Tesla constantly finds itself in the news for a wide range of reasons. In this case, it’s because one of the automaker’s EVs is a hit. The 2020 Tesla Model X is among U.S. News’ “Best Luxury Hybrid and Electric SUVs for 2021.”
For all the merits of the other vehicles on the list, the Model X offers a total package that’s hard to beat, albeit with a hefty price tag. But if you can afford it, you could do a lot worse than a Model X.
The Tesla Model X gets a deserved nod
Tesla didn’t reinvent the wheel for the latest Model X. (That was a different story for the Model S.) The changes were more subtle and iterative. An adaptive suspension was made standard for all Model X trims, and the driving range increased slightly in both the Performance and Long Range editions. But the execution was so well-done that the Model X ranks number two on U.S. News’ list.
It offers nearly the total package by doing many things well. The Model X packs a 100-kW battery and two electric motors, one for each set of wheels. The electric all-wheel drive allows the SUV to accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 4.4 seconds in standard mode, while the Performance model cuts that down to 2.6 seconds. That’s faster than most luxury sports cars, not just luxury SUVs. And Tesla still includes its trademark technological features like a 17-inch touchscreen and Autopilot.
However, the Model X got some demerits for its rear falcon-wing rear doors, which swing up instead of out and can’t fully open in garages with low ceilings. It also took a hit for some interior fit and finish issues. But the Model X’s pros far outweigh its cons. U.S. News gave the crossover SUV an overall score of 8.4 out of 10.
The Tesla Model X’s main competitors and why most fall short
The Tesla Model X is one of the best vehicles on the list, but the other options also represent good choices. The number one car on the list is actually the 2021 Audi e-tron, which ranks lower in performance but higher in interior design than the Tesla. U.S. News found the e-tron more comfortable to drive. Still, the vehicle has a much shorter driving range (only 222 miles on a full charge) than the Model X. The rest of the list is as follows: 2020 Jaguar I-Pace, 2020 Porsche Cayenne Hybrid, 2020 Acura MDX Hybrid, Lexus RX Hybrid, 2021 Tesla Model Y, 2021 Lexus UX Hybrid, and 2021 Lexus NX Hybrid.
One area where the other cars on the list have the upper hand is price. The Model X starts at $85,000, nearly double most vehicles in the roundup. The Porsche Cayenne Hybrid, with an $81,100 MSRP, is the only SUV with a standard price within $15,000 of the Model X.
And that’s before taking into account additional options such as Plaid Mode, which allows some Tesla vehicles to accelerate even faster but at a significantly higher cost. The Model X is a great electric crossover, but it isn’t the only one of its kind on the market. Get the best one you can afford for your budget and lifestyle.
Do Tesla’s other issues matter to consumers?
The consensus is the Model X is a fantastic product, but Tesla is a brand that never strays far from controversy. Countless stories tell of the glitches and design errors that have plagued the automaker as it scaled up production.
The thing about a cutting-edge tech brand is that its issues are more pronounced and dangerous because of their newness. All the technology built into Tesla vehicles is cool, but it can lead to frightening scenes when it malfunctions. Recalls, production problems, and faulty features have dotted the Tesla story. The amount of automation in these products prompts plenty of questions when accidents happen, and real questions about Tesla EVs’ reliability have yet to be fully answered.
None of this seems to affect the automaker’s bottom line, however. Its cars still draw rave reviews in Consumer Reports tests, and fans still believe deeply in CEO Elon Musk’s view of the future. The Model X would likely sell well off branding alone, but this SUV is a product worthy of the demand.