Consumer Reports has given the Tesla Model X a critical review, calling it impressive on the performance side but overpriced and packed with excessive features.
“Filled with enough gee-whiz gizmos to give Isaac Asimov a thrill, this egg-shaped electric SUV sacrifices practicality and pragmatism for the purpose of showboating,” writes engineer and test driver Gabe Shenhar.
The article and video do acknowledge the Model X’ strengths in engineering design that the Tesla team has brought to the Model S and X. The big and heavy battery pack at the bottom of the Model X keeps the center of gravity low. Along with well-tuned steering, it makes for a very sporty driving SUV.
There are other impressive features that you can find on both the Model S and Model X such as the large dashboard touch screen. You can also get Tesla’s Autopilot, which can drive the car itself in the right situation.
However, the “bells and whistles” weren’t enough to win approval from the Consumer Reports review team. One of the problems the team had with the Model X is its giant windshield. Its tinting and skimpy overdesigned visors don’t stop sometimes blinding sunshine. Another point made is that the visual view out of the rear window gets very tight because of its “odd-back spoiler and a tiny inside mirror.”
The falcon wing doors might be show stoppers, as they open tall and wide for access to the third-row seats. They’re protected by sensors but the wings can take some time to open, and sometimes they stop before they’re fully open. You need to force them open, or repeating the process from the beginning, says Consumer Reports.
The front doors are considered overly complicated by the Consumer Reports testing team. You push the handle and it pops open, and you need to catch the door before it hits another car in a tight spot.
The review says that there’s not enough legroom in the back seats. Second row seats don’t fold flat, which limits cargo space like storing a bicycle. The Model S’ hatchback offers more cargo space with its longer cargo area.
Until the Model 3 comes to market, Tesla remains a luxury carmaker with high prices, according to the team. The Tesla Model X hasn’t been able to win a high rating from Consumer Reports that helped the Model S gain more credibility with consumers.
On the pricing side, Consumer Reports says that the Model X starts at $83,000 for the base version with 75-kWh battery. Initially, only high-end P90D models were delivered, priced at $115,500 before options. There’s also the $10,000 Ludicrous mode option. The Model X driven by the Consumer Reports team with all its features was stickered at a whopping $149,450.
As for range, the team did acknowledge that the Model X provides substantial distance per charge. The larger of the two battery sizes, the 90 kWh, gives the Model X 90D an EPA estimated range of 257 miles on a single charge. The P90D high-performance version has an estimated range of 250 miles.