Model X Seatgate

Are the Second Row Seats Over Designed?

Are the Second Row Seats Over Designed?

Turns out Tesla has created a little controversy with the second row seats in the Model X.   A number of Model X reservation holders have publicly stated they withdrew their reservations because they cannot fold down the second row seats to make a flat cargo area.

In my last post I wrote that I was not impressed with the Model X for my own use now or in the future as it was designed too much of a Mini-Van / SUV for a large family with young children. Tesla took the trouble to offer two seating options:  a seven seater as shown in the photo above and a six seater without the middle seat.

Elon Musk has a five children.  Most families in the United States and in develop countries typically have on average two children, and the average family in the United States in 2014 is 3.13 persons.

The Model X design took great pains to make the second row seats very comfortable.

“Model X comfortably seats seven people in three rows. Every seat is the best seat in the house, but the second row seats are a work of art. Mounted on a single post and independently reclining, each second row seat is designed to maximize passenger comfort, legroom, under seat storage and access to the third row. The third row seats fold flat when not in use and the second row seats lean forward and out of the way for even more cargo area.”

I don’t know why Tesla emphasized the comfort of second row seats.  As a child I never remembered thinking a seat was uncomfortable, and I took many road trips.  And when taking business clients out for lunch, the drive is so short, the second row seats do not need to be a work of art.  No one has ever complained about the seat comfort in my Model S, although I have seen a handful of forum posts on the subject.  My Highlander has a third row seat option that was used only once.  I’d be more than happy to never have a vehicle with a third row seat and save the cost and weight.

A huge part of the appeal of a SUV is the ability to occasionally carry large objects inside the car.  Almost everyone goes shopping and buys a large object in a box or a tall item that needs to be brought home.  For anyone who enjoys working in and around their home or garden, there are a variety of tools and plants that are much easier to bring home with a large flat surface.  For outdoor enthusiasts like myself, I much prefer to carry skis, snowboards, bikes, surfboards, and paddle boards within the car and not use a rack.  And although uncommon, having a nice flat surface to sleep on the one or two nights a year is really nice.

The bottom line is that the X really needs to be a SUV, which stands for Sport Utility Vehicle.  Without a large flat cargo surface, the Model X lacks this Utility for a number of buyers.  Hopefully Tesla will respond within a reasonable amount of time and create another seating option that allows the second seat to lay flat.


5 thoughts on “Model X Seatgate

  1. I wouldn’t hold your breath on a new option that isn’t just removing one of the seats. I think those are pretty ingrained in the design of the Model X. I agree though, they should have been able to fold flat.

  2. I have one word for you with regard to comfy back seats….CHINA. Definitely pandering to the Chinese which typically have drivers & owners in the backseat. They are a new consumer to be reckoned with.

    • Ah, the Model X as a limo in a very polluted country.

      How big is that market vs. those who want to occasionally carry large objects?

  3. I did not buy the Model S because of its bad second row. I have a small child, and either my wife or I have to sit in the back seats (entertainment, food, clean up when the kid throws up and 1000 other reasons). In the MS second row, seats are just too low to sit comfortably. For me, a better second row is probably the most important reason the Model X attractive to me.

    • Your the perfect market for a Model X. A family with very young children. Makes sense that cushy seats are comfortable if the an adult will spend a significant amount of time in them.

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