- Amazing performance from an SUV
- Remarkable efficiency
- Massive 17-inch touchscreen
- Comfortable interior
- The falcon doors are terrible
- Six figures isn't much of a stretch
- Minimalist cabin
- Not as spacious as you may be thinking
The 2017 Tesla Model X is in a class of its own as an all-electric luxury SUV with breathtaking performance, and an equally intimidating price.
After a rocky launch, the Tesla Model X SUV is seemingly on its (silent) way into many owners' hands.
It's too early for 2017 details—the automaker doesn't follow traditional model years like others, and rolls out changes on the fly—but Tesla is finally building 5-seater versions of the Model X and now offers fold-flat rear seats, which was an early and frequent gripe from owners.
It's offered in 75-, 90-, and 100-kwh battery sizes, all with all-wheel drive, and one performance model, the P100D. Ranges start at 237 miles and go up to 289 miles.
The Model X earns an 8.2 out of 10 on our overall scale with plenty of points for efficiency and features. (Read more about how we rate cars.)
Style and performance
It would always be hard for Tesla to follow up on the great looks of the Model S. (Eds note: The Model S could be coal-powered and still look great.) The Model X doesn't stray far from that playbook, rather it just exaggerates some proportions to look bigger, bulkier, and taller. It's not a bad look overall, perhaps space age Toyota Previa?
We'll get to the falcon doors in a minute.
Inside, the Model X sports the same 17-inch touchscreen found in the Model S that dominates attention. Beyond that screen there isn't much going on, but at least it's trimmed in quality materials for 5, 6, or 7 passengers.
The performance of the Model X is breathtaking—literally and figuratively. All models are all-wheel drive and the base 75D still accelerates nearly 3 tons of mass to 60 mph in 6 seconds. The 90D is somewhat fleeter on its feet: 60 mph happens in just 4.8 seconds. Or maybe you prefer your happy meal with an airplane glue chaser? The P100D manages the 60 mph run in 2.9 seconds.
Thanks to most of the mass down low and a good suspension tune, the Model X is a competent handler—but not quite to the same level as the Model S. We doubt many will have problems with the way the Model X rockets down the road.
Comfort, safety, and features
The Model X is built to be a family hauler if the Model S didn't satisfy. Configured as either a 5-, 6-, or 7-passenger SUV, the Model X has more interior cargo room and a functional shape that suits more luxury buyers interested in SUVs. The rear seats fold flat now, which was an early gripe for many owners. We've found the seats to be generally comfortable, although the scalloped backs don't appear to be suited for family duty.
Third-row passengers will be more comfortable if they're into Hatchimals. There's not enough room for long-legged adults for a long trip.
The "wow" moment for the Model X may very well be its rear falcon doors, which is an problem in search of another problem. The good: The top hinged doors effectively raise vertically, so there's some convenience in parking garages. The bad: Can't use a conventional roof rack for skis or bikes. Take too long to open. Sensors can malfunction and not open correctly. Some body panels may not line up correctly. We can go on.
Put simply, the Model X would be a better SUV without them.
A complete safety record for the Model X isn't yet available, and we don't expect that the six-figure SUV will be crash-tested anytime soon. We don't advise you take that burden on yourself, either.
Every Model X has 12 airbags, stability and traction control systems, blind-spot and lane-departure warnings, and automatic emergency braking. All cars are also fitted with the forward-looking camera, radar, and 360-degree sonar sensors that support Tesla's Autopilot self-driving system, although activating that capability costs $5,000 or more.
Each Model X comes standard with all-wheel drive, advanced safety features, LED headlights, a massive panoramic sunroof, keyless ignition, 20-inch wheels, power adjustable heated front seats, wood accents, a rearview camera, Bluetooth connectivity, power liftgate, air suspension, and a 17-inch touchscreen with navigation.
There's more standard gear, but with an $88,800 starting price (before federal and any state incentives) it should be clear that it's a luxury SUV. Options include a crystal clear-sounding audio system, a cold weather package, and the ballyhooed Autopilot and "full self-driving" capabilities.