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14 Drawbacks to Those Doors - 2016 Tesla Model X Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Posts: 10,112
edited September 2017 in Tesla
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14 Drawbacks to Those Doors - 2016 Tesla Model X Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds conducts a long-term test of the 2016 Tesla Model X and discusses pros and cons of its unusual doors.

Read the full story here


Comments

  • miata52miata52 Posts: 114
    What about a wet roof? Does water come off the doors onto the seat when opened?
  • lmbvettelmbvette South FloridaPosts: 93
    Yeah, I want to see pictures/video of what happens in the passenger compartment when these doors open in the rain.
    Don't worry about what other people think. Drive what makes you happy.
  • legacygtlegacygt Posts: 599
    Great list. Included just about all the issues I noted when the doors were first announced and then some. There's one other big problem and it's not with the doors themselves but with what they represent and how they (might) hurt Tesla. The Model S is a huge success for many reasons but the biggest is that in so many ways it is just a normal car. Yes, it has some some great features and revolutionary battery/charging tech. Yes, it's incredibly fast. Yes, it is beautiful. But most of all, it's a fairly typical luxury sedan. Customers can step out of an S Class or a Panamera or a 7 series or an A8 and feel more or less at home in the Model S. This is not the case with the Model X. Customers who step out of a 3 row CUV are going to be wowed, but also bewildered by the Model X and the doors are the number one reason why. If Tesla is smart, they have a standard rear door option in development.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    I'm now curious about emergency egress. In the event of an accident, what has Tesla done to allow someone to get out of the back seats? Obviously, in a roll-over situation, those doors aren't opening if the vehicle is laying on it's roof. But also, in the event that the electric vehicle doesn't have it's battery available to open the doors, how do you get out?
  • seppoboyseppoboy Posts: 93
    The Model X door fiasco is a bigger problem for Tesla than they realize. As a start-up company, their margin for error is less than a well established manufacturer that already has a diverse product portfolio. Tesla has basically two platforms, the Model S/Model X large car, and the Model 3 midsize currently in development. They spread their large platform over a sedan/hatchback and a crossover, but seriously compromised the crossover with the door design, which is problematic for the specific user related reasons Jason noted here. While Tesla will struggle to develop a new platform and scale up production capabilities, they face the possibility of failing to meet product design and quality expectations, productivity, and profitability on the Model 3. They would now be building and selling many more Model X vehicles at a better productivity and profitability level, while learning the right lessons of scaling up manufacturing, if they had not stuck this crucial part of their product line with such a needless distraction and likely source of customer dissatisfaction. The blew it on a very fundamental step to securing a viable future for their company.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited May 2016
    >>win over people that are too insecure to accept that the lowly minivan's power sliding doors are a superior solution.

    Alas, my two decade long campaign in that regard has gained little traction. :'(
  • prndlolprndlol Posts: 140
    edited May 2016
    Slowly but surely these doors will reach a perfect score 100% failure rate.
  • barich1barich1 Posts: 143
    I've seen instances where the doors have opened into things (like big concrete things) that they didn't "see" because of the location of the sensors in relation to the object. If there's an overhead obstacle, you can't see it from inside the back seat until you open the door, and even if you could, you have no idea if the door will properly partially open to avoid it or if it'll whack right into it. I want to like Tesla, but they're making staggeringly poor decisions about things like this, and they clearly haven't got the build quality or reliability down since the Model S either.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    @stever : I'll admit that the sliding doors on Minivans are great for being able to be opened in tight spaces. But you have to admit that when they start going bad, like getting off track, they're a nightmare to deal with. Especially when they do that dreaded "Latched, but not sealed" thing where you don't notice it until you're going down the road.
  • agentorangeagentorange Posts: 893
    Stupid glass roof (I live in Vegas) and equally dumb doors. No sale to me unless it comes free after sending in two cereal box tops and Musk pays the taxes.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    @agentorange : It's funny you mention the taxes, considering the big draw for the Electric Vehicles right now is the Federal Tax Credit you get by buying one. It's good that they offer a Tax Credit for the consumer (Although I'm not sold on All-Electric Vehicles myself), but it's a shame that by the time that the main-stream buyer can afford to buy a decent all-electric vehicle, the Tax Breaks will probably be gone. Right now, the "average" consumer can get those pitiful electrics that have a range of less than 100 miles at a decent price.
  • handbrakehandbrake Posts: 99
    It won't be long before the Tesla fanboys descend to attack this post and anyone who questions the wisdom of including these gimmicks on a very expensive vehicle. "Difficult to open in garages that have low ceilings? Well revise all building codes to embrace these doors and retroactively require all public garage heights be raised. It's for Elon Musk's vision!"

