Posted by: miggins | January 6, 2016

Tesla Model X – first impressions – good, bad and ugly


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:

mirror2 copy

  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.



  1. Thanks for this fair review and comments. It confirms my decision to get the 6 seat version.

    Any comments about noise? I read that soundproofing was insufficient – you can hear outside road noise too much, and people outside hear your cat’s music quite loud.

    I’m sure things will improve swiftly. Congratulations on your X, I will likely have 6-12 months wait for being on the Old Continent.

    • Yes, it’s not as quiet as the model S – I had someone look at me strangely while I was in the car wrapping up a phone call today. I didn’t realize this before my post (and it’s still MUCH quieter than a combustable engine car)!

  2. What a wonderful post and insight! We are in line to receive our X hopefully by Q2 and having read some of your concerns along with other owners it is a tad disheartening to see the falcon wing doors act up already. As you stated, I was also hoping the FWD would do their job and not be a nuisance but it seems to not be the case. If anything I thought with all of its complexity those doors would potentially pose a problem years down the line but certainly not this early. Let’s hope they correct both the fob, and rear door sensors for you and also for the customers right behind you in line in the coming days. I’m wondering if they would redesign a 2nd row middle seat headrest which could fold down (much like the 3rd row headrests do prior to folding down). Please do post another update of how everything is working out and if the service center was able to correct your concerns. I’ll be following.

    • Fob was fixed by their team – great experience.

      Not holding out too much hope on the other items although I am getting a little more accustomed to the rear doors. getting slightly easier.

  3. Uhm… Were their supposed to be photos…?

    • There are now – sorry about that.

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