Tesla Model X review
SUVs account for one in three global car sales. It’s big business, and Tesla was the first to capitalise on this demand for those after a pure-electric offering. And the Tesla Model X isn’t ‘just’ an SUV. It’s an absolute behemoth of an SUV, with permanent four-wheel drive and options for five, six or seven seats, plus more luggage space (courtesy of front and rear boots) than even the annual family Center Parcs holiday will need.
It certainly gets its fair share of attention. The egg-like silhouette of the Model X is distinctive enough, but its ‘Falcon Wing’ rear doors are real show-stoppers. Small crowds will gather whenever they open; they have that kind of novelty value. They have a functional aspect, too, as they reveal a big aperture that gives easier access than conventional doors can offer.
Also offering appeal is the technology and performance under the metal. Despite the Model X’s ability to outstrip most cars in a drag race – the P100D will do 60mph from rest in a gut-wrenching 2.9 seconds – the Tesla also has one of the best ranges of any electric car. Even the 75D with its 75kWh battery will do more than 200 miles in the real world, while the top two models – which get a 100kWh battery pack – will do around 280.
Given that Tesla currently provides the only 'superfast' 100kW chargers in the UK – and has done a good job of scattering them around the country’s motorway network – the Model X also promises easier long-range touring than rivals like the Jaguar I-Pace, which must wait for public chargers to catch up. A Tesla ‘Supercharger’ will deliver 80% charge in 30 minutes, while a standard 7kW home-charging point will deliver a full charge in around 11 hours.
In keeping with the rest of brazenly modern aspects of the Model X, the interior is dominated by an enormous, portrait-orientated touchscreen that feels and looks like the future of in-car user interfaces. There are very few physical buttons – the screen controls much of the standard equipment, and even the doors and sunroof can be controlled from there.
Tesla’s advanced ‘Autopilot’ semi-autonomous driving system is another feature that makes the Model X feel more forward-looking than just about any rival. You’ll enjoy driving it yourself, as well. The smooth, almost unsettlingly rapid performance, matched to secure, easy-going (if rather flat-footed) handling will satisfy anyone shopping in this class, even if it falls a long way short of Range Rover Sport levels of entertainment.
This all adds up to a very compelling package, but also a very expensive one. Even the cheapest Tesla Model X – the 75D – costs around £80,000, while the 100D, with its longer range, is brushing the £100,000 mark. Never mind the savagely rapid P100D and the £130,000 it’ll cost. To say this is an expensive car for private buyers is an understatement.
However, there’s no forgetting the low daily running costs, the impressive range on a full charge, the tax advantages for company-car users and the sheer sense of occasion found in driving this car. Expensive it may be, but the Model X is still one of the most comprehensive electric-car propositions around.