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Open Letter to Motor Trend concerning Model X First Take

Discussion in 'Model X' started by tropical1, Sep 14, 2016.

  1. tropical1

    tropical1 Member

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    Open Letter to Motor Trend based on first take review posted

    2016 Tesla Model X 75D First Test Review - Motor Trend

    As a model X 75d owner, I found your first take review to be poorly written, overly sarcastic, and in many cases simply untrue. This article does not convey what potential owners of Model X would need to know about potentially purchasing the car. Here is my first take after two months of ownership.

    Design- Everywhere we go with this car people comment on the design positively. In fact, almost daily folks of all ages comment on the car. This hasn't happened with any other car we have owned. I am pretty sure Tesla got this right. Windshield is amazing for travel and visibility, no comfort issues with heat transmission in Florida. Falcon wing doors have been flawless after correction (sensors were too sensitive and sometimes doors would not shut all the way without manual override) and have never hit any object, let alone another car.

    Performance- Second to none in its class. All wheel drive. For the performance models, super car performance in an suv. Seriously, this alone should have automotive magazines praising the car.

    Comfort - The most comfortable car we have ever driven. The second row seats although not foldable are amazingly comfortable compared to other mid size SUVs or minivans we have owned. Third row is a bit cramped, but manageable and fairly typical for cars in this class. Air conditioning works well throughout the cabin and senses rear occupants to activate rear air conditioning. Car can be turned on remotely from smartphone and pre-conditioned with air conditioning so you don’t have to get into a 120 degree car on a hot day.

    Autopilot – Game changing technology for road trips. Traffic aware cruise control very accurate, autosteer performance has been very good but not perfect. Greatly reduces driver fatigue and improves safety overall on road trips if used appropriately. The best “cruise control” we have ever owned in a car. The car reads speed limit signs so you always know what the speed limit is even in construction zones and the on-screen display indicates vehicles in blind spots. Park assist indicates how many inches you are away from obstacles and rear camera system indicates vehicle path. Amazingly with updates this technology will continue to improve after the initial purchase.

    Audio/Navigation – Upgraded sound system is very good. Bluetooth phone performance is very good. Integrated internet audio negates need for satellite radio subscriptions. LTE internet connection included with cost of car. Google powered navigation system on largest and most user friendly touch screen in the industry. Tighter smartphone integration could be added through future software updates and would be a welcome addition. Car connects to wifi when parked.

    Safety
    – Crash tests are pending, Tesla claims will be class-leading.

    Storage – Ample for a mid-size SUV. Space in front truck, fold flat rear seats with deep well storage that can be hidden. Under seat storage in second row. Fold flat second row would be a nice improvement but the downside might be less comfortable second row seats.

    Utility – The first electric car that can tow 5000lbs. Can use hitch mounted accessories for bike racks etc. Tow mode works well. Air suspension allows adjustment of height for improved clearance and the car can learn by GPS location areas to automatically raise suspension. Electric range is reduced when towing and for long distance towing this is a consideration.

    Maintenance / Time Saved - No stops at gas stations for local travel. No oil changes. Minimal maintenance needed. For long distance travel free fast charging through tesla super chargers. What other car companies pay for your road trips, particularly in an SUV.

    Service – Excellent customer service. Tesla can log in to your car remotely to determine if an issue requires bringing the car to the service center. Some issues can be fixed remotely.

    Software Updates – As far as I am aware, no other car company provides over the air software updates where the functionality of the car improves over time. This also saves time from needing to go to the service center.

    Pros - class leading design, performance, comfort, technology, service, and likely safety.

    Cons – In seven seat model, third row is a bit cramped and careful adjustment of second row is needed for comfort of rear passengers. Initial software bugs with closing of falcon wing doors that have been corrected. Long distance towing requires adequate planning for charging due to reduced range. Lack of fold flat seats in second row may be an issue for some.

