Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

Tesla Model X SUV - Electric motor, drive & performance

If anything belies the idea that electric cars are slow, it’s the Tesla Model X

Carbuyer Rating

3.7 out of 5

Owners Rating

5.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Electric motor, drive & performance Rating

4.5 out of 5

Despite the fact that it’s a heavy car (weighing in at around 2,300kg), the Model X is satisfying and rewarding to drive on challenging roads. It could never be described as agile, but doesn’t suffer the lumbering, roly-poly feel of most large SUVs. This is thanks to the batteries sitting as low down as possible in the body, which means the Model X has an extremely low centre of gravity, minimising body lean in corners.

Advertisement - Article continues below

As all models use Tesla four-wheel-drive configuration (dual-motor in the standard model and tri-motor in the Plaid version), there’s loads of traction on greasy roads or loose surfaces and you can carry a lot of speed through corners without losing confidence. There’s a lot of technology at your disposal to keep the Model X on an even keel, including ‘smart’ air suspension linked to the car’s sat-nav system. This can vary the car’s ride height depending on speed and the kind of surface you’re travelling on.

It’s a shame, then, that the feel from the Model X’s electrically assisted steering is rather unconvincing and artificial – akin to a computer game. Although accurate and controllable, you have to rely on your eyes and ears to gauge when the Tesla is close to its limits.

Tesla Model X electric motor

Whichever version of the Tesla Model X you go for, you’ll have an exceptionally quick car on your hands. The standard model can cover 0-60mph in 3.8 seconds. Top of the tree sits the Plaid, which has a 0-62mph time of a jaw-droppingly quick  2.5 seconds and a top speed of 163mph. A software update in April 2020 added ‘Cheetah Stance’, which lowers the nose of the car and adjusts the suspension to improve performance for standing starts. Its wealth of performance abilities comfortably make the Model X Performance the fastest SUV ever built, yet one with a reasonable 333-mile range between charges.

In the Model X versions we've sampled in the UK, the initial rush of acceleration is quite an experience, but it isn’t quite so dazzling once you’ve reached cruising speed. At normal speeds, the car’s overtaking ability on the motorway doesn’t feel massively better than that of a powerful diesel or petrol car. The surge from 40-70mph, though – a speed range that covers overtaking slow traffic on single-carriageway roads, for example – is really very impressive.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Andy is Carbuyer's managing editor, with more than a decade of experience helping consumers find their perfect car. He has an MA in automotive journalism and has tested hundreds of vehicles.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

Top 10 best used 7-seater cars 2024
Used 7-seater cars
Best cars
12 Jun 2024

Top 10 best used 7-seater cars 2024

Most Popular

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on
Engine warning light
Tips and advice
12 Jun 2024

Engine management light: what to do if it comes on

Ford Explorer review – good-to-drive EV with a long range
Ford Explorer front quarter dynamic
In-depth reviews
19 Jun 2024

Ford Explorer review – good-to-drive EV with a long range

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
21 Jun 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Public EV charge point
Tips and advice
11 Jan 2023

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024