In-depth reviews

Tesla Model X review

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

Overall Auto Express Rating

3.0 out of 5

£81,990 to £116,290
  • Strong performance
  • Practical body style
  • Cheap to run
  • Too expensive
  • Annoying rear doors
  • Reliant on charging infrastructure

The Tesla Model X electric crossover is expected to outsell the manufacturer’s 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 than the four-door Model S, with relatively little drop in performance or range 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.

Unusually-styled, the Model X's signature lifting ‘Falcon’ rear doors allow very good access to the second and third rows of seats – albeit with some significant compromises outlined below. Talking of seats, you can configure your Model X as either a five-, six- or a seven-seater depending on your family needs.

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. All versions are four-wheel drive thanks to its pair of electric motors, one driving the front wheels and the other driving the rears, but there’s no intention that the Model X should be driven off tarmac. On tarmac its acceleration is nothing short of astonishing, which is surely part of the appeal for early adopters of Tesla’s electric technology.

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 high performance and fuel-saving plug-in hybrid tech include the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes GLE, Porsche Cayenne and Range Rover Sport, while the Volvo XC90 T8 hybrid also has environmental credentials. Buyers on the hunt for an SUV with electric-only power also have the option of the Audi e-tron, Mercedes EQC and Jaguar I-Pace - which won our 2018 Car of the Year award. 

Tesla updated the Model X in early 2021, although the review here includes pre-facelift pictures. The most notable change was the replacement of the Performance trim-level with the new 1,006bhp Plaid model - which now sits alongside the Long Range car in the lineup. The Plaid powertrain is a three-motor set-up and was originally developed for the revised Model S saloon but, as the two cars use the same platform, it's ready and able to go straight into the Model X.

A light exterior makeover keeps things fresh with the Model X featuring a redesigned front bumper and diffuser, along with new 22-inch alloy wheels, while the cabin includes new tech such as a revised digital gauge cluster, a 17-inch infotainment screen and four wireless smartphone charging pads.

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 strangely named Bioweapon Defence Mode, which filters impurities from the air coming into the cabin, including, it is claimed, bacteria and viruses.

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