Tesla's unusual yoke steering wheel is no longer the only option this year, with a normal round steering wheel replacing it. The yoke remains an option. The touchscreen has a landscape layout. In Plaid guise, the Model X only comes as a six-seater vehicle. With its Falcon Wing rear doors and extended windshield/panoramic glass roof, the vehicle still feels quite futuristic years later. The absence of physical controls has been taken a few steps too far, but for anyone who hates clutter and loves a clean interior layout, this is it. Although some of the cabin materials are nice, attentive drivers and passengers will still notice the odd misaligned piece of trim, something that you wouldn't find in a German SUV of the same price. Heated seats for every occupant, tri-zone climate control, and auto-closing/opening front doors are some of the standard features.
The six seats in the Model X are comfortable and trimmed in attractive leatherette. Both front rows have enough legroom and headroom for six-footers, and you can get to the third row easily by stepping between the two individual second-row seats. The third row is fine for kids but taller adults will feel cramped back there, and the complex rear door mechanisms impinge on headroom. As for ingress and egress, the Falcon Wing rear doors make it easy, but you'll need to be careful if you're opening them in a garage with a low-hanging light. Visibility is enhanced by that panoramic windshield, and we like that you can fold the sunvisors to the side for a truly airy feel when the sun isn't blinding you.
We also appreciate the supportive, comfortable seats. Every occupant has a heated seat, which is a nice touch.
|Tesla Model X Plaid Trims||Plaid|
|Headroom Front Seat||41.7 in.|
|Headroom Back Seat||40.9 in.|
|Legroom Front Seat||41.1 in.|
|Legroom Back Seat||39.8 in.|
|Shoulder Room Front||60.7 in.|
|Shoulder Room Rear||56.8 in.|
|Hip Room, Front||55.7 in.|
|Hip Room, Rear||59 in.|
Leatherette upholstery is standard and covers all the seats. It comes in black, a striking combination of black and white, or black and cream. The white looks the best but can be challenging to keep clean. Also, both the white and cream interiors will add an extra $2,000 to the bill.
All of these colors are paired with carbon-fiber decor. This gives the Plaid a sportier ambiance than the normal Model X, which has walnut inserts. At first glance, the cabin's quality appears sound, but too many Teslas still have trim pieces that simply pop off or don't align, and that's not acceptable in a vehicle at this price point.
This is a usefully practical SUV with a lot of cargo space. Behind the third row is a space measuring 15 cubic feet, so in daily use, many owners will be able to leave the third-row seats in their upright position. Behind the second row is 33 cubes, and there is 85.8 cubes when both the second and third rows are folded. While folding down the third row is easily done by pressing a button on the seat and simply giving it a gentle nudge, raising them again is much harder as you have to physically lean into the trunk area and pull the seats back up. It's an experience that the average Mercedes driver would find unacceptably primitive. Underfloor storage at the back is surprisingly generous, and the front trunk measures 6.5 cubes, enough for a few sports bags or a quick run to the shops.
Interior storage space consists of dual cupholders in front that can be covered, and in front of these, you will find another covered storage compartment for phones or wallets. Another center storage space lies beneath the padded armrest. Second-row occupants have another two cupholders, and those in the third row have two cupholders embedded into the space between the two seats.
Tesla isn't known for providing many options or packages but this does mean that almost everything is standard. Driver convenience is bolstered by automatic closing and opening of the front doors, a location-aware automatic garage door opener, a phone key, as well as heated side mirrors with power-folding and auto-dimming functions. Every occupant has a heated seat, and those in front also have seat ventilation for warmer days. A traditional round heated steering wheel is included as standard this year, and last year's steering yoke becomes a $250 option. Cabin temperature is moderated by a tri-zone climate control system, and second-row occupants can control their zone via a second-row touchscreen. Power-adjustable front seats are equipped too.
Tesla's hit-and-miss Autopilot suite uses several sensors and cameras for partially autonomous driving. Lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking, and a rearview camera are standard, but a lot more comes via the options menu.
Tesla pushes the capabilities of a central infotainment system to the absolute limit. In the Model X Plaid, as in other Teslas, almost every vehicle setting is managed via a central tilting and swiveling 17-inch display. The physical window buttons and central button for the hazard flashers are still there, but one almost feels Tesla would've removed these, too, if it could.
The touchscreen is responsive and its colors are bright, though, so there are no complaints there. Not every Tesla's software has been glitch-free, but issues that persist are usually resolved via an over-the-air update. The central display is complemented by a 12.3-inch digital driver's display and another eight-inch touchscreen display for second-row occupants. Tesla makes navigation standard, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto aren't included. Internet streaming radio, Bluetooth, SiriusXM, and a 22-speaker sound system are all standard.
A few features you won't find in the average SUV include a gaming computer with 10 teraflops of processing power. Tesla will also let you stream content from popular platforms like Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and Twitch, or you can fine-tune your karaoke skills with the "Caraoke" system. Not all of these features are absolutely necessary, but when combined with the unusual Falcon Wing doors, they create that unique crowd-pleasing Tesla ownership experience that many seem to find irresistible.