Tesla Model X sets a high bar for Luxury Electric Crossovers, for those who can afford it
In This Guide:
- How Many Passengers Can it Seat?
- What’s new for 2017?
- Trim Levels, Options, and Pricing
- Interior Design and Seating
- Powertrain and Performance
- Safety Features
- Driving Impressions
Since its inception in 2003, Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors has attempted to set a high-bar for the production of consumer electric vehicles. With its new Model X, they may have tried to set that bar a little too high. While the vehicle is technically sound, its many bells and whistles might prove to be too much for the average consumer looking for a new crossover. If the array of gizmos, gadgets, and unique features doesn’t turn them away, the price could; starting at the low cost of $132,000 for the P90D, or the slightly more reasonable $84,000 for the 75D, only the most wealthy and determined Tesla fans will find a new high-performance electric crossover parked in their garage this year.
How Many Passengers Can it Seat?
In the five-seat configuration, two adults can be comfortably seated in the back without feeling cramped; the six and seven-seat configuration adds a third row of bucket seats in the very back cargo area, with the seven-seat configuration having a bench seat in the second row. These seats will feel cramped for most adults due to the X’s small exterior profile, but the inclusion of so many seats is a marvel in itself. The seats themselves are comfortable and spacious in the front while the rear seat is configurable in multiple ways to provide more seating or cargo space depending on need.
What’s new for 2017?
An entirely new vehicle for Tesla’s product lineup, the Model X is a technological marvel. A dizzying list of sensors feeds information directly to an internal processor that determines the vehicle’s surroundings, velocity, and position. Falcon-wing doors automatically adjust and shift based on input from sensors mounted on the frame, allowing for the doors to be opened in close proximity to other objects. Second-row seating mounted on a movable pedestal allow passengers to move and turn the seats themselves. The cabin itself is air filtered, providing clean air that Musk claims will provide “hospital operating room cleanliness in the car.” A large, overhead wraparound, custom crafted front windshield requires specially made sun-visors attached to movable magnetic clips. Customizable software options abound, with everything from preset seat adjustments to regenerative brake settings. Tesla Motors has said that it may have been, in their own words, “been a better decision to do fewer things.”
Trim Levels, Options, and Pricing
Currently, the Tesla X has three trim levels available. The 75D runs $84,000 and up, while the high-performance models cost significantly more. Tesla Motors website lists the actual prices with tax credits and gas savings discounts, lowering the 75D’s final price to the $65,000 range. All three trim levels include all-wheel drive, with battery options depending on trim. A wealth of standard features are included in each, including navigation, cruise control, a full suite of intelligent response safety features, fully automatic doors, and automatic system updates.
The higher end models come with enhanced suspension while the P90D is equipped with an automatically adjusting air brake/rear spoiler that will kick in at high speed for enhanced grip and stability. Five seat interior comes as standard while a six and even seven-seat configuration option is available on all trims. The top end P90D has an optional “ludicrous speed” mode, that will increase 0-60 time to 3.1 seconds. Optional extras available on all models are numerous and expensive. Busy drivers can select an “auto-pilot” system feature, which, while not being a true “self-driving” mode, will change lanes, follow curves, pilot in stop-and-go traffic and even park/unpark itself or close the garage door.
High fidelity audio packages, sub-zero weather conditioning, the above-mentioned air filtering system; if it can be fit into a motor vehicle, Tesla has given an expensively priced option to add to their new Tesla X. At initial launch, the Tesla X had a nine-month waiting list; at the time of this writing, the availability listed on their website gives an expected delivery date of June 2016.
Interior Design and Seating
The gizmo-loaded interior of the Tesla X is both pleasing to the eye and intuitive to the new driver. There is a gradual learning curve to the intelligent car management system accessed by a 17-inch display panel mounted in the center dash between passenger and driver. A plethora of options and features are controlled by this central unit. The interior styling itself displays a futuristic elegance, particularly when viewing straight ahead or directly upward, thanks to the unique front windshield design that stretches in a single sheet of glass above the front seats. The magnetically clipped sun-visor can be moved to block the sun in almost any position, though it would be recommended to put a slight aftermarket tint in order to prevent being blinded by the sun on a nice day.
Performance and Powertrain
The Tesla X drivetrain is run by two electric motors with a 75 kWh battery in the 75D, or a 90kWh battery in the higher end models. One motor for the front wheels and one for the back. Horsepower varies based on configuration, but the P90D has a reported combined horsepower from the front and rear motors of 762 bhp @ 1 rpm. The Tesla has only a single gear and an intelligent air-based suspension for enhanced stability under high-speed conditions. EPA estimates place the cars range at 257 miles on a full charge.
As expected the Tesla X has a full suite of luxury safety features common to cars of its caliber. Auto-pilot, intelligent distance monitoring, multiple cameras, numerous airbags, and an aluminum steel frame help protect the driver and enhance collision response rate. Tesla claims the vehicle itself performs far above the competition in all safety categories.
Like the other models in Tesla’s lineup, the X is a balanced force of nature on the road. Instant torque response and an advanced suspension create an experience not dissimilar to high-end supercars. The Tesla will go in the direction you point it at almost go-kart like efficiency even at high speed, and reaching the top end of Tesla computer limited 155mph top speed will throw you back in your seat in a way that would make Enzo Ferrari himself jealous. Electric vehicles don’t suffer the same limitations of a traditional combustion engine drivetrain, with only a single gear to climb through and maximum torque/horsepower at any RPM. Everyday driveability isn’t affected by this blistering performance, everything can be customized and preset; the vehicle’s computer can adjust on the fly for city or highway driving based on your preference.
Over to You
Thinking of buying a Tesla Model X? Already own one? Leave a comment and let us know what you think!