by Adam Lynton
The 2019 Tesla Model X is part of the first generation introduced in 2016, the first-ever Tesla SUV, and one based on the underpinnings of the Model S platform. It was also the first pure electric SUV to hit the market at the time. While most other manufacturers play catch-up in the all-electric sphere, the Tesla Model X continues to progress with class-leading all-electric range, powerful acceleration, and contemporary tech and design. With so much of Tesla's focus given to these critical areas, however, there seems to be notable oversight of many other spaces. The mediocre overall build quality and potential issues with production keeping up with orders are somewhat concerning. Unique rear falcon doors, as well as an assortment of typically-Tesla gimmickry, carve the Model X out as a unique option, while the impending release of further autonomous capabilities makes it a potentially ideal investment in futuristic mobility.
For 2019, Tesla has simplified the Model X line-up, cutting back to just two trims, Long Range and Performance. New Model X SUV's are equipped with an all-new efficiency enhanced drivetrain design that increases each trim's range, power, and torque substantially. The Model X Long Range is now capable of a landmark 325 miles range, while the Performance trim gives buyers more power and a supercar-bating 0-60 mph time. A brand-new adaptive suspension system has also been introduced for the Model X, plus a Ludicrous Mode upgrade exclusive to Tesla's most loyal. Some other updates include new wheel bearings and a few new tire designs for specific variants to improve range, ride, and steering. Full self-driving capabilities add an extra layer of skill to Tesla's Autopilot suite.
Tesla's less-is-more design philosophy translates well into SUV guise, with familiar design elements making the Model X stand out. Key exterior highlights of the Model X are the unique double-hinged falcon-wing rear doors and the panoramic glass windshield, which is the largest in production. As standard, the SUV is equipped with 20-inch silver alloy wheels and is fitted with three-position dynamic LED turning lights and LED fog-lights. It also features individual rear seat sunroofs, and the exterior mirrors are auto-dimming and power operated. There are optional 20-inch two-tone Slipstream wheels available along with 22-inch Onyx Black alloy wheels.
The Model X's dimensions are slightly bigger than those of the Tesla Model S on which it's based. Its dimensions and design also give it the lowest drag coefficient of any SUV on the market - 0.25 cd. It stretches 198.3 inches in length with 116.7 inches making up its wheelbase. It stands at 66 inches in height and has a total width of 89.4 inches. The Model X Long Range carries a curb weight of 5,631 lbs while the Model X Performance weighs in at 5,741 lbs. Both trims ride with a ground clearance ranging between 5.4 and 8.3 inches depending on which suspension mode is chosen.
Available for both model trims is a selection of five exterior color options. Pearl White Multi-Coat is the only inclusive option while Solid Black carries an extra charge of $1,000, Midnight Silver Metallic and Deep Blue Metallic an additional cost of $1,500, and Red Multi-Coat an extra charge of $2,500. None of the options are particularly striking though the Pearl White Multi-Coat does contrast against the silver and black exterior accents the best. The Red Multi-Coat looks exceptional on the Performance trim along with the 22-inch Onyx Black wheels that frame the trims standard-fit red brake calipers.
All-electric vehicles from Tesla have earned a reputation for having phenomenal acceleration and sports car-like performance capabilities. The Model X is no exception, the Long Range trim model sprints from 0-60 mph in just 4.4 seconds and holds a top speed limited to 155 mph, already impressive figures for an all-electric SUV. The Performance trim model teleports to the 60 mph mark in a mere 2.7 seconds when Ludicrous mode is engaged, which is undisputed within the class while it has a top speed electronically limited to 163 mph. The all-new 2019 Jaguar I-Pace designed wholly to compete against the Tesla Model X as a direct alternative, trails behind the Tesla with a 0-60 mph time of 4.5 seconds.
The Model X comes solely as an all-wheel-drive SUV with independent traction and torque allocation to both front and rear axles for control in all weather conditions. Both Model X trims offer a 5,000 lbs max towing capacity which drops to 3,500 pounds with the 22-inch wheels equipped.
