Tesla responds to 'undriveable' review By Chris Woodyard, USA TODAY10:32 a.m. EDT May 19, 2015 Tesla issued a statement saying that service is a priority and that it is constantly improving its cars through communication with customers, service technicians and engineers. It also said many of its problems are fixed through over-the-air software flashes. 1TWEETLINKEDIN 7COMMENTEMAILMORE Consumer Reports elaborated on details Monday surrounding its door-handle problem in its new $127,000 deluxe Tesla electric performance sedan Monday that it says made the car "undriveable." Consumer Reports says testers were initially locked out of its 27-day-old top-of-the-line Tesla Model SP85D because the car's fancy retractable door handles wouldn't work. They were able to get into the car through the passenger's side door and squeeze behind the wheel, but the car then wouldn't shift into drive. While the world is filled with Tesla reviews, Consumer Reports stands out because of its massive following, reputation for independent testing that includes buying, rather than borrowing, cars and the previous high marks that it has given to last Tesla. Consumer Reports stood by its blog post Monday but amended it to take out a reference to being able to move the car using Tesla's cellphone app that allows for remote starting. Jake Fisher, director of auto testing for the magazine, said most customers aren't going to use a cellphone app to operate their car. Tesla says, however, that the app could have allowed the car to have been driven. USA TODAY Tesla's wonder cars tripped up by dumb door handles DETROIT FREE PRESS A first in Michigan: Tesla buys Grand Rapids auto supplier The bigger issue, Fisher says, is that faulty door handles were preventing the car from being driven. Fisher says he thinks that's because many modern cars won't let drivers shift into park if a door is ajar. Tesla contends, however, that there is no connection between the door handle functionality and the car's electric powertrain. Could the tester not have depressed the brake pedal in trying to start the car and shift into park. Nope, says Fisher. "We're not complete idiots." He adds, "We're not backing away from 'undriveable,' " the term used in the original blog post. These aren't ordinary door handles. They are a space-age version that remain flush to the car door — a look usually only seen in concept prototypes at car shows — and automatically extend when a driver approaches with their key in their hand, purse or pocket. Tesla issued a statement saying that service is a priority and that it is constantly improving its cars through communication with customers, service technicians and engineers. It also said many of its problems are fixed through over-the-air software flashes. "In instances when hardware, like the door handle, need to be replaced, we strive to make it painless for a customer to get their Model S serviced," the statement says. "Every fix is an opportunity for us to learn and apply towards making owning a Model S a great experience." The phone app that Consumer Reports originally alluded to can take the place of a key, Tesla says. Once it is activated, customers have two minutes to get into the car, depress the brake pedal and shift into Drive Mode. Then the car can be driven normally. The magazine says its ownership surveys show doors and latches continue to be a big problem on the Tesla Model S. Last year, it reported "more than its share of problems" on its first Model S. But it put aside criticism of the glitches to name the Tesla Model S as one of the best cars that it ever has tested.