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2013 Tesla Model S

Overview
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2013 Tesla Model S Review

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Why don't people buy electric cars? Perhaps elevated vehicle costs, charging infrastructure challenges, stunted battery development, and limited driving range have something to do with it. The 2013 Model S electric sedan is Tesla Motors' attempt to tackle those issues head-on. Unlike the Nissan Leaf or Ford Focus electric the Model S's structure was purpose-built with electrification in mind. This clean-slate approach allowed Tesla to create a sedan that handles well and accelerates like a theme park ride while providing surprisingly abundant passenger and luggage space. The Tesla Model S isn't just a better electric car – it is a radical reinterpretation of automotive fundamentals. Though recharge times remain an issue, the Model S is the first electric car to make a combustion-free future seem desirable.

You'll Like This Car If...

Sure, the Tesla Model S dazzles environmentalists and fans of energy independence, but the sleek sedan's appeal goes much deeper than that. Play with the slick 17-inch infotainment screen, fill the cavernous cargo areas with gear, or just floor the accelerator and, provided you have a pulse, we're guessing you'll be impressed.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Making the Tesla Model S your primary mode of transportation would be unwise, or at least inconvenient, if your living situation excludes the installation of a home-based charging station or you regularly partake in long distance travel.

What's New for 2013

For 2013, the Model S now has the ability to receive over the air software updates, providing buyers with new features and services as they become available.

Driving the Model S

Driving Impressions The Tesla Model S is the antithesis of a boring electric car. Even in slowest form – the 60-kWh version – the Model S accelerates from standstill to 60-miles per...

hour in a mere 5.9 seconds. The pace quickens further in the 85-kWh model, peaking at a supercar-like 4.4 second 0-to-60 time in the raciest 85-kWh Performance model. Matching the thrill of seamless and instant electric thrust are agile handling enabled by the vehicle's low center of gravity and a quick steering ratio that is fun while also hindering stability at speed. Unlike some electric cars, the Model S cruises effortlessly at freeway speeds, easily overtaking slower traffic when the need arises. Lacking an engine, the cabin is oddly quiet when the vehicle is in motion, an initially strange but quickly appreciated trait.

17-INCH INFOTAINMENT SCREEN
The Model S's standard 17-inch touch screen is remarkable and not just due to sheer size. The screen is easily reconfigurable, bright, vivid, intuitive, and reacts to taps, pinch and drag gestures with snappy immediacy. It is almost certainly the best in-vehicle infotainment system available.

REAR-FACING JUMP SEATS
Like wood-paneled wagons of yore, the Model S can be equipped with rear-facing jump seats that boost total seating capacity from five to seven. The smallish jump seats feature 5-point seatbelts and make fine supplemental seating for children eager to taunt whomever their parents have just passed.

2013 Tesla Model S Details
Interior

Absent a gasoline engine, the Tesla Model S boasts a staggering amount of cargo and passenger space. In addition to a sizable rear cargo area, the Model S's hood hides a supplemental front trunk, or "frunk" as Tesla calls it. Passenger accommodations are ample in the front seat, becoming progressively tighter as you move rearward. Headroom in the second row can be tight for taller passengers, and the optional rear-facing jump seats are sized for children only. Though some areas could be improved, material quality is generally good throughout the simple modern cabin.

Exterior
2013 Tesla Model S photo

Tesla calls the 2013 Model S a sedan, but it's really more of a hatchback, marked by a wide rear hatch that leads to a spacious cargo area. However it's classified, we think that Tesla has crafted a handsome, restrained shape made all the more appealing by its impressively slick 0.24 drag co-efficient. Adding to the wind-cheating design are retractable door handles that automatically emerge when the key is nearby. Ride quality is generally good, even with the optional 21-inch performance tire and wheel package, but if ride comfort were our top priority we'd probably stick with the standard 19-inch wheels.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Standard Model S features include 12-way-adjustable heated front seats, cloth/synthetic-leather upholstery, eight airbags, a 7-speaker 200-watt audio system that lacks a CD player but includes two USB inputs, and a 17-inch screen handling climate, entertainment and vehicle controls. Interestingly, the Model S also lacks any sort of "ignition" or start button – just buckle up with the key in your pocket, put your foot on the brake, pull the gear selector into drive, and the car is ready to go. Black or white exterior paint is offered free of charge but for any other color expect to pay extra.

Optional Equipment

If driving a vision of the future isn't interesting enough, consider indulging in options like a panoramic glass roof, Nappa leather, a 580-watt 12-speaker premium audio system, or a Tech Package that bundles features like HID headlights, navigation, a backup camera and a power rear liftgate. An active air suspension is offered as well, which adapts to current road conditions and allows the vehicle to raise itself to clear steep driveways or lower itself for improved aerodynamics at speed. Lastly, an optional wall connector allows for charging at home while a second on-vehicle charger helps shorten recharge times.

