Consumer Reports Tesla Model S P85D 'Undriveable'

Jason Siu
by Jason Siu

Consumer Reports isn’t thrilled with its new Tesla Model S P85D.

The non-profit publication praised the Tesla Model S in the past, once calling it the best vehicle it ever tested. That’s not the case with the new Model S P85D. According to a new blog post, the publication ran into problems with the sedan’s automatic door handles, an issue that owners are also complaining about with the Model S. “A new car shouldn’t have problems when you’ve owned it for less than a month,” Consumer Reports said. “Yet Consumer Reports’ brand-new $127,000 Tesla Model S P85 D, with the fancy retractable door handles refused to let us in, effectively rendering the car undriveable.”

After fighting with the door handles and not able to get the driver door to open properly, a tester managed to open the passenger door using a smartphone app. Unfortunately, the Model S P85D sensed a problem after the car started up and it only remained on for two minutes.

SEE ALSO: Tesla P85D Sets New Coast-to-Coast EV Record

Ultimately, Consumer Reports had to contact Tesla to have the vehicle picked up on a flatbed trailer so that it could be taken to a dealership for repairs. Although reviewers were pleased with how the service problem was handled, it’s unfortunate that a new car is already having issues, one that wouldn’t even allow its owner to get into the cabin.

“We’re far from the first Tesla owners to experience this problem,” the publication reported on its blog. “Our car reliability survey shows that doors, locks, and latches are the biggest trouble areas with Teslas and that the Model S has far higher than average rates of such problems.”

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Jason Siu
Jason Siu

Jason Siu began his career in automotive journalism in 2003 with Modified Magazine, a property previously held by VerticalScope. As the West Coast Editor, he played a pivotal role while also extending his expertise to Modified Luxury & Exotics and Modified Mustangs. Beyond his editorial work, Jason authored two notable Cartech books. His tenure at saw him immersed in the daily news cycle, yet his passion for hands-on evaluation led him to focus on testing and product reviews, offering well-rounded recommendations to AutoGuide readers. Currently, as the Content Director for VerticalScope, Jason spearheads the content strategy for an array of online publications, a role that has him at the helm of ensuring quality and consistency across the board.

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28 of 47 comments
  • Jay mark Jay mark on May 19, 2015

    To all the people who'd 'take one', if you love the Tesla so much, BUY one. Once you've spent, on average $140,000, can only drive for short distances and finally realize you will never recover your investment, maybe what you should have done is buy a fuel efficient vehicle (or hybrid vehicle) that carries five passengers and with the money you saved, you are still 'helping the planet'. I have seen one Tesla in my neighborhood, which is, BTW, a very affluent area (so what am I doing here 'cept I own a horse farm) and while the driver whipped my old car from the stop light (his choice to race off, not mine), I have seen his vehicle twice on the side of the road waiting for a tow. Gee, I buy American (and I mean built buy American corporations, Ford or GM, not foreign doing assembly here) and put over 250,000 miles with ease on each vehicle, car or truck, have few service related problems, have NEVER needed a tow (so why do I pay for AAA 'cept to please and ease the mind of my wife.. I also carry life insurance but will have to die for her to get the benefits), prefer vehicles that are efficient and practical as I care less whether the yuppies think me old fashioned or hip. Point is, I buy American because my brothers and sisters, Americans, need jobs and I don't give a ratzazz about jobs in Korea, Germany or Japan. The profit stays here, helping to better manufacturing here, helping to keep and create jobs here, not overseas.

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    • Jay mark Jay mark on May 27, 2015

      Thank you. I am a 'converted liberal Democrat' who worked hard for JFK and a few others. I would now describe myself as a 'conservative American' who hopes every business will succeed (save for the porno industry). Tesla is a decent idea and Elon Musk is putting his money where his 'mouth' is, something dozens of billionaires won't do. He has a dream and is pursuing that dream. I have nothing against Tesla vehicles. They will drive other manufacturers to improve and innovate. Soon as we sell our little horse farm, I would like to buy a Chevy Volt. I think there will be a future for alternative fuel vehicles. To that end, I have written countless letters to members of the senate and house urging that they grant a fuel relief tax to every company that converts its vehicles to natural gas, which burns so clean it virtually leaves no carbon. Think if every diesel truck on our roads today ran on CNG (compressed natural gas). Lower emmissions, lower oil imports, better balance of trades, a win-win. I'm not touting, but for all my adult life, I have kind of thought out of the box, both in philosophies and business. I've been retired now since 2002, but am considering buying a GM dealership where there iare fairly decent roads and traffic. I have an idea of how to rebuild the dealership along with ancillary businesses, all in one location, that would feed into one another and receive from the dealership. I envision a rural area, slightly depressed, where I can then offer to local people the ownership of the ancillary businesses. They in turn, would have to show some skill set for that business (think restaurant, maybe beauty/barber shop, a type of 'general store', maybe a gym, a place like Starbucks-without being a Starbucks, you get the gist), have desire to succeed and willing to learn what other management skills would help. I will mentor as best I can and to that end, would keep the rents low for the first couple of years, helping them get a toehold. I have no desire to 'own' their businesses, but I do have my dream of helping to revitalize a rural area and offer meaningful jobs to the young people, hoping to attract the bright ones to remain instead of heading for the bright lights of the crowded cities. Got to go and get some work done on the farm here. Wife demands horses, I prefer grandkids and great-grandkids.

  • Deacon lunchbox Deacon lunchbox on May 19, 2015

    Teslas are JOKES. i paid $14K 7 years ago for a smart, get 50mpgs in the summer, 40mpgs in the winter. i can drive 400 miles on a tank, refuel it in 3 minutes and drive another 400 miles. i've got over 60K miles on it, had an oil analysis done on it, it's still NEW inside, will easily hit 300K miles. I was thinking about getting an Elio, but the savings in fuel at $2.75 a gallon is $95 a year over the smart.

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    • Albert D. Melfo Albert D. Melfo on May 27, 2015

      +++ for MT