The Tesla Model X is a popular electric SUV that’s been on the market since 2015. But which model year is the best, and why?
The best Tesla Model X year is 2021 due to its increased power, range, and new car reliability. The most affordable Tesla Model X is the 2016 P60D, and the best value overall is the 2016-2017 P90D and P100D. The fastest Model X is the 2021 Tesla Model X Plaid.
In this article, we’ll break down the generations and model year differences of the Tesla Model X. We’ll cover the standard model improvements and options of each year and compare the pros and cons of each. Additionally, we’ll cover the best Model X year for affordability, reliability, power, and design.
We sourced Model X specifications from Tesla itself when possible and also from reputable online car information databases.
Is the Tesla Model X a Good Car?
The Tesla Model X is a long-standing bestseller in the Tesla line, and it has quite a few years of driving under its belt. It is technically classified as an SUV, and Tesla markets it as a larger and more spacious electric vehicle.
The Tesla Model X was introduced in 2015, and it has been in continuous production ever since, with no known plans to take it off the Tesla lineup. During that time, it hasn’t changed a whole lot. Drivers loved the original version, and there was nothing technically or aesthetically wrong with it.
There are many features to like about the Tesla Model X. For one, it gets a 5-star crash safety rating due to excellent crash test scores, and it has an exceptionally good range in the long-range configuration.
Additionally, the vehicle features Tesla’s standardized self-driving sensors, so most Model X vehicles are capable of utilizing new software updates when they become available.
Tesla has made some minor changes since the introduction of the vehicle, and we’ll detail those shortly. Overall, the Tesla Model X has been an excellent electric vehicle throughout its production years, and it will likely continue to be as the first models continue aging.
Tesla Model X Designations
The Tesla Model X has seen numerous designations and model codes over the years, each with its own meaning and configuration. The model codes denote the battery capacity, from which you can deduce the type and trim of the vehicle. Here are the model designations by battery capacity and their production years.
The Model X 60D came with a 60 kWh battery and was first sold in 2016. This model had a 200-mile range and a 6 second 0-60mph time, along with a 130mph top speed. The 60D had a technical battery capacity of 75 kWh, but it was restricted by software from the factory. Eventually, Tesla provided an upgrade to increase the capacity to the 75D 75 kWh.
Later that year, Tesla introduced the Model X 100D, which had a 100 kWh battery capacity and a 289-mile range. This vehicle included additional power and the famous “ludicrous” mode for 2.9-second 0-60 mph acceleration. The 90D was also introduced, along with other models.
In 2017, Tesla discontinued the original 60D and 90D models and replaced the original coil springs with standard smart air suspension on all models. In 2018, Tesla upgraded the vehicle’s computer control unit for bug fixes and general improvement.
Tesla discontinued the 75D in 2019, and the 100D became standard in its various configurations. That year, Tesla also introduced a long-range version of the Model X with an impressive range of 325 miles.
The range of the Model X stayed the same until 2020 when Tesla upgraded the range of the long-range version to 351 miles. At the end of the year, they upgraded the range again to 341 miles (for the performance version) and 371 miles for the long-range plus model.
Differences Between the Model X Production Years
Very little has changed cosmetically over the years, though some trim options have been slightly modified to suit changing consumer preferences. But the overall interior and exterior design of the Tesla Model X remains about the same as it was in 2015.
The big differences have been completely technical in terms of range, power, and precision. Tesla made major suspension upgrades standard by 2018 and upgraded the range to above 300 miles in the past few years. The original 60 kWh model has been long discontinued, and the horsepower and torque have gone up significantly across the board.
What’s the Best Year Tesla Model X?
The best year so far for the Tesla Model X is 2021. The latest model is essentially the same externally as the original, but it has the best software, highest battery capacity, and most power out of any the company has produced.
You can opt for the performance or long-range package for additional power and capacity, and all models are equipped with smart air suspension, and they’re capable of using the latest self-driving tech.
The 2021 model is the culmination of six years of real-world testing, and each year gets progressively more advanced. The 2022 and 2023 models will likely outclass the 2021 edition, but the high-performance models (with 259 hp at the front wheels and 503 at the rear) will likely remain top-of-the-line for quite some time.
Most Affordable Tesla Model X Year
The Tesla Model X is a lot of things, but affordable isn’t really one of them. The newest models sell for more than $80,000, and you can option them up with tens of thousands in additional cost. Late-model Teslas, such as the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Model X, don’t depreciate much, so you’ll likely spend in excess of $60,000 or $70,000 to procure one.
However, the prices of the original 2016 P90D and P100D models are much lower, and the vehicle is still an excellent electric car with a very long life. The Model X was designed to last around 500,000 miles, and since there are few mechanical parts to wear out, it’ll probably make it that far.
By mid-2016, most of the bugs had been worked out, and the vehicle was an excellent choice. The P90D and P100D have a pretty good range as it is, and they’re usually sold with less than 100,000 miles on the clock.
The 2016 P60D is the best value overall. You can find one on the used market for less than $60,000, and the least expensive units sell for around $48,000. The P90D usually goes for between $55,000 and $70,000, and the P100D almost always sells for $65,000 or more.
Most Reliable Tesla Model X Year
The Tesla Model X has always been an exceptionally reliable vehicle, especially in its later years. The early Model X suffered from a few mechanical problems, namely hydraulic fluid leaks from the wing doors. Tesla resolved most of these issues before the vehicle was released to the general public.
The vast majority of Model X owners rarely have any problems with their cars, regardless of the year. Though it goes without saying that the newer the car, the fewer problems you’re likely to have.
We chose 2019 as the most reliable year for a few reasons. First, all of the 2019 models on the road today are just a couple of years old and thus haven’t had enough time to be run into the ground by their owners. Additionally, any possible bugs were worked out in the previous generations.
Recalls, which happen to almost every car model at some point, should be fixed by now as the car is a couple of years old. However, it’s not so old that the complex mechanical components in the doors and driveline are worn out.
Highest Performance Model X Year
The original Tesla Model X was no joke when it comes to performance. The lowest horsepower offered in 2016 was 328 hp, and you could upgrade to a high-performance model and get 691 horsepower.
Over the years, there have been gradual improvements in horsepower and torque figures. The highest horsepower yet is available in the 2021 model, which has 670 hp standard and up to 1,020 hp on the highest trim models. The latest edition of the high-performance Model X has three times the power of the original, and now the base model has twice the power.
Model year 2021 is clearly the best year if you’re looking for ludicrous acceleration and high-speed capabilities. The top speed of the 1,020 hp model is electronically governed at 163 mph, as the tires and design of the vehicle make it unsafe to travel past that point.
The 2021 Model X tri-motor has a 0-60 mph time of just 2.5 seconds. For comparison, the 2021 Ferrari SF90 Stradale has a 0-60 time of 2.1 seconds—and that car costs three-quarters of a million dollars. For what it is, the new Tesla Model X is an absolute rocket ship.
Best Tesla Model X Design Year
Basically, nothing has changed over the years. In fact, it’s virtually impossible for someone who isn’t “in the know” to spot the difference between a 2017 and 2021 Tesla Model X. If you’re looking for the best-looking car, you have a wide range of models to choose from.
About THE AUTHOR
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding