Almost 2 years ago now I was starting to look around for a replacement for my aging Acura MDX SUV. Gas prices were at an all time high and I was spending $600/month on gas. I looked closely at a number of hybrids and then dismissed them due to the complexities of the dual power systemsand how poorly executed most seemed to me. Then I ran into Tesla and started researching and I knew somehow something from Tesla was going to be my next car.
X stands for delays
Back when I was researching Tesla, the Model S was already out and the Model X was coming soon. I’d driven SUVs for the last 14 years. In the New England winters, living on a farm and with an expanding family they seemed the right fit for my lifestyle. So while I researched and fell in love with the Model S, I waited patiently on the Model X through the second half of 2013 and early 2014.
Then the Model X delivery estimate slipped from “early 2014” to “late 2014”, and then again to “second quarter 2015” (later it slipped yet again). The Model X wasn’t going to happen anywhere close to my timeline and I needed another car. Mine was at 200K miles and the kid was starting to drive and needed a car — my old Acura was a perfect hand-me-down.
SUV stands for Sport Utility Vehicle
The delays got me thinking about why I really wanted another SUV. It came down to a few things:
- Plenty of room for carrying around a lot of luggage, sports gear, bikes, farm stuff, etc.
- Something I could drive all year round and be safe
- Room for 7 people
I left out towing which is on many people’s lists. While I had a tow package on my MDX, in 7 years and 200K miles I’ve never used it. When I hauled bikes, I just put them inside the car. I also had a roof rack I never used. The MDX had a ton of space.
From my research I knew the Model S had acclaimed cargo capacity and the space compared well to my Acura.
I watched countless Bjorn Nyland videos and other videos from Tesla that convinced me the Model S (real wheel drive was the only option at the time) could be driven in the harshest of environments with the correct tires and driving.
When my daughter was younger I hauled around a lot of little kids and used the seating for 7 a lot. But, as she grew up, it turned into taking a few close friends to the mall or picking up a boyfriend (sigh). The seating for 7 hasn’t been needed much in recent years.
I convinced myself I didn’t need a SUV, and ordered my Model S in March 2014 and took delivery in April 2014. I haven’t regretted a second of it.
Still, when the Model X finally seemed to be making progress and they opened up the reservation system I couldn’t help myself. I put down my (refundable) deposit on a Model X in April of 2015 and the estimate for a possible delivery date was early 2016.
The SUV is what I wanted originally and I wanted the time to find out what the Model X really was but I wanted my place in line. Perhaps i’d trade my Model S in for the X that I originally wanted.
Another contributing factor was my wife’s SUV, a ML 350 diesel, which was having a lot of mechanical and maintenance issues at only 20K miles (we bought it used) and I was thinking perhaps the X would be her next car as I was sick of maintenance.
With the deposit made, the wait was on with no stress this time around as I was enjoying my Model S. I was curious about the Model X, but not desperate.
Model X launch
Several people I know were at the Model X launch, and others I know have watched the videos and read all about it and shared their thoughts. The reactions are generally mixed. When I caught up this morning I was underwhelmed with the announcement. Not because the Model X not an amazing car, but mostly because I realized it doesn’t have anything that I really want that isn’t available in a Model S.
The Model X is an amazing car, but so is the Model S.
Sure i’d love all wheel drive, autopilot, and some of the other things on the Model X. But those options can be had on the Model S too (albeit in newer models than mine).
The windshield is cool although I’m not sure i’d like the sun visor approach and how much sun will still be hitting me. Plus i’d have to give up my sunroof and the fresh (bio infected?) air. The air filter is not cool to me — it sounds too much like a bean counters approach to a recurring revenue stream. The falcon wing doors doors, while people love to write about and show them, look like a long term maintenance problem — they still have issues with the retractable door handles. I don’t have car seats to load and the doors are unnecessary to me and a turn off. After all the challenges making the falcon wing doors, they compounded things with an auto opening drivers door. And what about the automatically deploying rear spoiler? Why is it deployed in all pictures? Does that part not work yet?
Why is the “automatically deploying rear spoiler” always deployed?
What surprised me more about the 30 minute speech Elon gave is how much time he spent on things like safety ratings and air filters and how few actual numbers he shared. Compare this to an Apple product launch where you get weights, dimensions, battery times, etc. Does anyone know the cargo room for the Model X? How wide is it? How tall? How long? What is the max hight of the falcon wing doors? Do all the seats fold flat? There are more than 50 questions over at TMC from potential buyers that remain unanswered for a car that costs $100,000 or more.
If the Model X is complete and being delivered, when does Tesla tell us what it is? Certainly the event didn’t do that. From the press, the Tesla employees at the event didn’t know basic numbers like cargo capacity. There are more pictures online at Tesla now of the Model X but many answers are still missing.