Both the Long Range and Performance Model X trims are equipped with a 100-kWh battery pack and feature a front-mounted permanent magnet motor paired with a second motor on the rear axle. In Long Range guise, this motor is identical to the front item, with total system output being 518 horsepower and 487 lb-ft of torque. On the Performance trim, the rear motor is swapped out for a more potent induction motor. Combined outputs from this setup total 761 horsepower and 730 lb-ft of torque. Because the Model X features a single-speed automatic transmission, power delivery with acceleration is entirely smooth and linear as is deceleration. Acceleration from a standstill is met with instantaneous torque and driver input is followed by continuous and blistering quick progression in speed. Power delivery tends to taper off after highway speeds.
Though an AWD SUV, the Model X is better suited to tackling the asphalt. The Models X's ride comfort isn't as soft or luxurious as other luxury SUVs, but it does offer incredible performance and handling dynamics. On the standard 20-inch wheels the Model X rides with a firm and sporty feel but is adequately comfortable and manages most road imperfections with poise. Avoid the optional 22-inch wheels, however, as they notably detriment ride comfort over any road surfaces that are even slightly less than perfect.
Alongside straight-line performance, handling is another surprising highlight of the Model X. It remains well planted to the road at all times, even around bends at higher speeds, body roll is kept to a minimum and stability to a confidence-inspiring level. No lean is exhibited with hasty lane changes at highway speeds, and despite the hefty curb weight, the Model X manages to feel substantially lighter than it really is.
The steering isn't very communicative, however, with limited road feel and tire feedback conveyed through to the driver. It is nevertheless precise, smooth, and predictable, and the weighting is driver-adjustable. The regenerative brakes are powerful and provide ample stopping power. By virtue of the silent all-electric drive unit, the Model X drives with almost no drivetrain noise, but some wind and tire noise does manage to make it through to the cabin.
The obvious bragging right for mileage and range go to the Model X Long Range, which achieves EPA estimates of 99/93/96 MPGe city/highway/combined. The Performance Model X returns 80/77/79 MPGe. The Long Range Model X can drive a total range of 325 miles on a single charge while the Performance Model X has a total range of 305 miles. Equipping the 22-inch wheels on the Performance model drops the EPA range to 270 miles. With access to Tesla's Supercharger network, the Model X can be recharged with up to 115 miles worth of charge in only 15 minutes.
The build quality of the Model X is slightly substandard, the door panels don't precisely lineup, and the sun visors tend to get quite squeaky at higher speeds. The materials used throughout the cabin are otherwise high-quality and add to the contemporary aesthetic of the Tesla. The cabin is minimalistic in design and is ergonomically set up. Room upfront and in the second-row is ample; however, head- and legroom in the available third-row seating are considerably limited. The second-row captain's chairs are very comfortable and spacious and improve third-row accessibility; however, the three-seater bench can be a tight squeeze and impedes on third-row access. As standard, the seats throughout the cabin feature heating, while front seats are installed with memory and driver profile functions.
The Model X can be configured to seat either five, six, or seven occupants in total. The front seats are comfortable and supportive, and the second-row seating can be optioned in either two comfortable captain's chairs or a semi-comfortable three-seater bench. The driver's seat features 12-way power adjustability which, along with the tilt-and-telescoping steering column, make finding an optimal driving position easy. Forward visibility is more than ample thanks to the panoramic windshield, and all-round visibility is suitable. Third-row seating is semi-comfortable but highly confined and should be reserved for use by children only. The falcon-wing rear doors make for easy accessibility, primarily when parked alongside another vehicle where wide-opening conventional doors could prove problematic. The limited forward adjustability of the second-row seating and the rear wheel-wells make ingress and egress to and from the third-row seats arduous.
Available for both model trims is the standard All-Black interior with figured Ash Wood Decor. A Black and White interior with Dark Ash Wood Decor or Cream interior with Oak Wood Decor is available at an additional cost of $1,500 each. Those options hold no extra charge for the Performance model trim. Additionally available for the Performance trim is an All-Black or Black and White interior with carbon-fiber decor. All interior options are genuine leather upholstery, and the steering wheel is leather-wrapped.
