Consumer Reports isn't all that crazy about Tesla's Model X SUV

Tesla Model XJustin Sullivan/Getty ImagesTesla CEO Elon Musk demonstrates the falcon wing doors on the new Tesla Model X Crossover SUV during a launch event on September 29, 2015 in Fremont, California.

We probably should have seen this one coming. Consumer Reports initially
loved the Tesla Model S — so much that it broke the magazine’s rating scale in 2015, leading the P85D version to be declared the best-performing vehicle ever tested.

But expected reliability issues clonked the same vehicle, compelling CR to label it “not recommended.”

CR later called the car’s reliability average, as some of the problems were worked out.

Now CR has reviewed the newest Tesla, the Model X SUV, and found it simultaneously amazing — and troubled.

“The electric-powered Model X is more showy than practical,” CR wrote.

“It features rear doors that open up and out of the way, giving easy access to rear seats. But these massive doors take their time to open and close. The huge windshield extends up and over the front-seat occupants, making the cabin feel airy and futuristic. Buyers can opt for five-, six-, or seven-passenger seating configurations, but unlike every other SUV, the second row doesn’t fold, which compromises utility. Like the S, the Model X is very quick and handles well.”

At Business Insider, we haven’t yet done a full review of the Model X, but CR’s impressions match some of ours. We, too, were confused by the non-folding rear seats. But we we impressed with the design and execution of the vehicle. The exotic doors didn’t bother us that much — but we didn’t spend much time using them.

Tesla Model X NYCBenjamin Zhang/Business InsiderBI’s Transportation team checked out the Model X earlier in 2016.

Here’s the thing about Consumer Reports: they won’t holdback when they’re pleased by a car, but they also know that their audience expects good buying advice and doesn’t want to get involved with a high-hassle, unreliable vehicle.

The Model X is very cool but also very complicated. Tesla CEO Elon Musk himself admitted the company pushed the envelope too far with its SUV.

But there were early issues with the Model S, as well. Over the years — the car arrived in 2012 — many of the kinks have been worked out. That process has been underway with the Model X since the beginning of 2016.

Tesla is somewhat a victim of its own success. Prior to the Model X, it has really only designed and built one car. Now it has built two. That’s what you expect from an exotic supercar maker, and nobody expects those cars to be all that reliable or glitch-free.

Anticipating that Tesla’s vehicles will perform as well as Honda’s or Toyota’s doesn’t make sense, from a buyer’s perspective. You’re taking a chance. And CR has rightly pointed out that you might not be entirely happy with every aspect of you amazing new Tesla vehicle.

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