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2020 Tesla Model X

Consumer Reviews
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2020
The Car Connection
2020
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Anthony Sophinos Anthony Sophinos Contributor
July 22, 2020

Buying tip

Step up to the Performance model if you can. Its sub-3-second 0-60 mph times are stuff of legend, and they’re half the fun of owning a Tesla.

features & specs

Long Range AWD
Long Range Plus AWD
Performance AWD
MPG
NA
MPG
NA
MPG
NA
MSRP
$84,990
MSRP
$79,990
MSRP
$99,990

Ignore the silly falcon doors and the 2020 Tesla Model X is a compelling family electric crossover.

The 2020 Tesla Model X all-electric three-row crossover is the largest vehicle in the automaker’s stable. Despite its showy falcon-wing rear doors, the Model X has plenty of redeeming features including its space, efficiency, and performance. We give it a 7.8 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

The base 2020 Model X is the Long Range model, which uses a 100-kwh battery, dual electric motors, all-wheel drive and has a range of 328 miles. It costs about $85,000. For another $20,000 you can buy the Performance model, which loses range (305 miles as rated), but includes standard Ludicrous Mode that will sprint from 0-60 mph in 2.7 seconds. That makes it one of the quickest SUVs around, electric or no.

The Model X closely mirrors the Model S in cost, performance, and trim levels—they share similar architectures. The Model X is available in five-, six-, or seven-passenger configurations from the factory. The third row can be tough to get in if you order the seven-passenger variant, though. 

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The interior is typical Tesla: high-tech but austere. The central 17-inch touchscreen handles most vehicle functions, and is the hub for vehicle settings and infotainment. Tesla’s recent history with its build quality has been promising, although some Model X owners report varying issues with fittings and craftsmanship.  

All Model X crossovers are equipped with active safety features such as automatic emergency braking and the Autopilot suite of driver-assistance features. Supercharging is included with the Model X as well.

6

2020 Tesla Model X

Styling

The bulbous Model X looks like a Model S that went on a cake-and-ice-cream binge, but at least the interior remains a simple, elegant affair.

You can’t win ‘em all. Tesla knocked one out of the park with the Model S, but in turning the S into the X, the design team attempted to adapt the teardrop look for typical crossover proportions. The result is ungainly from the outside, but the minimalist interior earns a point for its simple design, which brings the total score for styling up to a 6 out of 10.

Where Tesla did get it right are in the details. The front end of the Model X is clearly from the same brand that builds the Model S and Model 3. The flush door handles are a clean look. The rearward sloping roofline works better here than it does on some of the crossover-coupes peddled by Mercedes and BMW.

But all that doesn’t hide the general sense of blobbiness that plagues the car. Credit those concave sides; visually, there’s a sense that the widest point of the car is at the beltline, with the body tapering away as you move either up or down. Add to this the very rounded roofline, tall height, and equal-looking overhangs and you’ve got a recipe for an awkward looking crossover.

The interior is clean and simple—almost stark. The 17-inch, vertically oriented touchscreen dominates inside, with nearly all major controls nestled into this screen. There’s very little switchgear to be found elsewhere in the interior.

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2020 Tesla Model X

Performance

There are very few SUVs that can accelerate like the 2020 Model X, and it’s much the same story with the handling.

If there’s one thing Tesla does right, it is performance. The 2020 Model X is just as thrilling as the rest of the lineup. We’ve showered the Model X with three extra points for its acceleration, excellent ride, and general high-performance hijinks. It’s an 8 for performance.

We’ll gush one more time about the performance of the Model X, because it is impressive. Even flagship performance SUVs like the Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk, Lamborghini Urus, and Porsche Cayenne Turbo struggle to compete with the Model X. If performance is your primary concern, this Tesla should be at the top of your list.

Powering the Model X is the same setup found in the Model S: a 100-kwh lithium-ion battery mounted under the floor that powers two electric motors, one which drives the front axle and the other which drives the rear. In the Long Range model, these two motors put out 259 hp each. In the Performance model the rear motor is enlarged to a 503-hp unit; this variant also gets upgrades to its control systems to better cope with that power.

Though the Model X is taller and heavier than the Model S—which is no lightweight to begin with—it has a center of gravity that’s lower relative to most SUVs thanks to that under-floor battery and an equal weight distribution. Those two factors bestow the big Tesla with a sharpness you wouldn’t expect in something this big. It handles well, and it’s fun to drive.

The Model X is rated to tow 5,000 pounds, but we’d advise against using one to tow the family boat or trailer due to how trailering decimates total range, especially at highway speeds. You may only go as little as 100 miles on a charge if you choose to tow with a Tesla—and good luck navigating a Supercharger station with your camper hitched up.

An air suspension is standard on the Model X, and it keeps the ride even-keeled over a wide range of road surfaces and loads. The 20-inch wheels might sound like carriage wheels, but they offer a great balance between a quiet ride and good grip. Bigger, 22-inch wheels are also available, but we haven’t had a chance to try those.

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2020 Tesla Model X

Comfort & Quality

As efficient with its space as it is with its battery, the Tesla is a comfortable and practical vehicle, let down only by its silly falcon doors.

