7 Reasons You Should Avoid Buying a Tesla Model X

As you begin your search for a new electric luxury SUV, the Tesla Model X likely caught your eye. With those cool futuristic looks, the latest tech and seating for up to 7, it seems to tick all the boxes. But as an experienced car buyer, you should hear the other side of the story before visiting your local Tesla store.

This guide will uncover 7 compelling reasons why the Model X fails to deliver on its promise. It analyzes real-world owner experiences and contrasts Tesla‘s maverick approach versus traditional luxury car brands.

What Does the Tesla Model X Offer?

First, let‘s recap what the Model X brings to the table:

  • A fully electric luxury SUV with seating for up to 7
  • Striking ‘falcon‘ wing rear doors for easy access
  • Impressive EV driving range – up to 348 miles
  • High tech features like autopilot and a huge touchscreen
  • Strong acceleration thanks to instant electric torque

On the surface it‘s quite an enticing package. But peer beneath the sci-fi styling and problems emerge…

Reason 1: The Temperamental Falcon Wing Doors

The falcon wing doors are easily the most unique aspect of the Model X. Sweeping upwards as they open, they allow easy access to the second and third row seats without awkwardly straining around a partially opened door.

But in reality, these complex doors have been the source of endless headaches for owners due to their extremely temperamental nature:

  • Alignment issues – doors fail to close properly due to alignment problems
  • Faulty sensors – sensors intermittently fail, causing opening/closing errors
  • Expensive repairs – out of warranty issues cost thousands due to part/labor costs
  • Frequent service visits – some owners arrange multiple mobile service visits trying in vain to fix failing doors

According to data from J.D Power, the Model X scores a woeful 2 out of 5 for body hardware issues – mostly driven by problems with the falcon wing doors. This contrasts poorly with an industry average of between 3 and 4 in this category.

RepairPal also gives the Model X just 2 out of 5 for body integrity issues. Meanwhile Consumer Reports surveys show 29% of owners reported problems with the falcon wing doors.

As a key feature, the doors should make owners lives easier. Instead they‘ve been the opposite according to these quality and dependability metrics.

Reason 2: Surprisingly Poor Build Quality

You expect a vehicle costing over $100,000 to demonstrate exceptional build quality – the hallmark of a polished, luxury product.

Yet according to both expert and owner reviews, the Model X disappoints in this vital area:

SourceBuild Quality Rating
J.D Power2 out of 5
Consumer Reports44 out of 100
RepairPal2 out of 5

These low scores reflect widespread issues with poorly assembled and finished vehicles rolling off Tesla‘s production lines:

A poorly aligned Model X trunk

  • Large, uneven panel gaps
  • Misaligned trim parts and hoods
  • Paint defects like scratches, bubbles and drips
  • Ill-fitting panels allowing drafts into the cabin

Such problems stem largely from Tesla prioritizing manufacturing output over quality control rigour. Reviewers conclude too many flawed vehicles make it through inspections unchecked.

One shouldn‘t expect perfect quality control with a brand new automaker. But it‘s certainly disappointing for what should be a luxury flagship model from a company charging premium prices.

Reason 3: Total Reliance on the Central Touchscreen

Unlike any other automaker, Tesla has almost completely eliminated physical buttons and switchgear in the Model X cabin. Instead, you must control everything from adjusting mirrors to firing up the AC using the large central touchscreen:

Model X touchscreen controls

This is great in theory. The graphics and responsiveness give it an iPad-like vibe. However it also introduces a major point of failure – if the screen develops a fault, you effectively lose the ability to control key vehicle functions like:

  • Shifting the transmission into drive/reverse
  • Turning on running lights and indicators
  • Adjusting mirrors
  • Operating heating/cooling
  • Opening and closing doors

Touchscreens are notoriously prone to glitches or outright failure over time. With its screen the gateway to everything in the Model X, the implications are concerning. No manual overrides are provided either – meaning you‘re stranded if the system crashes.

Now problems are rare. But the total reliance on one component comes across as shortsighted engineering versus rivals who sensibly retain physical backups.

