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Tesla Model S Review

Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S
Tesla Model S

1/10

Tesla Model S

2/10

Tesla Model S

3/10

Tesla Model S

4/10

Tesla Model S

5/10

Tesla Model S

6/10

Tesla Model S

7/10

Tesla Model S

8/10

Tesla Model S

9/10

Tesla Model S

10/10

1 / 10

heycar review

      Launch year
      2016
      Body type
      Premium
      Fuel type
      EV
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
Revolutionary, establishment-disrespecting electric car

Best bits

  • Even the Long Range model offers supercar-like acceleration
  • Huge potential range from both models, and a free (for now) national charging network
  • Super-cool touchscreen tech and wireless updates

Not so great

  • For all the interior’s cool tech, it’s lacking in quality for the price
  • The cult-ish nature of some of the buyers
  • Reliability isn’t what it could be

Read by

Tesla Model S Left Side View

Overall verdict

Tesla Model S Driver's Seat

On the inside

Tesla Model S Rear Side View

Driving

Tesla Model S Charging Port

How much does it cost to run

Tesla Model S Left Side View

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"Quite simply Telsa caught the established, legacy car makers napping. And they’re still all struggling to catch up with the Model S."

Tesla Model S Left Side View

Tesla signalled its electric production car ambitions with its Roadster, an electric model spun off Lotus Elise underpinnings, and few took them too seriously. That changed when the Model S arrived, this revolutionary saloon throwing out convention, and revealing all the existing car manufacturers weren’t being particularly truthful when they said making electric cars with usable range is very difficult. 


It helps if your new car company is backed by one of the richest people on the planet, Tesla being a PayPal founder’s pet project, and for all his, and Tesla’s detractors, it’s difficult not to be impressed with what it’s achieved in such a short period of time. The Model S was, until the arrival of the Model 3 in 2019, the company’s mainstay. It was introduced in its native USA in 2012, and arrived in right-hand drive form in 2014. 


Sensibly, Tesla hasn’t just created a car, but it’s also built a sizeable Supercharger network, which, combined to the Model S’s impressive range, makes the Model S an electric car that really does bin the preconceived electric car compromises of hopeless long-distance ability and slow charging. Early Model S customers benefited from free charging for life too, this briefly removed, but having been added back to the Model S for the time being.


That’s been done to accelerate sales, which have slowed now the cheaper Model 3 has arrived, the Model S is very much in the luxury car price sphere. There are a few choices with the Model S, either the Long Range or Performance options, the Long Range offering a WLTP tested range of 379 miles, the Performance dropping that back to 367 miles.


But adding the option of Ludicrous Mode, which allows the Model S to accelerate to 60mph in 2.3 seconds (62mph likely to add a tenth to that), that number better than super and even hypercars. Even Porsche’s Taycan Turbo S, Tesla’s only true high performance competitor takes longer to reach the benchmark sprint velocity, though you do have to go through quite a procedure for the Model S to achieve that incredible party trick. 


Not a car that’s defined by convention then, Tesla not bound by legacy manufacturing and what’s come before it, and that’s evident not just in the revolutionary drivetrain, but also the interior and infotainment. 


Get in the Model S and it feels like you accelerated at Ludicrous Mode speeds into the future, the centre dash dominated by a huge touchscreen, which operates pretty much everything. 


If there’s a complaint about the interior, it’s that for all the cool tech, it feels a bit low rent in regards to materials. Buyers seem to overlook that, happy to be driving the future, today. Indeed, the Model S, and the Tesla brand attracting a fanaticism borders on the obsessive, blind to the Model S’s imperfections.


It’s difficult not to be impressed with what Tesla has achieved, being hugely disruptive to the established premium car makers and disproving that electric cars are hugely compromised and niche vehicles only. The Model S isn’t perfect, by any means, but it’s still leagues ahead of its direct rivals when it comes to range. 


The Model S will go down in history as the first credible, usable, low compromise electric vehicle, that it’s still ahead of its rivals underlines just how revolutionary it remains.

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Is the Tesla Model S right for you?

The Model S really is an electric car for anybody, assuming, of course, you’ve not got the insignificant outlay required to buy one. Its pricing puts it in the premium and luxury marketplace, however, it’s not constricted by usual electric car foibles of low potential range, it's genuinely able to cover long distances, with that Supercharger network offering sizeable coverage throughout most of the UK and Europe. 


That makes it a real alternative to cars like high-end performance and luxury saloons, whether they’re powered by petrol, diesel or hybrids of either, as well as the small collection of pure electric rivals. 


It might be the oldest model in the Tesla line-up, but it still looks fresh, gaining a slightly new look in 2016, and Tesla evolving the model gradually over time. If you’re a business driver looking to save money, or just an environmentally concerned driver with a good budget, then the Model S might be just the thing.


What’s the best Tesla Model S model/engine to choose?

In line with its defying the norm, Tesla keeps its Model S choices simple, giving you either the choice of the Performance model, or the Long Range model. 


That Long Range has a 379 mile range, the Performance losing 32 miles from that for its greater accelerative ability. You’ll nearly bend time with the acceleration in the Long Range model, so you’re unlikely to really feel short changed if you opt for it, the additional 30 miles or so potential is more useful in real world use. That’s the one we’d opt for, especially as you’ll save yourself £14,000 in the process.


What other cars are similar to the Tesla Model S?

The closest rival is Porsche’s Taycan, and that it’s taken Porsche seven years to come up with a credible, direct electric car rival underlines how far ahead of the game Tesla really was. And remains, when you consider pure EV (Electric Vehicle) rivals can be counted on one hand, and none are able to deliver anything like the real-world range of the Tesla. 


You could try Jaguar’s I-Pace, or the Mercedes-Benz EQC or the Audi’s e-tron, these premium manufacturers all perpetuating old-school sensibilities by being wedded to the SUV body style, which sell so well with internal combustion powertrains.

Learn more

Tesla Model S Driver's Seat

On the inside

Tesla Model S Rear Side View

Driving

Tesla Model S Charging Port

How much does it cost to run

Tesla Model S Left Side View

Prices, versions and specification

Looking for other Tesla cars?

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