APPY FAM­I­LIES

Stop kids squab­bling, drive via phone ... the Model X might even be worth $300K

Herald Sun - Motoring - - KIDSPOT - SHAUNA AN­DER­SON KIDSPOT.COM.AU

Who turns down a $300,000 car? Given the chance to drive a nearly $300,000 “fam­ily” ve­hi­cle for a week, I fleet­ingly thought of sev­eral things. First up, “Heck-yeah, who wouldn’t want that?” Then, “How on earth can I keep my three sticky-fin­gered, foot­ball-booted, al­ways grubby kids out of it?”

I en­vis­aged a week of yelling at them: “Wash your hands be­fore you get in … Don’t even think about eat­ing that in this car … Take those muddy soc­cer boots off — haven’t you seen the white in­te­rior … Stop push­ing those but­tons, for good­ness sake.”

But, to re­cap, who turns down a $300,000 car? And if the Tesla peo­ple want to know whether it re­ally func­tions for a fam­ily, they have come to right place.

Our Model X P100D is Tesla’s top of the range SUV. It’s sleek, sporty, fast and — to my three kids — a gi­ant ride-on toy built to en­ter­tain.

MEET GE­ORGE JETSON

From the stream­lined front to that char­ac­ter­is­tic large, he­li­copter-style panoramic wind­screen, it’s un­like any other ve­hi­cle on the road.

The “Fal­con Wing” doors that fly up and out are enough to make any­one stop and stare. Sur­pris­ingly, they turn out to be just right for get­ting kids in and out of the car at the touch of a but­ton, or via the app on your phone.

THE FIRST EVER CAR-TURNED-BUT­LER?

This car is in­tu­itive to a “T”, from the mo­ment you ap­proach, take-away skim cap­puc­cino in hand, and the driver’s door opens for you, then closes when you put your foot on the pedal.

Then there’s the way the wing doors can de­tect any ob­sta­cles in their way and open to just the right de­gree. Then there is that self­driv­ing fea­ture.

The Model X has au­topi­lot, ac­ti­vated by the flick of a bot­tom. As long as you keep your hands on the wheel the car drives for you. Take me home, Jeeves.

WHAT’S IN­SIDE

The cabin feels sparse rather than lux­u­ri­ous for a car of this price but its seat­ing op­tions are un­like any other car I’ve driven.

We had the six-seater ver­sion, with the pas­sage­way be­tween the two kids in the back cut­ting out the usual squab­bles down there. It can also be con­fig­ured to fit seven or as a fiveseater with a big boot.

HOW ABOUT THAT BIG SCREEN?

As with most pri­mary school­ers, mine are never very far from a screen, whether it’s an iPad play­ing Fort­nite or plough­ing their way through their home­work on the lap­top.

It was only a mat­ter of time be­fore cars en­tered the field of en­ter­tain­ment and gave us the screen of the fu­ture.

The gi­ant 17-inch screen is the core of the car. It con­trols ev­ery­thing, from the air­con­di­tion­ing to the sus­pen­sion.

For “gen­er­a­tion swipe”, the screen is just an ex­ten­sion of their ev­ery­day lives. My kids took it in their stride, set­ting up my pro­file for me, nam­ing the car, eas­ily nav­i­gat­ing through Spo­tify and Google maps.

On the other hand, I was blown away. Drive a car with this level of in­ter­ac­tiv­ity and you re­alise ex­actly what all other cars are miss­ing.

FASTER THAN A SPEED­ING BUL­LET

One thing you could say about our Tesla — it was fast. And by fast I don’t mean put your foot down and beat the Toy­ota next to you at the lights fast. I mean out of this world fast. Su­per­car fast.

What I’m not so sure about is whether it is fam­ily-car fast.

Do you re­ally need to get from zero to 100km/h in 3.1 sec­onds on the school run?

When you have the car in its much-touted Lu­di­crous mode it is un­like any other SUV you’ll see at school pick up.

That said, you don’t have to drive this car in Lu­di­crous — there are also Sport and Chill set­tings for the less ad­ven­tur­ous of us.

SURE FITS ALL THE SCHOOL BAGS

In com­mon with most of these large SUVs, the Model X doesn’t let you down in terms of stor­age and func­tion­al­ity. It has all the usual USB ports and cuphold­ers re­quired for a big fam­ily and even bet­ter are the two “boots”.

There is the large rear boot and what the Tesla peo­ple call a “frunk” — as there is no en­gine up front, the space is in­stead used as a sec­ond stor­age area.

SMART CARS CAN BE NOT-SO-SMART

Day one of our Tesla test drive and the key fob died — so the su­per-smart Tesla tech­nol­ogy turned out to be not so su­per-smart all the time.

A call to Tesla sup­port and a sys­tem re-boot from their end wasn’t able to solve the prob­lem but they had back up — the Tesla app, which al­lows you to un­lock and start the car at the push of a but­ton.

THEN THERE’S THE PRICE

This space age ve­hi­cle has an as­tro­nom­i­cal price to match. It starts from $205,700 for the P100D but that’s the ba­sic model. Once you add all those ex­tras it creeps to­wards that in­cred­i­ble $300,000 price tag. The per­fect fam­ily car? Sure, if you can af­ford it.

KIDSPOT

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