Tesla Model X Review
Up to seven seats, 'Falcon Wing' doors and more interior technology than a branch of PC World. Is it the future of family transport?
Strengths & weaknesses
- One of the most technologically advanced cars on the market
- Up to 336-mile range in top spec models
- It's as fast to 60mph as a Lamborghini
- Very expensive compared to rivals
- Some interior materials won't survive daily abuse
- Awkward exterior won't be to all tastes
Tesla began life as the maker of a fast and stylish but impractical two-seat electric convertible, the Tesla Roadster.
Since then, its latest offerings have proven that electric cars can be extremely practical - while remaining sensationally quick and eye-catching.
None more so than the family-friendly Model X, which combines the option of seven seats, acceleration that matches a Lamborghini, and striking “Falcon” rear doors, which rise open like wings.
This, taller version of the Model S, doesn't come cheap, as even the least-expensive model costs just over £80,000. The fastest version, with common options ticked, comes close to costing £100,000.
The Model X is an electric car that requires very little compromise. A range of more than 300 miles on a single charge means that very few journeys will require a stop to recharge.
Even if you do have to stop, Tesla’s Supercharger network provides a fairly rapid top-up, charging low batteries to around 80 per cent capacity (enough for more than 200 miles) in 30 to 45 minutes.
Thanks to four wheel drive and two electric motors providing full power as soon as you press the accelerator, without the need to rev them, the Model X is remarkably quick to accelerate - particularly considering its size and 2.5 ton weight.
The standard Long Range car will go from 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds, which is faster than a Porsche 718 Boxster. Opt for the Ludicrous Performance model for acceleration to 60mph in 2.9 seconds, which matches a Lamborghini Aventador.
Older cars, sold before 2019, were available in cheaper specifications, with smaller battery packs, offering less range between charges.
Unique when it was launched, Tesla’s rivals are starting to catch up with the Model X and now you could also choose a Jaguar I-Pace, Audi e-tron or Mercedes EQC, which have similar range, but only five seats and slower acceleration (compared with the Ludicrous model).
No matter which version you choose, the Model X includes an enormous 17in touchscreen at the centre of the dashboard. It acts much like a giant iPad, with users swiping, pinching and prodding their way through the graphical menu screens.
Google Maps controls the turn-by-turn navigation, with clear directions and the locations of charging points included. Phones can be paired but there’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, for seamless control of apps on the screen.
The rest of the interior lacks the lavish design and luxurious touches of a Mercedes GLE or Audi Q7 but does have other stand-out features, including a panoramic windscreen that curves over the driver’s head, a hospital-grade air filtration system and, of course, those doors.
They open upwards and outwards, leaving a large opening to the rear seats. The doors are covered in sensors, so they know exactly how much space is either side and can adjust the opening mechanism accordingly. If a car has parked too close alongside, for example, they will open outwards slightly before rising above the vehicle and spreading their 'wings'.
There’s no sound from an engine but you do notice wind and road noise. The Model X is smooth on motorways, but the difficulties in engineering such a heavy car become obvious on rougher local roads, where it crashes into potholes. It grips well in corners, but isn’t as nimble as a BMW X5.
Tesla’s Autopilot system is available. Despite the name, it’s a driver assistance system, which can accelerate, brake and steer the car on major roads and motorways, but may need human input at any moment. The so-called “Full Self Driving Capability” option, adds more features (the ability to stop at red traffic lights is promised soon) but the limited sensors on the Model X mean that it is highly unlikely to be able to fully drive itself.
You can choose the Model X with five, six or seven seats. The rear row only has limited legroom, so is best for children. Without these Without the optional rear row of two, it has a large boot, and there’s also a small storage space underneath the bonnet. Results from America show that the car is extremely safe, with a maximum five-star rating from government crash tests.
|Warranty||4 year, 50,000 miles + 8-year unlimited mile battery and drive unit|
Best Tesla Model X for...
Best for Economy – Tesla Model X Long Range
Performance is restricted on this car, even though acceleration remains quicker than most large cars. It means that the official range on a single charge is 351 miles.
Best for Families – Tesla Model X Long Range 7 Seat
Adding the option of seven seats brings the ability to carry more passengers. You can also fold the seats down to create a large luggage area.
Best for Performance – Tesla Model X Ludicrous Performance
Ludicrous is an apt description here: acceleration from 0-62mph takes just 2.9 seconds, which matches the latest supercars.
- June 2016 Model X goes on sale in 75D, 90D and P90D specification.
- July 2016 Entry-level Model X 60D with an official range of 220 miles is announced.
