Posted by: miggins | March 4, 2016

Model X Review- two months in- update on issues, etc

Wanted to post some quick updates on my car and share my service experience.  These are in response to items I mentioned in my last post.  Here we go

1. The falcon wing doors are still flaky.   The service tech informed me that they are experiencing some issues with the sensors on the doors which explains why they sometime won’t open all the way even though nothing is in the way.  They have swapped out some of the sensors and the doors work a little better.  

Bottom line- to me the doors are more of a nuisance than a benefit – but perhaps these usability issues will minimize as the car gets smarter or are more a function of the X being a brand new model.   But- if I could get rid of them now for doors that open traditionally I would. 

2. Windshield double and triple vision at night. After a long time and too many explanations I finally got a patient tech to come over and drive my car at night.  He readily agreed that I’m not crazy and there is something wrong with the glass that is creating this weird effect.  By the way, it has nothing to do with driver height. Everyone notices this – especially those without glasses on.  

Evidently there is a ticket between service and the product manager in charge of glass and they are seeking some answers from the glass supplier.  I am still in the dark on severity and timing but I have been assured that there is a long thread and the right people are looking into this – finally.  

I remain surprised at how hard it was to get the company’s attention.  I called local tech (who was very responsive but powerless) as well as HQ (blew me off and directed me back to local team). I even sent out warning tweet telling Tesla they have a problem with their new vehicle and got zero response.  Unusual for this to fall through the cracks but it did for two months.  

3. The car has gotten smarter.  Things like driver door sensors seem to work more intelligently- never hitting cars in a parking lot. Assisted parking seems just better with time.  

4. I get software updates about once every two weeks so improvements and new features are coming frequently.  
I hope this is helpful for anyone out there considering a model X. 

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OK, so they called my number a couple of months ago and I took delivery of the model X on New Year’s eve this past week.  I have been driving it for 5 days now and thought I would post my thoughts.

The Good:

  1. Spacious.  There is a ton of room for the driver.  I’m 6’5″ and have always found the model S to be too low to the ground.  I’m used to the S but it sits low the ground and the visibility near the top is poor.  On the contrary, the model X is higher off the ground, much easier to get in and out of, and the dome like front windshield feels like you’re in the cockpit of a helicopter.  Amazing.  It’s really a great feeling for the driver.
  2. Comfortable seats.  The driver seat is firm but comfortable.  They got it right.
  3. Drink holder and cubby in front seat has been added.   This makes it easy to leave a phone of wallet (or small purse) in the car, pull the bin closed and leave and lock up.  The Model S was missing this.  Plus there are two extra drink holders closer to the screen – which makes them easier to use.  Well done!
  4. Third row seats have air vents.  I want the third row to be suitable for long distance travel.  Not only does the model S not work because the rear facing seats are small, but there is no ac back there.  Not so for the X – they added ac vents for the third row.  That plus more legroom should make long distance travel easier.  Now we just need more and faster superchargers…
  5. Autopilot!!!!!  It’s amazing.  I understand this is available on the Model S too but my S is too early to have it (no front sensors) so I am new to this feature and it’s incredible.  I drove out of the Tesla shop in Austin and headed south on I-35 for 1:15 to San Antonio.   I used autopilot immediately on the highway and it guided me safely through stop and go rush hour traffic leaving town.  It was the most stress free drive on that road I have ever had – period!
  6. Front door automation.  The doors open and shut for you – very cool!!

The Bad:

    1. Falcon wing doors.  Where do I start?
      1. First of all, they are slow to open and close.  This might just take some getting used to but they seem very slow. It has rained twice in 5 days and on both occasions I simply needed to get kids on the car quickly.  But we waited and got wet.  True I could have opened the doors early on approach so maybe this will become less of a negative with experience.
      2. Secondly, they are too sensitive.  If a kid is standing in the way, they won’t open for fear of hitting the kid (even if it’s raining).  So we’ll have to learn to stand out of the way.
      3. But they are not so sensitive that they won’t hit the top of my garage.  I read over and over that their sensors will ‘see’ the top of your garage and stop short.  Not so for me so far.  Maybe there’s a setting or some ‘learning’ which needs to take place but I was hoping this would be worry free and it’s anything but.  Sometimes they stop and sometimes they don’t. Makes me nervous.

2. Key fobs:  After day 2 both of them stopped engaging the car.  I can get into the car using them but then the car says ‘key not inside the car’ and refuses to start.  I have to use the Tesla app to override and do a keyless entry every time.  They are coming to replace the batteries but seems strange.  Hopefully not a recurring problem.

The Ugly:

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  1. Rear View Mirror.  Boooo!!  I purchased the three seat middle row and the center seat’s head rest (which can’t be removed or folded down) blocks about 40% of the rear view visibility.  I cannot fathom how Tesla missed this.  They must have only tested cars with captain’s chairs.  The rear view mirror is essentially useless but still pisses me off every time I instinctively try to use it.  (By the way, this has nothing to do with my height as a straight line from the mirror to the rear windshield will slam into that seat head no matter how short or tall the driver).  Have you ever tried to park in a parking lot and it seems like the lot designer decided to make every single space 10% smaller in an effort to get an extra 10% of spaces?  It leaves every driver furious.  That’s how I feel about this rear view mirror every time I try to use it.

Bottom line so far – I *do* love the car.  It’s much more comfortable for me and my family.  There are some quirks which we’ll get used to, there are plenty of cool features which are worth the wait and then a couple of flaws (in my opinion).  If i was giving a grade, I’d say A minus.

Posted by: miggins | December 12, 2013

Here’s something you don’t see everyday

A Tesla parked next to a Fisker Karma- both charging- in Austin TX. The third car over was a Nissan Leaf.

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