Our Week in the Tesla Model X — Cars.com


the buzz around Tesla is more like the
deafening roar of a 747 so if you’re curious about a car like the Model X
well we hope to demystify a little bit why this SUV is so unique and worthy of
that buzz the car we’re testing is the Model X 100 deep so it’s the mid-range
SUV it’s below the ludicrous mode P 100 d and above the 75 d and what that means
is you have 295 miles of electric range EPA rated range and this car starts at
around 97 thousand dollars and that’s not including any federal or state tax
credits backs we’re testing is the three road model and the one with the bench
seat in the middle you can get the X as a five-seater with just the two rows a
six-seater captain’s chairs in the second row that don’t fold flat or the
bench that we have which has room for three passengers in the second row and
two passengers in the third row and all of those folds flat at the start of
driving the Model X I was tracking every trip how much energy it used if the
predicted range was accurate and after a few days they didn’t feel the need to do
that anymore because the range was so accurate and I didn’t have to worry
about whether it was going to misguide me with how many miles I had on my trip
and even more than just around town on road trips
the navigation system will figure that out for you so you can plug in the
destination and it will tell you if you have enough battery life to get there
and if you don’t it will guide you to a super charging station which is the
fastest way to charge and it will tell you how long it’s gonna take to charge
to get that range to get you to your destination what was most surprising
about my week in the Model X was how I wasn’t concerned about range at all with
295 miles of range I was able to commute I was on day care duty run errands and
ranges wasn’t an issue now part of that though is because we’re in Chicago and
there is a massive network of charge and supercharger stations we’re charging
at the supercharger was not much of an issue now the super charging station is
the fastest way that you can charge we were typically getting about 140 to 150
miles of range per hour the one by my house is next to a grocery store and the
one in the city is next to another grocery store and some shopping so an
hour to run errands while the car is charging is not bad at all now if there
was a home depot near supercharging stations well I’d be in trouble but the
car would definitely get a full charge there are a bunch of little features
that make daily livability so much easier so much easier that you think why
isn’t everyone else doing this to the steering wheel for example very simple
not many buttons but this multifunction scrolling knob here you can adjust the
climate control temperature the fan speed the screen display recent calls
and contacts it’s just it’s information features that you use a lot and it’s
really easy access here at your fingertips another is with the X is an
air suspension so you can be in the weeds in the very low setting or it can
be jacked way up with a ton of ground clearance in the very high setting on
the high setting and very high setting you can even tag GPS locations so when
you hit very high it will have an auto raising location marker so when you ever
you hit that GPS spot again the suspension is gonna raise off the ground
and that’s if you have a steep driveway or you’re going over consistent rough
terrain they’re also driver profiles which while
not unique there are absolutely memory seat capabilities and other luxury cars
but in the Tesla you can save up to 10 and whenever you make a little
adjustment let’s say I move the mirror or I move the seat a little pop up on
the screen shows do I want to save that as my new default setting or don’t want
to restore to the old setting it’s just a little feature that makes a big
difference Tesla’s preconditioning of the interior
works exceptionally well it’s been about eighty to ninety degrees here and when
the car is sitting outside it easily gets to a hundred and five hundred and
six degrees inside the car setting the climate control through the app from
inside the house it will get 273 degrees in 11 minutes which is a phenomenal it
does make a lot of noise from the outside when you walk up to the car it’s
just whooshing and you hear that blower motor spinning at 300 miles an hour but
it works it works really fast faster than other electrics we’ve used and
other cars that give you the ability to you know precondition your interior you
don’t see back at cameras like this anywhere else and it’s also because you
don’t see screens like this in many other cars but Tesla is making full use
of this screen with a high-resolution backup camera and unlike other systems
that are gonna turn off after you hit a certain mile an hour you can keep this
camera on when you’re driving at different speeds above just cruising
around a parking lot and it’s useful in this car because the rear visibility is
not great this model has a fixed rear spoiler and the back window is very
small so rear visibility isn’t great to start with this camera makes a big
difference in giving you an extra set of eyes on the back the proximity sensor is
on top of telling you how close something is they conform to the shape
of what you’re around so if you’re pulling into a parking space the the
blob of caution do not hit this it forms to the shape of what you’re approaching
and then when you get really close it starts telling you you’re 30 inches away
you’re 25 inches away you’re 20 inches away which is that extra bit of context
the head tells you you’re really close to something and other systems you just
don’t have that context of really how close you are to something until it
tells you to stop but this is just a little extra information that goes a
long way into telling you just how really close you are vex isn’t without
its quirks and the doors are definitely quirky they’re all electronic
