Model X

Tesla Model X Update Review

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Tesla Model X update has improved Autopilot, a heap of Easter Eggs and it can even sing and dance! 

Tesla is every bit a tech firm as it is a car maker. They’re constantly releasing software – and less frequently hardware updates – to make their cars just that little bit better over time.

We tested their flagship Model X P100D SUV and we concluded that it was the best model in their range. It was comfortable, quiet, clever and those Falcon Wings gave it some huge wow factor. Oh, and if you choose the most powerful P100D drivetrain, it’s also bloody fast.

Since our last drive in the Model X, Tesla has made a number of changes and improvements. Firstly, they’ve updated the Autopilot system. Tesla’s Autopilot has garnered much controversy since it was launched a number of years ago, and the American brand has feverishly been working to get the tech right, especially as a number of rivals – i.e Volvo –  have developed their own and often very effective systems.

Autopilot (Beta)

Tesla has recently changed both the hardware and software for Autopilot so their cars – the system is also available on the Model S hatch – are more aware of their surroundings and are capable of making better driving decisions. That’s the theory.

Have the changes worked? Well, yes and no. The Model X certainly kept us away from neighbouring traffic, but there was this strange sensation that the car couldn’t properly centre itself in a lane on freeways and that was drawn (seemingly) to the right side of the lane. Instinctively, you try to correct the auto steering, which then cancels as soon as you contribute any input.

Autopilot can be frustrating at first, but if you let Model X do its thing on a long, straight bit of freeway, the system works relatively well. Drivers still must have their hands on the steering wheel at all times though, and we found that its best if you place your hands on the lower portion of the steering wheel, as if you put them any higher up, the system will think you’re trying to intervene and will subsequently abort.

Tesla openly admits that the Autopilot tech is still in the Beta phase of development, and it is continuously working to improve the system’s software and hardware.

Another feature of Autopilot is an automatic lane change facility. Simply engage the adaptive cruise control – which is actually brilliant – then the automatic steering, pop on the indicator and the car will automatically merge in the desired direction. We found this feature a little unnerving at first, but it was actually rather accurate and efficient.

Chill Mode

 Drivers who want to improve their Model X’s battery range can now select a new drive mode called “Chill Mode.” Think of it as Tesla’s answer to Eco mode – weirdly, despite being a brand focussed on producing electric cars that are designed to save the world, Tesla refrains from using the terms “Eco” or “Economy mode” – which dampens acceleration and extends battery life.

While we didn’t quite have the opportunity to test Chill Mode to its full extent, but the car’s acceleration performance reduced considerably when this mode was selected, although it was still hardly sluggish. We can safely presume that this setting should extend range.

Easter Eggs

 The latest incarnation of the Model X has a whole treasure trove of Easter Eggs. The famed James Bond one remains, but there’s now an Easter Egg that resembles Microsoft Paint and allows you to doodle on that huge touchscreen, you can switch the sat nav (Google Maps) so it looks like you’re driving on Mars, and perhaps, most importantly, the Christmas dance.

Yes, if you unlock this Easter Egg your Tesla will sing and dance for you. Really, watch the video below.

Is it necessary? Probably not. But it shows you what Tesla’s engineers can really do. And besides, it’ll impress the neighbours. And their kids and probably everyone else.

Sale or no sale?

Sale. The Tesla Model X and Model S still have huge appeal, and their electric performance will still win the hearts and wallets of many customers.

 



The founding father of The Motoring Guru, Matt has been a lifelong car enthusiast and a passionate writer. Back in 2013 when The Motoring Guru was first launched, Matt wanted to combine his two passions whilst offering readers sound motoring advice.


  • David Hughes

    From my first experience driving a Tesla at the Fremont Tesla factory & track, I was totally sold and knew I wanted to buy a Tesla. I spent a great deal of time driving both models (Tesla Model S & Tesla Model X), reading reviews and ultimately trying to decide which one would be the best for me. I was quite worried about the initial reviews of the Model X (not good!) and the Model S of course is one of the most loved cars of all-time.

    It’s the big and the small details that really put Tesla in a league of it’s own. The responsiveness of the accelerator (no lag time) makes driving safer. The regenerative braking combined with standard anti-lock brakes allows the vehicle to stop more quickly than any other car. Overall the safety ratings for both Model S & Model X are as close to perfect as one could ask for. I’m driving my wife and baby around and safety and comfort is paramount. I love the sleek James Bond look of the Model S and also appreciate how insanely quiet the car is when driving. If you’re reading reviews you’re already aware of how fast these cars are and how amazing it is that Tesla can “push” updates to the car, something that none of my other cars have ever been able to do. Even little things like the “frunk” (front trunk) on both cars is something that sets Tesla apart (I am often in San Francisco and having a very secure space to leave a laptop bag is very much appreciated). Other “nice to have” things like the door that opens as you walk up to your car, the music that starts playing where you left off as soon as you start to sit down, the automatic “hands-free” parallel parking feature, the hands-free voice controls that allow you to enter navigation items as specific as “the Safeway in the Marina District” without knowing the street name or address…I could go on and on and on.

    In case you’re interested, I ended up buying the Model X (although the noisier cabin on the freeway was almost a deal-breaker for me). I needed the extra storage space for stroller, suitcases, skis, etc. and I preferred being a bit higher up on the road. I chose the 6-seat configuration which is strangely similar to a mini-van in terms of access and comfort…but from the outside and from the drivers seat, this car is more like a hybrid of a rocket ship & an ultra lux SUV.

    One last feature that was pretty sweet was this referral link. By using referral code I was able to get free unlimited supercharging and even got $500 credit. If you are considering buying a Tesla, or if you just want a chance to race one of the new Tesla Semi’s, click http://ts.la/david41503 and type in your email address. You’ll automatically be setup to get the best referral whenever you’re ready to buy your Tesla.