Your Model X Test Drive - What you Liked/Disliked

Your Model X Test Drive - What you Liked/Disliked

Yesterday, we enjoyed a test drive of the Model X, 90 KWh battery version. As owners of a Model S85 Classic, we could easily find what we liked or disliked. We are wondering what your first impressions are, from the test drive and inspection.

We were treated well by the San Diego University Towne Center team, managed by Ben Shea. Ryan was our Owner/Advisor who took us for the test drive. I had specifically requested a car that was not in the twilight category of being equipped with the Enhanced Autopilot 2.0 hardware but everything disabled. They found us a Model X with autodrive 1.0, so I could evaluate those capabilities as they have matured in the last few years.

What we liked:

1. Autodrive! It held in the center of the lane without seeming to slide to the right or left. The adaptive cruise control also was refreshing in maintaining an offset to the car on the freeway ahead. We can imagine an order of magnitude of safety from its successor. Ryan showed us the location of the full suite of cameras and sensors on the model next to us in the parking garage.
2. Headroom. Had never sat up high driving an SUV before, as we have always bought sedans or coupes.
3. Comfortable ventilated first and second row seats.
4. Quiet and more cushioned ride compared to our coils.
5. Huge windshield

What we disliked:

1. Could barely see anything to the rear by squinting into the tinted and dim rear view mirror. Forced to use camera on screen or side view mirrors.
2. Difficult to see where hood ends
3. Less space for cargo in the 7 seat setup
4. Car seemed more top-heavy around corners
5. Falcon wing doors. Paranoia!
6. Sun shining in at top of adjustable sunshade bothered me, as I am sensitive to light.

I woke up this morning thinking about the test drive. Once again, Tesla managed to change our paradigm. But not with the Model X.

With Autodrive!

RCorsa | 15 janvier 2017

Few points.

Autopilot not available yet and weekly delays seem to continue. I traded my model s for an x as well for this and I suppose you need to be patient.

Agree on rear view mirror. It's useless and it would make the windshield even better without it. However they need a place for the front cameras plus I assume it's a regulation.

Ventilation in seats has reportedly been removed as an option. I got my 2017 with this( they work poorly) and per this forum, the company removed due to poor performance?

Falcon doors. Work great. I love them and have no issue with them or the auto present which is also cool.

sp_tesla | 15 janvier 2017

1. Could barely see anything to the rear by squinting into the tinted and dim rear view mirror. Forced to use camera on screen or side view mirrors.

Lets see how long it would take the design team to execute corrective action.

tjhayes | 15 janvier 2017

I see everyone complain about the rear view mirror. But I don't find it to be bad at all. The mirror itself is small, but having a bigger one wouldn't do any good because the small one that is there now already shows you the entire view outside the back window.

It's true that in general the sight lines out the side and rear are not great. But that's something that you honestly just get used to after driving the car for a while. A test drive for an hour is not representative of real world conditions.

lilbean | 15 janvier 2017

^ +1 tjhayes

burdogg | 15 janvier 2017

tjhayes - I completely agree, after reading that, I drove to and from church and thought - what are you talking about? Yes, the mirror itself is small but shows completely out the window and everything I need to see. Squint? ok, I don't know what the op means by that, no problems. I have an S and find that they are similar. I have the 6 seater though, so maybe it is the 7 seater that created the complaint? but that would be more about the seat being in the way. Anyway, kind of lost here on that complaint :)

As far as Cargo space? What happens when you put down the back seats? The frunk is bigger in the X. With the seats down and the frunk space, I would think you have as much or more cargo space (I have not tested this so just my thoughts). Some would say, well that is putting seats down - well, the S only seats 5, so test 5 seater X to 5 Seater S. You can't have more seats and expect the same cargo. Or compare a 7 seater S (yes, rear facing seats) with a 7 seater X. Guess what, there is NO storage space in the S, as the seats are up being used, no place to put anything.

Anyway, I own both cars and to each is their own - of course they are not carbon copies of each other. One rides higher, easier for some to get into, the other is lower. I have not noticed a huge driving difference. I love them both for what they are. Don't ask me to pick one over the other - I can't right now. I think though that some may not like the X - BUT there are some that do not LIKE the S either :)

I think what the op doesn't say but may be meaning - or at least what I gather and my experience is this:
When I test drove the X after owning the S for a year - I was not blown away. Why? Because the cars drive so similar to me or the power behind the car is so similar that the WOW effect was lost on me. I had that when I drove the S. The X - felt the same so I was just driving what i have already been driving for a year, except I sit higher up off the road. That is my take aside from small little differences.

