2016 Tesla Model X: Monthly Update for February 2017
by Calvin Kim, Road Test Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
The miles we put on our long-term 2016 Tesla Model X this month ended up highlighting some of its faults. SUVs are generally known for their squishy rides and flexible interior space, but the Model X suffers from the exact opposite. Also, the creaks and groans remain, as does the vibration upon acceleration.
After Editor Brent Romans' trip to Yosemite, our X primarily kicked around town on local trips, but we were able to stretch its legs on the highway, too. We're past the 15,000-mile mark now and the honeymoon phase is definitely over as the joys of instant torque and that massive touchscreen are getting overshadowed by everyday life.
Maintenance and Upkeep
None performed. We still need to replace the charge-port door, as the car keeps reminding us.
"There's a drivetrain vibration that's particularly noticeable during hard acceleration when cornering. It's somewhat less prominent when accelerating hard in a straight line. The vibration is acceleration rate-dependent, not speed-dependent." — Jay Kavanagh, Engineering Editor
"Separate from all the hubbub about Autopilot is the Model X's basic adaptive cruise control. It works great in my opinion. It smoothly slows down and speeds up based on traffic and is effective at keeping gap distances. I also like how if you're stuck behind a vehicle on the highway that's going slower than your set speed, the Model X immediately starts to speed up when you click on your turn signal to pull out for the lane change/pass. It's as if the system is saying, 'Yeah, I know my sensor says you're still behind somebody, but I know we're going to pass him so I'm gonna start speeding up now anyway.' Just like you'd make a highway pass yourself." — Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
Audio & Technology
"Our P90D came standard with the 17-speaker Ultra High Fidelity Sound audio system. I don't know what the base system sounds like, but this one's impressive. Music sounds balanced and accurate, with nice separation and staging. I'm not a crank-it-super-loud kind of person, but I did notice I had the volume up fairly high a lot of times. I wonder if it cranks up high enough for some people, even though you can turn up the volume to 11? Nevertheless, I've enjoyed listening to my music in the Model X. It's likely worth getting as an option on lesser Model Xs considering the reasonable price." — Brent Romans
"I have mixed feelings about our Model X's interior. I do admire the simplicity of the dashboard design. There's just one button, which opens the glovebox. Everything else is controlled by the touchscreen. On the downside, though — and this is true of the Model S, which has the same general design — it's not richly finished enough for me, given the six-figure price tag. Even though our Signature trim has the upgraded upholstery, there's nothing here that wows me qualitywise. And because there aren't any buttons, I don't get to interact with the car as much. Touching the touchscreen is boring and sterile. Other luxury crossover SUVs provide a more gratifying tactile connection." — Brent Romans
"This was my first trip in the Model X, and I have to say ... I don't get it. If I'd spent over a hundred grand on this car, I'd be feeling cheated. Yes, I appreciated the impressive and useful gauge cluster, and the tabletlike center console made finding a Leonard Cohen streaming station easy and intuitive. I also appreciated the excellent adaptive cruise control and the trick front doors. On the other hand, the driver seat proved uncomfortable for my 6-foot (and, charitably, broad-shouldered) frame, pushing my shoulders forward awkwardly no matter how I adjusted it. Tire noise was surprisingly noticeable, and the suspension let me feel every imperfection in the road surface." — Will Kaufman, Associate Editor
"Opened the albatross-wing side door and it proceeded to bang itself against the overhead air duct in the Edmunds parking garage. Fortunately I have no faith in these doors' ability to do anything correctly — I was watching it like a hawk at the time and immediately leaned on the door to arrest it before any real damage was incurred. Even in this position, the door opening barely allowed any access into the vehicle. Seems like every time I use these doors I'm reminded anew of their limitations." — Jay Kavanagh