2016 Tesla Model X Review
Pros & Cons
- Enough range for daily use
- tremendously quick acceleration
- five-, six- and seven-passenger configurations
- unique rear doors open wide.
- Non-folding second row of seats and vertical-opening rear doors compromise utility
- out of the price range of most crossover buyers
- towing is largely incompatible with Supercharger network
- unknown reliability.
Edmunds' Expert Review
If you want a family-friendly electric SUV, the 2016 Tesla Model X is in a class of one. You'll love the large door openings and silent speed of this midsize electric crossover that utilizes many of the same components as Tesla's successful Model S sedan.
Lost among the sometimes hype-driven commentary regarding the Tesla Model S sedan is that it's simply a very nice, very fast car. It's sleek and seductive, with luxury, performance and price beyond any electric vehicle on sale today. Tesla hopes to extend its win streak with the all-new 2016 Model X, a crossover-style version of the popular sedan.
Buyers who like the Model S but want something bigger should be pleased with the Model X. Its standard third row of forward-facing seats offers a choice of true six- or seven-passenger seating, compared to the optional rear-facing jump seats in the Model S. The Model X is also available with two rows of seating for five passengers.
Unique articulating rear doors (Tesla calls them "falcon wing" doors) use dual hinges and many sensors to reduce their opening and closing arcs in tight spaces and allow freer access to the rear seats. Tesla says the doors can open with just one foot of side clearance. They are slower to operate than traditional doors and disallow the use of roof-mounted cargo boxes or racks. Parking spaces with limited overhead room (like traditional garages) limit how far the rear doors can open.
Despite building the Model X on the same platform used for the sedan, the Model X is taller, wider, heavier and slightly longer than the Model S.
2016 Tesla Model X models
The 2016 Tesla Model X is a midsize electric crossover SUV.
The base Model X 75D starts at $83,000 and comes standard with keyless entry, a power liftgate, LED headlights, parking alerts, navigation, blind-spot warnings and collision-mitigation braking.
One rung up the ladder is the Model X 90D, starting at $95,500, which adds an air suspension and a larger battery that delivers quicker acceleration and the longest range (257 miles) of all Model X flavors. The $116,700 P90D bumps up the speed quotient further still, at the expense of a bit of range, which drops to 250 miles.
Options can really ratchet the price skyward in short order. Packages include the Premium Upgrades package,which includes a motorized driver door, HEPA cabin air filter, ventilated front seats, extended leather surfaces, synthetic suede headliner and adaptive headlights. The Subzero Weather package includes wiper blade defrosters, heaters for every seat, and a heated steering wheel, and the Towing package which comes with a removable 2-inch hitch receiver, 7-pin trailer electronics harness, and stability control software.
Stand-alone options include seating for six or seven passengers, leather seating surfaces, premium audio, autopilot semi-autonomous driving, 22-inch wheels, a high-current (72 amp) onboard charger and a Ludicrous Speed upgrade.
The Model X will have the luxury EV crossover niche to itself for a while, or at least until Audi launches its Q6 E-tron crossover, said to arrive in 2018 and offering nearly 300 miles of range. Mercedes-Benz is also planning an electric SUV for production in 2018, as is Jaguar with its all-electric E-Pace.
Performance & mpg
The base Model X 75D has 328 horsepower and a 75 kilowatt-hour (kWh) battery that gives up to 237 miles of driving range. Stepping up to the 90D trim level increases power to 417 hp and the battery capacity to 90 kWh for 257 miles of range. Acceleration from zero to 60 mph quickens from 6.0 seconds for the 70D to 4.8 seconds for the 90D.
A more performance-oriented 463-hp P90D trim is good for a projected 250 miles of range and hits 60 mph in a claimed 3.8 seconds. With the optional "Ludicrous" performance upgrade, power rises to 532 hp and the 0-60 time drops to 3.3 seconds in our testing. That's astonishing acceleration for any car, let alone a multi-passenger crossover.
All Model Xs feature a second electric motor driving the front wheels, endowing all Model Xs with standard all-wheel drive.
Driver safety and convenience features include forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring and parking assist, and a near hospital-grade cabin air filtration system. A "Summon" feature moves the Model X out of parking spaces or garages remotely.
There's also an available "Autopilot" driving mode that uses the adaptive cruise and lane-keeping systems so that the Model X can function as semi-autonomously. It's clever but not perfect. We implore drivers to remain attentive when the system is engaged.
Acceleration from low speeds is surreal in its combination of instantaneousness, ferocity and relative silence. Its thrust is its best party trick, by far. And for a vehicle this heavy (some 5,400 pounds!), it handles commendably well. It steers precisely for its ample size and weight, though it's on the numb side. The ride quality isn't quite as supple as its Model S sedan stablemate, particularly with the optional 22-inch wheels.
The panoramic windshield offers a terrific outward view to the front. It's best on overcast or cold days, as the ever-present sun in your field of vision soon quickly loses its novelty on sunny days. Plus, the windshield becomes heat-soaked on bright days, which then radiates on your head. The supplied manual sunshade is a disappointingly chintzy and halfhearted solution. Rearward visibility is minimal, so you tend to rely on the backup camera.
More so than the sedan, the Model X requires some compromise. Although the crossover will benefit from Tesla's most current hardware and software updates, long-term reliability is still an issue for this new automaker (we encourage you to read our opinions on owning a 2013 Model Sfor one year). To that end, Tesla offers an eight-year, infinite-mile battery and drive unit warranty.
Long-distance road trips require more planning and much more time than a conventional car, although Tesla's growing network of free, high-speed Supercharger stations makes this easier. That, and the navigation system tells you where to Supercharge and for how long in order to minimize the downtime. The "falcon wing" doors also won't please everyone, especially those who'll find no space on the roof for cargo boxes or racks. Tesla will offer an accessory hitch carrier for bikes, skis and snowboards to somewhat skirt this inconvenience.
Like the Model S, the Model X has a dashboard that's bereft of nearly all buttons. Instead, the majority of the controls are embedded in the colossal central touchscreen. It's a fast-responding and sharp interface, though finding exactly what you're looking for can sometimes be a bewildering experience.
Aside from the gimmicky rear doors, the driver-side door can auto-open as you approach, and close once you're inside by simply applying the brake pedal. The second-row seats slide forward to ease access to the third row even if child seats are installed in the second row. The third-row seats also fold down for increased rear cargo area. Tesla hasn't announced the Model X's rear cargo volume, but claims the area is large enough for "bikes and gear," although the second row seats do not fold down. A front trunk can also accommodate additional cargo.
A large panoramic glass windshield is designed to allow more sky and ambient light into the cabin, its inspiration drawn from the bubble canopies on helicopters.
The Model X is also rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds when equipped with 20-inch wheels. Opting for 22-inch wheels drops the tow rating to 3,500 pounds. In the real world, towing with a Model X should be reserved for short local trips only as range drops precipitously when towing, and the Supercharger network is very difficult to use when a trailer is attached.