Cars.com Spends A Week With A Tesla Model X

NOV 21 2018 BY STEVEN LOVEDAY 20

The attention-grabbing Tesla Model 3 makes Model X reviews like this one a rare find.

We don’t get enough opportunity to talk about the Tesla Model X. Many eyes and ears have been laser-focused on Model 3 news for some time now. Not to mention that Tesla’s flagship Model S still attracts plenty of media coverage. However, in the U.S., vehicles like the Model X are massively popular. Growing families are buying up SUVs and crossovers as if they may soon disappear. Nonetheless, the Model X got off to a bit of a rough start and has arguably never really lived up to its sedan siblings in the eyes of some people. Cars.com decides it’s time to “demystify” the “buzz” around this truly unique vehicle.

Cars.com’s Joe Bruzek calls the Tesla Model X “unique” and “worthy” of the buzz it creates. It’s available in multiple configurations, though the vehicle Cars is testing seats seven passengers and offer 295 miles of range. Range is generally first and foremost when it comes to EVs, so Joe says he was closely tracking the crossover’s estimated miles early on. However, he learned quickly that it has no issue with providing what the EPA says it will provide, which means very little range anxiety in this family hauler. He also mentions that having access to the Supercharger network is significant.

Joe says the feature set in the Model X simply makes life easier. It causes to him wonder why other automakers aren’t following suit. He especially loves the functionality of the steering-wheel-mounted controls, as well as the vehicle’s air suspension, which offers many ride heights and GPS tagging. Additionally, Joe also calls the car’s cabin preconditioning, backup camera, and large touch screen exceptional.

Other takeaways:

  • Third row is difficult to access, especially for adults
  • While the third row is tight for adults, they can fit back there for short trips
  • Instant acceleration is terrific, and this is only the mid-range model
  • Ride quality is not to the level of most luxury SUVs
  • Phone integration is “flat out disappointing.” Feels five years behind.
  • Tesla Autopilot is arguably the best semi-autonomous system out there, but there are quirks
  • Over-the-air updates give the Model X a significant advantage over the competition

How about those Falcon Wing doors? Watch the video to get Joe’s opinion.

Video Description via Cars.com on YouTube:

The buzz around the Tesla Model X is more like the deafening roar of a Boeing 747. If you’re curious about what makes the Model X so special, we demystify it for you here.

TESLA MODEL X

Tesla Model X at Supercharger
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20 Comments on "Cars.com Spends A Week With A Tesla Model X"

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“Phone integration is “flat out disappointing.” Feels five years behind.”

Is this not something Tesla could solve with an OTAU?

Solution he’s talking about is up-to-date app integration like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. He says it would be perfect with the interface and large screen and Tesla should be offering it. This is by far not the first time we’ve heard this complaint.

Do Not Read Between The Lines

Its own integration is also often criticized.

Very true.

Thanks for the reply, Steven, and thank you for the article as well.

Yes, I do believe I understand the issue, but cannot this be fixed with an OTA software update from Tesla to improve phone integration, such as building installing a Tesla-made program like Carplay? Because if so, this should be a no-brainer for Tesla to do. If it’s a hardware problem (I don’t see how it is) then yeah, that’s pretty limiting.

I don’t see why not. It seems it could be fairly easily addressed, like many other issues that can be resolved via OTA updates.

Agreed. That answers my question. Thanks.

Even without a full Apple CarPlay and Android Auto implementation the interface can be improved. Currently there is no iPod media control via USB and the one via Bluetooth is very limited. The car doesn’t even show the phone battery and signal reception level.

However the car integration with the Tesla phone app is great. The app can get status from the car within single seconds and control many aspects of the car, including Summon, media play, charging, climate, sending a destination to the onboard navigation (still no multiple destinations, waypoints, route optimization and selection based on preference beyond tolls and ferries), and tracking the vehicle location, speed, and heading in near real time on the phone. Perhaps the Cars.com review should have touched on all that.

Thanks for the info! I don’t own a Tesla so I’d have never known.

This has been one of the biggest complaints i’ve been seeing when it comes to Tesla technology, but we also need to keep in mind that their are only about 450k tesla’s on the road all over the world right? most of the other car makers have had time and money to integrate phone features every model year, but i’m sure as the tesla fleet continues to grow, this will just be an OVA update, but may be as much as 2 years out.

yeah; I get tired of idiots like that.

Wasn’t that a deliberate security related decision?

It’s more of a “Tesla can do it better” hubris thing. But Tesla has fallen short in many areas. The navigation pulled ahead of the pack in some areas, such as integrating Navigate on Autopilot, and support for HOV lanes, but leaves out basic stuff like waypoint stops, changing selected superchargers and other things.

Streaming works well with what’s there but not so well with content on your phone or a streaming service on your phone. USB audio support is pretty bad.

That leaves times when it’s clear that others could do it better, but it’s pointless if they don’t integrate. It’s also a step down to use Google maps on the phone to navigate when it can’t tell you whether a slower route in general would be faster since it has HOV lanes. So Carplay would lose in some areas and gain in others, giving a choice of compromises. Ultimately it needs to be an integrated solution, but it would be nice to have Carplay/Android auto for a streaming option.

Maybe they’re doing what VW and GM were doing until very recently, and Nissan is unfortunately still doing, and expecting you to use the car’s apps for a lot of your phone functions instead once the phone is connected? So far everyone who’s tried to build their own alternative to CarPlay/AA has failed. Nissan’s “app store” has a few dozen apps, most of which are for obscure and inferior services that paid Nissan to be included, and they’re all useless because the voice recognition system that’s supposed to control it all is as useless as every automaker’s, including Tesla. I understand the tech startup ethos of leaving the old cruft behind because they can do it more efficiently themselves, a clean room API spec purpose-built for your app is almost always going to be faster and more efficient. But that’s just never true with car infotainment systems, and Tesla needs to get over their ego and figure that out. There are two major smartphone platforms, the makers of both of those platforms offer car integration solutions, and it’s literally not possible for an automaker to offer a better solution. They can build as good and innovative of a phone integration… Read more »

Why did this article not mention that the X is the 2nd to the worst in Consumer Reports list of unreliable cars? And the air suspension is one of the reasons.

GM also uses OTA updating – but sparingly, like updating Android Auto, etc. Sparingly because unlike Tesla the Bolt is a finished and fully tested auto, not largely a beta product to be rushed out the door to catch up with projections.

The Model X is actually the WORST non-truck, in reliability terms, per CR..

Consumer Reports looks at reliability of cars that were sold in the past — it doesn’t really say much about the reliability of new cars you can buy right now.

Love our model x. Don’t think we could part ways without having one in the household.
Also haven’t had any problems besides minor annoyances at delivery. Almost had it for 3 years now.