The Model S and X Refresh Explained

The Model S and X Refresh Explained

The Model S and Model X have long been the flagship luxury electric vehicles for Tesla. Both of them are now in the final stages of a refresh, with the sedans and SUVs slated to hit the road very shortly. For many Tesla devotees, these updated models have been looked forward to with eager anticipation. That is why it would be helpful to explain what each of them will look like. 

Both the Model S and Model X refresh have been completed, and production has begun. These vehicles are slated to go on sale in North America and various other markets towards the end of 2021 and into 2022. Both of these models have undergone significant changes to their design and drivability. 

If you are looking for a new luxury all-electric sedan or SUV, these two models from Tesla are among the industry leaders. If you have been waiting to decide which vehicle is best suited for your needs, this article will highlight some of the various features associated with both the Model X and Model S so that you can decide for yourself. 

Is the Model X or S Better? 

Both the Tesla Model X and Model S offer so many great features that you might wonder which one is better. Since both are based on the same technology you will find in all Tesla vehicles, the choice will likely come down to personal preference and need. 

As a luxury SUV, the Model X is going to provide you with more passenger room to spread out and get comfortable. If you have a family and take a lot of trips, this is going to be important. If you are looking for a car that is a bit more agile, fast, and fun to drive, then the Model S may be more appealing. In the end, the following description of each model should help you decide. 

A Closer Look at the Tesla Model X Refresh

Almost as soon as Tesla announced that it was refreshing the Model S, they also revealed that they were going to do the same to the Model X. There will be two trims, the Long Range version, and the Plaid Model X. The SUV has an updated design and a completely revamped interior. Drivers should love the new enhancements that have been added.

A Brief Overview of the New Tesla Model X

As you read through this, you will discover that the refreshed Model X is quite similar to the Model S. They might be different sizes, but many of the features’ design approaches are the same. 

The Model X does begin to differ from the Model S in terms of look. The SUV has top-hinged doors that open up. There is also the size difference. The refreshed Model X comes with an optional third row. This really opens up the options for families who are looking for a longer range electric vehicle to take on family trips. 

You will find that the Model X refresh has a range between charges that is significantly improved over previous models. There is also the addition of the Plaid Model X. This adds more speed and several other performance features that you might be interested in. Beyond that, the Model X cabin is now much more refined, elegant, and comfortable than before. 

What Will You Notice About the Model X Refresh?

Since Tesla vehicles already have a certain iconic look to them, you might easily recognize the refreshed Model X as soon as you see one on the road. However, a closer examination will reveal certain features that are vastly improved over previous models. 

The design of the Model X is now much cleaner and more pristine than before. This gives the luxury SUV a sleeker and more contemporary look than when it first entered the market nearly a decade ago. 

The inside has been redesigned as well. You will notice this right away with the feature rich infotainment system that has been integrated into the Model X. The traditional steering wheel has also been replaced by a yoke, which looks like something straight off a Formula One Race Car. The range of both trims is pretty impressive as well. 

How Does the Refreshed Model X Perform?

If you think that SUVs are not built for speed, you might want to give the new Model X a test drive. The Long Range version of this SUV has two electric motors. One is placed near the front axle, while the other one is in the rear. This gives the vehicle an all-wheel-drive capability that can take it from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.8 seconds. That really isn’t too bad. 

Tesla has introduced the Plaid Model X during this latest refresh for those looking for even more power. That SUV has 1020 horsepower, courtesy of its three motors. That cuts the drive time from 0 to 60 mph down to only 2.5 seconds. For an SUV, that is going to be difficult to beat. Of course, the Model S sedan is going to beat it, but we’ll get to that later. 

What About the Range?

If you are looking at the Model X, then you probably have your eyes on taking the family out of town from time to time. The concern with an all-electric vehicle has long been range, and this worry is exacerbated with the lower than average range typically associated with SUVs. The refreshed Model X should take care of much of that anxiety. 

With the Long Range version of the Model X, you will get an average of 360 miles from each fully charged battery. This is an improved range compared to earlier versions. Even the Plaid model, complete with its much faster speed capability, is going to get you about 340 miles of range.

The tremendous range of the refreshed Tesla Model X equates to a much higher than average fuel economy. While it is true that electric vehicles do not use gasoline, the EPA still requires manufacturers to come with a real world MPG figure. The Long Range version of the Model X equates to 109 MPG in the city and 101 on the highway. The Plaid is within that range as well. 

The Interior Has a Refreshed Look

While most cars today seem to have a number of buttons that need to be pressed located throughout the interior, that is one thing you will notice that is missing on the new Model X. In actuality; there are almost no buttons to be seen inside this luxury SUV. It is just one seamless cabin, with smooth edges and contoured lines throughout.

The refresh of the Tesla Model X contains a windshield and glass combination that runs from the base of the hood right over the top of the passengers in the front seat. This provides everyone with a nearly panoramic view outside of the vehicle. The view is rather refreshing and is not something you would ordinarily expect to experience inside of a car. 

