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Model S vs Model X for road trips?

Venom

Leo Hates You Club Scout
May 29, 2019
666
1,298
Chicago, IL
Having second thoughts on my Model S plaid order and considering a Model X plaid instead. Right now I’m like 60/40 (S/X).

I like to travel cross country IL - CA a couple times per year. Ive done it in my Model Y and it felt decent.
Things I dislike about my Y for long road trips:
- Exterior feels a bit chunky - I wish it was a bit more compact on the outside
- I wish the interior was a little more comfortable and had more space (trunk space is perfect though)
- Model Y performance feels a bit too slow now that I’m used to it
- Range sucks (even with my 18” wheels)

For people that have driven both the S and the X extensively and go on 2 person road trips, which do you prefer the most and why?
 

Darmie

Super Member
Supporting Member
Jan 13, 2016
2,012
1,290
Clear Lake TX.
From your bullet points, I'd say that the Model S is better than the Model X. The Model X is a BIG car. It feels big, it drives big and it handles big. You won't get any more compact on the outside and have the space you have while in the Model Y. We owned an S in 2017, did a 5,000 + road trip and I loved how it drove. It was my first Tesla and the first 7 to 8 months were all before autopilot. I now have the Model Y and I love driving it on the fun roads here. I find it not that efficient at all. Actually it's really bad with the 20 tires and the comp 4 S. The Model X that we have has been on several road trips and it's a great road trip car for it sits up high. The windshield is down right AWESOME!!!!! For highway driving, it's perfect. We have the captain rear seats with console. Space wise, I think there is more room in the Model S. When we took the Model S on a road trip, we did set up the back to sleep in it and it worked out great. This was before camp mode too.
I would say the Model X is a great road trip car but that's because it sits up a bit higher and has a very scenic view out of the front windshield. I liked the model S for the camping if you are into that. The X having the captain chairs, you can't do anything with them and you are stuck sitting in the front seat to rest. Still love them over the bench seating.

I don't think you can go wrong with an X or the S however they are two different driving styles.
YMMV.
 

travwill

Active Member
May 1, 2015
1,729
1,223
Marble Falls, TX
I've had the S and X both, X 6 seater. I'd say if you really need space, do NOT get the 6 seater as those 2nd row seats are not as practical for when you need to haul stuff or road trips as they don't lay down. Go 5 or 7 seat route with X. With 6, if you say buy something big like a TV, nope, can't fit it. Road trip in 6 seater, gotta stack all your stuff around/on seats, etc. plus they are kind of narrow and uncomfy for anyone that sits in them long. The windshield is great, but visors really suck if driving towards sun.

The S and X are both much bigger feeling cars than any 3/Y. The S is more nimble but quick/soft ride of course, new refresh is quality and quiet apparently, but the only things I didn't like about the S were the windshield is pretty low due to slope of car so if get too close to a light you have to duck to see it (if your taller like 6ft tall). Getting in and out of the S is not as easy as the X by far.

I loved our S, enough to be going back to an S now after selling our X. The X has a lot of tech, and the FWDs are kinda cool but slow, pretty techy, and the X has a lot more things that can just go wrong from more sensors, latches, alignment, lot more rubber seals that degrade, etc. I feel the X won't last as long by far.
 
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DerbyDave

Active Member
Jul 2, 2020
1,100
649
Kentucky
The S is more nimble but quick/soft ride of course, new refresh is quality and quiet apparently, but the only things I didn't like about the S were the windshield is pretty low due to slope of car so if get too close to a light you have to duck to see it (if your taller like 6ft tall).
The cars now have stoplight alert, to let you know when the light changes green. You don't need to try to strain and look at the light until it changes anymore. It will let you know. I liked your review!
 
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travwill

Active Member
May 1, 2015
1,729
1,223
Marble Falls, TX
The cars now have stoplight alert, to let you know when the light changes green. You don't need to try to strain and look at the light until it changes anymore. It will let you know. I liked your review!

Thanks, yeah I saw that FSD feature. We ordered FSD on our new refresh, hopefully getting it in Sep/Oct. We'll see how that works - I'm thinking it may still be too slow these days to chime if the light changes or car leaves in front of ya even. You get about 1/2 second in Chicago before someone honks at ya ;-), but it will help when your the first car and that light is blocked, true.

Good luck with the choice - to sum it up also, it may also really be about how long your going to keep the car (reliability of moving parts/tech), and if your willing to get the extended service plan, etc.
 
