Tesla Model X 75D -

First Drive

Tesla Model X 75D, front
Tesla Model X 75D, side
Tesla Model X 75D, rear
Tesla Model X 75D, interior
Tesla Model X 75D, instrument panel
Tesla Model X 75D, boot
Tesla Model X 75D, boot, underfloor storage
Tesla Model X 75D, boot, front
Tesla Model X 75D, seats
Tesla Model X 75D, doors
Tesla Model X 75D, rear seats
Tesla Model X 75D, display screen

TESLA is not a car brand that perhaps many British motorists will instantly recognise.

There are currently little more than a dozen dealerships across the UK, mainly located on the outskirts of big cities like London and Manchester, and with sales in only a few hundreds they are not a common sight on our roads.

The models are purely all-electric and with a limited recharging infrastructure in this country it remains early days and it will some time before more motorists may see the American marque as a daily option for their driving needs.

The California-based electric car maker in the UK may be a slow player in the environmentally friendly world of total emissions-free motoring but the latest model they have introduced, called the Tesla Model X, is a Sports Utility Vehicle of the likes never seen before anywhere.

Able to seat up to seven people this Tesla Model X though in its basic trim of the 75D in not cheap with an on-the-road starting price of around the £85,335 mark which again will limit its buyer appeal and although it's described as an all-wheel-drive model no way would a driver want to take it off road because there's simply not the ground clearance.

Besides, this SUV's credentials are based on it being driven on normal roads where it has to be said it's quite good bearing in mind this is not a hybrid with a petrol engine underneath to help the electric motor as with other current environmentally-friendly cars.

With an all electric motor on board it can provide up to 328bhp of on-tap power accelerating the car from 0 to 60mph in an impressive 5.2 seconds but more crucially when overtaking in town/city traffic the response is quick, smooth and so quiet, thanks in no part to good torque from the actual electric motor.

It drives easily and is quite relaxing even though its appearance on the road does attract curious looks from other motorists but then its design is unique.

The worry of course with such an all-electric car is how long will go before it needs charging up but in the case of the Tesla Model X the range is some 259 miles on its 100 kWh motor which is far more than current all-electric cars here like the smaller Nissan Leaf and Kia Soul EV.

It's basically a five-door car with the front two opening in the conventional style but the two rear doors are what are called gull-wing style which means they open outwards and upwards - a touch of another American-designed gull-wing door sports car, the De Lorean we saw back in the early 1980s.

The difficulty here of course is a family stopping off in the supermarket car park will need to be ultra cautious when opening those rear doors parked next to other cars but for rear seats passengers (there's two rows of rear seats with the furthest back only big enough to seat young children) it means it's so easy to get in and out of the vehicle which is another afvantage.

With the batteries tucked away under the floor the cabin space is excellent and adult-size passengers will find the seats not only really comfortable but also with good leg and head room front and rear while the panoramic style windscreen gives excellent all-round vision for both the driver and companions too.

Boot space is more than decent with 2,180 litres available with the rear kids' seats folded and of course with no conventional engine under the bonnet it means there's another 187 litres of luggage space in the front.

In terms of equipment levels and as one would expect paying the kind of asking price for this car it's exceptionally well equipped with LED daytime running lights, sat nav, heated side mirrors, blind spot warning, collision avoidance, automatic braking and parking sensors amongst others.

For the driver there's a 17-inch touch screen on the dashboard, again easy and simple to use while much of the actual switchgear will be recognisable to some because of its Mercedes-Benz source.

Overall, this Tesla SUV certainly has an impressive road-going performance and of course is exceptionally cheap to run but it will still be a tad too expensive to buy even for some electric powered motoring fans and there is still at present the worry of how long drive and where can they recharge the car.

With a slowly increasing number of charging points now being made available around the country that will improve in time, Tesla claims that stopping the X 75D at one of them will charge up within 30 minutes and give the driver another 170 miles to travel.

And just for the record, the Tesla brand is named after Nikola Tesla who was a Serbian-American inventor working on developing electricity many years ago who died in 1943.


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