However, many people have remarked that they would like to have seen a few more refinements made to the Model X given the fact that the price approaches $100,000 and even exceeds that amount with the Plaid model. The air vents look a bit boring, the panels are misaligned in areas, the seats are a bit flat in the back, and they do not adjust very easily. 

The Display is Worth Taking a Look At

One of the cornerstone features of the refresh is the infotainment system. You will notice the change right away as soon as you open the front door. That is when you will be greeted by a massive 17-inch screen that is located right in the middle of the dash. Since that is really the only thing on the dash, it becomes the focus of the SUV. 

You can control just about every feature on the SUV from this one touchscreen. That includes the climate control system, the sound system, navigation, and so much more. It is an intuitive touchscreen that is quite simple to learn. This will make driving the new Model X more fun than you probably ever envisioned it would be.

There is also a digital display cluster located right in front of the driver. This is where drivers can view all of the important vehicle information in a snapshot. Rear seat passengers also have their own small touchscreen to control their own entertainment and to adjust certain vehicle settings. Sadly, support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration is not possible. That is the same for the Model S. 

Available Cargo Space on the Model X

This is an area that the Model X will be superior over that of the Model S. There is plenty of cargo space. If you opt to eliminate the third row of seats, you will have 68 cubic feet of storage space behind you. It is also possible to keep that third row and just fold it down. You will still benefit from the same amount of storage in that situation. 

A front trunk on the Model X will give you an additional 7 cubic feet of storage space. This is great to put away a personal bag or a few sacks of groceries without having to worry about it having to interfere with available passenger space. Given the height of the Model X coming in at 66.3 inches, you can bring along bulkier objects with you as well.

How Much Does the Model X Refresh Cost?

The Model X is an all-electric SUV that might not fit into everyone’s budget. First, the Long Range version will cost just over $91,000 without adding on any options. If you want the speedier Plaid version, that is going to run about $122,000. Many reviewers have commented that the extra $30,000 really doesn’t bring you many more features to justify the price. 

These prices compare to the Model S almost to the dollar. That is why it is going to come down to your personal needs when deciding which one is best for you. The options, such as various features on the Autopilot, are going to cost you the same no matter which model or version you end up buying. 

The Rationale Behind the Model S Refresh

Tesla first brought the Model S to the market back in 2012. It is arguably the luxury electric sedan that put the company on the map. However, a full decade later has seen many possible new technological features and design enhancements that were lacking with the Model S. This is why the refresh has become necessary. 

The refreshed Model S is entirely new in many ways. It is now possible to go as many as 412 miles between charges in this sedan, which was something most people thought would never happen when electric cars were first introduced. Speed is going to be another area of interest with the refreshed Model S, as it is slated to be the fastest car on the road today. 

A Brief Overview of the New Tesla Model S

When you first see the refreshed luxury sedan from Tesla, you might think that is looks the same as the first Model S ever introduced. This is because much of the exterior remains the same. However, when you examine the outside a bit closer, you will notice a more modern look to the design that is unmistakable. 

With the introduction of the Plaid Model S, it is now possible to have 1,020 horsepower behind you in an electric car. You will definitely feel the difference as soon as you accelerate. Because it has three electric motors powering it, it will feel as if you are flying down the road. You can get from 0 to 60 mph in just 1.99 seconds if you so desire. 

Even with all of this power, the Plaid version of the Model S is going to give you an average of 390 miles of range. That means you can go as fast as you want and not have to worry about running out of battery too quickly. This is probably one of the most enhanced features of the refreshed Model S and it is courtesy of the battery pack, which we will talk about in a moment. 

Let’s Talk About the Model S Motors

Here is a significant change over the earlier versions of the Model S. Tesla has now redesigned the way that the motors and the battery system work together in its luxury sedan. The refreshed version of the Model S now makes use of a 100-kWh lithium-ion battery pack. This is designed to last forever and powers your Tesla in ways you probably never dreamed of. 

The Long Range version of the Model S receives its power courtesy of two electric motors. Car enthusiasts will be interested to know that one of those motors is at the front and one at the rear. This disperses the power evenly and makes it possible to have all-wheel drive. This makes the car that much easier to drive, and it conserves power at the same time. 

Because of the way the power is dispersed at all angles, the Model S handles itself exceptionally well, even when taking curves at high speeds. It really does have the look and feel of a racecar. That image is further enhanced by the driving yoke that has replaced the traditional steering wheel. This is similar to the refreshed Model X. 

Because of the enhanced battery pack and the placement of the motors, immediate power delivery is now possible on the Model S. When activated, you will have the feeling that a rocket has just blasted off with you inside of it. When you are on the highway, you will now be able to use the passing lane to its full potential. 

It is Easy to Charge the Model S

It is now easier than ever to travel long distances with the refreshed Model X. The Model S will have this same capability. There is a 48-amp charger included with all new Model S purchases. Combine this with the 20-foot cord that is included, and you can connect the sedan to any power outlet that produces 120-volts. You can charge the car just about anywhere as a result.

