Tesla Model X reliability: what you need to know

Tesla Model X reliability: what you need to know

The Tesla Model X isn’t one of the most reliable EVs you can buy, and here’s all you need to know about it.

When the Tesla Model X hit the electric vehicle market in 2015, there weren’t a whole lot of vehicles available that could reach nearly 300 miles in range. Now, the all-electric SUV boasts a 326-mile driving range, according to Tesla, with a 2.5-second 0 to 60 MPH acceleration rate and the ability to drive a quarter of a mile in just 9.9 seconds. Performance-wise, the Tesla Model X seems to have it all, especially when glancing at the technical specifications for the 2023 model.

However, Tesla’s track record of recalls — the automaker most recently recalled two million Teslas — stains the tech-savvy car’s reputation. With data from Consumer Reports to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), we break down exactly how reliable the Model X is, complete with upfront cost, fuel efficiency, recalls, dependability, safety features, and the average maintenance costs in order for you to be an informed buyer.

A Notorious Track Record Of Recalls

As recently as February 2024, Tesla announced the recall of around 2.2 million electric vehicles according to the NHTSA. The recall occurred for a few different reasons. First, a handful of warning lights that aim to alert drivers when something is wrong with the car were deemed too small. The result? A potential safety hazard for drivers and passengers

Additionally, the NHTSA responded to driver complaints about Tesla’s steering and has furthered its investigation. Just a few months ago in October, Tesla recalled close to 55,000 Model X electric vehicles due to a separate problem: an inability to detect low brake fluid, according to Reuters. The cherry on top came in December when Tesla recalled millions of vehicles for autopilot concerns and another set of Tesla Model S and Model X vehicles were recalled for seat belt problems.

The Model X’s 2023 Recall

In October, tens of thousands of Model X Teslas were recalled because the “vehicle controller is likely to fail to detect low brake fluid and not display a warning light,” reported Reuters. The total vehicle count came to 54,676. Just two months later, Consumer Reports reported that Tesla Model X vehicles that featured autopilot, or self-driving, capabilities were recalled and received a software update that shut off autopilot for drivers who failed to respond to warnings. As consumer reports pointed out, the recall was aimed to prevent what occurred two years prior when 11 Teslas crashed into first responders’ vehicles while the autopilot function was engaged.

When it comes to specific model years, the NHTSA has limited data. Of the Model X releases, ranging from 2015 to 2024, the administration only had data on 10 trim styles between the years 2015 and 2017. Of those, 2017 and 2016 were the only years with the specific number of safety information, while 2015 included the number of complaints, investigations, and recalls. The 2017 Tesla Model X was recalled nine times with 215 complaints resulting in 11 investigations. In comparison, the 2016 Tesla Model X’s 391 complaints led to 12 investigations and 10 recalls. The 2015 model’s four investigations led to just one recall.

An Overall Above Average Rating

Tesla Model XS

Despite the Model X electric vehicle’s record for recalls, the NHTSA still gave the 2017 version of the vehicle five starts for an overall safety rating based on crash tests moving at 35 MPH. Additionally, J.D. Power, a tool for finding and rating vehicles, gave the 2023 Tesla Model X a score of 78 out of 100.

According to the site, the score reflects “hundreds of thousands of independent and unbiased opinions of verified car owners.” For quality and reliability, consumers scored the 2023 Model X a 72 out of 100 which was considered an average rating. This included and measured the level of defects, malfunctions, design flaws, and other issues with everything from the powertrain to the technology. For driving experience, the 2023 model received a “great” score with a 90 out of 100 for performance, comfort, design, and safety, among others. However, J.D. Power did warn that newer cars typically scored higher compared to older or used cars.

Is The Tesla Model X’s Price Tainted By Mounting Maintenance Costs?

Tesla Model X

The 2023 Tesla Model X starts at $79,990. While the Model X is far from the cheapest model Tesla offers, it also doesn’t top the charts for starting price. Rather, the model hovers somewhere in the middle when it comes to the attached price tag. But could that price be tainted by maintenance costs? Repair Pal is sure to tell us.

Repair Prices

According to Repair Pal, mounting costs for repairs range between $88 to $168. However, those are just diagnosis, inspection, and testing costs. More detailed information on repair costs is location-specific. With recall issues stacking up recently, costs could pile up as well.

2024 Tesla Model X Prices

Trim Style Model X Model X Plaid
Base Price $79,990 $94,990
Layout AWD Dual Motor AWD Tri Motor
Horsepower 532 horsepower 1,020 horsepower
Torque 713 pound-feet 1,050 pound-feet
0-60 MPH 3.3 seconds 2.5 seconds
Range 335 miles 326 miles

(Data sourced from Tesla and Car and Driver)

J.D. Power’s Average Resale Rating

According to J.D. Power, the Tesla Model X is predicted to depreciate at a steady and average rate. In total, the resale score hits right at 78 out of 100. From scrolling through available used Tesla Model X vehicles, it is difficult to gauge exactly how much bang for your buck you will receive. Some are reselling for upwards of $80,000 — a pretty stellar return on an initial investment — while others dip as low as in the $20,000 to $30,000 range.

The Model X Ranks The Lowest in Tesla Reliability

In 2023, CNN asked an important question: Why was Tesla continuing to pump out Tesla Model S and Model Y electric vehicles even as sales hit an all-time low? According to the publication, Model X and Model Y vehicles sold accounted for just a meager 5 percent of sales. The answer lies in consistency; the Model X may have decreased in sales, but it still provided some profits. Designing and marketing an all-new Tesla comes with its own set of immense costs that could outweigh discontinuing an established and reliable model.

But the Model X proved to be far from reliable. The vehicle made headlines in 2023 and 2022 for ranking at the bottom of industry reliability results. The numerous recalls, tech issues, and potential safety hazards seemed to crack Tesla’s shiny, other-worldly image. Tesla, as an automaker, ranked among one of the least reliable electric vehicle brands, according to Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports’ Unfavorable Rankings

Despite Tesla’s insistence that the Model X, specifically the 2024 model, is “built for safety,” Consumer Reports doesn’t exactly agree. The site said that the model “sacrifices practicality for the purpose of showboating,” and in the process gave the electric vehicle a low rating of 52 out of 100. The score got worse as reliability shot down to two out of five stars.

The major complaints surround and inform recalls with technological glitches, seat belt issues, and steering concerns. The previous year’s autopilot safety concerns seemed to be the nail in the coffin when it came to consumers. Unfortunately for Tesla, it isn’t rare to see the Tesla Model X on the top of the list of “Most Unreliable Cars.” Almost all Tesla models rank low on the reliability charts, according to Consumer Reports, but the Model Y drops down one point on J.D. Power’s rankings compared to the 2023 Tesla Model Y.

Fuel Economy

To top it off, the Tesla Model X, although outperforming most vehicles in fuel economy, ranks relatively low compared to its fellow Teslas. The 2023 Tesla Model X jumped up from a 2016 combined city and highway MPGe of 93 to a combined MPGe of 98 to 102 in 2023. However, the 2023 Tesla Model S still has it beat with a combined city and highway fuel economy coming in at 120 MPGe. Additionally, the 2023 Tesla Model 3 and 2023 Tesla Model Y Long Range editions beat out all models with respective combined city and highway fuel economy ratings of 132 MPGe and 131 MPGe.

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