2016 Tesla Model X Long-Term Road Test - Performance

2016 Tesla Model X Long-Term Road Test

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2016 Tesla Model X: Tow Test Reboot With a Happier Camper Trailer

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing

2016 Tesla Model X

Unlike any other electric vehicles on the market, the 2016 Tesla Model X is able to tow a trailer. The maximum Model X tow rating is 5,000 pounds, but any Model X fitted with the optional 22-inch wheels, such as ours, is limited to 3,500 pounds. The bigger wheels come with ultra low-profile tires that aren't able to bear as much weight because it's the air volume inside a tire that carries the weight.

But we know from experience that these numbers don't tell the whole story. Towing on electric power is complicated by the realities of range and recharging, two critical factors that are ignored by the official tow-rating process. Last summer these issues made for such an unpleasant first experience that, after it was all over, I wrote, "I'm not sure I ever want to do it again."

For various practical reasons the trailer we'd borrowed from Off the Grid Rentals was a specialized adventure trailer intended for off-road towing behind a Jeep or Land Rover. We appreciated the trailer in its own right, but its combination of huge off-road tires, massive jutting fenders and exposed external equipment made us wonder if some unseen excess of aerodynamic drag and rolling resistance had been especially hard on the Tesla. It has been a nagging question.

So we're doing it again. But this time we're using an enclosed fiberglass camping trailer from Happier Camper. Just looking at it, the HC1 model is a much more obvious and compatible partner to the Model X. But will it make a difference? Will the Model X do better with a more conventional trailer in tow?

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2016 Tesla Model X: Monthly Update for July 2017

by Rex Tokeshi-Torres, Vehicle Testing Technician

2016 Tesla Model X

Where Did We Drive It?
Our 2016 Tesla Model X was a reliable commuter vehicle this month. We can't say it was completely incident-free, however, since there was an issue that necessitated a soft reboot of the Tesla's display systems. This issue is not found in the manual, and it required some Googling and reading through the Tesla forum for the Model X. Thankfully, it was a fairly easy fix and it did not require any downtime at a local service center.

The Model X's departure from our fleet is imminent. However, it also served as a constant reminder that the new Model 3 is just around the corner. There were multiple occasions while sitting at a supercharger where conversation came up about whether we ordered a Model 3. Our very own Dan Edmunds went to the Tesla launch event for the Model 3 and says that the vehicle seems promising.

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2016 Tesla Model X: Monthly Update for June

by Dan Frio, Automotive Editor

2016 Tesla Model X

Where Did We Drive It?
We've crested the 20,000-mile mark in our 2016 Tesla Model X. Compared to May, our Model X was relatively drama-free. We say relative because, while the Model X didn't require a visit to any of the local service centers, a troublesome suspension noise did resurface, which of course will require a visit to a service center. So it goes.

Now that we've passed the 20,000-mile mark, it's time to prepare for the Model X's departure from our fleet. I'm not sure anyone will miss it terribly, least of all our fleet wranglers. The Model X has been a mixed bag of utility and gadgetry, seemingly more of the latter.

Ultimately the Model X still feels like a proof of concept, guided by the Reid Hoffman maxim that, "If you're not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you've launched too late." Lucky for Tesla, it still has a customer base willing to trade some product shortcomings for early adoption.

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2016 Tesla Model X: Monthly Update for May 2017

by Calvin Kim, Road Test Editor

2016 Tesla Model X

Where Did We Drive It?

While certain things like wine, classic cars and mint-condition superhero comic books generally get better with age, our 2016 Tesla Model X is not one of those things. Thank the brutality of city driving, but also maybe a little bit of excessive function creep. Problems stemmed from automatic door issues (and not the falcon-wing doors, mind you) and a substantial "sqwuank" noise from the brakes.

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2016 Tesla Model X: Monthly Update for March 2017

by Mark Takahashi, Senior Writer

2016 Tesla Model X

Where Did We Drive It?
Our long-term 2016 Tesla Model X has been with us for nearly a full year, which customarily means we'd be running out of things to say about it. That is largely true for the month of March, especially when the bulk of the driving was limited to everyday commuting. No epic trips to Yosemite or record-setting cross-country sprints this time around.

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2016 Tesla Model X: Monthly Update for February 2017

by Calvin Kim, Road Test Editor

2016 Tesla Model X

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.

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2016 Tesla Model X: Taking a Family of 5 to Yosemite in the Winter

by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor on February 27, 2017

2016 Tesla Model X

With all the storms we've had this winter, I've been itching to head up to Yosemite National Park and check out the waterfalls. A weekend in late January looked promising, and at the time I also had our long-term 2016 Tesla Model X signed out. I figured it'd be interesting to see how Tesla's three-row crossover would handle a day trip with my family of five.

Well, it was certainly interesting, though part of that was due to under-preparation and overconfidence on my part.

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2016 Tesla Model X: Monthly Update for January 2017

by Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

2016 Tesla Model X

Where Did We Drive It?
As has often been the case with our 2016 Tesla Model X, we used most of its electrons in January to get us from our SoCal homes to the Edmunds office and back. In fact, my co-worker Ed Hellwig almost ran out of electrons while commuting to the office one day, which you can read more about in his comment below. I'm sure that was fun for him.

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2016 Tesla Model X: Mercedes-Compatible

by Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor on July 28, 2016

2016 Tesla Model X

No, this isn't a post about the Falcon Wing doors evoking the Gullwing 300SL. As one of the Edmunds editors, I switch in and out of cars on an almost daily basis. By my reckoning, it's been about seven years since I've regularly driven one car. But we recently moved our offices, and in the time between spaces, I had the rare opportunity to live with our 2016 Tesla Model X for almost two straight weeks.

