A Tesla fan and Model S Owner spends a day with a new X

A Tesla fan and Model S Owner spends a day with a new X

neighbor's Model X P90D was picked up yesterday saturday from Fremont factory. I got to spend several hours with the car and the neighbor is thrilled. And it's mostly a fanatasic car.

Overall impressions - excellent car - lacking as an SUV - 2nd row is narrower than my Model S (shoulder room is lacking) - 3 adults did feel cramped, 3rd row is very tight - only suitable for smaller people or children. As a cargo hauler it can't even fit a flat box for a small bench ($89 metal bench from ACE hardware) - good for costco - not good for Home Depot (bigger items).

Example: you can not purchase and carry this item home in a Model X - the box it comes in won't fit in the car…
this item comes flat boxed and is a typical weekend warrior purchase

my used $3,000 2008 Mazda 3 series fit the box just fine, and my Model S had no problem fitting the item - cause the Model S is awesome.

Factory delivery personnel were mostly un-informed

1. didn't know how the tow hitch was supposed to be hooked up - at first claimed there was no tow hitch option for a Model X
2. didn't know about the button on the left side middle seat 2nd row - claimed the middle seat could not be adjusted
3. didn't know there was such thing as a 72 AMP charger
4. was confused when the seat adjustments wouldn't work - turns out if the seat is in sitting mode (not get in the back mode) there are limits to the seat forward/back travel distance

personnel who met my neighbor/friend was mostly a paperwork monkey - but had no real knowledge of the car.

My impression is the Model X is a bigger and better SUV than most midsize SUV's - if you ignore the fact that most SUV's have a 2nd row that can be flat - (BMW X5, Toyota Highlander, Acura MDX, Nissan Murano) but if you're looking for the flexibility/cargo of a large SUV (Toyota Sequoia, Yukon, or Mercedes GL-series you will be sorely disappointed by the lack of flexible cargo space)

Neighbor has a due bill with some items on it from the factory delivery inspection - nothing debilitating from a "I can't drive the car point of view" - so good news there.

1. 3rd row seats work infrequently, get stuck often, and either won't go down/up - service center will schedule an appointment
1b. minor trim issue - the carpet on the back the seat is glued to the seat - it's coming loose and peeling…
2. Passenger side FWD seals are a bit wonky - will probably need to be reworked - service center
3. scratch/dent on one of the wheel spokes - new wheel probably
4. small driver's side wind noise front window - service center
5. sun shade for the front window - will be delivered later
6. center console trim loose between driver's seat and back of console - minor trim issue - just needs be pop'd into place, but it's hard since driver's seat is in the way - probably another service center visit (get all items on the list taken care of at once)
7. Rear trunk latch is loud and very mechanical - sounds loose - gonna ask service to inspect
8. Chrome cover for the passenger side door handle has fallen off - it's purely cosmetic - but the handle is quite ugly with the chrome missing ;-)

After driving the car - it drives like a Tesla - which is my highest praise - and the defect list from above is fairly small.

Model X win's

1. Front passenger area is the best front two seats of any car on the market hands down - helicopter window is gorgeous
2. Cars drives fabulously - smooth responsive and a joy to drive - has all the Tesla tech we've all come to love
3. Best/most comfortable front seats I've ever sat in in any car - they are fantastic - they are really really fantastic.
4. It's a tesla through and through - very very good car
5. center console is a big improvement over the S
6. Black leather is super high quality - supple feel - super lux