The Model X offers 12.6 cubic feet of trunk space behind the third-row seating, which is enough room for two carry-on sized bags. There is additional storage space provided below the trunk floor, and a secondary 6.6 cubic foot trunk is located in the front of the Model X, which can fit two carry-on suitcases. Third-row seats fold flat to expand trunk space as does the three-seater second-row bench. The second-row captain's chairs, however, do not. Absolute maximum storage capacity (excluding the frunk) is found in the five-seater model with 81.2 cubic feet available.
Making up the in-cabin storage solutions in the front of the cabin are dual cupholders located below the center console armrests, two small center cubbies, one with another two cupholders, and compact door side bins on either door big enough to hold bottles. There are two magic cupholders available for the second-row seats, and there are two cupholders between the two third-row seats.
As a high-end luxury SUV, the Model X is comprehensively equipped with modern vehicle features. As standard, the Model X features remote control capability via the Tesla mobile app, a self-presenting driver door, and keyless entry and ignition. Accommodating the driver is a heated steering wheel with control buttons and a 12-way power-adjustable, heated front seats with memory and driver profile functionality. The front passenger seat is also 12-way power-adjustable, and all cabin seats feature heating as standard. The cabin also features automatic doors, one-touch power windows, LED ambient lighting, and a HEPA filtration system that accords the cabin with hospital-grade air. All mirrors are power-adjustable, heated, and auto-dimming. Autopilot allows the Model X to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians within its lane. Optional for the Model X is what Tesla calls full self-driving capability, adding added functionality to the Autopilot suite, but is somewhat deceptive in name as the automotive world is far from achieving fully autonomous vehicles.
The Model X's cabin is designed around a 17-inch central touchscreen display which is tethered to a custom 17-speaker surround sound audio system. The system's software is regularly updated over-the-air with added features and enhanced functionality. The setup as a whole is highly intuitive and utilizes the user-friendly and free-to-use Google maps for navigation. It allows for FM radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, voice-activated controls, Bluetooth hands-free calling and media streaming, and on-demand and internet radio capability. The Model X lacks smartphone integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. There are two USB ports for device connectivity and charging as well as an iPhone charging slot and a 12-volt auxiliary port. Another two USB ports are available for the second-row seats, and the third-row seats come with a single USB port.
At the time of writing, there have been no recalls commissioned for the 2019 Tesla Model X and no driver complaints lodged either. The last Tesla Model X subject to recall was the 2017 year model where approximately 11,000 vehicles were recalled for defective backseat assemblies. Problems have been frequently reported, however, that build quality is not up to scratch, with squeaky panels and inconsistent panel gaps a regular concern. Tesla covers the Model X with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty and an eight-year/unlimited-mile battery and electric-drive unit warranty.
The 2019 Tesla Model X is the first SUV to achieve an NHTSA safety rating of five-stars out of a possible five in every crash-test category and subcategory. The IIHS is yet to evaluate the Tesla Model X.
At its default level, the Model X is equipped with eight standard airbags and features active guidance, collision avoidance, and automatic emergency braking along with parking sensors and a blind-spot warning system. A back-up camera, electronic stability control, and rollover crash sensor are also standard-fit. The Autopilot suite adds limited self-driving capability through a new Self-Driving Capability package including navigation on autopilot, auto lane change, auto park, and summon functionality. It will also allegedly feature traffic lights and stop sign recognition as well as automatic city driving in upcoming updates.
The 2019 Tesla Model X is an exceptional vehicle, with superior capabilities relative to class rivals. The all-electric SUV has insane acceleration and performance without considerable compromise in ride comfort and practicality. It has ample cargo capacity and an impressive towing capacity for an electric vehicle. The range capability of both Model X trims on a single-charge is class-leading, which goes a long way towards killing the stigma of range anxiety attached to electric vehicles. The Model X also received excellent crash-test safety ratings and is equipped with a good selection of safety and advanced driver-assist features as standard. The technology utilized in the Model X is contemporary and user-friendly, and the frequent over-the-air updates mean the package is always getting better.
Its futuristic design and styling are complemented by the Model X's unique and eye-catching falcon-wing rear doors and the largest panoramic windshield in production. Some more attention to detail could be given to the overall build quality of the Model X as well as to the selection of particular materials within the cabin. Otherwise, there aren't many electric SUV alternatives that can match the Model X.