Also, what about the software? It looks like 7.0 is installed on those cars, but my guess is that there will be some big fourth quarter 7.0 software event to maintain the buzz and excitement while X deliveries probably go slower than expected.
Electric vehicles are the future and Tesla is leading the way. From the Roadster to the Model S to the Model X, Tesla continues to innovate and make improvements on what a car can be. Each one has targeted a different set of needs and a different audience.
While I still have my Model X reservation, I want to know a lot more about it, touch it and maybe even drive it before I decide what to do with that reservation. Fortunately, my wife’s SUV started behaving, and i’m very attached to my Model S. Now is not the time for the X for me, but I can easily see a day when all my cars are electric — and made by Tesla.
Tesla Owner said:
I concur with you. The Model X is really for a family really needs a mini-van but doesn’t want a mini-van. But the car will likely be trashed in the interior with tiny kids, so unless your rolling in excessive money it seems a little pricey for that.
It is kind of disappointing. The Roadster is a great fun car. The Model S was a leap ahead. But the X seems more like a feature creep version of the S: great second row seats, falcon wing doors, biohazard button, even safer. Stuff that is not even on most people’s want to have list.
I remember the DeLorean and knew someone who had it, and mostly drove his Toyota instead. Sure the falcon wings are likely better, but really only necessary for little kids.
You didn’t mention the seat gate issue explicity but it kills the car as a true SUV. https://teslaowner.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/model-x-seatgate/
What did Tesla spend so much time figure out with the Model X?
Agree, you did a great writeup on the Seagate issue. I wasn’t even aware of that when I wrote this.
I wonder if Tesla has progressed past the point where the CEO should be forcing some of these product decisions into the product. A solid me-too SUV thats based on the Model S and delivered 12 months ago would have been perfectly fine for most people I know looking for this.
I think you’ve pretty much hit the points that came to me when I watched the unveiling. They’ve invented some amazing solutions for problems I didn’t realize existed (for me anyway), and it looks pretty nice, all in all.
However, it didn’t make me fall out of love with my Model S. Far from it.
If I wanted an SUV, I suspect the Model X would be the SUV I’d *really* want. It’s electric. It’s an amazing performer. It looks nice (in my opinion anyway). But at this point, I don’t *want* an SUV. I’ll probably want a Model 3 as a second car before I find a need for another SUV. I’ve been out of that market for a decade and haven’t really missed their ‘utility’.
However, for those people who want and need an SUV, I think the X is almost as big of a game-changer as the S was to sedans. It’s definitely been thought through from the ground up. It’s safe. It’s NOT like anything else on the market, full stop. If they can figure out how to fold down seats to properly utilize the space in the back, it’ll be a winner. If they don’t… I dunno. That could hurt sales and might be the factor Tesla didn’t properly consider.
I came to the same conclusion but it took a while to get there.
My partner and I had a baby and thought we needed a bigger car. I wanted something sporty and cool then while we were looking at a Jaguar XF, the salesperson basically said you’ll be better off with a Range Rover Evoque. So we started thinking SUVs, as though parents obviously can’t drive sedans. We got so far as to order a new Porsche Macan which ticked all the boxes for us despite the 9 month waiting list… And I thought this would be the coolest set of wheels in the kindergarten car park. Until I went to the shopping centre and saw a Tesla.
I started researching, looking to justify the decision I had made on the Porsche, but there really wasn’t one. What is it that makes people associate parenthood exclusively with SUVs these days? We heard some shoddy reasons – not having to bend down to buckle them in, safety, the luggage space (have you SEEN the Evoque’s boot?)
I think my mind was made up when I put my foot down on a test drive and Helen was pinned to the back lseat. Wow, just instantaneous response. Finally we can be practical, technologically advanced and pretty damn fast at the same time… Not to mention environmentally responsible.
I think if I had younger kids I’d be looking at it differently. My wife is still wanting the X though. I tried to put her off with the windshield but so far no luck 😮
David Bryant said:
Thanks for this analysis. I always find your view to be practical and sensible. I was not thinking of getting a Model X anyway, but this report would have provided some useful insights had I been in that market.
Mike Maloney said:
I too was interested in the Model X because of all-wheel drive, but I didn’t quite make it to the money down stage. After all-wheel drive came out in the Model S, I decided that was the perfect car. We have put over 10K miles on it since we picked it up in March and we have loved every minute. I am not the least bit tempted by the X. I agree with your comments. No folding middle seats also seems like a mistake. I also wonder what the range will be towing a 5000 pound trailer. I’m guessing it won’t make it from one Supercharger to the next!
Great point. Road trips with something in tow may not be possible with the Model X. That will be interesting to watch.