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croman

Active Member
Nov 21, 2016
4,914
7,148
Chicago, IL
Thanks, yeah I saw that FSD feature. We ordered FSD on our new refresh, hopefully getting it in Sep/Oct. We'll see how that works - I'm thinking it may still be too slow these days to chime if the light changes or car leaves in front of ya even. You get about 1/2 second in Chicago before someone honks at ya ;-), but it will help when your the first car and that light is blocked, true.

Good luck with the choice - to sum it up also, it may also really be about how long your going to keep the car (reliability of moving parts/tech), and if your willing to get the extended service plan, etc.

It's instant. I have it. Don't try FSD on side streets in Chicago but it can do all the interstates really well now except express lanes still create issues.
 

DerbyDave

Active Member
Jul 2, 2020
1,100
649
Kentucky
...and thanks for pointing out that Stop Light Chime is FSD feature. I thought it was a standard feature. It is one FSD feature that works really well, and I use it always. Very reliable. Probably not worth the $10K though.
 
Last edited:

Venom

Leo Hates You Club Scout
May 29, 2019
666
1,298
Chicago, IL
It's instant. I have it. Don't try FSD on side streets in Chicago but it can do all the interstates really well now except express lanes still create issues.
The chime isn’t instant on my Y. There’s about a 2 second delay until it chimes. The light changing color on the display is instant though if that’s what you meant
 

Venom

Leo Hates You Club Scout
May 29, 2019
666
1,298
Chicago, IL
From your bullet points, I'd say that the Model S is better than the Model X. The Model X is a BIG car. It feels big, it drives big and it handles big. You won't get any more compact on the outside and have the space you have while in the Model Y. We owned an S in 2017, did a 5,000 + road trip and I loved how it drove. It was my first Tesla and the first 7 to 8 months were all before autopilot. I now have the Model Y and I love driving it on the fun roads here. I find it not that efficient at all. Actually it's really bad with the 20 tires and the comp 4 S. The Model X that we have has been on several road trips and it's a great road trip car for it sits up high. The windshield is down right AWESOME!!!!! For highway driving, it's perfect. We have the captain rear seats with console. Space wise, I think there is more room in the Model S. When we took the Model S on a road trip, we did set up the back to sleep in it and it worked out great. This was before camp mode too.
I would say the Model X is a great road trip car but that's because it sits up a bit higher and has a very scenic view out of the front windshield. I liked the model S for the camping if you are into that. The X having the captain chairs, you can't do anything with them and you are stuck sitting in the front seat to rest. Still love them over the bench seating.

I don't think you can go wrong with an X or the S however they are two different driving styles.
YMMV.

I've had the S and X both, X 6 seater. I'd say if you really need space, do NOT get the 6 seater as those 2nd row seats are not as practical for when you need to haul stuff or road trips as they don't lay down. Go 5 or 7 seat route with X. With 6, if you say buy something big like a TV, nope, can't fit it. Road trip in 6 seater, gotta stack all your stuff around/on seats, etc. plus they are kind of narrow and uncomfy for anyone that sits in them long. The windshield is great, but visors really suck if driving towards sun.

The S and X are both much bigger feeling cars than any 3/Y. The S is more nimble but quick/soft ride of course, new refresh is quality and quiet apparently, but the only things I didn't like about the S were the windshield is pretty low due to slope of car so if get too close to a light you have to duck to see it (if your taller like 6ft tall). Getting in and out of the S is not as easy as the X by far.

I loved our S, enough to be going back to an S now after selling our X. The X has a lot of tech, and the FWDs are kinda cool but slow, pretty techy, and the X has a lot more things that can just go wrong from more sensors, latches, alignment, lot more rubber seals that degrade, etc. I feel the X won't last as long by far.

You both make excellent points - I’m going to stick with the S. I had no idea about the downsides of the 6 seater so that definitely changes things. Also I’ve owned SUVs for a while so it’d be nice to drive something more slim and nimble.

I plan on keeping the car until the new 4680 batteries start shipping with the S/X, but who knows how long that’ll be :)
 

Rice&Curry

Member
May 9, 2018
324
166
San Jose
I own and X and Y , not S but have travelled on the S which my friend owns. The X is good for long drives and getting in and out of the car. If luggage space is important than a 5 seater is your best option. Both S and X have air suspension which is what provides the ride comfort compared to M3 or MY.
 

