The Tesla Model X remains the unbeatable standard against which future electric SUVs are measured. There is no shortage of competition in the premium electric SUV segment, with the German trio of the BMW iX, Audi e-tron S, and Mercedes-Benz EQC hot on Tesla’s tail. The Tesla Model X, which was first introduced in 2015, experienced multiple delays before going into production, the majority of which had something to do with the Model X’s most distinguishing and cool feature: those falcon-wing rear doors.
Tesla sued the US subsidiary of Swiss hydraulics specialist Hoerbiger Holding, supplier of the hydraulics system in the Model X’s falcon rear doors, in 2016 for oil leaking and system overheating. In September of that year, Hoerbiger Holding and Tesla agreed to settle the lawsuit (per Fortune). This incident has left an indelible mark on one of the Tesla Model X’s many build-quality issues and inherent problems.
Tesla Model X reliability issues
The Tesla Model X is a quick, stylish, and technologically advanced electric SUV. It’s currently available in a dual-motor AWD version as well as a hotrod tri-motor Plaid model starting at just under $145,000. In exchange, you get a trio of high-performance, carbon-sleeved electric motors with a combined output of 1,020 horsepower. With that many horses, the Model X Plaid could reach 60 mph in 2.5 seconds and the quarter-mile in under 10 seconds.
Furthermore, the Model X is loaded with industry-first tech features. Autopilot, Caraoke, in-car gaming and video streaming, and a bioweapon defense mode are all available. The latter allows you to (theoretically) survive a military-grade biological attack simply by sitting inside your Model X. However, the Model X is not without flaws, as it has a history of quality and reliability issues.
The issues became so widespread that Motor Biscuit dubbed the Tesla Model X in 2020 the “worst electric car you should never buy.” According to the publication, inconsistent panel gaps, minor design flaws, and shoddy fit and finish are just a few of the issues with the Model X. Despite its high performance ratings, Consumer Reports gave it a low reliability rating.
More money, more problems
Indeed, the majority of the Tesla Model X’s build-quality issues are unacceptable for an EV costing more than $100,000. While Tesla settled the falcon wing door issue out of court and hired a new supplier to redesign those dual-hinged doors (per Teslarati), Model X owners continue to report issues such as faulty door alignment, unusual noises when opening or closing, water leaks, high-speed wind noise, or intermittent opening or closing (per Engine Patrol). Other issues commonly reported by owners include poor paint quality, malfunctioning media control units (MCUs), and suspension problems.
There is, of course, a silver lining among the dark clouds. According to Motor Biscuit, purchasing a Tesla Model X could be “hit or miss” because most vehicles have fewer significant problems than most. We understand why most EV buyers regard Tesla vehicles as the automotive industry’s savior (and the planet). It’s difficult to deny that Tesla sparked the EV revolution and set brilliant examples of what modern EVs should look like and feel like on the road. As it stands, the Tesla Model X is still the king of electric SUVs, though it takes a special type of buyer to look past its flaws.