    I have a P85D. Great car. We were thinking about the Model X but one thing turned us off. Those doors. I guess if you're that rare minority of people who have kids in child seats and you live in a place with nice weather, the doors are a benefit. But most people do NOT have kids in that narrow age range. So Tesla built a baby carrier SUV and sacrificed utility for all other owners. That's a pretty stupid marketing plan.

    Had this vehicle been designed with the option of having regular doors, we'd have traded in our P85D without a second thought. As it is, we're keeping the P85D and right now we're thinking about getting a Mercedes GLE as a crossover type replacement for the P85D. The idiot doors (I won't call them by the name Musk uses) cost Tesla a sale.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    I keep waiting to see someone come out with a "Back to the Future" mod-kit for the Tesla Model X so they can have a Faux Flux Capacitor mounted behind the rear seats. If you're going to have gull wing doors, you have to have a flux capacitor & dryer vent tubes mounted to the vehicle. It doesn't matter the brand.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    edited May 2016

    @stever : I'll admit that the sliding doors on Minivans are great for being able to be opened in tight spaces. But you have to admit that when they start going bad, like getting off track, they're a nightmare to deal with. Especially when they do that dreaded "Latched, but not sealed" thing where you don't notice it until you're going down the road.

    Never had any issues with my three minivans but knew one guy whose door came off the track. The manufacturers have a lot more years of experience with them than "lame-o" doors.

    Great point about the main-stream buyer losing out on the tax credits -- yet another giveaway to the rich eh?

    Maybe we can convince Elon to bring back the Brubaker Box after the 3 gets into production. But with dual sliders this time. :D



  • Totally agree with this assessment...Must went off track with the extending door handles on the S, then doubled-down (actually probably quadrupled-down) with these lame doors on the X. Dumb.
  • Wow lots of emotion here. I definitely think they have a great "cool" factor, but that is about it. I have three kids, one being an infant, my wife would not even consider a minivan bf kids, however I was able to get her to go for an Odyssey... 3 odysseys later she will not trade the functionality of auto sliding doors for anything. Besides the Teslas/Rolls (and now a few other premiums) there is no other way to get doors that open ad close automatically for you for the low $30k. That said I lease my family car (wife wants the latest safety tech every few years) so have not kept a van long enough to have the issues with the sliding doors (I know Honda had a huge problem with these a generation or 2 ago). This article is great I was just worried about reliability, and whether it would open or not in tight spaces. Living in the Northeast I can just think of the infants getting soaked in their car seats when these things open. To be a bit positive I think the doors conceptually are amazing, the fact that I see several model S's on the road every day is also a big win for Tesla, they are mainstream, and the interest in the model 3 has been super strong. So to everyone's point lets leave the Model 3 to showcase how Tesla can pack Smart and efficient content into an affordable package. I agree there is little room for error, however folks with the $100-$150k to drop on a family hauler (that can do a low 3s 0-60 may I add) most likely value a big wow factor over whether they are perfect in every situation. After all it might just be the nanny's car for dropping the kids off at school in style.
  • daryleasondaryleason TexasPosts: 501
    edited May 2016
    My first thought on the gullwing doors was that the Delorean (come on Edmunds...GET ONE ALREADY) didn't have an issue with striking anything close by when it opened. You'd think Tesla could have matched that feature from a car that is approximately 30 years old and at least a 35 year old design.
  • aspadeaspade Posts: 42
    This car is much too small and low to have any of the visual presence that you get with other expensive vehicles. It's just 64" high. That's not a SUV at all. It's a Venza, only uglier. Park it next to an Explorer, much less an actual luxury SUV, and you wouldn't even realize the Tesla was there.

