Tesla Model X is crowned as number one selling battery electric SUV in United States and second best overall in EV market with little competition, while Toyota RAV4 is enthroned as the best selling SUV overall. A comparison between two leaders should be intriguing.
Tesla Model X is assembled in mere two variants, namely Long Range and Performance, both equipped with 100 kWh battery pack. Toyota RAV4 production range is vast in comparison, with a total of 10 variants in its lineup, out of which 4 are in hybrid. Another plug-in hybrid model with 8.8 kWh battery is scheduled for sale in summer of 2020.
Energy Cost (per 100 miles)
Tesla Model X is EPA rated for energy consumption of 35 kWh per 100 miles for Long Range version and 43 kWh for Performance version. Since this vehicle is mostly popular in California, the electricity rates from Southern California Edison are used for calculation which is primary electricity provider for most of Southern California. Multiplying energy consumption by price of electricity results in true energy cost which for Long Range version is $7.7 during super off peak hours, $8.4 off-peak and $11.2 in peak hours. For the Performance version the cost is $9.46 during super off-peak hours, $10.32 off-peak and $13.76 in peak hours. Supercharger cost is taken from Tesla’s official calculator available at tesla.com/supercharger.
Toyota RAV is EPA rated for 30 mpg for gas version and its hybrid is rated 40 mpg. According to American Automobile Association, also known as AAA, the price of gasoline is $3.539 in the state of California at the time of this writing. To calculate energy cost, first divide gas price by mpg and then multiply the result with 100. The result is $11.8 for gas and $8.85 for hybrid.
The winter electricity rates are 22 cents during super off peak hours from 8 AM to 4 PM, 24 cents in off-peak hours from 9 PM to 8 AM and 32 cents during peak hours from 4 PM to 9 AM. In summer, the peak hour rate jumps to 37 cents per kWh unit.
Model X with its 100 kWh battery offers up to 328 miles range, while RAV4 hybrid with 40 mpg and a 14.5 gallon fuel tank can go up to 580 miles without refueling.
Model X Performance offers stupendous 762 hp and Long Range 518 hp. RAV4’s up to 219 hp pale in comparison.
Model X Performance offers jaw dropping 840 pounds feet of torque while RAV4 only offers 184 lb-ft.
Model X Performance zooms from naught to sixty miles per hour in just 2.7 seconds while Long Range does the same in 4.4 seconds. RAV4 hybrid, according to Car and Driver, accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 7.4 seconds.
Top speed is electronically limited in both vehicles, which is 163 mph in Model X and 120 mph in RAV4.
Model X features superior towing capacity of up to 5,000 pounds but will run out of battery juice a lot quicker than EPA range. RAV4 can tow up to 3,500 lb. with its Adventure variant.
Toyota RAV4 has ground clearance of up to 8.6 inch for its XLE Premium, Adventure and Limited models. Model X has 5.4 inch clearance which pale in comparison and is similar to 5.1 inch clearance of Chrysler Pacifica, a minivan.
With just 5.4 inch of ground clearance, Tesla Model X is almost incapable of going off-road. Youtube is littered with videos of people attempting to go off-road with Model X, some failing miserably, some losing trim pieces on the way. It is surprising that this vehicle is even classified as an SUV and not a mini-van.
Toyota’s RAV4’s 8.6 inch ground clearance is ample enough to at least do basic off-roading. Additionally, all gas AWD models come standard with Multi-Terrain Select feature where you can choose between four modes for enhanced traction, namely; Mud & Sand, Rock & Dirt, Snow and Normal mode.
Model X has total cargo volume of 88 cubic feet, but it includes 8 cubit feet frunk or a front-loading trunk.
Tesla Model X is overall a bigger vehicle with 198.3 inch length, 78.7 inch width and 66 inch height. Toyota RAV4 has length of 180.9 inch, width of 73 inch and height of 67 inch.
RAV4 is assembled in multiple configurations, for example the option of AWD and FWD for each model, therefore to keep the comparison readable, only LE FWD with 3,370 lbs is considered which is lowest and Limited Hybrid with 3,800 lbs which is highest. Model X is much heavier vehicle mainly because of its larger size and 100 kWh battery pack.
Tesla Model X base model with starting price of $84,990 and Performance version with price of $104,990 is 132 percent and 187 percent more expensive respectively as compared to the top of the line Toyota RAV4 Limited Hybrid which is priced at $36,630.
After five years in production, Tesla Model X has failed to capture any significant luxury SUV market share, but among its battery electric rivals its the best selling SUV. Its slow growth streak has come to an end in 2019 when only 19,225 vehicles were sold compared to 26,100 units in previous year, a mammoth drop of 26 percent. Meanwhile, Toyota RAV4 has enjoyed constant growth for last 8 years and has emerged as best selling SUV overall.
The Tesla Model X offers a smooth and contemporary interior style made with high-end materials, but is well known for poor build quality and lackluster fit and finish. As compared to other luxury SUVs of its class, Model X boasts cavernous cargo, but its passenger space is just ordinary. Its infotainment system with 17 inch touch screen is probably one of the best in the world.
RAV4 also features a modern interior design, but suffers from mediocre infotainment system, and a very small screen as compared to Tesla. Toyota has announced that newer 2020 models will see an upgrade to Android Auto compatibility, which does make it a bit more attractive than before.
Driver Assistance System
Tesla Model X comes standard with powerful Autopilot system featuring lane centering, adaptive cruise control, self-parking, auto lane changing and steering on highways, and the ability to summon the car to and from a garage or parking spot.
Toyota RAV4 comes standard with Toyota Safety Sense™. It offers features like pre-collision automatic braking, lane departure warning with the ability of auto steering to keep vehicle in lane, auto high beam, road sign detection and adaptive cruise control.