As Tesla fans await the release of the Model X later this month, much speculation has gone forth about its cargo capacity, middle-row seats’ folding ability – and ultimate utility of the new 7-passenger electric crossover.

Images posted this week by buyers configuring their car from Tesla’s online Design Studio show the X holding a bicycle and a load of boxes. These images answer some questions, but not absolutely settled are several questions including about the middle seat row.

The anxiety some have expressed had one Model X reservation holder say tongue in cheek the beginnings of a “Seatgate” are in the making as people speculate without full info to settle questions.


The new images are nearly bootlegged, as Tesla did not post them publicly and is saving news for its pending reveal and deliveries. The images may have been added to assuage some concerns, and were not shown even to some first buyers who were allowed last week to configure their $132,000-plus Signatures. The images are only available to paid reservation holders now being permitted to design their car.

Once they finalize configuration, Tesla closes buyers’ access to the Design Studio and removes their ability to further pore over the info they were shown to place the order.

SEE ALSO: Tesla Invites First Buyers To Configure Their Model X

Ultimately, the automaker undoubtedly wants everyone to be happy, and love the car, and is doing all it can to please customers within constraints. Its customers however, are wanting to know more now, and are going to great lengths to answer their open questions.

The degree of curiosity over the vehicle is itself news, and it’s a bit of a phenomenon. With more than 30,000 reservation holders there is a large body of folks with a vested interest in myriad Model X questions.

Buyers have waited as long as three-and-a-half years with reservations as high as $40,000 in the hopes this will be an amazing new design, which of course, should include marvelous space utilization, or at least equal other crossovers costing half as much.

Of concern in dozens of pages of forum threads is whether the seats fold down flat, or merely tuck forward out of the way, and ultimately, whether this will be great or disappointing or somewhere in the middle.

MX guesses

At this point, the greater consensus based on images provided and posted is the middle row seats do not fold flat to create an ultimate large square cargo hold such as with an Acura MDX or BMW X6. Instead, they appear to angle forward to give additional room to the floor with the third row folded flat.

Questions unanswered by Tesla include what is the largest dimension of a single box for both Model S and Model X, and what is the volume of space for variable sized items.

One ideal is represented by this this 2014 Acura MDX posted to the forum. Model X appears to tackle the space utilization issue differently. Will the design work better? That's what people are waiting to settle.

One ideal is represented by this this 2014 Acura MDX posted to the Tesla Motors Club forum. Model X appears to tackle the space utilization issue differently. Will the design work better? That’s what people are waiting to settle.

Beyond mere curiosity, it has been observed one reason people are concerned about interior space is the falcon wing doors prevent a traditional roof rack which allows more things to be packed above.

An optional trailer-hitch type cargo carrier or bike or ski rack is seen as the work-around here, or even a full trailer could add utility to the vehicle.

But compared to an ordinary minivan, the Model X does give up a roof rack for those to whom this matters.

X skiing

In the absence of unequivocal information from Tesla, forum posters have alternately expressed doubt or assurances that the Model X will exceed expectations and not fall short.

People are going so far as to mock up sketches, post online images, estimate cubic feet volume by closely examining a photo of the car equipped with 22-inch wheels in proportion to the open hatch space, and more.

Among fears and concerns expressed have been those who speak their mind unfiltered, and who may jump to premature conclusions without solid evidence. That is what happens in a nearly free-for-all forum. Following are some snippets out of a 52-page and counting thread.

Never mind that the bike is laid on its bendable-gearing, this is one image, that Tesla provided to answer questions..

Never mind that the expensive carbon fiber road bike is laid on its bendable-gearing that could mean damage and faulty shifting to the bike. This picture is all about the car, and is one image that Tesla provided to answer questions.

Expressions of Concern

Anyone else worried that it looks like the second row needs to be moved up a lot to get the third row folded down? If the headrests are indeed not removable this could be a big hassle and potentially remove UTILITY from its CUV. – akordz.

