OCTOBER 26, 2016 – DETROIT – Todd Ridley, Contributing Editor
Our CEO and owner ordered this white Tesla Model X with all white interior and matte black 22” rims over 2 years ago. I’m not overstating it: we’ve been dying to get our hands on this. Two weeks ago, it arrived.
This is the first in a series of “Team Reviews.” Let me explain a little bit.
While we’re working with professional content partners and semi-pro reviewers to bring you unique automotive content and offers, we’ll also be brining you down-to-earth reactions and reviews from our own non-editorial staff. We couldn’t think of any better vehicle to kick this off with that the gull-winged, fantasy UFO that this behemoth Tesla is… so here we go!
I’ve had this car for little over 3 days now and my initial reaction is very positive, with 1 cranky complaint that might steer me away. I’ll explain later.
The interior space is gorgeous. Easily my favorite part of this car, the cockpit is sophisticated and elegant and worthy of a car at this price ($107,000) . Nice chunky steering wheel, brushed aluminum accents, and every moveable piece, including the cupholder covers, are somehow automated. The view from the front seats is second to none… like I’d imagine in a helicopter with the gigantic glass canopy.
Initial impressions are that I’m sitting in something different/better than any other car. Period. I recently read an article about problems that have plagued the Model X where Elon Musk “admitted” that they might have left out some features on this go-round. Like the automatically opening and closing front doors. Ohhh no. I disagree. It’s these little creature comforts that make you feel the difference. And different it is.
For performance, there’s nothing like zero waste in energy from the electric motors at each wheel. We have the P70 base version, and I can’t imagine needing the ludicrous mode. Off the line it’s amazing. Even better is when in traffic on the highway, acceleration around fellow motorists is just as impressive. It’s almost too fun to imagine someone riding your tail thinking, “What… what just happened. Where did they go?”
The two most hyped parts of this car are definitely the self-driving capability and it’s gull-wing doors. For me, while impressive, I’ve found that I don’t care for the self driving (really, self steering) mode because it requires too much attention. If I have to babysit it, then I figure I might as well drive and enjoy the experience.
I also don’t fully trust it. The screen on the dash shows all the cars traveling around you as well as the lane-lines, and adjusts the speed and steering accordingly. Only it performs like the worst Uber driver you’ve ever had in your life. The one that was a little too herky-jerky and non-confident.
That said, I’d be interested in the fully automated versions in a few years. If I could fully disengage and, say, catch up on email or talk to a passenger, I think i’d change my mind about this.
As for the gull-wing doors, I’m impressed but they are a little fussy. I think the large opening into the rear they provide is amazing. However the mechanicals need some adjusting. Several times in the past few days they don’t raise fully, regardless of how open the space is around us, and our friends have to duck out.
Ride and handling in this spaceship is solid. While not as smooth as the Model S, for a pleb like me it’s just fine. Driving a little fast around corners and clover leafs is enough excitement for this guy.
So on to my “Cranky complaint.” It’s this: the seat pans in the front and middle rows are too shallow. In all cars at this price point, there are adjustments for the depth of the seat bottom for people like me. I’m only 6’ tall, but I must have more distance from my knee to thigh then most… this isn’t the first time i’ve complained about it in a car. It’s one of the main reasons I continue to drive Volvos (Nice deep seats – currently on a V60 Cross Country that I love ). But at this price point, lack of adjustment here, especially when every other whim is met, seem glaringly wrong. I mean, the doors close themselves for pete’s sake!
Still, I’ll be sad to give the keys back.