Model X Review by DaveT
This past week I had the chance to drive a Model X for a full week. I had test-driven a Model X earlier in the year, but this was the first time I had the opportunity to truly "live" with the car and take it with me to all the places I normally go in a week.
To be honest, before this week I was somewhat skeptical about the falcon wing doors. I knew that it was convenient for some people but they just appeared overly complicated and intimidating. However, after opening and closing the falcon wing doors over a hundred times in dozens of locations this past week, I can truly say that the falcon wing doors have won me over. To my surprise, the falcon wing doors operated without any glitches and performed even better than regular doors would. Having the doors open upward gives the car a surreal-like airy and open feel. It's as if the roof lifts up and expands to the sky. After about the 50th-time watching the doors open, I blurted out to myself, "wow these falcon wing doors are truly an engineering marvel." Further, it's much easier to put a child in a car seat than any other car I've seen, and it's actually easier for an adult to enter the car as well.
Last Friday, I was waiting for my wife to finish a meeting so I decided to tailgate in the parking lot with my 2-year-old son. I opened the falcon wing and trunk doors and let the cool breeze flow through the car. We both sat in the back trunk area, snacking on some food and enjoying the moment. It felt like one of those out-of-body experiences, like the first time driving in a convertible during a warm sunset evening. My wife later met us in the parking lot and sat in the trunk area as well (w/the falcon wing doors opened). She later pointed to that time as the moment that Model X won her over. (note: the Model X will make a great camping vehicle, especially if/when they come out with folding middle seats.)
Besides the falcon wing doors, another notable feature is the panoramic windshield. It provides greater visibility and enhances the driving experience. However, over the weekend it was the 90s where I live and it become uncomfortably warm due to the windshield. Tesla does provide a shade that you can attach to the windshield, but we didn't have it at the moment. I think it would be great if Tesla (or an aftermarket company) can provide a rolling shade where the driver or front passenger than pull a shade down from the very top to the middle of the windshield to be shielded from sun on a hot day.
The ride quality of the Model X was strikingly similar to the Model S. It had a low-center of gravity and it handled well. Acceleration was responsive, to say the least. However, I did notice that the Model X (w/22" wheels) was noticeably more rough and bumpy of a ride compared to my Model S (w/21" wheels). The Model X I was driving was an early VIN (#2XX) so I wasn't sure if it was rougher due to being an earlier build. So, later on the week I went to a local Tesla store and drove a new Model X (VIN #17XXX) with 20" wheels. The newer Model X had significantly fewer rattles and squeaks, and it was somewhat less rough/bumpy, probably due to the 20" wheels. However, the Model X (even w/20" wheels) felt a bit more rough than my Model S. I suppose that's the reality when you're driving a heavier and taller car, and a tradeoff one needs to make.
To make sure I was experiencing the Model X fairly, this past week I also went and test drove SUVs from Mercedes (GL350), BMW (X5) and Audi (Q7 and Q5). Each of the competing SUVs had their pros/cons compared to the Model X, and I'd highly recommend anyone shopping for a Model X to test drive other SUVs as well. But overall, the Model X competes very well with other SUVs in terms of drivability, handling, and performance. In terms of technology, driver-assist, and accessibility/convenience, the Model X is clearly years ahead of any other SUV in the market.
Probably the best competition to the Model X is the Model S. I have two friends who were Model S owners and purchased Model Xs. They both told me that the prefer driving the Model X over the Model S, because the Model X gives them more visibility due to the higher driving position and the panoramic windshield. In fact, one friend says when he has both his Model X and Model S in his driveway, he'll take the Model X (even if he doesn't need to take his kids) because he enjoys driving it more than the Model S. After driving the Model X for a week, I can now understand and appreciate what he's saying.
One last note, if you're interested in the Model X I found out that many Tesla stores will allow you to do a "24 hour test drive". They usually will drop off the car at your house (if it's in close proximity to their store) and you can drive the car for 24 hours (sometimes longer) so you can see how it will fit into your daily life. I highly recommend taking advantage of this service. You can do this for the Model X or S. (And if you do ordering a new Model X or S, you can get a $1000 discount by using my referral link, http://ts.la/david7556)