2017 Tesla Model X

2017 Tesla Model X SUV Review

Quick and quiet but fundamentally flawed, the Tesla Model X is outshined by its Model S stablemate.
4 star edmunds overall rating
author
by Jason Kavanagh
Edmunds Editor

The Model X is Tesla's third-ever model (don't forget the Roadster!). Its underlying architecture is very similar to that of the Model S sedan's, but the X is usually described as a sport-utility vehicle given that it has an SUV-like shape and standard all-wheel drive. In reality, though, it has but the thinnest veneer of utility, and it is ultimately more of a people mover. Think minivan, but with less functionality.

The neatest thing about the Model X is also the root of its most serious drawbacks: the articulating rear doors. They're powered and open upward for some regal automotive theater but take a segment of the roof with them. Showing them off to your neighbors is undeniably fun, but the design introduces a range of issues. The two most notable are 1) the inability to install any kind of roof rack or cargo pod on top of the Model X; and 2) the difficulty in opening the doors all the way up in crowded parking lots or when parked in an area with a low ceiling. Moreover, the Model X's second-row seats do not fold flat, further eroding the car's utility.

It's blindingly quick in P100D trim and steers and turns better than you might expect for its exceedingly heavy weight. Big on flash but lacking in utility, the Model X is simply not as good a vehicle in nearly every respect as its Model S stablemate.



what's new

Tesla updates its vehicles on an ongoing basis rather than at discrete model-year intervals. As such, there's no clear-cut "new for 2017" information. Features and trim levels are tweaked sporadically.

we recommend

Presumably you are shopping Model X for its people-carrying ability since that is its primary distinction over the Model S sedan. In that case, opt for the seven-passenger layout. Go for the 90D — it's in the sweet spot of range and price. Stay away from the big 22-inch wheels if you can because they noticeably degrade the ride quality. We're split on the pricey Premium Upgrades package that adds premium cabin materials to match the vehicle's asking price but comes with a lot of gimmicky door features for which we don't care for. The Subzero package is a must-have, as is the High-Amperage Charger if you plan to do frequent long-distance drives.

trim levels & features

The 2017 Tesla Model X is currently available in four variants: 75D, 90D, 100D and P100D. Please note that Tesla often changes up its products at unexpected times, so what is true today may change tomorrow. Battery size in kilowatt-hours is denoted by the digits contained in each trim level, where larger numbers indicate additional battery capacity and more range. There's also a general trend of increasing quickness as you progress upward through the trim levels. The Model X is available in five-, six- and seven-passenger configurations and is offered with all-wheel drive only.

The 75D is the base trim level, providing 237 miles of range from a 75-kWh (kilowatt-hour) battery. Despite being the base model, it's not slow, reaching 60 mph in a claimed 6.0 seconds. Air suspension is (as of this writing) standard on every Model X, as is keyless entry, a power liftgate, navigation and power mirrors.

Stepping up to the 90D nets you a 90-kWh battery that bumps up range to 257 miles. The 90D models are quicker still, hitting 60 mph in a claimed 4.8 seconds. The 100D's 100-kWh battery increases range to 295 miles but is no quicker than the 90D. For the ultimate in Model X speed, head right to the P100D. Though range drops slightly to 289 miles, this variant sprints to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds.

Many optional features are available for all trim levels, including six- and seven-passenger configurations. Other high-dollar stuff includes the Premium Upgrades package, 22-inch wheels, semiautonomous driving and premium audio.

trim tested

Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our drive of the 2016 Tesla Model X Signature P90D.

NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Model X has received minor ongoing revisions, including the addition of the range-topping P100D trim level to replace the P90D. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Model X, however.

Edmunds Scorecard

Overall4.0 / 5.0

Driving

4.0 / 5.0

Acceleration5.0 / 5.0
Braking3.5 / 5.0
Steering4.0 / 5.0
Handling3.0 / 5.0
Drivability5.0 / 5.0

Comfort

4.5 / 5.0

Seat comfort4.0 / 5.0
Ride comfort3.0 / 5.0
Noise & vibration5.0 / 5.0

Interior

3.5 / 5.0

Ease of use3.5 / 5.0
Getting in/getting out4.0 / 5.0
Roominess3.0 / 5.0
Visibility5.0 / 5.0
Quality2.0 / 5.0

Utility

2.0 / 5.0

Small-item storage3.0 / 5.0
Cargo space1.0 / 5.0

Technology

3.5 / 5.0

Audio & navigation3.5 / 5.0
Smartphone integration3.0 / 5.0
Driver aids4.0 / 5.0

driving

edmunds rating
Acceleration is outstanding and instantaneous. Excellent drivability even before you turn on the semiautonomous features. It can't hide its prodigious weight, but it handles like a 500-pound-lighter vehicle. An EV that can tow is unique, but range will be a factor.