Model X disappointments

1. This car is _NOT_ an SUV (no folding 2nd row, severe lack of cargo room for bulky items, it's internal space is just not flexible enough to compete with the hauling capabilities of virtually any $22,000 SUV on the market - there are several everyday home depot items that simply won't fit in this car) - you'll have to take your Model S to pick them up.
2. can't fit my mountain bike (we tried) - fits fine in my Model S
3. Think of this car as a very very roomy and lovely driving Sedan - it's a bigger more comfortable higher sitting Model S - but it's not really an SUV in the sense of the "U" - utility - it's a big sedan. I'm not saying this is bad - but don't expect it to replace your Mercedes GL for hauling things. My wife thinks it's like the BMW 5 Series GT (the kinda of cross-over wagon) from BMW for their 5 series.
4. Lack of roof rack will hamper skiing - trailer hitch solution is impractical for super charging - can't back into a Supercharger spot with a tow hook mounted ski carrier (there is some disagreement on this point - as people with Model S's and tow mounted things can charge just fine - I'll concede the point but time will tell - I still posit that the storage issue is _NOT_ entirely solved by saying hang your crap off the back of the car, and regardless it could impact charging in tight spots without room to properly position the car).
5. While the FWD work - they dominate the design compromises of the car and I personally do not feel they add enough value to justify the trade offs (lack of roof mount, slow ingress/egress, lack of fast egress in emergencies, won't work if the car is dead)
6. Neighbors garage is normal two car garage with a center mounted garage door opener - passenger side FWD opens fine and detects the overhead obstacles and stops appropriately. Driver's side hits equipment hung on the wall - neighbor has various boxes (charger, sub panel, ladder and other things) hung above waist height - driver's side door thinks it's fine and whacks them (hard) on the upswing - so the doors are NOT smart enough to avoid anything that is hung too high off the floor and sticks out - and there doesn't seem to be a way to tell the doors to open and not extend out manually…neighbor and I will continue to play. Based on the configuration of the garage the driver's side FWD is effectively useless for my neighbor and the sensors aren't thorough enough to actually detect the obstacles and choose a proper opening trajectory.

Neighbor is very happy and the car is beautiful. The Model X as a car succeeds fabulously and Tesla has clearly refined what it takes to build a functional car that has the best technology on the market. As an SUV it's not a functional replacement for most the of market if you use an SUV to actually haul things.

I can say to anyone the Model S is the best sedan on the market, and meets or exceeds any expectations for a Sedan - it is hands down a class leader.

The Model X is an excellent car, and SUV like in some ways, but it is NOT the best SUV on the market - it's the best all electric SUV on the market and it's excellent at being a bigger Model S, if you want a bigger Model S with a slight 3rd row this is the car for you!

As a car it succeeds wildly.
As an SUV it's a bit of disappointment - but only from the perspective of an SUV - and hauling large items or lot of people with lots of room.

My neighbor and I have agreed we will let each other borrow each other's Tesla's from time to time - road trips with the front window in the Model X will be awesome - and my neighbor can borrow my model S when he needs to go to home depot and pick up a bulky item or haul his bike to the trail.

It's a bigger Tesla Model S, and the Tesla Model S is a good thing!

carlk | 20 mars 2016

You have made a pretty accurate description of what the X is. I think it's designed more as a people hauler than a cargo hauler although it still does a pretty decent job there too. I saw X's for the first time Friday and I have to say those who complain tight spaces in the third row need to take a look at other similar cars first. I don't think there is a garageable SUV that could hual this many people this comfortably.

MyXinTx | 20 mars 2016

Probably one of the best reviews I have seen, Thanks.

I also struggle to consider an X as an SUV, as the U stands for Utility, it's more of a Crossover although that is not a popular term.

Anyone who knows my posts is aware of the frustration I have with the retraction of the folding 2nd row seats, yet I submitted my order knowing it was not happening, but I have a utility trailer and an old Yukon to do my hauling.

Currently I struggle with...

1) the wind noise from the windshield (no possible resolution, just acceptance)
2) inconsistent performance of the unnecessary (for me) FWD (will improve hopefully)
3) Impact of all that overhead glass and concern for effective cooling in the Texas summer heat, including the ventilated seats with cooled or ambient air (unable to asses until later this season)

I would already own an S if I could comfortable access the driver seat, but just getting older everyday

carlk | 20 mars 2016


Get PhotoSync tint film installed for windshield and front windows if heat is a concern. It does not have to be too dark, 75 is the lightest grade that you most likely will not even notice is there, to block pretty much all IR and heat. I got that for windshield and windows but not the pano roof on my S. Even the black unventilated leather seat has never been too hot to sit in 90+ summer days.

Laryrob | 20 mars 2016

was going to get X for my wife to go with my 70 MS but ended going off waiting list and getting P85D and selling th 70MS last year. Am thinking about the P90D for me and giving my wife my P85D for all of the negative reasons set froth above in this great review. Also, Audi is supposed to be coming out w/an all elec SUV modeled on the Q7(and allegedly the Tesla-0-60 in under 4 sec.big screen/console, auto pilot etc)next year so might wait and see. Love my S but if go to SUV want bigger than the X.