MisterT2 | 16 janvier 2017

@burdogg you are spot on. They both drive the same. Strangely similar. When I got done with my test drive, I really questioned which one to buy. Now, my wife asked me to order her a Model S. My only concern is she will want to drive the X all the time.

PedanticOne | 16 janvier 2017

When I took my test drive, I did not like the rear-view visibility as well. But I was driving a 7-seater, not a 6, so it might be at least a bit better in the car I get. But the rear view camera worked well, so I didn't think about it too much.

The ginormous windscreen struck me a super cool, but might be something where I'll cook in the summer. That's part of why I got the ventilated seats! Many claim it's still cool. No idea, as everyone is different.

AP1 was awesome, but I wished it didn't see-saw so much in the lane (certainly more than a human would).

Steering seemed a bit overly sensitive and yet a bit disconnected. I did try sport mode, but did not try comfort mode.

Everyone of these was a nit, though and in no way dissuaded me from purchasing. There are plenty of nits about my Wrangler, too, but I still love it.

sbeggs | 16 janvier 2017

That's great to hear that your falcon doors are performing reliably. Reportedly in the beginning, there were teething problems. They make access to the second row effortless.

sbeggs | 16 janvier 2017


I agree, a brief test drive cannot allow one to become one with the car. It does have certain advantages over the Model S, especially if configured with fewer seats than the test car.

sbeggs | 16 janvier 2017

@burdogg and MrT2,
good points. The putting down of the seats was not demonstrated, so it is probable that cargo can be accommodated.

The mirror actually appeared dark, whether because of rear liftgate tinting, or some tint on the actual mirror. Not sure why.

I didn't absolutely floor it, because I knew how much instant torque was on tap, and didn't see much of an opening in thick San Diego traffic.

If I wanted an SUV, I could think of no other I would buy. I'm glad this one is available for people (@lilbean) who really like the SUV format.

PedanticOne | 16 janvier 2017

I find that with the rear seats down, I get more room than in my Jeep Wrangler *with the back seats down* (save for the more boxy part of my Wrangler). So I can carry about the same amount and my son can still have a place to sit.

sbeggs | 16 janvier 2017


That's interesting, your observation about the X seesawing in the lane. I was kind of squealing when it went into Autodrive, but I didn't feel unsafe with its clearance to the cars and trucks to my right. Also your remark about the disconnected feeling you got from the steering. I guess I was too excited to notice!

PedanticOne | 16 janvier 2017

it was a minor seesaw, and it never made me feel like it was drifting out of the lane. As I said, a nit. :-)

burdogg | 16 janvier 2017

Pedantic - it was probably because you drove the Blue one and it was messing with your psych :)

PedanticOne | 16 janvier 2017

Shows what you know. It was actually (I kid you not) ...

red. :-O

burdogg | 16 janvier 2017

That explains it - the red can't stay as true as the blue (true Blue all the way :)

Triggerplz | 17 janvier 2017

@burdogg plus the blue is priceless so I paid an extra $1000 and bought a black one :-)

burdogg | 17 janvier 2017


mustangtornado | 17 janvier 2017

Do a 24 hour test just takes time to become acclimated to the car.
The rep at the Dallas Northpark store encourages this and I think the car really grows on you the longer you drive it.

William9 | 17 janvier 2017

sbeggs: Been following you in the S forum for years. Really like your travelogues. I went from a "classic" S last summer to the 6 seat X and have never looked back (no pun intended.) We travel between Napa and Tucson several times a year, and pack to the gunnels each trip. Plus we have dog! The X definitely loads more than the S. One thing I haven't seen mentioned is that the frunk of the X allows for two complete sets of golf clubs, providing the golf bag is of the skinny variety. We typically haul 3-4 cases of wine from Napa, no problem. The higher profile is the biggest plus for me. I'm a large/tall guy. I leased the X so I could flip it at the end of 3 years to get the fully tested AP2. The FWD's take getting used when it's just the two of you around town. Seems like quite a production to put a small package. Find I use the trunk more around town. But (knock wood) no problems with the doors. And they are definitely cool taking friends out to dinner. And the 3rd row is very usable for short trips, even for a big guy like me. Rear view mirror a non-issue. And for touring, nothing better than the humongous front window! BTW, we have already put 15,000 miles on it, mostly cross-country stuff (Moab, Custer, SD, Walla Walla etc. and just love it.

