Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • Spacious, minimalist all-round design
  • Central touchscreen is incredibly intuitive
  • Dashboard fit and finish is disappointingly below-par

A sense of spaciousness, simplicity and relaxation dominates the Tesla's cabin. Unusually, the driver needs to do nothing but select Drive on the (Mercedes-Benz-sourced) steering column-mounted gear shifter to drive away.

There’s no need to unlock the doors, or even press a start button, and the Tesla shuts off and locks itself automatically as the driver walks away. As an option, the front doors will even slowly swing out as you approach, removing the need to even touch the handle. It’s disconcertingly simple.

Black 2019 Tesla Model X dashboard and interior

A huge panoramic windscreen sweeps right back over the driver’s head, split by a graduated tint and sun visors that fold in from the windscreen pillars when required. It’s key to creating the feeling of space and light.

The 17-inch infotainment touchscreen controls nearly all vehicle functions, from features such as navigation, music playing and telephone connectivity, to raising the suspension and sliding the second-row seats back and forth.

If you’re familiar with smartphone technology, it’s intuitive to navigate all functions, and removes the vast majority of buttons from the dashboard for a sleek, modern appearance. The buttons that remain – the electric window switches, for instance – are also borrowed from Mercedes.

Ompressive storage, low-quality materials

Unlike the Model S, which makes a feature of the completely flat floor between driver and passenger at the expense of stowage space, the Model X uses a more conventional centre console. This provides far more storage, with cubbyholes and generous-sized cupholders. In fact, eight cupholders are supplied on six- and seven-seat versions.

2019 Tesla Model X SUV dashboard infotainment screen

On a relatively superficial level, quality appears high and the design of the dashboard – dominated by the iPad-like central screen – and the individual seats look impressively striking, especially when trimmed in white upholstery.

But investigate further and the Model X lacks the substance to back up first impressions – the dashboard sounds hollow and cheap when tapped, and one of the plastic covers on the front-seat runners had come loose on our test car. It’s indicative of a level of fit and finish below Tesla’s premium rivals. In short, for a car this expensive, it simply isn't good enough.

Comfort not the strongest suit

  • Unsettled ride quality disappoints
  • Poor wind-noise suppression
  • Excellent driving position

The Tesla Model X rides on air suspension rather than a conventional coil-sprung set-up, much like other luxury cars such as the Mercedes-Benz S-Class and Land Rover's Range RoverThis allows the ride height to be adjusted up and down, and should make for a more comfort-focused ride. The reality is, however, a little disappointing, the Model X displaying a lumpy ride quality that doesn’t smooth over irregularities in the road as well as it might.

The motors that power electric cars are quieter than rivals with internal combustion engines, particularly diesels, but this means wind and tyre noise are far more noticeable, particularly when driving at motorway speeds. Wind-noise suppression on our test car was particularly poor, perhaps linked to the ill-fitting seals where the falcon wing rear doors fold over into the roof.

The driving position is, however, perfectly comfortable, and the seats are relatively supportive. The headrests could be more generously cushioned, but there’s little to complain about here.

2019 Tesla Model X SUV second- and third-row seating

Similarly, there’s generous space for passengers in the second row of seats, which can be electrically powered back and forth, although elbow room is a bit tight for larger adults sat against the doors. Even the third-row seating is comfortable, but for longer journeys they're best reserved for smaller adults and kids.

This is partly because electric cars do not require bulky transmission tunnels – with the large battery mounted low down between the axles, the Model X is able to offer a completely flat floor, boosting space.