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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 45 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

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."

1 person out of 3 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."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Most amazing thing I've ever owned

By on Wednesday, February 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,380

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: "It is a perfect vehicle"

Cons: "No center console to speak of; no lights on mirror"

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

"Besides being the most fun driving experience I've ever had, I love everything about my car, the company, its ingenuity, its promise for the future, the car's elegant and clever design... you name it. It doesn't even take itself too seriously (with controls going to 11). Really, I just love my car and I'm feeling quite sad and nostalgic about selling it - but I bought the P85D so it must go... It's not a natural love :)"

19 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Most awesome car ever

By on Thursday, February 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

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: "Super fun, sporty, sexy, advanced, innovative"

Cons: "Bit pricey, but I've owned more expensive cars"

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

"I've owned a lot of cars in my life, but Tesla Model S blows me away. It's the most amazing, technological, safe, and innovative car on the road. And did I mention the huge 17 inch touchscreen!? Love plugging it in in the garage at night and for pennies on the dollar of the price of gas, it is refreshed every night. I will never go to a gas station again and LOVE that! I hate how gas companies manipulate prices and I don't want a part of that ever again. The car is super fast with instant torque- something only an electric car like this can deliver. It's like taking off on a roller coaster when you punch the accelerator! Every mile is fun to drive. The free for life Superchargers are great for road trips- they add nearly a full battery range in 30-45 minutes while you stop on Interstates across the country. Yes, I've driven from CA to NY for FREE and love it!"

13 people out of 23 found this review helpful

Best of the best!

By on Thursday, February 05, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000

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: "Great vehicle all around, 100% electric."

Cons: "Need more tesla charging stations in the midsouth."

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

Live better!

"I have had many nice vehicles in the past, and I can honestly say this is an outstanding automobile. I can sit and brag how nice this car is but still will not be able to do justic. In fact just go test drive one. If you can afford one you will buy one."

12 people out of 20 found this review helpful

Live better!

The best car, hands down - 90 mpg highway and city

By on Thursday, January 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"The best car, hands down - 90 mpg highway and city. 250 mile range on charge. 2.5 ton car (heavier than a Mercedes or full-sized truck), but can go 0-60 in 4 seconds--that's the electric power-train pulling 450 lbs of torque. You fill it... like a rocket. A corvette might beat it in acceleration, but it can do that because it's light and sacrifices maneuverability. Take a turn in a corvette while you are trying to do 0-60 in 4 seconds--it can't do it. The Tesla Model S combines acceleration, high speed, and top maneuverability in a high performance 'luxury sedan' package. Nothing beats it on the road in either category. Of course you pay for it--the price tag is no laughing matter; mine was a 100 grand."

9 people out of 15 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

Buying this car?