If you want a ludicrously quick crossover with all-electric drive and funny doors, the Tesla Model X is it

The Telsa Model X is expected to outsell the Model S saloon globally, and with the SUV market constantly growing, especially in markets like China and the US, you can see why. The added practicality of the Model X’s bodystyle means it will appeal to even more customers, with relatively little drop in performance compared to the Model S meaning there’s little compromise.

There’s loads of space inside and the quiet, smooth and quick powertrain means it’s a great way to travel. It won’t appeal to keen drivers, or those with significant demands in terms of range, but if you can afford the high prices then the Model X could just be the SUV for you.

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Tesla Model X Standard Range

Electric car firm Tesla is highly proficient at churning out promising hype, but has so far proved less successful at turning its dreams into a profitable business. Still, while the world waits for the ‘mass market’ Model 3 to attain promised production volumes and help to justify the Tesla stock price, we can at least enjoy the fruits of its labour to date.

That means the Model S electric super-saloon, and this, the Model X – an unusually-styled, and unexpectedly voluminous take on the luxury SUV/crossover segment, with its signature lifting ‘Falcon’ rear doors. The doors are a twist on the roof-hinged ‘Gullwing’ door concept, and allow very good access to the second and third rows of seats in the Model X – albeit with some significant compromises outlined below. Talking of seats, you can order your Model X with anything from 5 to 7, at which point you need the extra row.

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At a little over 5m in length, the Model X is an imposing sight although its bulky volume is less elegantly disguised than the Model S saloon which manages to look svelte. In spite of its extra size the two models share a platform and all their core engineering, from batteries to motors to the Tesla Autopilot self-driving tech.

Although Tesla calls the Model X an SUV, the car-like profile with sweeping rear roofline makes it much more of a crossover. It’s four-wheel drive thanks to its electric motors, but there’s no intention that the Model X should be driven off tarmac. However, on tarmac its acceleration is nothing short of astonishing, which is surely part of the appeal for early adopters of Tesla’s electric technology.

Incredible performance and tidy handling, but not very exciting
No fuel costs to worry about, but charging infrastructure is still being built up
The styling isn’t as cohesive as that of the Model S, though the interior is smart
Versatile and spacious, the Model X is one of the most practical EVs out there
Drive Power survey is good news for potential buyers

The fact it’s such a unique proposition means it’s hard to match the Model X up to rivals. Expensive full size SUVs with a high performance option include the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes GLE, Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport, while the Volvo XC90 T8 hybrid has environmental credentials. For electric-only SUVs, your choice is limited to the Audi e-tron, Mercedes EQC and Jaguar I-Pace - which won our 2018 Car of the Year award. 

The Model X Standard Range is the entry model, named after the kWh rating of its battery. The Model X Long Range is more powerful with added range, while the Model X Performance offers maximum performance. Not that any of them are slow – even the Standard Range version will crack 0-60 in 4.6 seconds.

This being an exclusively electric car, there are no other powertrain versions available: your only choice with the Model X is how fast and how far you want it to go. There are plenty of options to choose from, though, including the strange Bioweapon Defence Mode, which filters the air in the cabin.

Last updated: 
2 Jul, 2019