Under the Hood

The 2013 Model S lineup is defined by a battery hierarchy. The 60-kWh, 85-kWh and 85-kWh Performance models each offer increasing levels of driving range, power and performance. All versions feature rear-wheel drive and an 8-year battery warranty with varying mileage limitations. Tesla is also in the process of constructing a network of "Superchargers" strategically placed along heavily trafficked corridors, giving owners of 85-kWh and properly equipped 60-kWh Model S's the ability to quickly replenish their batteries to 50-percent charge in 30 minutes. By exponentially speeding recharge times Tesla's Supercharging network hopes to make pure-electric long-distance travel a reality.

60-kWh
302 horsepower @ 5,000-8,000 rpm
317 lb-ft of torque @ 0-5,000 rpm
Range 230 miles @ 55 mph

85-kWh
362 horsepower @ 6,000-9,500 rpm
325 lb-ft of torque @ 0-5,800 rpm
Range 300 miles @ 55 mph

85-kWh Performance
416 horsepower @ 5,000-8,600 rpm
443 lb-ft of torque @ 05,100 rpm
Range 300 miles @ 55 mph

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2013 Tesla Model S Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.6
Out of 10

Based on 49 Ratings for the 2013 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.4/10
    Quality
    9.7/10
  • Reliability
    9.8/10
    Performance
    9.8/10
  • Comfort
    9.5/10
    Styling
    9.6/10

Truly the best vehicle for the money ever!

By on Thursday, June 25, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Instant torque, quietness, handling, no pollution."

Cons: "Need more cup holders."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Perfect combination of Power and Tranquility! Handles exceptionally well. No pollution inside house (and for the environment) dramatically improves quality of life. This car is way too inexpensive comparing to other cars in its price range."

WHEN A DREAM BECOMES REALITY

By on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "50 characters is not enough."

Cons: "Tires last about 25,000 miles or less."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Do the math... *Gas was $700/mo... now zero. *No engine to maintain. *Electric bill before Model S was $250 and rising. *Solar panels and night charging... *electric bill is now $150. *Price of a 400 mile round trip via Superchargers = $4 [$0.11/kw to refill the battery at home after the journey.] *Time savings not going to gas stations, oil changes, service. *72,000 miles and 30 months later we love our Model S almost as much as the day we got it."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Fantastic vehicle. Only selling due to NYC move

By on Monday, June 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "lLuxury, economy and quick to drive"

Cons: "OK, must be charged, but so what? Easier than gas"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is a great 60 battery Tesla. Garaged and low mileage with sunroof and lots of extras. I included the free supercharging package when purchased so that applies as does balance of dealer warranty. The only reason I'm selling is because we are moving to New York City so there is no place to charge or garage the car. What a shame! This is a bargain for someone!"

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Love this car

By on Saturday, June 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "VERY fun to drive. Safe and longest driving range"

Cons: "Seats are a bit spartan."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I drive over 80 miles every day in ATL bumper to bumper traffic and this car handles everything Atlanta throws at it. The automatic cruise control has saved me from being in several accidents. The supercharger network is just about perfect for me driving to Auburn, around in ATL and Decatur there is plenty of superchargers available. Only wish there was 1 in Augusta. Supercharger charge rate from 50 miles range to 200 is about 45 minutes and it is free. I have the Tesla in-home 80 amp charger installed too. I just hook it up when I get home and when I need to go somewhere the Tesla is charged up ready to go. Power usage for us is about $60 a month driving 80-100 miles a day. WAY cheaper than the $400 a month in gasoline expense! Tesla Needs to have a better console although upgrade is available for $600 which I'll be installing. Tesla needs a better standard stereo and I hear the upgraded stereo is not much better. However the stereo is better than what was in my Volvos. We also have a leaf which we enjoy for short hops but the range is only useful for driving to work and back (barely). Driving it always leaves me wishing to take the Tesla instead so we'll probably be buying a second one soon."

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Most fantastic automobile ever created!

By on Monday, April 20, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 11,500

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Absolutely fantastic driving experience!"

Cons: "No rear seat cup holders"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This has got to be one of the best, if not the very best, automobile ever created for everyday driving! I will never go back to a combustible engine automobile."

5 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Never want an internal combustion engine again.

By on Tuesday, April 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Silent smooth quick acceleration with zero odor"

Cons: "no arm rest in back seat"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The Tesla is the car that I hope all other manufacturers emulate in the future. It's clean, very quick and silent. It's cool looks and reputation turns heads and invites inquiry which is kinda fun. Tesla treats it's owners to free features that improve the car in periodic downloads automatically, free tire rotation for life (which is just about all the maintenance required for a Tesla) and provides free charging at their ever growing charging station locations. The car exceeds all my expectations as does the company."

8 people out of 12 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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