Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Tesla Model X - Sparrowgal review

My car is finally here! Just in time for Christmas, making it a wonderful Christmas present for myself.

There are many things about the Tesla which I didn't know (but thought I did) but I'll go through every little thing that surprised me about this car.

1. Range

The first thing people ask me is about how far it can go. Officially, it's 420km. BUT, in reality it's more like 300+ km. Why the great difference?

Think back to The Martian (one of my fave movies by the way!)

In the movie, Watney (Matt Damon) takes the Rover out and finds that it has a range of 35km fully charged. However, he could double it when he didn't have the heater on.

I may not need a heater on in the car, but I do need air conditioning in this sweltering 35+ degrees celsius heat this summer. Having that on does cut my car energy a bit!

2. The Enhanced Autopilot

I have driven a friend's car (HK's Ford Mondeo) and it has adaptive cruise control. I really liked it - it meant I could follow people and not worry about my car getting too close because the car senses the car in front and slows down to accommodate and speeds up as well to your max speed limit you have set.

But, when you turn on the auto-steering and lane change assist, suddenly long distance driving became a whole lot easier.

The car now not only keeps the speed and following distance right, but it will also stay between the lines of the lanes by itself. You can feel the car turning under your grip on the wheel and a medium amount of force to take control back is required. Even the lane changing - which I thought was just pure laziness, because how hard is it to change a lane - is cool. The car accelerates sometimes to get into the lane and then inserts itself nicely after checking for obstacles. Just turn on your indicator to change the lane and the car does the rest. Turn off the indicator to stop it.  Seriously, this is the cruise control I've always wanted that I never knew that I needed.

3. That Christmas Easter Egg

I didn't know it had these fun things, but this Christmas dance is absolutely hilarious. One of friends told me about it, so I went home to look for it and found it.  I played it for my parents and they were embarrassed by the noise, but the neighbours clapped when the show was over. Here's someone else's video of the Christmas thing.

4. Headrests which are convex... not a fan

You don't realise it until you drive (or try to sleep), but these headrests are uncomfortable. When you lean on it, your head tends to roll to the side because they're slightly convex. Now, if they were a little concave (or had the side wings like aeroplane headrests) then your head wouldn't roll off the seat.

5. Supercharging whilst on long trips

One thing I noticed when I was at the dealership picking up my car, was all the hire cars parked in the charging bays. I thought that was clever. Never have to pay for petrol or for servicing and you get free charging so you can drive around. However, that's about to change - I saw that in 2018 cars registered for business can no longer use the superchargers for free, to allow the superchargers to be used for personal travel.

I did a drive to Canberra on Sunday and we had to stop at Goulburn to charge the car for half an hour.

It wasn't so bad. We stopped at Macca's just before the charger, told the kids they can't eat it until we get to the charging place, and then they could get out of the car to eat. By the time we had finished eating, gone to the toilet/washed hands, it was half an hour.

So, the drawback is that it now takes half an hour longer to get to Canberra than it used to. But, it's for free. My hubby told me to look at it like a toll - because using a petrol car, the petrol cost would be about $80 return to go to and from Canberra from Sydney. Would you pay a $40 toll to save half an hour of travel?

6. Speedy? Yes!

The pickup is impressive. As I am used to a non powerful car, putting my foot on the accelerator with the same force leads to some stomach sinking acceleration, which my hubby found uncomfortable (my driving, that is). However, I can set "Chill" mode on my car and the acceleration is gentler, and much more to my liking.

The Chill mode caused a bit of an uproar earlier in the year because people started complaining their car was going too slow, and some articles suggested that people who had it on were "boring". Well, I'm boring and I have it on, and I like it.

This is funny because I knew they had a "ludicrous" mode on the P100D which made it go EVEN faster - this Chill mode is the exact opposite of that!

7. I use Tidal not Spotify - not a problem!

I noticed that the car can choose music, as it comes with a premium Spotify account (though, the Spotify account isn't working for me. Apparently this is a common problem, popping up on Tesla forums all over the place).

I have a Tidal subscription, and the cool thing is that the music starts all by itself once my phone connects to Bluetooth. My fave playlist pops up and it works perfectly. I can even navigate the songs from the car with the forward/backwards buttons.

Reports on the internet say that it doesn't work with Apple Car Play or Android Auto, which could be annoying for people using those streaming services.

8. The doors are not as annoying as I thought

I didn't really want falcon wing doors. I thought they were gimmicky. However, they really are good for getting out of tight spots. I park close to the passenger side wall in my garage to allow people room to get out, and you can still activate the falcon wing door to get into the car, which is great considering you can't get in the passenger side front door on that side in that same space (about 40cm).

I have closed the door on myself once or twice as I rushed to get something out of the seat after I pressed the close button and the door hardly hurts me as it taps me on the back. It LOOKS terrifying to others (like I'm about to be chopped in half) but it's about as uncomfortable as a thump on the back.

9. Door Unlock with Key Fob issues

I like the idea of having the car unlock as I approach it. However, when the car was sitting in the garage and the key was just next to the door on the table, the car would be unlocked and be ON, which was annoying me.

With the car on, the fan would be running because the music would be playing as my phone would connect to the car and then the garage would be insanely hot because of the fan and whatever it was the car was doing. In the end, I had to turn it all off, and have to manually unlock my car with the key. At least it stopped the car turning on in the garage and playing music because my key was nearby. I wish that wouldn't happen though.

10. No storage for back seat passengers

With falcon wing doors you can't have door storage anymore, as everything would fall out, and there are no back seat pockets to slip things into - as a parent, I find that a rather restrictive thing in the middle seats. Emergency drink bottles, school hats, pencils to do homework - these are the kinds of things I'd be looking to be storing for the kids in the back seat.

I will have to reinstall their mini desks into the back of the seat again from my old car so we can do homework whilst we wait for Taekwondo class to start.

There is however ample boot space, but it just means getting out of the car to access it.

11. NO more Car Services

I found this hard to get my head around. No car service? Really? What about all the electrics and stuff? Well, you do have car services but not for the engine. Just all the maintenance stuff like wheels, alignments, wipers, brakes etc... and you do it once a year. However, the guy at Tesla told me there are some people who have never brought their cars back for service!

So I am still going to get my car serviced, just once a year though. Probably save me $1000 because every service I had on my old car was about $800-1000 every time!

But this is the best....

I never have to care about THIS ever again. No more petrol. No more worrying about when to fill my car when the prices are low. People ask me if I worry about running out of battery when I'm driving but who runs out of petrol when they're driving? And there are lots of chargers around, and I can always go home

However, what excuse do I have now to stop at 7-Eleven to get a slurpie?

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