Tesla Model X Wins Prestigious "Golden Steering Wheel" Award for Best SUV

Tesla Model X 1 photo
Photo: Tesla Motors
The Model X has had a pretty rough life, but it seems all its hardships are behind it at this point and it's finally beginning to reap some of the rewards for trying to push the envelope further than any other car on the road.
First, it was the late market entry generated, as it later turned out, by issues with the falcon wing doors supplier. Then, the same audacious door system was behind the car's biggest problems, but not before some buyers complained about visual distortions caused by the panoramic windshield.

The electric front doors weren't strangers to malfunctions either, so it's safe to say the Model X has offered a steep learning curve for Tesla's customer support during this past year, but the company seems to have acquited itself honorably. According to a blog post, "Model X owners have seen a 92% reduction in reliability concerns over the past year. Nearly 20,000 owners are now experiencing the quickest, smartest, and safest SUV ever, with more than 90% of owners saying they would buy Model X again.”

That was achieved by a series of hardware and software updates that have brought the SUV to the level it should have been at when it first came out the gates in Fremont. However, Tesla does have the habit of rushing out products and fixing them on the go, so its customers are used to this business model.

It would seem they are not alone in praising the electric SUV. After the readers of the German AutoBild publication from over 20 European countries had cast their votes, the Model X came out in first place in the "Best SUV" category, defeating other models such as the Jaguar F-Pace and Skoda Kodiaq.

The magazine readers are said to have appreciated the futuristic interior, the falcon wing doors, and, of course, the car's ability to accelerate to 62 mph (100 km/h) in just 3.2 seconds (for the P100D version) - all while still providing plenty of practicality.

Had the vote been cast earlier on, we doubt the Model X would have had the same success. After one year of improvements, though, the SUV is closer to reaching its full potential, and that was demonstrated by this award. To mark the occasion, Tesla released a list of the improvements made, and it's a long one:

Falcon Wing Doors

- 2x improvement in door sensor object detection
- 25% improvement in opening/closing speed
- Dynamic profile adjustment to indoor mode when roof sensor detects a low ceiling
- 83% reduction in customer-reported issues with door opening/closing

Powered front doors and remote keyless entry

- Refined keyfob detection for smart automatic front door behavior as you approach, enter, or leave the car
- 8x improvement in keyfob battery life; automated alert from the car if the battery gets low
- Several improvements to power front door movement and latching system, leading to 51% reduction in door issues and improved performance on hills
- Wind noise customer-reported issues reduced by 22% with a combination of hardware modifications and fit/finish improvements

Interior Temperature Management

-Introduced Cabin Overheat Protection by managing the maximum interior temperature of Model X through software
-Improved HVAC performance by increasing maximum fan speed with an over-the-air software update

Second row seats

- Multiple over-the-air updates have enhanced seat motion, obstacle detection, pitch calibration, and usability
- Software enhancements have added intelligent behaviors between seats, adjusting spacing differently, for example, depending on which rows are occupied

Infotainment System

- Touchscreen and Bluetooth connectivity improvements via over-the-air software update
- Largest user interface overhaul since the launch of Model S in over-the-air Software 8.0 rollout
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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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