acceleration

edmunds rating
Mat the accelerator and the Model X launches like few other vehicles on the road. It's powerful, instant thrust. The face-flattening intensity wanes (relatively) at higher speeds, but it's still quite quick. In our testing, the P90D Signature accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.

braking

edmunds rating
The regenerative braking is enough for modest deceleration — you'll rarely touch the pedal. When you do, it's easy to modulate. In our panic-stop test from 60 mph, our P90D Signature (with the 22-inch sporty all-season tires) stopped in an impressive 111 feet.

steering

edmunds rating
Steering is appropriately direct, though it lacks feel. Effort in Sport mode is too high, though. Just stick with Normal or Comfort. The Model X tracks straight on the highway, and it's easy to keep within your lane.

handling

edmunds rating
The Model X handles turns with more stability and verve than you'd expect for an SUV weighing almost 5,500 pounds. It's hard to describe as agile, but it faithfully obeys inputs in routine driving.

drivability

edmunds rating
The auto-steering function, switchable "creep" mode and impressive adaptive cruise control amplify the Model X's friendly-to-use nature. Driver-selectable level of regenerative braking is a plus.

comfort

edmunds rating
Extremely quiet and equipped with seats that are suitable for long stints. Heavy, but manages its weight well. Ride quality is overall good except over broken or potholed surfaces where the heavy wheels and low-profile tires show their limits.

seat comfort

edmunds rating
Very good comfort on long drives. The seat and armrest padding is supportive. Heating and cooling for all three rows is impressive. Lateral support is modest but appropriate for the type of vehicle.

ride comfort

edmunds rating
The sense of mass is inescapable, but there is no float and little head toss thanks to the air suspension. Composed body control. Heavy wheels and low-profile tires chop on most roads. The base 20-inch wheels may provide a smoother ride.

noise & vibration

edmunds rating
It's peaceful and hushed in the cabin thanks to the lack of powertrain noise. Wind noise is low at freeway speeds. The road noise is the most prominent aspect, with some tire thumps and hum.

interior

edmunds rating
This is an SUV that's light on utility since the second-row seats do not fold and there is no provision for a roof rack. Terrific visibility and easy entry and exit, though the rear doors can be infuriating. Second-row storage is lacking.

ease of use

edmunds rating
Nearly all secondary controls are controlled via the tall touchscreen, which works well for top-most controls. For HVAC functions at the bottom, it isn't ideal. The instrument cluster is very clear. Stalks and steering wheel controls work well.

getting in/getting out

edmunds rating
A low step-in height and a tall roof help here. The rear doors provide a large opening in typical parking spots but not in tight ones the way a sliding door would. Garages with low ceilings are problematic, too. Plus, the doors just don't open very quickly.

roominess

edmunds rating
There's ample space up front. Headroom is respectable in the second row because of the door's "skylight" windows. But second-row legroom could be better, and the front seatback is hard and knee-unfriendly. Third-row seating is tight and best for children only.

visibility

edmunds rating
The panoramic windshield and expansive side windows offer a wide view, though some may not like having the sun always overhead. The wide-view backup camera works well, as do the excellent cluster display and proximity sensors.

quality

edmunds rating
Inconsistent panel gaps, some paint and rubber gasket quality issues, and a few stray cabin noises from time to time reduce the quality feeling of this vehicle. When it's cold out, the rear doors make a fair amount of creaking and cracking noises. A Mercedes-Benz it's not.

utility

edmunds rating
Utility takes a huge hit due to compromised rear doors. The second-row seats do not fold, and there is no provision for a roof rack. Limited small-item storage.

small-item storage

edmunds rating
There are sparse storage options for the front passengers and no storage in second-row doors (otherwise you'd be dumping drinks on yourself when you opened them). There are no provisions to hang dry-cleaned clothes.

cargo space

edmunds rating
The second-row seats do not fold, limiting large-object hauling, and the articulating rear doors preclude bicycle racks or cargo boxes. The rear cargo hold has good height and depth, but it's on the narrow side. The front trunk is a bonus, at least.

technology

edmunds rating
Some of its driver assistance features seem half-baked, though its displays are top-notch. Navigation should be used with a critical (and skeptical) eye due to its effect on range and time.

audio & navigation

edmunds rating
The main touchscreen is huge, and it responds very well to your inputs, though the control menus are complex. Audio sound options are basic, but the premium system has an appealing sound quality. Internet radio, scrolling and playlist creation are all well-executed. Navigation is unreliable.

smartphone integration

edmunds rating
It's easy to pair up your phone using Bluetooth. But at the time of our evaluation, the Model X lacked additional smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay or Android Auto).

driver aids

edmunds rating
The screen depicting the proximity of objects near you when parking is industry-leading. The large backup camera display is very helpful, too. We also like the adaptive cruise control, but full Autopilot is a mixed bag and should never be used without full attention.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.