    Until the driver has to duck under these idiotic doors to get out.
  • misterfusionmisterfusion Posts: 471
    edited May 2016
    I agree with all of the practical drawbacks listed, and although I find the Model X intriguing, I would never own one unless I had Jay-Z money and it could just be part of my fleet.

    If you remember back when the Model X concept was first unveiled, the falcon wing doors (someone explain why this branding is somehow worse than anything by any other automaker?) were the main attraction, as it were. They looked cool, they had the wow factor, but pundits questioned whether they would ever see production, because cool concept-car features rarely do.

    So, let's imagine for a second what would have happened if they had put regular doors on this thing. I think there would have been a very loud chorus of "Tesla can't follow through", "Tesla can't innovate anymore", "The bloom is off the rose", etc. You know it's true. I think this influenced Musk as much as anything, and so he made the (IMO poor) decision to keep those doors, come engineering hell or high water.

    Personally, I'm starting to come around to Stever's way of thinking -- I think everything should have sliding doors, or at least a sliding-door variant. :P
  • desmoliciousdesmolicious Posts: 671
    Yeah yeah yeah, list all the minuses. But ignore the massive plus that the doors act like wings. With them open, hit a sweet jump at 80+ mph and revel in the hang time. Musk put a little Space-X in every one of these Model Xs.
  • legacygtlegacygt Posts: 599

    So, let's imagine for a second what would have happened if they had put regular doors on this thing. I think there would have been a very loud chorus of "Tesla can't follow through", "Tesla can't innovate anymore", "The bloom is off the rose", etc.

    This might be right the rationale they used but they still made the wrong decision. But so many manufacturers put cars up on show stands with crazy doors that don't make it to production. Tesla would have been in good company. But I guess the Model X was never a show car but rather was revealed in its production form. Maybe the downside to this approach is they don't get to benefit from public feedback.

    I understand avoiding sliding doors for the same reason that every other CUV avoids them (even though Tesla might have the brand power to make sliding doors cool again). They just should have let the powertrain, styling and tech differentiate this vehicle and otherwise mimic the typical 3 row CUV packaging. What makes the Model S a success is that from a size, layout and utility standpoint, it's very similar to other luxury sedans.
  • mfennellmfennell Posts: 91

    So, let's imagine for a second what would have happened if they had put regular doors on this thing. I think there would have been a very loud chorus of "Tesla can't follow through", "Tesla can't innovate anymore", "The bloom is off the rose", etc. You know it's true. I think this influenced Musk as much as anything, and so he made the (IMO poor) decision to keep those doors, come engineering hell or high water.