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2016 Tesla Model X: Full Charge Means No Regenerative Braking

by Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor on July 20, 2016

2016 Tesla Model X

Heading into a long weekend, I decided to give our long-term 2016 Tesla Model X a full charge rather than the usual 90 percent. Once on the road, the regenerative braking system was clearly feeling the effects.

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2016 Tesla Model X: Road Trip to Big Sur

by Josh Sadlier, Senior Editor on July 8, 2016

2016 Tesla Model X

When I signed out the 2016 Tesla Model X for the weekend and realized I had no plans, I did what any reasonable car nut would do.

Checked the Supercharger network and headed for Big Sur.

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2016 Tesla Model X: My First Supercharger, and Autopilot Inconsistencies

by Cameron Rogers, Associate Editor on July 5, 2016

2016 Tesla Model X

A couple weeks ago, I attended the U.S. launch event for the 2017 Fiat 124 Spider in San Diego. From the Edmunds office in Santa Monica, my hotel was a straight shot south on Highways 405 and 5. I decided to make the trip in the 2016 Tesla Model X for a couple reasons. I wanted to test the Tesla's Autopilot function on the highway as well as use a Supercharger station for the first time.

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2016 Tesla Model X: Performance Tested

by Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager on June 20, 2016

2016 Tesla Model X

We took our 2016 Tesla Model X out to the see how it would perform on our test track. Take the jump to see how fast Ludicrous Mode really is.

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2016 Tesla Model X: Range and Charging While Towing a Trailer

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on June 9, 2016

2016 Tesla Model X

My trip to Flagstaff is complete. I successfully towed a teardrop trailer over 1,000 miles behind our 2016 Tesla Model X crossover SUV.

I'm not sure I ever want to do it again.

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2016 Tesla Model X: Towing a Teardrop Trailer to Flagstaff

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on June 6, 2016

2016 Tesla Model X

This is uncharted territory for me. For you, too, I expect. I've got loads of trailer towing miles under my belt, but our 2016 Tesla Model X is the first electric vehicle I've ever towed with. There's good reason for that. Before Tesla came along there was never an EV with enough battery capacity to make it feasible, and no nationwide fast-charging network to make it possible to get anywhere.

The Model X is the first EV that's been blessed with a tow rating and factory-installed towing equipment. You've probably already seen my discussion of its unique hitch, but in case you haven't it's best to hop over here and come back. We'll wait.

Weird, right? You probably noticed that the Tesla Model X is rated to tow 5,000 pounds. And that ours can tow just 3,500 pounds because it has the optional 22-inch wheels and tires. But I'm leery of even this modest figure because of the realities of towing out west: mountain grades, heat, desert winds. Amid such nagging doubts I wanted to start small.

These issues were not purely theoretical because I had a specific destination in mind: Flagstaff, Arizona. All of the above factors (and more) would come into play as I headed there on a 1,000-mile round trip to attend a Ram Trucks event at the Overland Expo.

One specific family of trailers seemed to fit the bill. I started looking for a teardrop, and I found a truly outstanding example for hire at Off the Grid Rentals.

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2016 Tesla Model X: Installing the Hidden Trailer Hitch

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on June 2, 2016

2016 Tesla Model X

I realize you may have a hard time believing this as a picture of a 2016 Tesla Model X because the shot does not depict or refer to open Falcon-wing doors in any way, shape or form. If it helps, feel free to imagine them flying high up there somewhere.

But the closed door/hatch that you see here is a Tesla Model X giveaway, just the same. It conceals something the Model S does not have: a built-in trailer hitch that gives the Model X plug-and-play towing capability of a sort you might not have seen before.

Thus-equipped, a Model X can tow as much as 5,000 pounds, but that only applies if you stick with the standard 20-inch wheels and tires. Opt for the 22-inch rubber (or buy a Signature, like we did) and the rating drops to 3,500 pounds.

But the hitch isn't just for people that tow trailers. The presence of those Falcon doors you are currently imagining makes it impossible to fit a bike or ski rack to the roof of an X. You'll need to use a hitch-mounted rack for anything like that, which means this hitch is destined to be a must-have item for a large percentage of Model X buyers.

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2016 Tesla Model X: Supersized Supercharger Network

by Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing on April 29, 2016

2016 Tesla Model X

Tesla's Supercharger network has grown tremendously, and that means we have a lot more road trip options to explore with our 2016 Tesla Model X . The map above represents the state of the network in mid-June 2014 when Kurt and I undertook a massive LA-to-New York-to-LA cross-country round trip road trip, a feat we completed in less than a week.

Back then there were just 95 stations. You can guess which way we went just by looking at the map. Apart from our decision to chance a straighter path between Las Vegas and Utah, there was but a single cross-country option.

That map looks significantly more crowded today.

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2016 Tesla Model X: Introduction

by Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor on April 11, 2016

2016 Tesla Model X

Electric vehicles are still rare, but improvements in range and desirability have raised their profile far beyond their actual sales numbers. Most of the electric vehicles (EVs) currently on the market are compact hatchbacks or sedans. Other than the short-lived Toyota RAV4 EV, electric SUVs have largely been absent.

The new 2016 Tesla Model X changes that. With seating for up to seven passengers and a larger cabin than the Model S sedan upon which it is largely based, the Model X is as close to a purpose-built electric SUV as the world has seen to date.

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Past Long-Term Road Tests