William9 | 26 janvier 2017

sbeggs: So, any conclusions?

ScooterJim | 26 janvier 2017

I have a 5 seater with cloth seats. My wife is also sensitive to bright sun from the panoramic windshield. We chose the X over the S because of the higher sitting position and larger cargo volume. We mainly will the X for cross country travel. We traveled 24K miles last year in our Outback before trading it in for the X. We normally drive with the second row seat folded and the view out the rear view mirror is OK with us. To take care of the sun problem, I added a layer of aluminum radiant barrier left over from installing them in the attic, so no light comes through. As for those complaining about seat back protection for the front seats, I purchased seat back organizers and used Velcro fasteners to keep the organizers from swinging in the way of a passenger when I have some, but 99.9% of the time it is just us two. My only negative comment is the shorter range of the 90. That has been remedied by the 100D, but my priority was the free use of the supercharger for traveling. My other car is a leased Kia Soul EV for in town driving, expiring in early 2018. It is much easier to navigate and park than the X. The X is so wide that I need to fold the side mirrors to fit through the garage opening without being worry about the tight clearance.

lilbean | 29 janvier 2017

Did you not receive the sexy sunshade? It's super sexy fumbling with that thing when installing it. I mean, really hot! And so high tech! Ah!

sbeggs | 31 janvier 2017


Thanks for the compliments! Glad you have found the capacity of Model X to be great for your road trips.

Our conclusions: We can definitely see why people are going for the Model X, and are glad that we got to test drive it. We definitely will order our next Tesla with Autodrive. We do have a Model 3 on order, which might come up for delivery about a year from now, so the contact we made with Ryan at San Diego Tesla gallery will be key for a Model 3 test drive. If we don't like the Model 3, we will order another Model S! We talked about the feeling of driving an SUV and we both think we like driving a sedan instead. Now we're coming up with all kinds of outlandish ideas such as getting a place on the east coast like in Florida, where we have family and friends, where we can keep the second Tesla for road trips on that coast. We have totally lost our minds!

burdogg | 31 janvier 2017

Funny sbeggs - I joke that my paycheck now goes straight to Tesla ;) Yes, I have lost my mind!

sbeggs | 31 janvier 2017

Yes. The mindloss club is growing steadily!

Jhwjr1 | 31 janvier 2017

I liked:
a.The acceleration;
b. The windshield;
c. The seats;
d.The size of the frunk;
e. The rear camera;
e. The active spoiler;
h. The 6 seat configuration with the space between the 2nd row seats;
i. The door closing when the brake is pushed;
j. The aggressive regenerative accelerator.

I did not like:
a. how tiny the rear view mirror/rear window is;
b. how tiny and awkward the visors are;
c. how little of the windsheid is covered by the wipers;
d. how little fluid comes out of the wipers;
e. how easy it was to accidentally put the car in neutral while driving;
f. The adequate but not impressive 2nd row leg room;
g. The adequate but not impressive 3rd row leg room;
h. The adequate but not impressive trunk space with the 3rd row up;
i. A head can be pinched between the 2nd row seat moving back and the C Pillar
j. The carpet pieces seem loose.

TeslaFred | 1 février 2017

We have the Model S, and are purchasing the Model X.


1. The 6 seat configuration is brilliant, simply brilliant.
2. Ride height (it's a SUV).
3 Rear camera.
4. Feels more spacious than the S
5. Falcon wing doors are growing on us.


1. Third row is a bit cramped. The car needs approx. 3 inches in length, which would storage space as well.

nrelia | 3 février 2017

lack of arm rests in 2 nd row

Bubba2000 | 3 février 2017

I got a Model S P85 with kid seats, but no sensors. Fun to drive, great handling, acceleration. Only real negative it does not have AWD which is useful in wet roads.

Just got a Model X P100. Great SUV, but handling not as good as P85. I agree with most of the positives. Some improvements:
- Windshield could be improved to allow increasing chromacity by user. Meanwhile, I use The shade or hat. Great view!
- Electronic mirror that image? Adjustable rear view headrests?
- Improved armrests in front. Arm rests in 2nd and 3r
- I like the perforated ventilated front seats. Thicker leather?