As electric vehicles move more into the mainstream, the 2020 Tesla Model X continues to offer buyers the best range, best features and most unique door design of any competitor — electric, hybrid or gas-powered.
While a few new plug-in hybrid luxury SUVs have entered the field, the Model X still doesn’t have many direct competitors. The Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron are the closest in size and price. The Model X isn’t an SUV in the traditional sense, as it can’t venture off-road, and it doesn’t have much ground clearance beyond that of a normal car — although it does offer the option of 3-row seating.
Being a Tesla means being different, so in place of traditional rear doors that swing out, the Model X is equipped with a set of Falcon Wing doors that open up. The advantage is much easier entry into the second and third-row seats. The disadvantage is that you can’t open the doors in tight or confining parking spaces or put a roof rack up top. In heavy snow, the doors may dump the white stuff all over the interior if it’s not cleared off first.
The Model X also features optional captain’s chair second-row seats that don’t fold down (although the 5- and 7-passenger bench seat does), which severely limits its ability to carry cargo. But if none of that bothers you, then the Model X promises thrilling performance, "look-at-me" styling and the joy of knowing that you’re not adding to the global climate change situation — well, at least not directly.
What’s New for 2020?
For 2020, the Model X increases its range, with the Long Range model now capable of 328 miles and the Performance 305 miles on a single charge. The Model X can now use a V3 supercharger for 25 percent faster charging time. An adaptive air suspension is also added this year. See the 2020 Tesla Model X models for sale near you
What We Like
- Real-world driving range
- Blistering acceleration with Ludicrous mode
- Outstanding in-cabin technology
- Good crash-test scores
What We Don’t
- Questionable interior craftsmanship
- No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
- Third-row seat comfort level
- Sometimes problematic Falcon Wing doors
Since the Model X is powered solely by electricity, the EPA has a different measurement for its range, which was calculated under the MPGe standard. The 2020 Model X Long Range earns a 96 MPGe combined rating, meaning that on a single charge, it can travel 328 miles. The Performance model drops that distance to 305 miles. Charging times with a conventional 240V charger are around 8-to-10 hours, but at a Tesla supercharging station that time drops to about 75 minutes or just under an hour with the V3 supercharger.
Standard Features & Options
The 2020 Tesla Model X comes in two trims: Long Range and Performance. The price on the window is firm, but some states are offering tax credits for electric vehicles, so depending on where you live, you may be able to shave a few thousand off the overall cost. As Tesla has now exceeded the government’s sales quota of 200,000 cars sold, the $7,500 federal tax credit for the Model X no longer applies. The tax credit for vehicles sold before January 2020 is $1,875. If you purchase your Model X after January 2020, there is no federal tax credit, but there may still be a credit offered by your state, so check with the dealer or call your local DMV.
The Model X Long Range ($84,990) includes full-time all-wheel drive, an adaptive air suspension, Autopilot (which enables the car to steer, accelerate and brake for vehicles in its lane), a panoramic glass windshield, a 17-in touchscreen panel with voice control, mobile app control, 12-way power front seats, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, heated side mirrors, heated washer nozzles, a wiper blade defroster, self-presenting and closing front and rear doors, a rear backup camera, dual-zone climate control, LED headlights, LED fog lights, navigation, faux leather seating, a HEPA air-filtration system, a 17-speaker sound system, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and power-operated rear Falcon Wing doors.
Notable standard driver assists include automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning and side-collision avoidance. Seating is for five passengers with the option to upgrade to 6- or 7-passenger seating. There’s also a $7,000 enhanced Autopilot upgrade that allows the car to navigate itself, auto lane change, auto park and summon itself. Later in the year, the system will recognize and respond to stop signs and traffic lights and be able to drive itself in city traffic. This system also includes a full self-driving computer that can be upgraded as laws and regulations change to allow for fully autonomous driving. Other options include various wheel designs, paint colors and interior colors.
The Model X Performance ($104,990) brings a slightly lower range (305 miles) and a 0-to-60 mph time of 2.7 seconds, thanks to the now standard Ludicrous mode.
The Model X warranty covers eight years or unlimited miles on the battery and drive unit, while the rest of the car comes with a 4-year/50,000-mile limited warranty.
In addition to its long list of standard safety and driver-assist features, the Tesla Model X also enjoys excellent crash-test result, scoring five stars in each of the government’s crash tests and earning a 5-star overall rating.
Notable standard safety systems include forward emergency braking, side-collision avoidance, lane-departure warning, electronic traction and stability control and eight airbags.
Behind the Wheel
Although many will claim that the vehicle is all about being green, the immediate rush of speed created by the powerful electric motors and standard AWD is one of the real reasons people covet the Model X. While it’s not as quick or long-ranged as the Model S sedan, the Model X is no slouch. Having a 0-to-60 mph time under five seconds makes it one of the fastest SUVs money can buy, and that time drops down to under three seconds when the vehicle is in Ludicrous mode. The steering feel is precise enough to help maneuver this big SUV through tight turns with ease, and the ride is remarkably smooth and controlled. Among the Model X’s most impressive features, however, is the upgraded Autopilot, which allows for varying degrees of self-driving. The Model X can take itself up on-ramps, navigate traffic, slow or stop the car and even self-park. With the Summon feature, owners can use a smartphone to call for the Model X, which will back itself out of a parking spot and come to them.
Seat comfort in the first two rows is notable, and there’s good legroom for taller passengers, provided that no one is sitting behind them. The Model X’s third row is barely usable for adults due to the tight proportions. A big chunk of the hatchback’s glass rear window is set above the occupants’ heads as well. For the lucky one in the driver’s seat, the view is A1, with a massive panoramic windshield, a large digital display and an enormous 17-in touchscreen control center that runs everything from the audio system to navigation. One can even play games on it. As for cargo space, the Model X has lots of it. Room behind the second row is decent, although if you opt for the 6-passenger version, the seats don’t fold flat as they do with the bench configuration in the 5- and 7-passenger model, limiting overall cargo space. There’s also additional room in the spot where an engine should be, up to 6.6 cu ft to be exact.
Other Cars to Consider
2020 Audi e-tron – The e-tron offers the same 5-door configuration and AWD setup, but with a much more detailed and luxurious interior that can only seat five. The e-tron offers both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however the Model X offers faster acceleration, longer range and a lot more cool features.
2020 Jaguar I-Pace – The electric Jaguar I-Pace is a smaller vehicle with a tight rear seat and a small cargo area. Although it costs about $15,000 less than the Model X, its 234-mile range can’t come close to the Model X’s 328-mile range. The I-Pace is bit more fun to drive, however.
2020 Kia Niro EV – The Niro EV isn’t as luxurious, fast or impressive as the Model X, but it also isn’t nearly as expensive. With 239 miles of range, the Niro comes closest to the Model X’s range of any EV. It can’t drive itself, but it does come with an impressive warranty, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Used Tesla Model X – If you can’t swing a new Model X, try looking at a used Model X. The vehicle first arrived in 2015, and older models have a bit less range and power but many of the same features as the new one. The 2015 Model X 60D was the least expensive version and has only a 200-mile range.
We think most people will be quite happy with the base Long Range model that comes with just about everything you’ll need in an electric daily driver. The 328-mile range should be more than sufficient for most, but those who seek the ultimate in speed may want to sacrifice a bit of range to get the Performance model’s Ludicrous mode. Find a Tesla Model X for sale