Consumer Reports’ Worst Electric SUV Is Also the Most Expensive

When buying an expensive car, you expect the cream of the crop. That’s sadly not the case for the Tesla Model X. In fact, Consumer Reports claims it’s the worst electric SUV you can buy. How can an EV with so much power and sleek styling steer you wrong?

Should you consider the cheapest electric SUV instead?

The Nissan Leaf is more like a hatchback sedan than a typical SUV, but it’s slightly larger than the Hyundai Kona EV. The standard Leaf has a budget-friendly starting price, but it gets only 149 miles of range. The larger battery provides 215 miles’ worth of juice, but it takes over 10 hours to charge.

Unlike other segment entries, the Leaf isn’t much fun to drive, and its ride quality sometimes suffers on bumpy roads. The steering wheel’s placement is also awkwardly far from the driver.

Overall, Consumer Reports still thinks the Nissan Leaf deserves one of the highest recommendations among electric SUVs. It runs quietly, and the passenger area is easy to access, even if it’s not the most spacious.

The 2022 Tesla Model X is the worst electric SUV Consumer Reports has tested

Tesla Model X, worst electric SUV, Consumer Reports
Tesla Model X | Gao Yuwen/VCG via Getty Images

According to Consumer Reports, the Tesla Model X is unreliable. The 2022 model faces eight recalls, primarily for faulty safety features and malfunctioning CPU components. Body integrity problems and severe paint imperfections are also prevalent on this Tesla.

As you might expect, Consumer Reports had almost no complaints about the Tesla Model X’s performance. Acceleration is quick and satisfying, and CR’s testers reached 60 mph in less than five seconds. Tesla claims the latest model is even faster, hitting 60 mph in 3.8 seconds.

It has sporty handling and barely any body roll, though CR says the steering wheel is on the heavy side. The Tesla Model X Dual Motor AWD is the most efficient version, with 330 miles of range.

Unfortunately, that sporty ride also makes for an uncomfortably stiff suspension. Unlike other EVs, the Model X exhibited noticeable wind noise inside the cabin when Consumer Reports tested it.

The falcon-wing back doors might be a big selling point, but CR doesn’t think they’re worth the trouble. They take several seconds to open and close. In addition, the front door handles are difficult to open. You’d think that a vehicle starting at $114,990 would have those design flaws ironed out.

Once you’re in the driver’s seat, you’ll notice that thick roof pillars compromise visibility. And though the Tesla Model X’s interior feels comfortable and hyper-modern, the large touchscreen can be distracting for many drivers. Plus, some key safety features are missing, and the Model X doesn’t include smartphone integration.

Furthermore, though Tesla’s Autopilot promises to take some stress out of driving, CR testers found their experience to be quite the opposite. The system usually does a good job staying inside lanes, though it did make a few illegal maneuvers. Autopilot can also shut off without warning if you don’t apply enough pressure to the wheel.

The 2022 Kia Niro Electric is a smarter choice

Although it’s less potent than the Tesla Model X, the Kia Niro SUV satisfies Consumer Reports. It still offers peppy acceleration, a more comfortable ride, and silent running operations. It also gets 239 miles of range.

The Kia Niro EV’s cabin layout is conventional yet feels upscale. The doors are easy to open, and there’s plenty of space inside for riders of various sizes. And at just over $39,000, it’s also vastly more affordable than the Tesla Model X.

RELATED: Only 1 Luxury Car Is Rated Lower Than the Land Rover Lineup on Consumer Reports