DougTheMac | 20 mars 2016

@dortor: great review from a good perspective. Confirmed the impressions I got at the European reveal in Geneva last month. Maybe I'll "just" get an MS after all.....

@carlk: "I don't think there is a garageable SUV that could hual this many people this comfortably." Just to put in a good word for a bit of British technology, have you ever sat in a LandRover Discovery 4? Only car I know that seats 7x6ft adults in comfort. Stepped roof with 2 roof windows and tiered seating means even the 3rd row gets a good view forwards and up. With air suspension lowered, it's only 1.92m high, sorry, 75.5", ok for most garages I suspect?

vperl | 20 mars 2016

Hope all the folks considering non Tesla vehicles, well.

But, no infrastructure for going anyplace. When the other guys build hundreds of charging station with eight CHARGERS at each location..... But..... Wait.

No way, they want the government to provide..... Charging locations.... These other vehicle companies are taking you for a short ride. Great luck

dbh | 20 mars 2016

Excellent review. I disagree on #4 disappointment. You'll definitely be able to supercharge with a rear ski hitch rack on it. I can do it with two-bike tray rack just fine on my model S (with an extender on that as well), although it is close at the ones that are back-in only. It'll be just as fine on the model X.

dortor | 20 mars 2016

review updated with dbh's feedback on item #4..

dbh | 20 mars 2016

Cool. I will definitely concede on #4 that I am absolutely certain that the Model S has more "U" than the model X. I've posted pictures before, but I do ridiculous things with the model S - it's amazing. It has a ton of non-people-moving utility, surely more than the model X. Our S has carried a hang glider and two bikes at the same time (using the roof racks and roof bike racks, plus a rear T hitch support), at other times 4 bikes (two on roof, and two on hitch), and frequently carries 3 or 4 long guitar cases, a 2x12 speaker cabinet and a huge Marshall head to band practice and shows. The model X will only be able to do only one of those 3 things well, I think (it can carry 4 bikes, but all on the extended 4-bike hitch carrier, and 4 bikes would prevent back-in supercharging for sure). The X definitely can't carry a hang-glider (well, *maybe* if you suction cup half a roof rack and never open one FWD? I wouldn't trust that at all at > 15mph), and if it can carry my music gear I'll be surprised (maybe it can with the 3rd row down for the cabinet, and the guitars on the middle seat? But then it can only carry two passengers, while the model S can carry 4 people still with the rear 40% folded down - I can fit the three guitars through the split seat, and the rest in the trunk/frunk no problem.

Will post my own review within the next week or two!

rdalcanto | 20 mars 2016

Does the Model X have a functioning Cargo mode yet, where the second row tilts and moves all the way forward? That should create a lot of space.

dbh | 20 mars 2016

If it does, you've got a lot of space, but only room for two passengers. The model S can still carry four passengers with the rear 40% down, and carry very long items at the same time. I don't think there is any way the X is going to be better in that respect.

dortor | 20 mars 2016

"Model X is the safest, fastest and most capable sport utility vehicle in history. With all-wheel drive and a 90 kWh battery providing 257 miles of range, Model X has ample seating for seven adults and all of their gear. And it’s ludicrously fast, accelerating from zero to 60 miles per hour in as quick as 3.2 seconds.
Model X is the SUV uncompromised."

copy/paste from the Tesla page for the Model X - I find many of their statements to be beyond marketing hype - Model X is _NOT_ the "most capable sport utility vehicle in history" - it can't even carry a bike in the back or a 4 foot'ish box from Ace hardware.

I also feel there are numerous SUV compromises in the design.

It's a fabulous Tesla and an excellent comfortable and capable car. But it's no SUV.

dbh | 20 mars 2016

Yeah, I'm kind of hoping that the X is basically a better passenger vehicle than the S, and the S remains an amazing utility vehicle. Don't have any hope the X actually has more utility than the S for anything but carrying people.

vperl | 20 mars 2016

Come on, do not like the X, move on to something else.

Why complain here, move forward.

sp_tesla | 20 mars 2016

"vperl | March 20, 2016
Come on, do not like the X, move on to something else.
Why complain here, move forward."