    Overall I am baffled by an automotive press that overly emphasizes minor flaws in a vehicle that gets so many things right. Just the fact that this car is the first and only long-range fully electric SUV with supercar performance should be enough to get accolades, but the Model X is far more than that. Every car has negative aspects but very few check off as many positives as the Model X. The folks that overly emphasize the minor negative points have probably never owned one and perhaps write articles to grab attention on the internet instead of communicate the truth.
     
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  2. figers

    figers X60D Owner

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    Agree with all of that, after reading that even more so can't wait for my X60D to arrive!
     
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  3. earlyretirement

    earlyretirement Model X 90D

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    I LOVE my Model X and I really loved my Model S P85 when I first got it in mid 2013. I agree with much of what you write but I think you have to be objective as well and post about the negatives. I do a lot of consulting and whenever a client/friend raves about something I always ask them to tell me 5 negative things about it.

    I'd disagree with the maintenance/time saved part of your post. Let's be honest, maybe around local driving you save time not having to fill up gas but road trips always take longer with having to charge and also worrying about charging. Plus, now many locations are always full and you have to wait a while. I know many friends that are running into this same phenomenon.

    As well, almost everyone that I know that has a Tesla has had to take their vehicle in to get serviced. Many of them several times. Me for example, my car was in service over 10+ times in 3 years. That's a lot for a $125,000 new car.

    I agree with you that it's an amazing car but there are some downsides as well being a Tesla owner.
     
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  4. figers

    figers X60D Owner

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    There are always downsides to everything in life, but if the upsides greatly outweighs the downsides they're usually overlooked and not a big deal to deal with.

    Waiting for a super charger seems like a West Cost thing for the time being, hopefully I don't run into that anytime soon in New England. When Model 3 production is in full swing I hope Tesla has built out the super charger network at lot more...
     
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  5. tropical1

    tropical1 Member

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    Yeah no supercharger issues here in Florida, always open stalls.
    Most driving is daily and never have to go a gas station or waste time on an oil change appt. but I guess that depends on your use.
    Have a model s that has never been to service, once for X.
     
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  6. earlyretirement

    earlyretirement Model X 90D

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    Absolutely I totally agree with you that the upsides outweigh the downsides. No doubt about it for me. It's just that I hate reading posts by Tesla fanboys that only post the positive things. Again, I'm a huge Tesla supporter but generally my impressions owning 2 Teslas over the past 3.5 years is they pretty much over promise and under deliver on many things.

    Plus, when you do need to take it into service, it can take several weeks up to 1 month to even get an appointment. I'm not sure how bad it will be once the Model 3 comes out. It's going to be ugly. And for sure, they will undoubtably have problems with that model as well in the early years.

    I'm happy to hear you on the East Coast aren't having problems at the Super chargers. But here in Southern California where many many people have Tesla's it's a problem. To make things worse, it seems like in some areas, it's just locals charging their cars so people traveling on road trips can't charge or have to wait forever.

    Hopefully Tesla has a good game plan to deal with that. Interesting when I recently charged at San Juan Capistrano, CA they had a Tesla attendant sitting at a little makeshift desk. But I'm not sure what his task was as he just pointed me into the last stall (didn't need any help there). He didn't take my keys while I ate or ask me how long I would be there, etc. So not sure what they are supposed to be doing? Does anyone know?
     
  7. Eclectic

    Eclectic Member

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    If you think that short review was poorly written and overly sarcastic, you probably should not read Motor Trend or Car & Driver. They specialize in liberal doses of snark in their reviews. I thought the review was pretty good (granted, I am not a Tesla zealot) and well written, as far as auto mag articles go. If you're looking for fawning praise, that's reserved for Porsches and (at one time) BMWs.
     
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  8. gangzoom

    gangzoom Member

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    ^Agree with above. I read it as a positive review, especially the comparison with a P90D. Essentially they are saying the 75D is 90% as good as the P90D but $40k cheaper.
     
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  9. Diavel

    Diavel Member

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    The problem with the article for me is that it didn't really talk about the vehicle as comprehensive as OP did. I wish it were a bit longer and really pore over details of what makes this suv unique. Tesla has really trailblazed here with innovation and daring/risky changes which is upping the ante for competition resulting in nothing but good for consumers.