As with any good crossover, the 2020 Model X makes ample use out of its generous interior space. There’s seating for up to seven, supremely comfortable front seats, and great sightlines all the way around. But we can’t look past those falcon doors, and they keep the Tesla from earning a higher score than it does. As it stands, it’s a 7 for comfort.

Flexibility is a major selling point of the Model X. Other electric crossovers like the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi E-tron are strict five-seaters—and that fifth seat is really best left for emergencies or around-town jaunts. But the Tesla can genuinely hold up to seven people in comfort if you order the third row of seats. 

We found the third row is about as roomy and comfortable as the third-row options found in other mid-size SUVs. If you order the six-passenger layout, which swaps out the second-row bench seat for a pair of captain’s chairs, getting into the wayback becomes a breeze. A five-passenger version is standard.

At the helm, drivers and front passengers enjoy a panoramic view forward through the massive windshield that extends well into the roof. The seating position is high and the seats are all-day comfortable. 

The most distinctive touch on the Model X is the falcon doors and we’ve found them slow to operate, they require overhead clearance to open, and you have to stand well ahead or behind them while they are opening, which is a 20-second process. There also have been ongoing reliability issues with the doors.

The rest of the 2020 Model X interior is pleasing and practical. There’s a big center console up front, six cup holders, and plenty of small storage for odds and ends. Up to five USB ports and a 12-volt outlet keep everyone plugged in and connected. There’s 88 cubic feet of total cargo space with the seats folded, which is on the smaller side of average for a 198-inch long SUV. An additional front trunk adds a bit of extra cargo space, however.

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2020 Tesla Model X

Safety

The 2020 Tesla Model X gets excellent ratings from NHTSA, while the Autopilot feature promises to get even more advanced functionality.

The Tesla Model X has earned top scores from federal testers, but without scores from the IIHS we can’t rate it here. We’ll update this space if that changes. 

The NHTSA awarded the SUV a five-star overall rating as well as five-star ratings for every front, side, and rollover category tested.

Active lane control, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, and blind-spot monitors are included on all models and help keep occupants safe.

Autopilot is standard on all Model X crossovers and is a driver-assistance suite that can brake, steer, and accelerate the car. Autopilot requires driver attention; if you try to start reading a book, watch Netflix, or otherwise tune out entirely, it will beep, complain, and eventually turn off. Tesla’s “Full Self-Driving” feature is optional, although it’s far from a fully self-driving system: it adds automated lane changes and other highway features, mostly. 

The optional system can also automatically park in either parallel or perpendicular spaces and drive to you in a parking lot when summoned by your smartphone.

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2020 Tesla Model X

Features

The 2020 Tesla Model X comes with plenty of luxury features—just not the traditional type.

With its sharp and intuitive 17-inch touchscreen, regular over-the-air updates, and standard premium interior, the 2020 Model X has enough exclusive features to satisfy buyers who prefer the bleeding edge of technology. We give it an 8 out of 10 for features.

For the most part, what you see with the Model X is what you get. Both Long Range and Performance models come with the same comfort and convenience equipment, and both include the same safety features discussed above. The only options are colors, interior trims, wheels, and seating arrangements.

Interiors are upholstered in synthetic leather and include a nine-speaker audio system, HEPA air filtration system, heated seats for every passenger, a heated steering wheel, and wood ash trim. 

The 2020 Model X Long Range model costs $84,990 and the Performance variant starts at $104,990. Check off the two priciest options—$7,000 Full Self-Driving and the $6,500 six-passenger seating—and you’re looking at about $120,000 or so for a loaded-up Model X. 

Wheel options and one of the extra-cost interior colors and trims could add a few grand more to that bottom line. 

Standard on all models and dominating the cabin is the 17-inch touchscreen. It controls almost everything save the signal indicators, so it’s a good thing the system works as intuitively as it does. It is clear, fast, intuitive, and easy to learn, despite its sheer size being intimidating at first. Once you know it, it won’t be hard to use—though we certainly recommend taking advantage of the voice control function so you’re not poking and prodding the screen while driving.

Another interesting point is that every Model X comes standard with the hardware necessary to accept all current and future software. This means new features might download into your car via Tesla’s over-the-air updates; it also means you can purchase features like Autopilot after you purchase your car from the factory. 

Tesla’s Supercharger network is an asset in the Model X’s appeal and overall usability. It’s integrated with the Model X’s navigation system, and owners can plug in to Superchargers for 30 minutes for up to 170 miles of range. Unlimited charging at these Supercharger stations now comes with every Model X for 2020.

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2020 Tesla Model X

Fuel Economy

The 2020 Tesla Model X will be the greenest crossover in the school drop-off lane.

The Tesla Model X, like every Tesla, doesn’t burn a drop of gas. The Model X will go more than 300 miles on a charge. For those two reasons it gets a 10 out 10 in this category.

Range has been bumped up from last year, so the Model X now will travel either 328 miles on a charge in Long Range form or 305 in Performance trim, according to the EPA. 

The EPA rates the Long Range model at 96 MPGe combined and the Performance model at 90 MPGe combined. That latter rating is for SUVs equipped with the standard 20-inch wheels; stepping up to the 22s drops that rating to 79 MPGe for the Performance model.

Review continues below
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$79,990
MSRP based on Long Range Plus AWD
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7.8
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 8
Comfort & Quality 7
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 10
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