Wow – that’s surprisingly little space. So this really is just a jacked up Model S and not actually the bigger and more flexible SUV that many of us have been hoping for. The second picture clearly show that no one can sit in the second row there
I can’t wait to see the comparisons of actually usable space between a Model S with seats folded down and the X with second row squished forward. You appear to have a little more vertical space but about the same horizontal space.
Again. Wow. I’m getting ready for a massive disappointment. – dirkhh

This is a HUGE disappointment. I guess Elon’s going to eat his own words here. There’s absolutely nothing spectacular about the 2nd row seats. What a hype for nothing. – yobigd20

As I mentioned to someone else, I’m one that was more concerned about being forced to get performance over seat folding/storage space, but these renderings actually have me a bit concerned. There looks to be less utility than a Model S there (especially since to get that space it looks like the second row tilts down, so not like you could actually still have some use for that row).
Also looks like the third row may have the next gen bolsters causing it not to fold fully flat.- AnOutsider

Reality distortion field, anyone?
But just in the interest of full disclosure – I’ll be holding on to my reservation until I can test drive the real thing.
Because let’s face it – the Model S has many shortcomings. Yet it’s the most amazing car (err, two cars) that I’ve ever owned.
So maybe I will convince myself that I really didn’t need all this space and that the falcon doors make sense and all that…
I posted the two pictures in the other thread, but I’ll do it here, too, because I think it so sums up what I’m thinking:


That is a point I’ve visualized for a while … thinking how they may believe this is better than folding flat because you can put tall things there. That’s one way of looking at it…
[update: Note sure why they didn’t hang that front wheel over the edge of the 3rd seat. Looks like there is 1.5′ there.]
I think because they don’t want to rub people’s noses in the fact that this isn’t a flat surface as we were lead to believe… – scottf200

Expressions of Optimism

Well, seems to have plenty of space for my needs. Then, again, I don’t go surfing here in MN.
I didn’t realize people who routinely haul things that wouldn’t fit in this Model X configuration would use something other than a pick-up to do so. Learn something new everyday, I guess. – JohnSnowNW

Nice. Looks like photos to me. 2nd row appears to slide all the way forward but not under the front seats. This may be the step in solution for accessing the 3rd row too. This solution does allow for 3 child seats to be used in the 2nd row without block access to the 3rd row. – commasign

I really think people don’t realize that the non folding seat design is potentially better then the traditional. As I mentioned before, I’m confident Tesla laid out both configurations. Then they went to department stores and funiture stores and Home Depot etc and obtained logs of what people bought. Then they experimented and shove all these items into the X testing both configurations and to their surprise, the final non folding design was more efficient. People here may disagree but I’m sure if they could compare the 2 side by side, the nay Sayers would also realize that Tesla’s final layout does in fact allow you more versatility. There has never been an SUV like the X. Nothing with a roof opening and deep floors to load things. This allows for so many different things to be stored that could not be stored with a higher floor when the seats are folded. I really think they could have put in folding seats if they wanted as we have seen plenty examples on this thread of folding seats with in-seat seat belts that are not anchored to the frame. So I really believe they put these seats in cause they found it had more utility. – leh22a

I made a decision last night while laying in bed. It’s absurdly obvious so please excuse my posting it. I’ll continue to follow and participate here, but I’m not going to even remotely worry about a decision until I’m asked to configure. At that time, who knows what the options will be? The most important realization was this – if I don’t like the offering, I can pass, and that doesn’t mean I’ll never own a MX. It means I may have to wait a bit longer for the MX that I want. Again, I realize this is simple (and it’s an unfair example to the current Sigs) but something for others to also consider.

That’s the attitude. People tend to stress themselves unnecessarily. – CarlK

Answers Pending

Answers to the curious are coming soon. The first production versions of Model X will be handed over at Tesla’s Fremont factory Sept. 29, CEO Elon Musk has tweeted.

It does appear the Model X is unlike any other crossover in design, which adds to its one-of-a-kind all-electric powertrain.

Tesla is hoping the vehicle will be as well received as the Model S which has wowed reviewers, and at this point there is no solid evidence it will not, but many will rest easier when unanswered questions are settled.