How else will TM would be informed with current & future customers required improvements, your comments DO NOT educate/help TM at all, they are annoying to many who have not yet read your numerous silly posts!

dbh | 20 mars 2016

Not sure who that is directed at @vperl...but I'm picking up Tuesday at 11am, not moving on. But I think the review is an excellent one, and the points about cargo and utility help others make an educated decision. If I had to pick one of either an S or X and non-passenger-capacity utility was of paramount importance, I'm pretty sure I'd pick the S. It has more U.

Oh, the one thing the X will do that the S doesn't for sure, besides carry more adults -- tow our small boat. That's cool. If it matters to you, that could be the key point.

sp_tesla | 20 mars 2016

"dbh | March 20, 2016
Not sure who that is directed at @vperl."

Yes it was definitely 100% directed at @vperl...

Ankit Mishra | 20 mars 2016

Nice review @dortor. However, I disagree with your assessment of FWD. Though I haven't even seen the car , but I believe one has to spend considerable amount of time with X to know their true value. I have read owners reviews and they like it. Let's wait for more feedback on them.

tommcd1 | 21 mars 2016

This is a great review. Thank you. It sounds like this was a 7 seater. Am I right in thinking the six seat model would resolve some of the carry capacity issues. I plan to haul bigger things from time to time and hope to take advantage of the gap in the middle.

carlk | 21 mars 2016

The gap would allow carrying long objects like skies. That's the option you probably want unless you frequently need to carry seven people. It seems to be the most popular option too.

dortor | 21 mars 2016

yes - this is a seven seater model - neighbor got 7 seats cause he has 3 kids and often needs additional capacity for kids + friends…previous 7 seater SUV could do both - carry seven people and be configured to carry long/bulky cargo objects. 2014 Mercedes GL-450 - his kids have weighed in that the 3rd row of the Model X is not as good as the 3rd row on a GL-450.

loganboyd | 21 mars 2016

Sounds like some pretty spoiled kids! When I was a kid, we just rode in the BACK OF THE PICKUP TRUCK!

loganboyd | 21 mars 2016

You really dislike that 3rd row. Ouch... I sat in it at the Meet Model X event in Austin last week. I'm 6'5" and while it wouldn't work for me (forehead hits roof of car if I lean forward 6") it would work for 6'0" tall people and under. The cup holder placement is nice and I easily got in and out of the seats. I think you are overblowing this can't charge my tesla with a ski rack on the back thing too. I stopped at the SC in Denton, TX this weekend. It's about 4 months old and it's setup for you to pull in forward into the bay and the charger will be on your back left where the port is. I've also seen several videos of the back in bays with luggage racks on back and they fit just fine.
I also don't get the, 'Hey, I just boght a $100K car and now I can't carry large stuff from HomeDepot in it!" rant. Who wants to put a bunch of stuff from HomeDepot INSIDE their $100k+ leather car??? Get the tow option and pull a trailer or drive to home depot, rent their truck for $30, return it, get back in your really nice clean car and drive home.
I currently drive a Volvo XC60 and there's a LOT of things that don't fit in the back of it and so when I need to haul something big, I borrow a neighbor's pickup truck. I've owned 2 XC60's and I'd buy another one if Tesla hadn't made such an awesome car ;)

Ankit Mishra | 21 mars 2016

Yeah, what's up with hauling a park bench in Model X? Though I am sympathetic with folding seats fans, X has enough cargo room for an average person.
Disclaimer - don't live in USA. I maybe wrong about "average person" of USA.

carlk | 21 mars 2016


That's what I've always been saying. We owned a 93' Explorer and 02" MDX in the span of more than 20 years. I can't think of 2 or 3 instances, if that many at all, that I used those cars to carry large cargo that I could not do with the X. And I can always borrow or rent a truck if I ever need to do that again.

Another point is while the X is pretty big for a mid-size SUV and may not be easy to squeezed into some smaller garages, the GL is a full size SUV that will not fit in those garages at all. That has to be taken into cofiguration when comparing interior space.

socalsam | 21 mars 2016

People need to realize that the Model X is not an SUV. There is zero utility in this vehicle. That's neither good nor bad- it's just the fact. The Model X is a LPM - it's a Luxury People Mover. You want utility- go buy a Pick up truck. The model X 6 seat version is an ideal configuration.

dortor | 21 mars 2016

I think people would/could realize it's not an SUV - however Tesla's marketing and message for the past 3 years begs to differ - remember the following quote is from the Model X site hosted by Tesla:

"Model X is the safest, fastest and most capable sport utility vehicle in history. With all-wheel drive and a 90 kWh battery providing 257 miles of range, Model X has ample seating for seven adults and all of their gear. And it’s ludicrously fast, accelerating from zero to 60 miles per hour in as quick as 3.2 seconds.
Model X is the SUV uncompromised."