    That's why it should never have even reached the show car point. Every single one of the negatives Jason listed were obvious the day someone scribbled the doors out on a piece of paper.
  • papafox1papafox1 Posts: 2
    1. Because part of the roof is now the door, you can't mount a roof rack or roof-mounted cargo box atop the Model X
    ROOF RACKS DON'T MAKE MUCH SENSE FOR EVs, DUE TO AERODYNAMIC DRAG PENALTIES. THE PLACE TO CARRY SKIS, BIKES, ETC. WITH AN EV SUV IS BEHIND THE VEHICLE WHERE THEY PRODUCE VERY LITTLE DRAG.
    2. No door pockets or cupholders allowed. Unless you want those things dumped on the ground
    MIDDLE ROW OF SEATS HAVE CUP HOLDERS NEAR THE CENTER... NO NEED FOR CUP HOLDERS ON THE SIDES.
    3. They're slower to operate than any manual door
    TRUE. THIS VEHICLE IS A BAD CHOICE FOR BANK ROBBERS.
    4. You have to stand away from the door after pressing the release button on the door, else the sensors detect your presence and only open partially
    SUCH EFFORT INVOLVED!
    5. The doors are incompatible with garages with low roofs. This includes operating the doors inside many/most home garages when the garage door is open
    THESE DOORS WILL RISE HALFWAY TO ACCOMMODATE LOW CEILINGS.
    6. Close parking quarters can result in a partial door opening. Perhaps not any worse than a swinging door in this regard. Plus, our Model X has the "summon" function, which helps. A minivan's sliding door, however, will open fully in virtually any gap into which even a slim person can physically squeeze
    TIGHT PARKING SPACES ARE A HASSLE WITH THESE DOORS AS WELL WITH CONVENTIONAL HINGED DOORS AS WELL.
    7. With their electric motors, sensors, additional hinge points, et al,, they're almost certainly much heavier than other doors
    WHO CARES? THE MODEL X CAN BLOW AWAY ANY OTHER SUV IN A DRAG RACE.
    8. Speaking of weight: because part of the roof is now the door, the chassis is structurally inefficient and thus heavier than it would otherwise be
    SEE PREVIOUS ANSWER.
    9. The operating mechanism is located at the highest point of the car, raising its center of gravity
    MODEL X STILL HAS THE LOWEST CG OF ANY CUV OR SUV ON THE MARKET.
    10. When it rains, it had better be falling straight down, otherwise it's going to blow in through the huge opening and soak the leather and/or your butt
    USE THE DOWNWIND DOOR FOR ENTRY/EXIT WHEN PRACTICAL IF YOU WANT TO AVOID BLOWING RAIN, ETC.
    11. Snow on the roof will be snow on your seat
    WITH AN EV, YOU WANT TO REMOVE THE SNOW BEFORE DRIVING ANYWAY, DUE TO THE WEIGHT AND DRAG.
    12. Presence of doors in roof leaves no space for a proper sliding sunshade between the "receding hairline" windshield and the door openings. Instead we get a cheesy K-mart-grade fixed sunshade
    THE WINDSHIELD IS NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING. A LESS THAN IDEAL SUNSHADE IS THE PRICE TO BE PAID FOR THE BEST VISIBILITY EVER OFFERED TO THE DRIVER OF A CUV OR SUV.
    13. The corner of the articulating door sometimes rests right at forehead height of exiting front passengers
    ONLY IF THE DOOR STOPS AT THE HALWAY POINT. I KNOW BECAUSE I VISITED THE TESLA STORE TODAY.
    14. The articulating doors are over the rear passengers, not the driver. The rich dude that buys one of these wants to own his Lambo flashbacks for himself, not his whiny kids. They need a sliding door
    AGREED. TODAY'S KIDS GET TOO MUCH OF THE GOOD STUFF AND PAPA IS LEFT PAYING THE BILL.

    My point in making these comments is to try putting the criticisms in perspective. I frequent the Model X forums and owners are almost universally thrilled with their new vehicles. The author has a valid point that the Model X is not for everyone. A traditional SUV is better suited for the needs of many. Tesla only needs to capture 10% of the luxury CUV/SUV market to make this vehicle a roaring success, however. I think they'll succeed.
  • tlangnesstlangness Posts: 123
    papafox1 said:


    1. Because part of the roof is now the door, you can't mount a roof rack or roof-mounted cargo box atop the Model X
    ROOF RACKS DON'T MAKE MUCH SENSE FOR EVs, DUE TO AERODYNAMIC DRAG PENALTIES. THE PLACE TO CARRY SKIS, BIKES, ETC. WITH AN EV SUV IS BEHIND THE VEHICLE WHERE THEY PRODUCE VERY LITTLE DRAG.

    Not necessarily true. A well designed cargo box on the roof may have less impact on the coefficient of drag than a couple of poorly placed items hanging off a rack in the back. Plus, if you're towing, a roof rack is always useful. And how do you plan on carrying surfboards? Roof racks are the only way. A 9-foot board doesn't fit inside, nor does it fit on a rack off the trailer hitch sideways.
    papafox1 said:


    2. No door pockets or cupholders allowed. Unless you want those things dumped on the ground
    MIDDLE ROW OF SEATS HAVE CUP HOLDERS NEAR THE CENTER... NO NEED FOR CUP HOLDERS ON THE SIDES.