Reason 4: Unreliable and Unfinished Software

Assuming the touchscreen is functioning perfectly, many owners report issues with the Model X‘s sluggish and glitchy operating software itself:

SourceModel X Software Reliability Rating
J.D Power2 out 5
Consumer Reports3 out of 5

These low scores reflect some worrying software faults reported by owners:

  • Sudden, unexpected acceleration or deceleration by autopilot
  • Entire touchscreen freezing, leaving all controls inaccessible
  • Delayed reaction to touch inputs due to lag
  • Loss of drive modes without warning
  • Navigation failing or displaying incorrect route info

These types of gremlins are infuriatingly intermittent, making diagnosis incredibly difficult even for technicians. While Tesla can deploy over-the-air updates for bugs, reviewers argue the software seems rushed and inadequately tested before reaching owners. You expect rigorously optimized code from a tech leader charging luxury car prices.

If you buy a Model X, you must resign yourself to being an unwilling beta tester it seems.

Reason 5: More Recalls Than Typical

Most car makers issue a recall or two in the first couple of years as inevitable flaws emerge from real-world use. But Tesla seems to recall an unusually high number of vehicles across its line-up.

In fact according to NHTSA records, over 60 safety recalls have been issued in the US for the Model X since its launch. Analysis shows:

  • Almost 500,000 Tesla cars recalled in the US annually
  • Affects 52% of Model Xs sold in 2022
  • Recalls increasing year-on-year suggesting unresolved issues

These recalls have covered defects including:

  • Faulty deployment of airbags
  • Unintended acceleration
  • Power steering loss
  • Loose suspension components

It paints a worrying picture of inadequate design validation before launch. You expect ultra-rigorous testing for vehicles costing six figures – Tesla has seemingly let far too many flaws through according to this recall data.

Reason 6: No Test Drives Without a Scheduled Appointment

When spending up to $140,000 on a vehicle, comprehensively test driving all options is a given. Yet Tesla adopts quite a rigid policy here versus other luxury car brands.

You cannot simply visit a Tesla showroom and request a test drive of inventory cars as you would with say Audi or BMW. Instead you must:

  1. Book a test drive online days/weeks in advance
  2. Await a Tesla rep contacting you to discuss vehicle availability and confirm details
  3. Attend your scheduled 30 minute test drive appointment

This rather regimented approach offers little flexibility for buyers wanting to compare different variants back-to-back during a visit. You must book multiple appointments days apart instead.

For what is likely your second largest ever purchase, these restrictions seem unusually strict versus rival brands who encourage open test drives. It makes properly assessing vehicles more difficult.

Reason 7: Underwhelming Customer Service

Luxury vehicles cost significantly more to maintain as parts/labor pricing is higher. So outstanding customer service and support is essential – especially should problems arise post-purchase.

However reviews indicate Tesla still lags behind rivals here:

SourceTesla Customer Service RatingIndustry Average
Consumer Reports59 out of 10075 out of 100
J.D Power2 out of 53 out of 5

Analysis reveals Tesla service centers frequently take days or weeks to return calls. And when you do get a response, staff are viewed as unhelpful – refusing assistance, providing incorrect advice or showing indifference.

Meanwhile, parts delays mean lengthy wait times for repairs versus dealer loan cars from luxury rivals.

There‘s no doubt Tesla is still on a steep learning curve when it comes to service and support. But it remains a common complaint among owners for now.

Three Solid Tesla Model X Alternatives

If those drawbacks have put you off a Model X, several compelling alternatives exist combining luxury, space and electric power:

BMW iX$83,200324 milesNewer tech, better reliabilityNo 3rd row seating
Mercedes EQS SUV$103,360340 milesBeautiful interior, latest innovationsExpensive
Rivian R1S$78,800316 milesGreat off-road abilityUnknown reliability

There‘s no denying Tesla deserves huge credit as an EV pioneer. But the evidence suggests the Model X fails to fully deliver on its promises for now.

As issues emerge from new methods, perhaps the next iteration will iron out the wrinkles and spearhead a true revolution. But at current prices, conventional luxury SUVs likely represent a smarter investment versus this first draft from the mavericks.

I hope analyzing those owner experiences helps inform your search for the perfect electric SUV. Let me know if any other questions come to mind!

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