    Id appreciate a more thorough article and cannot seem to find these nowadays.
     
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  10. systemcrashed

    systemcrashed Please Reboot

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    I think about these magazine reviews this way. If they came out and said Tesla was like no other or went into specific details on a head to head (performance, versatility and efficiency in particular) , what the heck would they do with their publication? There would be no need to review any other car ever, right?
     
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  11. tropical1

    tropical1 Member

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    Maybe based on the style of writing, Motor Trend is just not for me. The things I listed as cons are really the only downside to the car I have identified. Definitely a Tesla fan so I can disclaim that. Just curious why it seems that they get taken to task for every little minor complaint and other manufacturers (particularly Porsche and BMW) get a pass. Even more telling is how every vaporware electric car these guys discuss is going to be a Tesla killer.

    Does anybody ever complain about the vertical doors on a Lamborghini?
     
  12. vandacca

    vandacca Active Member

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    Don't get me started on those Lamborghini vertical doors. I would have bought one if it were not for those doors. And the fact that the passenger seat doesn't fold.
     
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  13. MikeJer

    MikeJer Member

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    Great topic. Agree 100%.

    Also did anyone else notice that the article says the X75D goes from 0-60 in 5.5s? On the ordering page it states 6s. Is this an error in the review? Has anyone independently tested the X75D in this regard?
     
  14. mymacbook

    mymacbook Member

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    Have to respectfully disagree with a few of your comments in the open letter. This is one of the least comfortable SUVs we've ever owned when you have kids (in car seats) in the 3rd row and at least one adult in the 2nd row, and two in the front (driver + passenger). We just finished a road trip from San Diego to San Francisco.

    First, the 3rd row has an UNACCEPTABLE amount of leg room for children, much less adults. Every time you use the automatic seat buttons it squishes the kids that they must sit "criss cross applesauce" before we have anyone push the buttons. Then we have to manually move the seats forward for the "locked" position to give them just enough room to squeeze their little legs down. Who thought it was a good idea to put a hard plastic shell on the seat backing? This just makes it worse! At least our Ford Explorer had a soft fabric cloth material on the 2nd row seat backs for the 3rd row passengers – so when you made contact it was not painful. Also they actually create a slight INCLINE for adult feets in the 3rd row – so you are forced to push your feet forward where there is no space, you can't put your heals behind the seat for comfort.

    Second, the systems do NOT detect rear passengers when they are seated in the 3rd row, but no one is in the 2nd row. This is insane as you need air and some sort of system to recognize not to push the 2nd row seats back so far by default when there are 3rd row passengers. Just unbelievable.

    Third, The headrests. I don't know what to say here. If you care about the safety of your children in car seats this is not the car for you. There is no opening in the middle section of the headrests (presumable, ironically, for seat integrity for adults) – which means its very unlikely your seat will remain tethered from above correctly in a side collision or roll over. But it gets worse. Try sitting in the 3rd row as a child (or heck an Adult) looking at a sea of black. The headrests block everything. Then there is that safety case. Let's say your Model X makes a water landing or somehow otherwise loses electrical power. If you are in adult in a 7 seat Model X, I wish you good luck trying to get out. I don't know how an adult would be able to get out in the rear (trunk) or the 2nd row if the seats could not be moved. You are just super trapped back there. I think my best attempt to get out would be through the trunk and use the emergency release, especially since the headrests can be folded down, but it's just super awkward.

    Fourth, having folks in the 3rd row, and an adult in the 2nd row now means there is no leg room for the 2nd row passenger and so the 1st row passenger needs to move their seat forward quite a bit. But there is a problem! The Frank and HEPA filter and front motor block access to stretch your feet in the 1st row. You actually get LESS leg room than the driver!! I feel like another two feet of leg room needs to be added to be comfortable in this situation where the seat is pulled forward.