With the refreshed Model X and Model S, Tesla is also making available a new charging adapter that will allow the vehicles to be plugged into a 240-volt power outlet. This is made even more convenient given the fact that a mobile connector makes this possible. It is easy to take everything you need with you to make use of this quicker charging option. 

Beyond these traditional methods of charging the new Tesla Models, there is also the ever growing arsenal of Tesla Supercharger stations popping up all over the country. Couple this with the availability of third-party charging CHADeMO outlets and it is easy to see why charging the Model S to full power quite quickly is no longer seen as an obstacle.

The Model S refresh also makes the actual charging process a snap. The charging port itself is accessible via a flap that is situated adjacent to the driver’s side taillight. Just give this flap a simple press, and the charging port will become available to you. As if that wasn’t easy enough, you can open the flap via the 17-inch touchscreen display inside the car. 

How Long Does it Take to Charge a Refreshed Model S?

The older versions of the Model S already had superior range and low charge times. However, Tesla has made both of these even better with the refresh. How long it will take you to get the battery up to a full charge depends on what type of outlet you are using and which type of station.

With a 240-volt power outlet at your disposal, you will find that you get roughly 35 miles of range for every hour that you keep the car plugged in. This means that you can get the luxury sedan up to a full charge in under 12 hours. This is the same amount of time it takes using a level 2 charging station, so it is simple to get this job done overnight while sleeping. 

If you need a really quick charge to get you where you are going when you are away from the house, a Tesla Supercharger station is the way to go. Those are designed to give the Model S refresh about 200 miles of range after just 15 minutes of charging. This is enough to get you virtually anywhere in a major metropolitan area, and all for much less expensive than a tank of gas. 

How Long Does the Battery Last in a Refreshed Model S?

Batteries for electric cars tend to be very expensive. You are talking in excess of $10,000 for a replacement in most cases. This is a major concern when you are buying a car that costs roughly $100,000. With the new battery pack installed in the Model S, you will not have to worry about this. 

The battery that Tesla has designed specifically for the Model S is rated to last for a minimum of 300,000 miles, with most indications being that it will still be going strong after 500,000 miles. This is going to provide more than enough power for the average Model S owner to never have to worry about buying a new battery. 

What About the Comfortability Factor?

While you normally cannot compare the comfort of a sedan against an SUV, this is a possible exception. The Model S has plenty of room for a family of five. It is best to stick to four adults, but the back should be more than roomy for up to three children. The driver and front-seat passenger have plenty of room, including ample headroom to get comfortable. 

Given how big the refreshed Model S appears to be, you might wonder if it is really comfortable and agile to drive. The answer appears to be a resounding yes. The Model S handles curves effortlessly, with the steering yoke being super responsive. As soon as you get used to this new way of driving, you will never want to go back. 

With all of this speed behind you, it is comforting to know that Tesla has also redesigned the braking system on the Model S. Designed to decelerate the vehicle quickly, it does not jerk and stutter when doing so. The braking will be smooth and precise, even when an emergency stop is in order. 

As if all of the above were not enough to demonstrate how comfortable the new Model S is designed to be, the addition of an adaptive air suspension system as a standard feature sets it over the top. This will allow you to go over the same rough terrain that the Model X can glide over without even feeling it. This is another way that sedan compares well with the SUV. 

There is More Cargo Space Than Before

When comparing the new Model S with the one released a decade ago, you will find that there is a pretty hefty increase in the amount of available cargo space. Even though it does not approach the amount available in the Model X, the refreshed Model S still gives you 26 cubic feet of space in the trunk. It is big enough to take golf clubs and a few other bags with you. 

The liftgate on the refreshed Model X also sits higher than before. This means that you can fit bulkier items in there that might not otherwise allow for the lid to close. In addition to this, the new Model S has a small trunk in the front similar to the one available on the Model X. This enables you to store away a couple of small personal items. 

The Seats Have Been Redesigned

You will also notice that the seats on the Model S are much more comfortable than before. There are two seats in the front and three in the back, each of which is made of synthetic leather. The driver and front passenger also have heat and ventilation built into the design of their seats, while the rear seats can be heated as well. 

Many people remarked about the lack of cushioning in earlier versions of the Model S. Tesla has remedied that by adding a great deal of padding to the front seats. Longer trips just became more comfortable. Combined with the increased leg and headroom, the refreshed Model S is just more practical all around. 


Now that you know more about the refreshed Model X and Model S, it is time to visit your local showroom and have a look for yourself. One of these might just be the luxury electric car that you have been looking for. The key is to buy something that fits your needs and makes you happy in the end. 

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The articles here on are created by Greg, a Tesla vehicle and Tesla solar expert with nearly half a decade of hands-on experience. The information on this site is fact-checked and tested in-person to ensure the best possible level of accuracy.

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