I agree with everything listed above except:

"most capable sport utility vehicle in history." - it is not the most capable sport utility vehicle in history
"Model X is the SUV uncompromised." - there are in fact sever egregious compromises

I agree it's not an SUV and that is NOT a bad thing - it's a decent car and has some utility - but don't tell me it's white wine in my glass when you've filled it with pis***…

The Model X can not do the following simple task that most any car/SUV easily performs and is done often:

Mom gets a call from school, come pick up your kid - Mom gets in car/SUV - drives to school, gets child, throws the bike in the back of SUV/car drives 1 mile home. Easy peasy…

this scenario can only happen with the Model X if you have the 6 seater, or the bike rack already mounted…

I'm not saying the Model X is worthless, I'm suggesting it does not meet even basic requirements to be considered an SUV. Is it a bigger sedan? Yes. Is it comfortable? Yes? Is it fun to Drive? YES YES YES!!! Can it be used for some task people use an SUV for? YES - can it be used for most tasks people use an SUV for? Maybe - depends on the tasks…But in all honesty my Model S is more flexible than my Neighbor's X.

socalsam | 21 mars 2016

I agree it's not an SUV. I agree that Tesla marketing is deceptive.

eric.zucker | 21 mars 2016

@dortor: The MX is a direct competition to Porsche Cayenne, Volvo XC 60 thru 90, BMW X5/6, Audi Q5/7, VW Touareg. Certainly others as well, but these are the ones I know best.

Are you saying all the above have superior utility to MX? All this rant because of non folding 2nd row seats? Wow.

I'm totally happy with the X as it is. It can't please everyone, nothing is perfect. I will be able to take 6 people with a fair bit of luggage without dragging my trailer along, that alone is worth it. I do have it available if I need to haul stuff that could stain, stink up, or damage the X.

Tesla may come up with a pickup truck at some point who knows? One step at a time. At this point the X is what it is, targeting the market above which shows high demand and margins. And in this segment I think the X is spot on.
It will take a significant byte of market share, generate sufficient profit for Tesla not to have to do another share dilution to bring the 3 to life.

Further this may drive another nail in the ICE coffin. If the X is the success we think, more manufacturers will realize the demand for EVs is far greater than they thought. They eventually will be forced to adapt.

It's a snowball effect. EVs are gaining momentum, and the more are on the road, the more people will switch.

carlk | 21 mars 2016

What has happened to your delivery socalsam or you're still getting any. I'm going to get mine this week.

carlk | 21 mars 2016

What has happened to your delivery socalsam or you're still getting any. I'm going to get mine this week.

socalsam | 21 mars 2016

My delivery is scheduled for "April to early May". Hopefully it's actually delivered in April and not pushed back further.

vperl | 21 mars 2016

Socie, five seater is ideal.

No soup for you.

socalsam | 21 mars 2016

You are wrong vperl. 6 seat vastly superior. Middle person is totally squeezed in the second row. I'll take croutons with my soup please!

carlk | 21 mars 2016

Sorry to hear that you have to wait a little longer. Told you be nice and you'll get your car soon. ;)

socalsam | 21 mars 2016

Who says I'm not nice? I just call it like it is what I see. Not one to suck up to tesla or anyone else delivery date be damned. :)

socalsam | 21 mars 2016

It's the premium upgrade that is delaying me. They are delivering premium upgrades first. Oh well- 5k for an air filter- not worth it to me.

vperl | 21 mars 2016

Socie, you cheapskate?

Who would have thought that!

I am embarrassed for you.

socalsam | 21 mars 2016

Call me a cheapskate but I'm paying cash for the car and frankly I don't do stupid upgrades. You never get your money back. You still owe me a beer!

loganboyd | 21 mars 2016

@socalsam Did you upgrade to the 90D battery? Did you upgrade to leather seats? Did you upgrade to A TESLA!!!!
also, it's $4,500 + sales tax :-p

socalsam | 21 mars 2016

@loganboyd- I have a p90d with leather. Not sure I'm following your post....