    Fifth, the pedestal seats are terrible. You can't actually put things below because they slide all over the place. An iPad put under the driver's seat will slide back to the 2nd row and sometimes rest in front of the 3rd row. You can't make all the crazy adjustments you would expect in the 2nd row. There is actually very little recline you can perform and you can't move the seat differently from the seat back like you can in the front row. There is no lumbar. There is no cool air flow (but there is heat). I am just trying to understand the benefits of the pedestal seats. Also if you have any friends from the rest of the country who are not skinny models you realize there is not a good width especially since the seat belt is in the chair.

    Sixth, the middle seat is AMAZING if you have one and only one child. They get a world-class view (assuming they are facing forward). Then you quickly realize this seat is SUPER skinny. It's also the ONLY seat (2nd + 3rd rows) that DOESN'T have the LATCH system. So now you need to purchase the narrowest child seat you can get your hands on (we did, got a clek) so you can still move the seats forward and back on the sides. It's such a pain and then of course the headrest, so good luck securely locking this seat in. It is worth it to be clear if your love your child. Finally, there is no headroom for that middle seat for an adult. So clearly it's made for children, but it's so complicated and difficult and doesn't support LATCH. Doesn't make sense.

    I think this car is just not well designed on the INSIDE. I realize I risk the rath of everyone with this opinion. We adore Franz and Elon just like everyone else who was an early adopter, but clearly the INSIDE of the X was designed by men who were intrigued by technical challenges and not designing for comfort and storage and utility. What do the pedestal seats allow? OK once you have that answer you keep going and see if it still makes sense end-to-end – can adults fit and be comfortable? Can we detect 3rd row passengers, what do we do differently? Should we allow some room for heels in the 3rd row? Should we put some nets on the underside of the seats? Can the head rest fold down for the middle 2nd row seat mechanically? Why do the seats not fold in the 2nd row? Is there a way to make a glossy comfortable seat back if your knees make contact? Is there enough leg room when seats are in the optimum position for everyone? Can we squeeze more legroom in the front so seats don't have to be back so far impacting 2nd and 3rd row passengers? Can we put cup holders somewhere else so the 2nd row middle seat has leg room? Can we do special pouches in the 2nd row falcon wing doors? Since the car was designed for iPhones and iPads (USB ports everywhere), can we have special holders for those objects so they don't slide everywhere, how about pouches on the seat backs for crying out loud?! Why don't the windows go down all the way in the 2nd row? Why is there no arm rest from the seat back from the middle seat in 2nd row (there was in Elon's car on stage at intro)?

    We've spent a lot of time in our early X. My wife loves this car when it's only her and our daughter in it, but when we try to take friends or other kids, it just becomes a hassle. We just got done doing our road trip so a lot of this is fresh in our mind. I don't think the resale value of the first gen X will hold up, we are enamored because it's the fastest all-electric SUV ever created and the first of its kind. But, we don't recommend the X for any of our friends. We'll always find a place for our first gen X, but I think it's a mistake to try to write an open letter to Motor Trend touting all of the benefits of comfort, storage, and utility. If they were to look beyond the surface at those aspects, I don't think it would become a more favorable article.

     
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  15. tropical1

    tropical1 Member

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    Wow, so I guess we will have to respectfully disagree. I have used the car for 5-7 passengers and not encountered many of the issues you describe. I do agree that the third row is cramped but after adjusting seats usually allows everyone to be comfortable. I would also agree the hard backs of the seats look cool but are less functional than soft back seats. Undoubtedly the six seat version is better overall but we often need seven seats. We don't have small children so issues with car seats are not something we have encountered. People that have sat in both front and second rows have commented that it is one of the most comfortable cars they have ridden in and for me I would agree. So overall we are very happy. I think you have many good suggestions for a gen 2 refresh.
     
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  16. Saghost

    Saghost Active Member

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    I did see that. The number C&D posted surely comes from their own testing, and like most of the magazines will presumably be a '1 foot of rollout' number.

    It's also possible that Tesla has been understating the 75D's 0-60 to make the 90D more attractive - they've done things like that in the past.

    If you're comparing 0-60 times with other cars for some reason, the C&D number is likely to be more relevant than the Tesla one.
     

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