- October 2016 Model X 60D is dropped. 75D becomes the cheapest model.
- August 2016 High-performance and long-range 100D and P100D models announced.
- January 2019 New badging sees the 100D and P100D models renamed ‘Extended Range’ and ‘Ludicrous Performance’. All other models dropped for now.
Understanding Tesla Model X names
5 Seat Seating layout
The Tesla Model X is available with five, six, or seven seats
Ludicrous Performance Battery pack
Currently, new Teslas come with the same battery pack and dual motors. Long Range is better for range, and Ludicrous Performance is better for acceleration.
Tesla Model X Engines
Long Range, Ludicrous Performance
Currently, new Teslas come with the same battery pack and dual motors.
The difference is in the amount of power that can be sent to the motors. Standard Long Range vehicles are more focused on efficiency, and so have an official range of 351 miles (expect just over 300 in real-world driving) and a swift acceleration time from 0-60mph in 4.7 seconds.
Ludicrous Performance cars trade some of that efficiency for faster acceleration of 0-60mph in just 2.9 seconds. As a result, the official range drops to 337 miles, which is likely to equate to just under 300 miles in the real world.
Bear in mind that the official range figures are based on an outdated laboratory test, which produced unrealistically high results, and has been replaced.
The new test (called WLTP) is better at replicating normal driving conditions, and so range estimates are generally more accurate - and lower. All of the Model X’s competitors quote figures from the new test.
Before 2019, Teslas were badged according to their battery capacity. The lower the number, the smaller the battery, and - normally - the slower the acceleration.
Tesla Model X Trims
There’s not a great deal of choice when it comes to trim levels for the Model X. Most equipment is included as standard, such as the 17in dashboard screen, panoramic windscreen, hospital-grade air filter, mood lighting, and a tow bar - along with software that reduces swaying. The Falcon doors are standard too, along with front doors that unlatch as you walk towards the car (with the key fob).
Five seats are standard, but you can add an extra row of two in the back to make it a seven-seat car. This also increases the number of Isofix points for securely mounting child seats from two to four.
There’s also a six-seat option, which removes the middle seat from the middle row to make the car feel more airy.
Most buyers choose the Autopilot option, which enables the car to accelerate, brake and steer on motorways and other major roads. This is a driver assistance system, which may require human input at any time, so drivers have to keep alert and hold the wheel.
It operates in the same way as similar systems from manufacturers such as Mercedes, Audi, BMW, Jaguar, Nissan and Volvo.
An additional full self-driving capability option offers the promise of additional features, including the ability for the car to drive itself into and out of parking spaces under instruction from a phone app. The ability to stop automatically at red traffic lights is also promised in the future, although it is highly unlikely that the Model X’s limited sensors will ever allow it to become a fully self-driving car, without the need for the driver to be in control.
Tesla Model X Reliability and warranty
The Tesla Model S stormed to the very top of the customer satisfaction charts in the 2016 Auto Express Driver Power survey, with top scores in the running costs, performance, handling, ride quality, ease of driving, practicality and car tech categories.
Model X owners have reported some glitches - particularly with the Falcon doors but a four-year/50,000 miles warranty does provide reassurance.
The battery packs are covered for eight years and unlimited mileage, although it’s normal for the range to reduce slightly during this period.
Tesla’s warranty only guarantees that the battery will retain at least 70 per cent of its capacity for eight years. If capacity did drop to this level, range would be reduced significantly, and the warranty would not cover a replacement. However, evidence from owners suggests that Tesla batteries are extremely resilient and it’s rare to see such a large drop.
Used Tesla Model X
Teslas tend to hold their value well, as they are in demand. This means that used prices are high, and there’s also a limited quantity of cars available.
In January 2019, the X 60D, 75D, and P90D were dropped, while 100D and P100D models were renamed ‘Extended Range’ and ‘Ludicrous Performance’.
Entry-level Model X 60D cars were only sold for a short time. They have an official range of 220 miles (less than 200 in normal driving) and a 0-62mph acceleration time of 6 seconds.
75D cars increase that range to 259 miles and had the same acceleration time, while 90D models have a 303-mile official range and 0-60mph acceleration in 4.8 seconds.
A performance version, the P90D, reduces the range to 290 miles and cuts the acceleration time to 3.7 seconds. The top-of-the range P100D has a 336 mile range and manages 0-62mph in just 2.9 seconds.
Before 2019, older Model Xs had less standard equipment, so the advanced air filtration, mood lighting and automatic front doors were part of a Premium Upgrade package.