshing pace from the increasing viciousness of the banter these last few weeks.

As a Model 3 reservation holder, I’m increasingly concerned, but not scared away, yet. The Model 3 will not have the features that are getting the most press for screwing up, like seats moving around, 3rd row issues, FDs, etc.

I still contend that, since the Model S is finally rolling off the lines in good shape, then the Model 3, another sedan with identical or analogous design and technology features, should be OK.

But then, we haven’t seen Reveal Part II, and they are setting a goal of starting the production run in only about 15 months…or basically, 1 year from the design lockdown…*shudder*.

Well, when the hype dies down, Model X flaws will become very apparent…

I will say this again, I love the Model S and I have reserved Model 3, but I wouldn’t touch a Model X with a 10 ft pole…

It is ugly and completely impractical for a family.