Thursday, April 14, 2016

Tesla Model X: Crossover SUV of Sorts

Tesla Motors, something of a cult car maker, finally got its new all-electric so-called "crossover SUV" Model X into production late in 2015.  I question the term "crossover SUV" for the Model X for the same reasons I wondered about the Honda Crossfit, Mercedes GKE Coupe and BMW X4 that I discussed here.

Sales of the Model X were slow during the first quarter of 2016, the company blaming suppliers for production problems, though extremely high prices also might have been a factor.  To date, I have only seen one Model X.

Like Tesla's Model S, the firm's primary product, the Model X features clean styling that carries over many Model S details on a taller body.  Model X fails to some degree because its aerodynamically curved roofline reduces potential carrying capacity.  A greater failure has to do with its gull-wing rear doors -- an impractical feature that happens to be related to those supplier problems noted above.


Comparison photo of the Model S and Model X.  The X is so skillfully designed that it does not seem very bulky, even though it is so when compared to the low, slinky S.

Front view showing that the Model X lacks the faux-grille slapped on the front of the S.

At least Tesla has ignored the fad of wildly-sculpted body panels.

The Model X is graceful in profile, but this means it cannot carry tall objects or cannot hold large piles of luggage and other items that my wife insists she absolutely needs when we take long trips.

Here is a view of the infamous gull-wing doors as opened.  They are a fad for certain low-production sports cars attempting to bask in the glow of Mercedes-Benz 300 SL coupes of the 1950s.  The Model X gull-wings are the rear doors only, front doors being conventionally front-hinged.  I suppose the intention was that gull-wing doors at the rear would be helpful for loading cargo when the rear seats were folded down.  My experience with loading SUVs is that this would make little difference, hardly justifying the additional cost and complexity of that kind of door.

No comments: