Struggling: Model X or Model S

Struggling: Model X or Model S

I had been waiting for Autopilot 2.0 to come out before jumping on the Tesla train. We test drove the Model X yesterday and we loved it. It was spacious and big enough for our family of five.

We are weighing whether or not to go with the Model X or the Model S. We love the space of the X, but we always get concerned when we read about reliability concerns.

So what do you all say - should we go with the more spacious X or stick with the reportedly more reliable S? Any help would be much appreciated...

robert.s.bjekich | 06. November 2016

I own a December 2013 Model S and will take delivery of a five seat Model X in December. The early Model S had reliability issues which Tesla fixed very quickly. They provided loaners when service was required. The early Model X has some issues which are being addressed as we speak. Buy the Model X.

stringerbell | 06. November 2016

Thanks for the advice! We are leaning that way...

lilbean | 06. November 2016

I would lease if you are going with the Model X. If you want to buy, I would go with the Model S. The long term reliability of the Model X doors is unpredictable.

dortor | 06. November 2016

Lease all Teslas the tech is moving too fast.

Lease the S if you wanted a sorted car..

Lease the X if you like beta testing.

mhkeyemd | 06. November 2016

I would wait to purchase Model X. Anyone who says "later Model X will be better" is just assuming. They have no proof to say that. There are already several September owners with significant fit and finish issues as well as mechanical issues. Also, there are March owners who say they have flawless Model X's. In short, it sounds like a crapshoot at this point. I'm still going to the service center monthly because of on-going issues with my Model X since June. I would not recommend Model X to my family or friends at least for now. I think they need 1-2 more years to figure out all the problems that Model X has. Also, I hope Elon does the right thing by extending FWD and automated front door warranty to 6-8 years, or offer a very reasonable extended warranty to all Model X owners that we can purchase (like $2500-4000 for extra 4yr/50K mi). I would purchase Model S, and lease or forget Model X.

carlk | 06. November 2016

What is the fit and finish issue that is unique to the X?

lhanspal | 06. November 2016

On AP2.0, dont assume that you will get a fully reliable self driving ... given the regulatory scene - it maybe AP3.0 or AP4.0 - till that settles. However, based on the hardware differences between AP1.0 & AP2.0 - you will get a pretty reliable stop/go traffic handling...

On the lease vs buy - you will probably want to figure out efficiency of the finances... sure - lease seems lower, but is invariably more expensive at the end of the day...

And yeah - be ready for trips to the service center... the FWD seem to be the worst factor. Mine are off by about 1-1.5mm - and between 2 service centers - it's taken them over 7 days (& counting) ... my wife's MS seems to be fine though... no trips for her...

mhkeyemd | 06. November 2016

Fit and finish issues unique to model x? I'm not sure what you are asking. I hate to repeat the problems that I'm struggling with or struggled in the past. I will just cut and paste from past replies and posts. Again, these are problems with my Model X 90D.

"I can only give you my experience with Model X 90D vin xx7xx0. I received mine in June. I think mine is technically not an early production. Mine would be considered mid-year production, I guess.
These are my problems: I will start with non-high tech issues (I would consider them as ordinary fit and finish things for any cars), then will move to unique Model X issues.
1. Driver door speaker screen dents, needed to be replaced.
2. Wiper fluid reservoir empty when delivered
3. Wiper fluid doesn't pump out even after the reservoir is filled with wiper fluid
4. Multiple Scratches on center console cover when delivered
5. Driver door body seal detached, needed gluing
6. Front passenger seat back bottom plastic panel is detached, but can't be fixed unless the seat is changed. They refuse to fix it.
7. Steering wheel dents, needed to be replaced.
8. Left rear c-pillar interior leather trim had a large tear, needed to be replaced.
9. FWD seal is detached, needed more gluing.
10. Rattling noise at A-pillar and left fender at bright work. Needed to be insulated to prevent noise. Still makes low rattling noise on road roads.
11. Both right and left front window regulators needed to be replaced because they were hitting the chrome trim when closing or making loud clicking noise when closing. The window still does not roll down when I open the door even after the regulator was replaced.
12. 2nd row car seatbelt buckle malfunctioning and giving warning sign that it is not buckled. Still waiting to get it fixed. They were suppose to contact me, but no calls or emails yet's been 1.5 week.
13. Left FWD misalignment. Needed to go to the body shop to realign it. Not perfect still, but MUCH better.
14. Right front passenger door drive unit needed to be changed because it wouldn't close automatically.
15. FWD did not close all the way. Inductive sensors needed to be re-secured with "special tapes" that I needed to wait extra 2-3 days to order and ship."

I'm going back to the service center for the fifth time since June.... I wouldn't want this to anyone... it's waste of time and money... I'm hoping that Model X will the best vehicle in the future, but not at this time. Also, a big question about reliabilty with so many automated moving parts... this car truly needs an extended warranty.

tommyalexandersb | 06. November 2016

I was waiting for autopilot 2.0 hardware as well. Now I'm waiting and hoping for a new interior soon. It makes sense that the interior would be more sparse, modern and high tech compared to now. Similar to the model 3 interior. (I thought a new interior and auto 2 hardware would be released at the same time, my wait continues). When the time is right I'm going to buy the X. I can't afford to lease one.

stringerbell | 07. November 2016

Thanks so much for the feedback and advice. Everything you all are saying reflects my dilemma perfectly . I love the X but don't want to be constantly running to the SC...

gsojohn | 07. November 2016

We must be extremely lucky or completely oblivious to defects. We took delivery of our X90D in Mid-September and have noticed no problems to date. Have a 6-seat configuration. Would have preferred folding seats but not a big issue with us. It probably saves us from trying to haul things that might damage the inside. So far, we are "happy campers."

lhanspal | 07. November 2016

Mine is a X90D - took delivery in early July ... 8xxx VIN. The problems that i am describing are minor - overall the car is still awesome... it's just that over the last 3-4 months - it's been painful. Maybe this ends shortly - and I can return to 'happy camper' status...

There is also an inherent expectation that a new $100K+ car should not spend even a single day at a service center in the first 12 months...

evlnte | 07. November 2016

If I could rethink my original purchase, I would have leased simply due to quickly changing market and my low milage usage. Model S is for younger people who enjoy the low, sporty ride and performance of a sedan. It is not easy to get in and out of the car if you have any middle-age mobility issues. But I enjoy the model S' spry, grippy feel on the road. The Model X is our long trip, big family car with plenty of room for luggage and connections for mobile phones and just plain innovation. It is a solid car, but bouncy like many SUVs. All the new tech is also very beta. The doors have quirks and failures. And there are still fit and finish issues. And forgot about handing it over to a valet driver. You'll need to provide a 10 minute class on just the key fob! But it is eye-catching, sleek and stops people in their tracks. And above all, I love how easy it is to get in and out of it considering my bad back. Either choice, you'll be at the forefront of driving technology. I feel like I'm living in the future, and I'm not going back!

stringerbell | 07. November 2016

Thanks for the insights. I tend to agree with evInte. What I really agree with is this from lhanspal:

"There is also an inherent expectation that a new $100K+ car should not spend even a single day at a service center in the first 12 months..."

elguapo | 07. November 2016

I have never leased and bought an S (now sold - 85 was an early 2013) and own two Xs.

That said, when I get another Tesla, I will lease simply because of the technology and other upgrades. It's too much to pay for a car that's almost guaranteed to be outdated within 12 months.

I love my Teslas and have no regrets and never expect retrofits. I just think Teslas make more sense to lease - whether it's an S or X.

stringerbell | 07. November 2016

Thanks, elguapo!

SolidWhite60DX | 07. November 2016

I think if you're planning to have rear passengers often the x is a better choice, as the rear seats of the s have a very low seat, so you end with your knees very high up, which is uncomfortable in the long term. Otherwise save some money and get better range with an s.

In terms of leasing or buying, if you get tax benefits leasing is a no brainer, but otherwise if you have the money, buying is a better choice even with a tesla, as you can choos to upgrade to newer technology on your own schedule, instead of a predetermined schedule set when you initially bought. You don't want your lease to end just a few months before you expect a big tech improvement to be released.

carlk | 08. November 2016


Yours is a good point. I've never leased a car and usually own a car for at least 5~6 years but when I pulled out the calculator leasing makes more sense the way it looks.

liudmd | 09. November 2016

In my opinion, buying is more beneficial than leasing. because federal credit of $7500, no sale tax in New Jersey, and $25k section 179 deduction, gas saving for next five years, even MX will depreciate 50% five years later. I'm still ahead of the game(gain).

elguapo | 09. November 2016

My comment wasn't purely economic. It was also focused on tech/options. Most car companies have total redesigns every 5 years or so and very incremental annual improvements. Teslas have had fairly significant improvements every 6-12 months. It's not just that your tech becomes old, but your car is much less valuable if it doesn't have the new tech - it depreciates faster. My 2013 S was super low mileage, but I had no sensors for parking and no AP and that impacted market value.

I would get ZERO economic benefits from leasing, but for Teslas, I really think it makes the most sense versus plunking down $140,000 today. Even if my loan is at1.49%.

MSMX | 09. November 2016

I own both. Unless you need the X for some reason, hands down get the S.

The S is a perfect car. The X has issues all around.

tarheeltesla | 09. November 2016

Have the S. Waiting on X to be delivered in mid Dec. Giving S to son. I've never cared about cars. S is incredible. If I had family of five I would go with X. Tesla service is already legendary. I would not have bought X earlier but reports the few problems with X have been fixed persuaded me to go forward with X.

teslagiddy | 10. November 2016

The S is actually more spacious. So for hauling stuff get the S. But for hauling people get the X 6-7 seats. In our experience both are equally reliable.

dortor | 10. November 2016

2nd Row in the X has less shoulder and hip room than the S due to the increase width of the FWD's - if you're going to have 3 people in the 2nd row often the extra space in the S makes it more comfortable. But getting in/out is harder.

stringerbell | 11. November 2016

Thanks for the advice, everyone! We went ahead and reserved the Model S. (We loved the X but didn't want to buy more headaches for more money.) Thanks to everyone for their candid opinions and advice.

dortor | 11. November 2016

@ willzerhouni - the S is a wonderful and functional car - you will be most pleased!!! I simply LOVE mine.

lilbean | 11. November 2016

Congrats! You'll be so happy!

PenHam | 11. November 2016

Good call. The S is a great car, hands-down the best EV on the market. The X has potential, when they eventually finish it, which it seems, Tesla has chosen to do so in their service centers.

lilbean | 11. November 2016

I feel more in control with the S. You get to tell it what to do rather than having things always done for you. For example, sometimes I just want to drive a couple inches with my door open so I can see how close the curb I am. Nope. You can't do that.

stringerbell | 11. November 2016

Awesome! Thanks, lilbean, dortor and PenHam.

2 quick questions :

1. IS AWD worth it? We live in Maryland and get snow about 4-6x a year

2. Black or tan seats?

Thanks again for the great guidance!

lilbean | 11. November 2016

You're welcome. I prefer the black seats because when you look at the car from the outside, the windows (if tinted) look dark because the seats are black. I'm not a fan of the shade of tan that is offered.

stringerbell | 12. November 2016

Thanks, lilbean!

teslagiddy | 12. November 2016

AWD is definitely worth it. Not only for snow but you also get better range (even a few extra miles can make a difference on long trips).

dortor | 12. November 2016

AWD is awesome and wonderful in any low traction environment!

stringerbell | 12. November 2016

Thanks, dortor and teslagiddy! I think the AWD choice is unanimous.

What do you guys make to the premium interior? Worth it? Our sales guy (who is a great guy and candid) said he thought it really wasn't worth it.

I guess we'll wrestle with the black v. tan seat question...

dortor | 12. November 2016

Black will age better - I also am not a fan - but that is a matter of personal Tastes and I have some co-workers that love the Tan interior on their S's

Premimum upgrade Pkg has the following:

BioWeapon defense mode - I've been pleasant surprised by this feature in the X when I've driven my neighbor's X - in particular in high odor areas it's really a god send (near cattle ranches and coastal/swamp areas on hot days where there is great bio-mass degrading on the shore - also good in cities on high-smog days
Ventilated Seats - still not sure about this one - really can't tell the difference between on/off in the X - don't know about the S version
Powerlift gate is nice

Resell is better with it rather than without - it - but it may not be worth it - none of it is 'bad' - it's nice refinement on an excellent car

dortor | 12. November 2016

@ willzerhouni - feel free to use my referral link to save $1000.00 on your Model S order :)

stringerbell | 12. November 2016

Thanks, dortor!

elguapo | 12. November 2016

@willzerhouni I am in MD and AWD is awesome, as others have said. Not just for range, but every now and then we get dumped on and the AWF is worth it.

As for leather color. My S seats are tan and one X is black and another white. The tan seats in my S didn't age well and show creases. They may have changed that leather by now as it is a 2013 S.

I too, am not a fan of the shade of tan either, as @lilbean noted.

I love the black leather and how it looks and feels. Only had that X since March, so I don't know how it will age.

I would go with the black in a heartbeat. I didn't even co sided tan for either X.

elguapo | 12. November 2016

AWD, not F.

stringerbell | 12. November 2016

Thanks, elguapo! I also worry about the tan leather cracking...