    Six passengers? Long road trip? Multiple beverages? Multiple cupholders may not be required but every minivan and SUV that has them is better for it.
    papafox1 said:


    3. They're slower to operate than any manual door
    TRUE. THIS VEHICLE IS A BAD CHOICE FOR BANK ROBBERS.

    Or anyone standing in the rain. Or holding heavy groceries. Or an impatient child who needs the restroom.
    papafox1 said:


    4. You have to stand away from the door after pressing the release button on the door, else the sensors detect your presence and only open partially
    SUCH EFFORT INVOLVED!

    It's just a door, effort levels shouldn't be high for a problem that was solved 100 years ago.
    papafox1 said:


    5. The doors are incompatible with garages with low roofs. This includes operating the doors inside many/most home garages when the garage door is open
    THESE DOORS WILL RISE HALFWAY TO ACCOMMODATE LOW CEILINGS.

    Yeah, and then you cannot get in to the car. It's happened to me more than once in my low-ceiling garage. See previous weather-related comments to see why pulling out of the garage just to let people in the back seat isn't practical.
    papafox1 said:


    7. With their electric motors, sensors, additional hinge points, et al,, they're almost certainly much heavier than other doors
    WHO CARES? THE MODEL X CAN BLOW AWAY ANY OTHER SUV IN A DRAG RACE.

    They slow down the model X and decrease its range by being heavier. With better doors it would be even faster. Like... Model S fast.
    papafox1 said:


    10. When it rains, it had better be falling straight down, otherwise it's going to blow in through the huge opening and soak the leather and/or your butt
    USE THE DOWNWIND DOOR FOR ENTRY/EXIT WHEN PRACTICAL IF YOU WANT TO AVOID BLOWING RAIN, ETC.

    That shouldn't be an equation the driver/passengers have to make.
    papafox1 said:


    11. Snow on the roof will be snow on your seat
    WITH AN EV, YOU WANT TO REMOVE THE SNOW BEFORE DRIVING ANYWAY, DUE TO THE WEIGHT AND DRAG.

    With most cars, it would come off with a few feet of driving, depending on the level of snow of course. Also, to take snow off the roof you could typically stand on the door sill and scrape it off. Not in this case.
    papafox1 said:


    12. Presence of doors in roof leaves no space for a proper sliding sunshade between the "receding hairline" windshield and the door openings. Instead we get a cheesy K-mart-grade fixed sunshade
    THE WINDSHIELD IS NOTHING SHORT OF AMAZING. A LESS THAN IDEAL SUNSHADE IS THE PRICE TO BE PAID FOR THE BEST VISIBILITY EVER OFFERED TO THE DRIVER OF A CUV OR SUV.

    Why do I need to have good forward visibility of the sky? I've driven the model X quite a bit and never felt the need to look up where the windshield is tinted. Plus it's gonna cost a fortune to replace one when we inevitably get a rock-chip/crack in it.
    papafox1 said:


    13. The corner of the articulating door sometimes rests right at forehead height of exiting front passengers
    ONLY IF THE DOOR STOPS AT THE HALWAY POINT. I KNOW BECAUSE I VISITED THE TESLA STORE TODAY.

    Like in those low-roof scenarios we described earlier, requiring my passengers to exit the car before i ever pull in t my garage.
  • papafox1papafox1 Posts: 2
    You know, this back and forth about the doors is rather silly. Some people may not like the doors. That's ok. The Tesla Model X accelerates and handles like a sports car, uses less energy per mile than a Smart Car, has the most amazing view out the windshield of any production vehicle, and likely will hold 5 star safety in every category. If it's not your cup of tea, choose something else, but there are a whole lot of people receiving these vehicles who are wildly pleased with them. Caution, though. If you don't plan to buy one, don't test drive one. You will never be happy with the handling of your CUV or SUV again once you understand what it's like to drive a vehicle such as Model X.
  • A lot of these comments sound like they're from whiners that can't afford the Model X. Btw, it's awesome and love those doors! Have not had any issues. The poster above (with all the come backs to the arguments against this amazing vehicle) was right on track. It may not be for everyone, which is totally fine. But what is with all of these people getting mad about something because it is not in their price range?
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