2019 Lexus RX Series vs. 2019 Tesla Model X

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Lexus RX Series have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Tesla Model X doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The RX Series has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Model X doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The RX Series offers optional Auto Brake that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Model X doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The RX Series offers an optional Panoramic View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Model X only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

To help make backing safer, the RX Series’ optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The Model X doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

The RX Series has standard Safety Connect®, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Model X doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the RX Series and the Model X have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front and rear side-impact airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive and blind spot warning systems.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the RX Series the rating of “Top Pick” for 2018, a rating granted to only 100 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Model X has not been tested, yet.

Warranty

The RX Series’ corrosion warranty is 2 years and unlimited miles longer than the Model X’s (6/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

There are almost 4 times as many Lexus dealers as there are Tesla dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the RX Series’ warranty.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the RX Series’ reliability 55 points higher than the Model X.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the RX Series second among midsize premium SUVs in their 2018 Initial Quality Study. The Model X isn’t in the top three in its category.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Lexus vehicles are more reliable than Tesla vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Lexus first in reliability. Tesla is ranked 27th.

Fuel Economy and Range

The RX 450h’s maximum EPA estimated driving range on a full tank of fuel is 533.2 miles, after which it can be refueled at any gas station in minutes. The Model X’s range is only 238 to 295 miles, after which the minimum recharge time is 30 minutes for only a 54% charge at a specially configured quick charge station not available in most areas. A full recharge at a conventional charging station can take up to 82 hours and 53 minutes.

Brakes and Stopping

In an emergency stopping situation, many drivers don’t press the brakes with enough force to stop the vehicle in the shortest distance. The RX Series has a standard brake assist system to detect emergency braking situations (by how hard and how quickly the brake pedal is pressed) and then automatically apply maximum braking immediately in order to help prevent a collision. The Model X doesn’t offer a brake assist feature.

Tires and Wheels

The RX Series has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Model X; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The RX Series has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Model X’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For better maneuverability, the RX Series’ turning circle is 1.9 feet tighter than the Model X’s (38.8 feet vs. 40.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the RX Series has a 2 inches greater minimum ground clearance than the Model X (8.2 vs. 6.2 inches), allowing the RX Series to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The Lexus RX Series may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 650 to 1050 pounds less than the Tesla Model X.

The RX Series is 5.8 inches shorter than the Model X, making the RX Series easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The RX Series is 6.9 inches narrower than the Model X, making the RX Series easier to handle and maneuver in traffic.

Passenger Space

The RX Series has 2.9 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front hip room and .8 inches more rear shoulder room than the Model X.

Cargo Capacity

The RX Series’ standard rear seats fold to accommodate long and bulky cargo. The Model X 6-Passenger doesn’t offer folding rear seats.

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the RX Series’ optional rear seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Model X doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just holding your hand near the emblem on the trunk can open the RX Series’ available liftgate, leaving your hands completely free. The Model X doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

A maintenance reminder system is standard on the RX Series to save the owner time and money by calculating maintenance intervals for oil changes based on odometer mileage. This takes the guesswork out of keeping your vehicle in top condition and helps it last longer. Tesla doesn’t offer a maintenance reminder on the Model X.

Ergonomics

The RX Series’ standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Model X doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The RX Series offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Model X doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

If the windows are left open on the RX Series the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Model X can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the RX Series has a standard rear wiper. The Model X doesn’t offer a rear wiper.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The RX Series offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Model X doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The RX Series’ standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Model X doesn’t even offer side window demisters, so the driver may have to wipe the windows from the outside to gain side vision.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the RX Series has standard extendable sun visors. The Model X doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the RX Series keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Model X doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The RX Series has a standard center folding armrest for the rear passengers. A center armrest helps make rear passengers more comfortable. The Model X doesn’t offer a middle row seat center armrest.

The RX Series offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Model X doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

The RX Series is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Model X doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the RX Series owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the RX Series with a number “5” insurance rate while the Model X is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the RX Series is less expensive to operate than the Model X because typical repairs cost less on the RX Series than the Model X, including $173 less for front struts.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Lexus RX Series, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Lexus RX Series outsold the Tesla Model X by over four to one during 2018.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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