so they motor open and close and the rear doors are the Falcon doors so
those will swing upward and they put on a great show that’s for sure they are a
WOW factor of this even if you don’t want it when I pulled up to a grocery
store they had a nice little barbecue out front and a bunch of picnic tables
and as soon as I pulled up and open those doors
everyone turned and looked at me and that’s not the kind of attention that I
want when I’m going to pick up some milk and they’re also just a little weird to
live with if you’re parking in a parking garage and the structure is low they’re
not going to open all the way which is really smart it’s gonna sense that
there’s an object above and it’s only gonna open you know so it doesn’t hit
what’s above you but then you’re left with a height that you can’t really get
easy in-and-out access and they do take pretty long to open and close but they
are a spectacle the doors also feel a little flimsy when they close it’s not a
solid reassuring clunk it almost feels like you’re closing the
door on an amusement park ride just before you take off so we have the the
model of the bench row in the second row and it’s not the easiest to get into the
third row the third row is kind of tight it’s more for kids or smaller adults I’m
6 foot tall and it takes a little bit of work to get back there the bench seat
doesn’t slide enough far forward to give you a ton of access so you kind of have
to climb over the wheel well heel here and make sure you don’t fall into the
seat the bench seat is a little heavy too to get back which isn’t great it’s
not unusable I’m back here it’s not totally uncomfortable my head is up in
the the rear glass area but it’s it it’s not the place that you want to be you
definitely want to call dibs to be in the second row but if you are not there
now it’s locked in but if you do end up back here you have some AC vents which
is nice but the second row is the place to be it
as a flat floor a lot of legroom a lot of headroom and a nice little skylights
too in those Falcon doors the doors closed like you’re sitting in a
rollercoaster and the acceleration matches then we plot here the sixty and
four point seven seconds with our Reis logic VBox GPS equipment and you did the
quarter-mile in 13 seconds flat at 108 miles an hour and that’s quick
especially for the mid-range model an SUV spaced the Tesla Model X
acceleration is most similar to a Porsche Cayenne a hybrid it’s also does
research even for 27 seconds that a hybrid though only has 14 miles of
electric range where the Tesla you’re looking at a full electric vehicle with
of course the 295 miles of range if you haven’t driven electric car before
driving the Model X is going to be a very different experience there is
instant acceleration when you hit the accelerator pedal there’s no down
shifting you don’t have to wait for the engine’s power to come on at higher rpms
you’re just off and where that’s most noticeable is when you’re on the highway
and you see a hole in traffic and you need to get there to make your exit this
has no delay and you’re gone in a split second where the X isn’t quite as
impressive is in ride quality it doesn’t have the solid reassuring composure that
$100,000 Land Rover or Mercedes does it kind of crashes over bumps and the
firmness isn’t adjustable so unlike those other SUVs you can’t choose a
comfort mode these type of roads or a sport mode and other types of roads the
doors in the third row I can chalk up to being quirky but what’s just flat-out
disappointing about this car is its phone integration especially with my
iPhone I just got out of a Honda clarity plug-in electric that has apple carplay
and with apple carplay I can seamlessly use voice to text functions podcasts
various music apps and don’t have that here
giving into this car was kind of like going back five years in phone
integration technology there’s basic Bluetooth functions but there’s not
great phone usage here like you get with apple carplay for Android auto and it’s
disappointing because this touchscreen is wonderful it’s fast its high
resolution and apple carplay is designed to mimic your touchscreen phone on a
touchscreen and that’s where it works best and just seems like it would be a
perfect match but you just don’t get that the test was touchscreen Tesla’s
autopilot is probably the best execution of a semi autonomous smart cruise
control where it has an auto steer function that keeps the car centered in
its lane and will actually steer with quite a bit of steering angle around
corners when it’s set there are some quirks though on this car even with my
hand on the steering wheel it kept reminding me to make sure your hands are
on the steering wheel and it is a hands-on feature this isn’t like
Cadillac super cruise where they say you can go hands-free though super cruise
only works on certain highways to activate autopilot the cruise control
stock here you pull forward twice it is a system that works very well in is a
must use feature if you live in congested areas like we do in Chicago
it’s not appropriate to call this car a 2018 model year rather the Model X we
tested was version twenty eighteen point three two point four and since we
reviewed this car Tesla’s software update 9.0 has been released giving a
slew of new features it addresses the rear view camera only having one view
now through software updates having a 360 degree visualization using all eight
external cameras that previously weren’t being used there’s a new dash cam
function and the screen has been updated with more centralized controls all the
cold-weather controls are now in one spot plus there will soon the autopilot
features that can suggest lane changes to follow the most efficient path of
traffic and that’s perhaps the X’s biggest advantage there isn’t
another SUV that can improve as dramatically without having to buy an
all-new car in the next model year you