Is the Tesla Model X a Good Family Car?

The 2022 Tesla Model X is an impressive SUV, but is it a good family car? It has plenty of room for passengers, an electric powertrain, and plenty of family-friendly features. Yet is it really a good fit for people with kids? Let’s look at the Model X crash test ratings, safety features, and technology.

A 2022 Tesla Model X, also available in the Tesla Model X Plaid.
2022 Tesla Model X | Getty Images

The 2022 Tesla Model X has good NHTSA crash test ratings

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is a non-profit organization that conducts crash test ratings so that consumers can make informed decisions. It tested the 2022 Tesla Model X, and the safety ratings for the Tesla SUV are good. These include the overall crash, side-crash, and rollover four-wheel-drive ratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety hasn’t crash-tested the Model X yet.

In addition, the 2022 Tesla Model X comes with an abundance of important safety features. According to AutoBlog, the Tesla Model X comes standard with antilock brakes, stability control, and front-impact as well as side-impact airbags. They also have overhead and knee airbags as well as seatbelt pretensioners and a security system.

The Tesla Model X comes with a modern interior

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The 2022 Tesla Model X has the kind of updated interior that you might expect in an electric SUV. Yet is it a family-friendly design? Consumer Reports says that the second row captain’s chairs don’t fold so you can’t fit large cargo in the back. It also notes that visibility in the Model X isn’t great, especially because the “big roof pillars block view to all corners.”

The Model X does have a large touchscreen infotainment system that is alluring to people who like technology. Yet using it can be problematic while driving. In addition, the Tesla Model X has the semi-autonomous Autopilot feature which Consumer Reports says “can add convenience but could potentially lull drivers into complacency.”

The Model X’s yoke steering wheel presents a safety problem

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One of the most unique features of the 2022 Tesla Model X may also be one of its most dangerous. Tesla has instituted a yoke steering wheel in the Model X (as well as in other Teslas) instead of the traditional round steering wheel. While this may have some aesthetic benefits, it presents a safety problem for the Model X and may compromise its status as a family-friendly car.

Consumer Reports tested the Tesla Model X and says that the “new yoke steering wheel adds insult to injury.” It doesn’t like that the yoke steering wheel lacks “stalks for turn signals, wipers, high beams or horn.” In order to operate these features the driver has to push buttons which Consumer Reports says requires taking one’s eyes off the road and is a distraction. It also presented a problem when turning, pulling into driveways, and parking. Worst of all, Consumer Reports says that sometimes “the yoke simply slipped out of our test driver’s hands, which is dangerous.”

Altogether the 2022 Tesla Model X is an impressive-looking SUV, but it probably isn’t the best family SUV. Although it has good crash test ratings, the distracting features of the touchscreen and the push-buttons on the steering wheel are certainly problematic. In addition, the yoke steering wheel may not be a great fit for parents who do a lot of driving and may need to regularly pull in and out of driveways and parking lots. Plus, the lack of storage space means you may want to look elsewhere for your family-friendly SUV.

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