The Long Range is the most affordable Model X trim with a starting MSRP of $84,990, while the Model X Performance trim carries a sticker price of $104,990. Those prices are excluding tax, registration, and licensing fees, and Tesla's destination charge of $1,200. All-electric vehicles are eligible for a $1,875 federal tax rebate and HOV lane permissions along with a range of other incentives differing from state to state. The state of California offers the greatest incentives with EV rebates of up to $2,500.
The 2019 Model X lineup comprises two trim options; the Model X Long Range and Model X Performance.
Both models are equipped with largely the same range of features. 12-way power-adjustable front seats with heating, memory, and driver profile functions as well as heated rear seats keep occupants comfortable, while infotainment is taken care of by a 17-inch central touchscreen with onboard maps and navigation, Wi-Fi and cellular internet capability, and voice-activated controls. Other convenience features include a heated steering wheel, autopilot functions, and LED ambient interior lighting.
The Long Range trim is the cheapest option of the two and is calibrated to offer optimal range and efficiency. It boasts the furthest range on a single charge of 325 miles by virtue of a smaller, less draining motor on the rear axle.
The Model X Performance is configured to deliver performance over efficiency, with a more powerful rear motor and Ludicrous mode enabling a 0-60 mph sprint of 2.7 seconds and a top speed of 163 mph. Additional differences include the option of carbon-fiber interior trim inserts.
The only optional package available for both Model X trims is what Tesla misleadingly calls Full Self-Driving Capability. The package costs an additional $6,000 and adds Navigate on Autopilot. That allows for automatic driving from highway on-ramps to off-ramps, including interchanges and overtaking slower cars, auto lane change, autopark, and summon. Tesla plans on adding traffic light and stop sign recognition as well as automatic driving on city streets at a later date.
We recommend opting for the Long Range Model X as it holds the greatest single-charge all-electric range. For the additional $20,000 or so, the Performance Model X only offers a superior 0-60 mph capability by virtue of more power than one could practically make use of on public roads. We suggest equipping the Long Range with the standard 20-inch alloy wheels to keep the ride comfort at a competent level as the 22-inch wheels drastically affect the SUV's composure. We also recommend including the Full Self-Driving Capability package, as the price may increase with updated functionality being added later on in the Model X's future, so it's worth picking it up for a bargain price now.
The Tesla Model S is slightly more affordable than the Model X with an MSRP of $79,999 for the Long Range trim and $99,990 for the Performance trim. The Model S offers greater performance capability with a 0-60 mph time of 3.7 seconds from the Long Range Model S and 2.4 seconds from the Performance in Ludicrous mode. Both Model S trims offer more range on a single charge as well: 370 miles in the Long Range and 345 miles in Performance guise. There is more trunk capacity offered in the Model S, but the Model X does provide additional storage solutions above that of the Model S. The Model X offers seating configurations for up to seven passengers as well as impressive towing capacity, where the Model S offers no towing capability and seating for up to only five occupants at most. While the Model X offers more practicality, those not needing the extra space would be happier in the Model S; and with greater performance at a lower price, it seems like a no-brainer.
The 2019 Jaguar I-Pace is around $15,490 cheaper than the base 2019 Model X. It was introduced into the market as a direct alternative to the Tesla but is equipped with a smaller 90kWh battery giving the I-Pace a range of 234 miles on a charge, far behind that of the Model X. It clocks 0-60 mph in 4.5 seconds, which is marginally slower than the Long Range, and some way off that of the Performance. But it drives well, affording buyers almost hot-hatch-like handling in a stylish package that shows Jaguar's intent on competing avidly in the EV segment. Where the I-Pace falters further, though, is in its smaller trunk capacity and no towing capability whatsoever. It does, however, come with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality as standard which the Model X does not offer at all, and the interior feels like it's built to a higher standard. Though a lot cheaper than the Model X, the I-Pace still has a lot of catching up to do in many aspects as an all-electric vehicle that makes that lower cost less of an appeal. The Model X overall remains a superior all-electric vehicle and SUV.