Venom

Leo Hates You Club Scout
May 29, 2019
666
1,298
Chicago, IL
I own and X and Y , not S but have travelled on the S which my friend owns. The X is good for long drives and getting in and out of the car. If luggage space is important than a 5 seater is your best option. Both S and X have air suspension which is what provides the ride comfort compared to M3 or MY.
Would you say longer drives feel better in the X or S? (From a driver and passenger perspective)
 

Venom

Leo Hates You Club Scout
May 29, 2019
666
1,298
Chicago, IL
I'd say X, as you sit a little higher/normal and have a bit more spaciousness in the cabin.
On paper they look very similar. The front row Model S actually has slightly more leg room than the X, where as the X has slightly more head room. Front row hip room is the same in both cars.

Does ride height really make a longer drive feel better?
 

travwill

Active Member
May 1, 2015
1,729
1,223
Marble Falls, TX
On paper they look very similar. The front row Model S actually has slightly more leg room than the X, where as the X has slightly more head room. Front row hip room is the same in both cars.

Does ride height really make a longer drive feel better?
Most people do prefer a seat where your a bit higher off the floor for longer sitting, i.e. your knees can bend a bit more versus your legs more straight out in the S. Mainly impacts taller people I'd say as it just feels a bit more supportive and natural. Those few inches or so make a difference.
 
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Venom

Leo Hates You Club Scout
May 29, 2019
666
1,298
Chicago, IL
The other down side to the Model X unless you purchase used, is no availability until Q1 of next year. May even be longer.
I'm definitely cool with waiting. I'm expecting end of March at the earliest for the X, I just want to find the right car.

I think I'll give the Model S Plaid a shot - if it feels too small or not comfortable enough for long road trips, I'll trade it in for the Model X Plaid when it comes out
 

croman

Active Member
Nov 21, 2016
4,914
7,148
Chicago, IL
I have an S but am going with an X due to growing family. S is a great road trip car. I know, I've driven over 60k miles and taken many road trips (wife + 2 kids + STUFF). We've loved every minute even before MCU2 and games and whatnot. The car just rocks. The kids love the all glass roof and never tire of launches at red lights.

Getting an X mainly because it is more spacious (vertically in particular) and my wife and I are both 6ft (and my kids are growing very quickly). The X is just easier to get in and out of vs. the S in ALL WAYS. The doors are automatic (all of them). Kids can get in and out of the FWDs so easily (had a loaner for a week after S conked out and it was eye opening). Adults can really get in and out easier, too due to the low height of the S and narrow geometry due to roof line/rake.

There are other reasons but that's the biggest one for us. I love my S and we're keeping it, but the X will take over primary hauling duties and the S will be my fun car/backup family car (we are presently only a 1 car household). The biggest downside to the X is its reliability issues (FWDs and other issues), build problems (most Xs look like 3 different cars sandwiched together poorly), and the looks vs. the S (X looks like a very bloated S). Bottom line, with only 2 people, most of the X features are less appealing (though that windshield is pretty nice!).
 

Venom

Leo Hates You Club Scout
May 29, 2019
666
1,298
Chicago, IL
I have an S but am going with an X due to growing family. S is a great road trip car. I know, I've driven over 60k miles and taken many road trips (wife + 2 kids + STUFF). We've loved every minute even before MCU2 and games and whatnot. The car just rocks. The kids love the all glass roof and never tire of launches at red lights.

Getting an X mainly because it is more spacious (vertically in particular) and my wife and I are both 6ft (and my kids are growing very quickly). The X is just easier to get in and out of vs. the S in ALL WAYS. The doors are automatic (all of them). Kids can get in and out of the FWDs so easily (had a loaner for a week after S conked out and it was eye opening). Adults can really get in and out easier, too due to the low height of the S and narrow geometry due to roof line/rake.

There are other reasons but that's the biggest one for us. I love my S and we're keeping it, but the X will take over primary hauling duties and the S will be my fun car/backup family car (we are presently only a 1 car household). The biggest downside to the X is its reliability issues (FWDs and other issues), build problems (most Xs look like 3 different cars sandwiched together poorly), and the looks vs. the S (X looks like a very bloated S). Bottom line, with only 2 people, most of the X features are less appealing (though that windshield is pretty nice!).
Great points! If we had kids we'd probably get the X instead, but no plans on having kids for at least 2-3 years (I hope lol).

I really like the extra space the X has though, I'm 6ft and my wife is 5ft 3 so no issues for her. I love being able to stretch out in the Y but I think the refreshed S is supposed to have about the same space as the Y anyway.

I never really though about getting both, which is a great idea since we are a 1 car household as well. I think it'd make sense for me to get an S Plaid and then a LR X in the future, that way we get the best of both worlds!
 
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