Arriving on the automotive scene in 2016 with much fanfare and a distinctive style many call sexy, the Tesla Model X is an all-electric midsize crossover sport utility vehicle like no other. It was the first electric SUV to enter the market and is still in its first generation with the model years 2016 through 2019. The Model X is the follow-up vehicle added to the Tesla product lineup after overwhelming public acceptance of the Model S all-electric luxury performance sedan. The Tesla Model X was poised to accommodate car buyers infatuated with the Model S but needing more room.
2016 Model Year
Doubters claiming that range anxiety would stall sales of the Tesla Model X proved no match for consumers clamoring to become part of the Tesla customer base for company owner Elon Musk’s new offering. Highlights of the 2016 Tesla Model X included:
- Standard configuration for six or seven passengers in three rows with optional two rows of seating for five adults
- Dual-hinged, articulating falcon-wing rear doors equipped with sensors to allow opening and closing in tight parking spaces
- Available in three models, the 75D, 90D and P90D, with prices starting at $83,000, $95,500 and $116,700, respectively
- Performance and driving range: 328 HP, 75 kWh battery and 237-mile range in the base model; 417 HP, 90 kWh battery and 257-mile range in the 90D model; 463 HP and 250-mile driving range in the P90D or 532 HP with the Ludicrous performance-upgrade option
- Zero to 60 mph acceleration: 6.0 seconds in the base model, 4.8 seconds in the 90D, 3.8 seconds in the P90D and an estimated 3.3 seconds with the Ludicrous performance option
- Standard all-wheel drive
- Rated tow capacity of 5,000 pounds
- Interior featuring a massive central touchscreen control interface
- Panoramic glass windshield for maximum visibility
- Safety features include forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, parking assist, blind-spot monitoring and cabin air filtration
- Semiautonomous driving capability available with Tesla’s Autopilot driving mode
2017 Model Year
No real updates were made in the 2017 Tesla Model X, except for a change in model names — the P90D became P100D — and the addition of a fourth model, the 100D, which bumped the driving range to 295 miles with its 100 kWh battery but without any acceleration improvement from the P100D. Consumers looking for a luxury all-electric crossover vehicle still put the Model X on their consideration list, even with competitive SUVs from Mercedes-Benz, Audi, Porsche and Jaguar headed toward production. In an Edmunds review, editors said part of the appeal of the Model X was also its Achilles’ heel: the falcon-wing doors. The doors made installing a roof rack impossible, and they couldnât open fully in tight parking spaces or low-ceiling areas. Second-row seats that didn’t fold flat were also mentioned.
On the plus side, the 2017 Model X continued to garner kudos for its exceptional acceleration, drivability, quietness, comfortable seats and overall ride quality. Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail prices ranged from $75,000 to $89,995.
2018 Model Year
Adding and deleting or modifying model names continued with the 2018 Tesla Model X, which offered three models: the base 75D, midlevel 100D and top-of-the-line P100D. MSRPs ranged from $79,500 to $140,000. For 2018, the Model X added second-row seats that fold flat, which helped allay some consumer angst and provided greater practicality. Despite the drawback of its rear falcon-wing doors, Edmunds named the 2018 Tesla Model X one of its Best Electric Cars for 2018.
2019 Model Year
In the fourth and current model year of production, the 2019 Tesla Model X offers four models: Standard Range, Long Range, Model X Performance and Model X Performance with Ludicrous performance mode. Starting MSRPs range from $81,000 to $138,000. Five-passenger seating is standard, with six- and seven-passenger configurations available. New and standard for 2019 is a more enhanced Autopilot, which gained important functionality with its ability to change lanes and self-center in lanes, along with more cameras and an adaptive cruise control. Another feature of note is the full self-driving capability option, which refines highway Autopilot functioning and adds automated perpendicular and parallel parking.
The Tesla Model X has a range of 325 miles, which is longer than any other all-electric SUV on the market. Furthermore, Tesla has more than 13,000 superchargers located on highly traveled routes worldwide. Model X drivers can recharge up to 115 miles in 15 minutes at a supercharger location or complete a full recharge in 30 minutes. An overnight charge at home nets a full week’s worth of driving according to Tesla.
While critics continue to point out some of the ongoing negatives, Tesla Model X buyers remain unfazed. Even the controversy surrounding deaths purportedly involving the company’s Autopilot system hasn’t deterred customers, although the brand did take a hit. The Model X enjoys a five-star overall crash rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The company’s website says the Model X is the “safest SUV ever,” and one that was “built from the ground up as an electric vehicle.” While no longer the only all-electric luxury SUV on the market, the Tesla Model X has carved out its own special niche in the electric vehicle market.