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2018 Tesla Model X Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Tesla Model X was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 9.0

The 2018 Tesla Model X raises the bar for SUV performance with its nimble handling and breathtaking acceleration. It has a comfortable ride with little body roll, and it gets terrific fuel economy. It also has outstanding range for an electric vehicle.

  • "Even with a weight of 5,400 pounds, the Model X is quick, with our 90D registering 4.9 seconds in the 0-60 mph dash. Moreover, the instant thrust of acceleration proves gratifying anytime, anywhere. Even faster versions are available. Cornering is stable and even-keel, contrasting with the top-heavy feel of some SUVs. Combine this nimble and secure handling with the instant acceleration, and the result is a fun to drive three-row coach." -- Consumer Reports
  • "Acceleration is outstanding and instantaneous. Drivability is excellent even before you turn on the semiautonomous features. It can't hide its prodigious weight, but it handles like a vehicle that's 500 pounds lighter. An EV that can tow is unique, but range will be a factor." -- Edmunds
  • "The car drives great, it feels great. Really high end." -- CNET (2016)

Acceleration and Power

Tesla doesn't measure its vehicles by horsepower ratings; instead, it references battery size, range, and zero to 60 mph times. It's also worth noting that driving ranges are estimates, and they can be impacted by things like tire size, how fast you drive, and even the weather.

The base Model X 75D has a 75-kWh battery and a 237-mile range. It's also the "slow" trim, even though it can scoot from zero to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Power delivery is smooth, and even in this trim, there's enough of it to move the Model X effortlessly. The higher trims also have plenty of power for getting around, but they deliver even quicker acceleration.

The Model X 100D and Model X P100D each have a 100-kWh battery. The 100D has the longest range in the lineup (295 miles), and it can go from zero to 60 mph in 4.7 seconds. The P100D is a high-performance model – and it moves like it. Its range is 289 miles, and thanks to Ludicrous Speed mode, it can go from zero to 60 mph in a breathtaking 2.9 seconds – faster than almost every sports car.

According to EPA-estimates, the base Model X gets 91 mpg-e in the city and 95 mpg-e on the highway. Ratings drop slightly in the higher trims; the 100D gets 86/89 mpg-e city/highway, and the P100D gets 83/89 mpg-e. These aren't outstanding ratings by EV standards, but they're still light-years ahead of the ratings that gas-powered luxury midsize SUVs earn.

  • "The Model X takes off with a smooth and effortless glide, which feels very satisfying, be it from a stop or accelerating once underway. Forward thrust is abundant anywhere, anytime, and throttle response is electrifyingly quick. This heavy 5,400-pound vehicle can be slung to 60 mph in a very impressive 4.9 seconds. Ludicrous mode is standard with the P100D, resulting in a claimed sub-3-second 0-60 mph time. This blazingly quick catapult-like acceleration is more of a novel party trick than a useful driving tool." -- Consumer Reports
  • "Mat the accelerator and the Model X launches like few other vehicles on the road. It's powerful, instant thrust. The face-flattening intensity wanes (relatively) at higher speeds, but it's still quite quick." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "Ludicrous acceleration turns everyone else at the stop light [into] a small dot in your rearview mirror. The beauty of playing with all that instant torque on public roads is that speed limits just tell you how fast you can go, not how quickly you can get up to that top speed." -- Autoblog (2016)

Alternative Fuels/Charging

Charging is always a concern with an electric vehicle, but you won’t have to worry too much with the Model X. You can charge it at your house via a standard 120-volt outlet, though it will charge considerably faster with a 240-volt outlet. Model X owners also have access to Tesla's nationwide network of Supercharger stations. At one of these stations, you can recharge up to 80 percent of the battery's full range in about half an hour.

Additionally, owners can get up to 400 kWh (or about 1,000 miles) of charging for free each year at the Supercharger stations, with a small fee incurred after that. Prices are fixed within each state. For the most part, owners are billed per kWh – though owners in some areas may be billed per minute.

Handling and Braking

All-wheel drive comes standard in this Tesla SUV. It's a big vehicle, but it doesn't feel like it when you're driving. The Model X is pretty nimble on the road and doesn't roll much when heading around turns. The steering is responsive as well, leading to a fairly engaging driving experience. Ride quality could be better; you’ll feel the bumps in the road.

  • "The Model X is quite nimble. Body roll is well contained and, by virtue of the heavy, low-mounted battery, the X never feels top-heavy. Steering response is quick, but there's more weight rather than true driver feedback. That agility carried over to the track as well. The X feels more like a sports sedan than a tall SUV when pushed to its cornering limits on the track, demonstrating an even keel attitude, strong tire grip and a balanced and secure behavior throughout." -- Consumer Reports
  • The Model X handles turns with more stability and verve than you'd expect for a SUV weighing almost 5,500 pounds. It's hard to describe as agile, but it faithfully obeys inputs in routine driving." -- Edmunds (2017)
  • "It handles very well as well. Not quite as well as the Model S, but again, compared to other SUVs, it feels really great on the road, especially going through the twisty bits." -- CNET (2016)

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