Consumer Reports Says $127k Tesla Model S P85D is “Undriveable”

North American International Auto Show 2015

Most auto professionals have probably heard of the term “lemon” before. Some readers may have even purchased a “lemon” in their lifetime. For those readers who are unaware, a lemon is a car that is found to be defective shortly after it’s been purchased.

The biggest story of this week is Consumer Reports’ review of the new Tesla Model S P85D, a promising vehicle which turned out to have some serious defects. It’s fairly shocking that a renowned company like Tesla has released a vehicle with so many problems, but even more shocking is that this problem has so far affected dozens of car owners.

If you are pursuing an auto career, read on to get the scoop on the new Tesla S P85D, and find out why Consumer Reports has deemed the $127k vehicle “undriveable.”

Faulty Mechanics for Fancy Retractable Door Handles

While anyone enrolled in automotive courses would agree that the Tesla P85D’s incredibly modern retractable door handles sound like a pretty cool feature, after literally getting locked out of the car, Consumer Reports doesn’t seem to think so. The model’s door handles are designed to rest flush with the sides of the car when they are not in use and pop out when the driver approaches the vehicle with the keys in his or her hand.

After only 27 days of owning the car, Consumer Reports’ driver-side door handle failed to retract. Since all of the other door handles were functioning properly, the driver proceeded to enter the vehicle from the passenger door. This method worked, until the car refused to stay in drive—bringing light to yet another problem. Since the driver’s door handle did not retract, the car probably sensed a problem and refused to stay in drive as a safety precaution.

Auto Pros Note That This is a Common Concern

According to Consumer Reports’ car reliability survey, Tesla’s door handle issue is not an isolated incident. Through the survey, the magazine collected information from other Tesla owners confirming that the vehicle’s doors, locks and latches are major problem areas in many of these new models.

Tesla Responds Quickly to Mechanic Issues

Consumer Reports did have some good news regarding the faulty car, which finally shed some good light on Tesla. The magazine reported that the service it received when Tesla was contacted about the issue was spectacular. Says Consumer Reports’ Eric Evarts: “Getting our Tesla fixed could hardly have been more convenient.”

The magazine reporter was expecting Tesla to locate the car, pick it up and bring it to the closest service center for repair. However, Tesla instead sent an automotive technician to Consumer Reports’ Auto Test Center the next morning to repair the car on-site. According to the magazine, Tesla staffs a team of repair technicians to provide on-site service for minor repairs—a silver lining amidst an otherwise poor showing from Tesla.

Although the Consumer Reports review is certainly a setback, the Tesla P85D has received raving reviews for its incredible speed and handling. We’re all eager to hear Consumer Reports’ full review of the Tesla P85D, now that the issues with the retractable door handles has been fixed.

Take a look at the all-new Tesla P85D here:

Would you like to work for ground-breaking companies like Tesla after you graduate from mechanic college?

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