The Tesla Model X is an amazingly complex machine, and that complexity has led to some early issues — and a word of caution from Consumer Reports. Speaking with early Model X owner Michael Karpf, Consumer Reports recounted the glitches that have plagued his Model X, including the falcon wing doors failing both to close and to sense overhead obstructions, door window obstructions, computer and Autopilot glitches, and distortion through the enormous stretching-over-your-head windshield.
But, as Consumer Reports noted, the first year of any vehicle is bound to be filled with manufacturer debugging:
Such issues are expected from a brand-new model. Consumer Reports recommends against buying a vehicle in its first year of production—especially a ground-up vehicle with the incredible complexity of a Tesla. Even the Toyota Prius, noted for bulletproof reliability, slipped slightly during its 2010 redesign.
It's unfortunate that buyers of $100,000+ vehicles like the Model X have to cope with these kind of teething issues as Tesla — or any automaker — sorts out their manufacturing and quality assurance processes as a new production line ramps up. With the Model X Tesla has a small customer base — they've only sold a few thousand so far — so they can work one-on-one with drivers that have issues. Tesla also has maintained its reputation for customer service, with those Consumer Reports surveyed almost universally praising "Tesla's rapid response and repair time."
Tesla CEO Elon Musk took to Twitter, replying to to a Model X buyer that they've "amplified pre-delivery inspection" of Model X:
@RealDarthBL We have amplified pre-delivery inspection to provide a stronger second layer of QA. Several parts being replaced as a result.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 20, 2016
Tesla is still a young company in the grand scheme of automotive manufacturers, and as they expand production of the Model S and Model X they're steadily improving. It's easy to argue that features like the falcon wing doors on the Model X are unnecessarily complex and may have added undue failure points and cost to the vehicle, but it's also worth considering the issues as a learning opportunity for Tesla. The Tesla Model 3 is expected to start production at the end of 2017, and Tesla's seen more than 400,000 people place a $1,000 deposit for the $35,000 electric sedan. It's better that Tesla sort these issues now than later when they're shipping the Model 3 in huge numbers.