Consumer Reports had one big problem with its new Tesla: they couldn't drive it

Consumer Reports spent $US127,000 on a new Tesla P85D — the baddest, fastest Tesla of them all, and the freshest, introduced just last year.

Big problem: The car locked them out of the driver’s seat.

CR had issues with the P85D’s door handles, which are designed to present themselves to drivers and passengers by using a proximity sensor. Otherwise, they sit flush to the car’s body. It’s a cool feature, but according to CR, the handles malfunction so often that they’re the number-one complaint of Tesla owners in the CR database.

Unfortunately for CR’s testers, even though P85D’s other door handles were functioning correctly, the car’s software wouldn’t let anyone drive it for more than few minutes because it sensed that something was wrong. The problem was easily fixed. As CR Auto Test Director Jake Fisher noted, Tesla sent a technician to the magazine’s facilities to repair the car, something that the automaker offers to all owners.

Tesla is actually well aware of the door-handle glitch and has addressed it on numerous occasions. It is, however, one of those features that sets the Model S apart from the other luxury sedans, so Tesla is basically stuck with it, unless it decides to go with a more conventional design on future models.

And another thing: Tesla’s new SUV, the Model X, is scheduled to hit the market in the third quarter of this year. It has exotic “falcon wing” doors that swing up.

Tesla model x falcon doorsWikimedia CommonsTesla Model X

Rumours are that they have been tricky to engineer. Who knew that simply getting into a high-tech Tesla could be the company’s biggest challenge?

Check out CR’s full explanation of the door-handle problem on the video below:

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