The Only All-Electric SUV

2017 Tesla Model X boasts standout driving performance, but loses points for impracticality

BYJim Prueter
In the fall of 2015, Tesla introduced its third all-electric vehicle, the massive Model X SUV. The 2017 model is a gadget-laden stunner — but does its form follow function?
Like the Model S, the Model X comes with a choice of battery packs: 75, 90, or 100 kilowatt hours, delivering 237, 257, or 295 miles of driving range on a single charge. But because of its 5,500-pound curb weight, the driving range is about 40 miles fewer than the Model S.
We drove the P100D Model X (P for performance; D for all-wheel drive). Because Teslas are powered by electric motors, they are extremely fast, going from zero to 60 mph in just 2.9 seconds, which is faster than a Corvette. Torque is instantaneous and handling is excellent — the latter because the battery pack is under the floor, creating a low center of gravity. However, I did hear a lot of wind noise and rattling on the highway.
Forward visibility is excellent, with a massive windshield stretching overhead, giving occupants the sensation of sitting in a helicopter. The glass is tinted, but I wonder how it would handle an Arizona summer. Conversely, a narrow window and a large trunk spoiler compromise rear visibility.
Strikingly, Falcon Wing rear doors swing up, with sensors detecting nearby vehicles and automatically adjusting to avoid them. However, on our test drive, the doors didn’t always work properly.
Seating for five is standard, with options for six or seven. Pedestal-mounted seats move out of the way for ease of entry and exit. But there isn’t much legroom, and cargo space is limited because second row seats don’t fold flat. And forget about hauling cargo on top; there’s no room for a roof luggage rack.
With a hefty price of $164,050 (pre-$7,500 tax credit) the P100D Model X fell far short of other luxury SUVs, which, in many instances, are half the price. However, if you like the idea of an all-electric SUV, don’t haul much, and can afford it, then go for it.
JIM PRUETER, an automotive writer based in Phoenix, has provided reviews and advice about cars for more than 20 years.

2017 Tesla Model X

Vehicle Type: 
Base Price: 
Price as Tested: 
Fuel Economy: 
81 MPGe City
92 MPGe Highway
Key Safety Features: 
  • Collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking
  • Side collision avoidance system
  • Enabled advanced autopilot with Autosteer and Autopark
The Good: 
  • Incredible acceleration
  • Precision handling
  • Gas-free driving
The Bad: 
  • Troublesome Falcon Wing rear doors
  • Unimpressive, moderate looking interior
  • Very expensive
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