2016 Tesla Model X Design Notes

It’s not easy to find much to say about this vehicle. 

2016 Tesla X design review: Tesla.com
2016 Tesla X design review: Tesla.com

All the features on this car, barring the plastic mouldings around the hem are straight off the saloon. They are all masssaged and tweaked to fit the package and credit is due here for this being a much less forced exercise than the translation of Porsche 911 cues onto the Cayenne. It also says something about the blandness of the saloon.

It’s hard to read this as an SUV. The scale is not easy to read from a photo. It has more of the character of a family hatchback and a not-very-exciting one at that. I don’t suppose the customers want their X to look like an SUV but want the high H-point more than anything else.

Putting this aside, the performance figures are astounding as is the actual use of gull-wing doors. Yet again I repeat my wish they’d added a little more spice this is stew. I think Tesla can sustain a bit more visual interest.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

7 thoughts on “2016 Tesla Model X Design Notes”

  1. I know what you mean, but don’t you think they are being quite clever in wrapping all that scary tech in a cool and stealthy look, but then making sure that the owner still enjoys a wow factor every time the kids climb aboard using those Captain Scarlet alike gull-wing doors?

  2. On balance, yes. A tiny bit of extra identity would be a pleasant bonus. The look undersells the car slighty. Maybe Tesla owners just don´t care too much. The saloon owners aren´t!

  3. If you want Tesla’s USP – that is, an electrical car with ample power, a useful range and a free charging infrastructure, you will take this design, no matter if you care or not.

    Coming back to the X: for me it’s also a missed opportunity, but SV may be right: one of the Tesla’s points is actually taking away a good deal of range anxiety, why not do the same with strangeness anxiety? (this goes even mor for the model S.) I have seen photos of the X’s launch where the front grille was omitted. Will that be the definitive shape? If yes, I think it’s a really welcomed step, even if its execution is somewhat questionable. It looks a bit like there is a grille that was camouflaged by pulling a plastic film over it. I also think that a grille-less front might look better on lower cars, where there won’t be such a large, plain surface in body colour.

    One thing I’m asking myself ever since I have seen the X’s doors: what will people do who have a standard height European garage (2 metres)? Wrong target audience?

  4. There seem to be pictures of a grilled and grill-less X around. The latter looks better certainly. It seems to be getting criticism for its $120,000 + price too. Bearing in mind its specification, and if it performs as claimed, what would one expect it to cost? Despite predictable scepticism (maybe justified bearing in mind previous big trumpeted game-changers like the Tucker and Lear steam car) Tesla really has shown up the established industry in delivering the goods. But the Falcon Wing doors are perverse – after all, unless you turn up with a rear seat passenger, you won’t be able to perform the party trick. For me, at least, after a while they’d just become an irritation.

    1. Can imagine what they will be like with a covering of snow which will end up in the interior!

  5. I welcome the car’s lack of aggressiveness, but the overall proportions do appear to be rather ungainly. The shape may have been dictated by aerodynamics and hence serve a purpose, but so did the Mercedes bionic car’s silhouette, too.

    Question: Do the Model X’ bulbous, rather than ‘muscular’ looks not counteract much of what is at the very root of the SUV’s appeal to a great many costumers? Tesla, what with their eco/do-gooder credentials, certainly couldn’t get away with an electrified X6, but I have a hunch that something a lil’ more boxy would also have been more to the liking of the ardent Californian organic-muesli-ordered-via-iPad faction, as well.

    1. I don’t see the X so much as an SUV, but rather as a van. OK, they’re supposed to be boxy, too, so it’s maybe a van-coupé. In the end it’s something between all that, just like the Mercedes R-class (speaking of ungainly proportions…).
      If the emphasis lies on the van-ness, the unaggressive shapes fit in perfectly – and also with the LOHAS crowd.

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