by Calvin Kim, Road Test Editor
Where Did We Drive It?
While certain things like wine, classic cars and mint-condition superhero comic books generally get better with age, our 2016 Tesla Model X is not one of those things. Thank the brutality of city driving, but also maybe a little bit of excessive function creep. Problems stemmed from automatic door issues (and not the falcon-wing doors, mind you) and a substantial "sqwuank" noise from the brakes.
What Kind of Fuel Economy Did It Get?
We drove the car 1,180 miles during the month of May and charged it to full 13 times. Most of these trips were short, with 132.9 miles clocking in at the longest distance between charges. As you can see from our "fill" data, careful driving should allow you to just beat Tesla's maximum range figure of 250 miles.
Average lifetime kWh/100: 34.7
Best fill kWh/100: 21.1
Worst fill kWh/100: 71.9
Best observed range: 212.6 miles
Best projected range: 267.6 miles
Average projected range: 156.9 miles
Current odometer: 18,759 miles
Maintenance and Upkeep
We had two repairs this month, one related to the door and the other regarding the brakes. Both visits were planned, and both were repaired for no charge.
"After two editors reported an issue with a door ajar alert, we made an appointment with our preferred service center and took it down there to see if they could help us out. According to the editors, the door ajar alert would beep at you no matter how you closed the door — though there was some success with forcing it closed. After verifying our concern, they completed the repair, a new passenger door latch, the same day. Total cost was nil because it was warranty-covered work. As always, they also performed a complimentary courtesy inspection — despite the Model X being there a month ago." — Michael Massey, vehicle testing assistant
"This is our fourth trip to the service center in one and a half months for the Tesla Model X. This time the suspension and brakes were making some sort of squeaking noise. After duplicating this issue with the Tesla service technician, they decided to replace the rotors and pads for the front and rear brakes. After new brakes all around, the Tesla is noise-free. For now. There was no cost for this, and the work was completed under Tesla's 'goodwill' policy." — Michael Massey
"Half full doesn't quite feel the same in an EV as it does in a traditional car. I had to drive home last night on my 20-mile commute to work. The Model X's battery indicator was half full, with an estimated range of 103 miles. I drove home, which included climbing a decent-size hill, and the meter indicated 73 miles remaining. In the morning, the estimated range had crept down to 68. I drove back to work, went down the hill this time and ended up with 51 miles of range remaining. It was more than enough to get me to work, but the fluctuating numbers take some getting used to." — Ron Montoya, senior consumer advice editor
"Has anyone tried using the cellphone slot in the center console? It looks like a neat idea. There's a cubby to hold a phone and a cable at the bottom. I used my girlfriend's iPhone to test it out, but we ran into some issues. Problem one: The cubby is tight, so you have to take the case off your phone. But problem two, The Big One, is with the Lightning cable: It didn't line up with her phone. I wiggled it around a bit but couldn't line it up in a way I felt good about subjecting it to 'ludicrous' acceleration." — Carlos Lago, senior writer
"Walked outside on a dewy morning and had another palm-to-forehead moment with our Model X's windshield. The extra glass from the 'fivehead' design presents a whole slew of cleaning issues. You can see the arc of the wipers on the glass. They cover two-thirds of the windshield, leaving a foot or two wet. What happens when you drive off? All that water runs down. Surely this is a minor annoyance, but there's a bigger problem for those who enjoy keeping their cars clean: hard water spots. Eliminating them is a nuisance. So you have to spend more time cleaning the Model X's windshield. But even that's difficult because the extra glass you have to clean is at one of the hardest parts of the car to reach. Sure, you can mitigate this by applying a water repellent, but again we have added complexity and work without an apparent benefit. What's the advantage of this windshield again?" — Carlos Lago
"Does the Model X's voice command actually do anything except cue up a Pandora-like radio station? I asked the car several times to do what I'd consider simple commands like 'navigation' or 'destination' or 'find supercharger.' Each time I was rebuffed with silence and a question mark in the gauge cluster. But when I asked the system to play a Stones song, or anything else, it responded on demand, played the song, then created a complementary station. That seemed about the only thing it could comprehend." — Dan Frio, automotive editor