Is the 2018 Tesla Model X P100D worth the money?
Love it or hate it, Tesla’s Model X SUV is as cutting edge as it is possible to be.
Like its hatchback/saloon sister, Model X comes in several guises, each having a numeric designation delineating the amount of battery power stored beneath the floor. “P” says this is a performance model that will embarrass most super cars costing three times as much.
Model X lacks the subtle, svelte, sexiness of the Model S.
Let’s don’t mince words: Model X isn’t terribly attractive. More akin to BMW’s bulbus X6 or Merc’s ungainly GLE, Model X has aspirations to being an SUV Coupe. The terms are surely mutually exclusive.
LED lighting is both clever and power saving, and headlights have a smart mode that switches cells on and off when the system detects other road users. High beam can be switched on and left on.
Unlike the cool pop-out Model S door handles, Model X door handles are just big buttons. You press and the door flicks open. There is nothing to grab on to which I found both annoying, and delightful, in equal measures.
The key fob is a baby Tesla for an added touch of campness.
The rampant campery continues with rear “falcon wing” doors which fold up and out of the way. They need a mere 30cms of space between them and the car next door in order to open. It is a bit of a palaver though, and took an absolute age to complete any operation other than the “Christmas dance”. More about that later.
Frankly, I could do without all the electrical assistance too. All doors are power-operated, so the front doors and rear hatch also take an age to open. One wonders what happens when the battery is completely flat, or one of the motors fails.
The test car had optional 22” graphite coloured turbine wheels ($2,800) which made the ride somewhat less subtle than the Model S we loved so much. Our obsession with wheels the size of small planets is not doing us the justice we think they are. It may look good in a car park but that’s about it.
Overall, the look is far less inspiring than the Model S.
The gap between the tyres and the wheel arch varies depending on the height of the adjustable air suspension and on the highest setting makes the wheels look minuscule.
Inside, Model X and Model S feel the same.
At first glance, you get a sense that you’ve entered the film set of a 70’s Sci-Fi.
Model X is more spacious thanks to a higher roof and a vast windscreen. The glass sweeps up and over the front passengers like the bubble cars of the 60’s. You either like or you don’t, and I don’t.
Unique as it is, the panoramic effect soon wears off especially on a sunny day. There is nowhere to hide, and your only option is a cap. There are sun visors of course, but they’re utterly useless. They fold above the front doors.
They can be deployed if you have an hour to spare. It is such a fiddle. You have to lock it into a magnetic catch on the rear view mirror, then unfold the top section. It floats in the middle a vast expanse of glass and is always in the wrong position. The idea is just daft. In the bin with it.
Otherwise, the cabin is minimalist rather than luxurious.
The OCD design ethos removes all clutter to give you the “Ab-Fab-White-Box” effect.
There is a simple LCD for the driver, and another for the centre console. All functions are controlled through the menu system except for a few on the steering column stalks. Only the glove box opener and hazard flashers have dashboard buttons.
Functions including doors, seats, infotainment, and climate are fettled via the main screen. It is by far the best system I’ve used. A large screen allows large buttons, large menus, and lots of space.
Other brands have tried removing buttons from their control systems, but their awful menu designs would test the patience of the cleverest of Mensas. Tesla menus are simple and intuitive.
Access to the third row means using a button to power the 2nd and 1st row seats forward. However, space in the third row is limited to say the least.
The 2nd row comes as a 3-seat bench, or 2 bucket seats with or without a centre console.
Hire car operators use the space between the 2nd row buckets for bags on an airport run. Handy as the centre console is, a bench seat is more practical. I’d go for the 5 seat option.
Cabin ambience is not luxurious in the traditional sense, and certainly………