Capable, roomy and fast – a pioneering left-field electric SUV
- Zero exhaust emissions, silent running
- Sports car acceleration, all-wheel drive
- Quick charge times, growing network
- Optionally available with seven seats
- Pronounced wind and tyre noise
- Real-world range sub-200 miles
- Lumpy ride quality
- Average fit and finish
The Tesla Model X is the world’s first all-electric SUV, and achieves the seemingly contradictory goals of zero exhaust emissions and very high performance with the option of seven-seat practicality.
Produced by Tesla in California, the Model X follows the Model S saloon to become only the second all-new vehicle to be produced by the American company.
A 17-inch central touchscreen, electrically activated Falcon Wing rear doors and optionally available advanced driving aids with a high level of autonomous control bring the spirit of Silicon Valley innovation and playfulness to the usually conservative automotive segment.
Quartet of versions
Four versions of the Model X are available, named 75D, 90D and 100D and P100D. The higher the number, the greater the performance and/or the longer the driving range – see the Performance section for a full explanation.
Currently the Tesla Model X has no direct rivals, with mainstream premium manufacturers offering plug-in hybrid SUVs such as the Audi Q7 E-Tron, BMW X5 xDrive40e and Porsche Cayenne S E-Hybrid instead. Such SUVs have both a conventional engine and the capability to run on electric power alone for short periods.
Later in 2017, the smaller electric Jaguar I-Pace SUV will also go head-to-head with the Model X.
Designed around the battery pack
The Model X’s large battery pack sits low down between the front and rear axles, and powers an electric motor at either end of the car to provide all-wheel drive. Despite producing zero exhaust emissions, the Model X has performance to rival sports cars and, in some cases, even supercars – the P100D is claimed to accelerate from 0-62mph in 2.9 seconds, beating the Ferrari 488 GTB by a tenth of a second.
Tesla does not market the Model X as an all-terrain vehicle, but has engineered it to tow up to 2,268kg when equipped with the tow-bar option.
The absence of a conventional engine and gearbox allows for a completely flat floor inside the vehicle, with no bulky transmission tunnel to consume foot space. Stowage space for luggage is also available in both the boot and under the front bonnet, and the Tesla can be specified in standard five-seat or optional six- or seven-seat layouts.
Recharging at home is recommended
The majority of Model X (and Model S) customers follow Tesla’s recommendation of buying a dedicated Wall Connector for home recharging, at an approximate cost of £400-£440. Typically this provides between 22 and 51 miles of driving range per hour of charge, depending on power-grid supply.
For journeys further afield a network of Tesla supercharger stations are easily navigated to via the touchscreen multimedia system. New customers are given an allocation of free recharges, but once they’ve been used there is a fee – credit is given annually and the cost is minimal after that.
Tesla claims approximately 170 miles of range is recharged in as little as 30 minutes using its superchargers. Various factors can affect the exact time to charge, but we plugged the Model X into a supercharger station and received 177 miles of range in approximately an hour.
Tesla’s website lists 35 UK supercharger sites, with between two and 12 superchargers each. Slower chargers can also be found at other sites including hotels, restaurants and shopping centres.
The Parkers Verdict
It’s a highly impressive vehicle that is comfortable, cossetting and swift. But certain quality and refinement issues mean that it doesn't always attain the standard expected of vehicles costing a fraction of the Model X’s price.
The Model X’s all-electric powertrain, optional autonomous capabilities and a connected multimedia system that can be updated to the latest version over-the-air puts Tesla at the forefront of automotive innovation.