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2013 Tesla Model S

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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
9.5
Out of 10

Based on 60 Ratings for the 2012 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.6/10
  • Reliability
    9.6/10
    Performance
    9.8/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Top of the line, excellent condition, very low mil

By on Tuesday, July 19, 2016

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Very fast, all the bells and whistles except pano"

Cons: "Not enough supercharging stations."

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

"Teslas do not come in model years. I took possession on 12/31/14 so if I had taken possession one day later this same car would be a 2015 but I would have to wait a year for the tax credit. Paid $5,000 to upgrade to the Ludicrous option. This car is as fast as Tesla makes them. Only used for a 4.7 mile commute to work. Aftermarket tinted windows. Turbine wheels match the body color exactly."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Not worth the price or up to Hype

By on Saturday, June 11, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,343

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
2/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Excellent ride, great acceleration, nice screen"

Cons: "poor reliability, software and bluetooth interface"

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

"You would think that for $80k plus, you would be able to turn off the radio, have the system actually dial a number from a linked phone, or have no bugs with mechanics (air conditioning, bumper etc). In the three weeks I have had the car, the rear bumper came loose, the software had a bug and the air conditioning failed. While they did fix the bumper issues the next day, I was given a service date 5 days out to fix the air conditioner. Luckily, the car came with a "happiness" guarantee, where you can return it in 90 days.... so back its going even though I will lose $7,500. Its worth it to be rid of this. Back to Jaguar I go."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Greatest car I've ever owned.

By on Friday, February 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 25,000

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: "Fun to drive, sleek, wonderful feel."

Cons: "Don't know any."

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

"I've had Porsche, BMW, Lexus, Jaguar, this car far, far tops them all. If I could have rated it 20 on a scale of ten, I would have. Tesla has thought about how to make a car and done so flawlessly."

21 people out of 31 found this review helpful

A Glimpse into the Future of Automobiles

By on Monday, February 8, 2016

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
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Simplicity of the system and environmental benefit"

Cons: "None so far but I drive less than 100 miles daily"

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

"After driving 2 electrics vehicles for more than a year I have come to the conclusion that the future of automobiles is electric. I lease a Fiat 500e to go back and forth to the golf course and bought a Tesla 70 for my wife. We drive the Tesla whenever we go out for its comfort and style. Here are the pros and cons of electric cars after one year: Pros 1.They are environmentally responsible – Zero emissions 2.They are “anti-OPEC” – we will use less gas, less imported oil 3. They are economical – up to 120 MPG equivalent in the city 4.You can lease a Fiat 500e for less than $150 per month on a 3 year lease 5.They are cheaper to insure – about 20% less than a gasoline or diesel vehicle 6.There are many incentives that lower actual cost – In California rebates from the state of $2,500, a federal tax credit of up to $7,500 and a reduction in SDG&E bill of up to 30% by reclassifying your home to a lower rate 7.They are quiet – the electric motor on the Fiat emits only a slight whine 8.You never need to buy gas – You start every day with a “full tank” 9.Tesla has installed a network of “Super Chargers” that will enable you to charge your car to 50% capacity from zero in about 25 minutes for free – other providers such as Blink Network are widely available which allow you to charge at nominal rates 10.They are mechanically very simple, so you never need to change the oil, adjust the transmission, tune up the engine, pass a smog test or replace timing belts, batteries etc. 11.Dealer check-up is only every 20,000 miles. They plug it into a computer to check all the systems. 12.They are fun to drive with great acceleration and cornering due to weight distribution 13.They are easy to park, and the Fiat 500e fits into small parking spaces. The Tesla parks itself! 14.You can apply for a special permit, which allows you to get on the freeway using the HOV lane and drive in the commuter lanes even if you are alone 15. Some facilities such as Universities and Government offices provide free preferred parking while charging your car Cons 1.Limited range – Fiat 500e will go 80 to 90 miles on a charge – Tesla P70 goes 220 miles 2.You have to plug it in every night and unplug it every morning – Tesla Requires a 220 outlet to be installed 3.They are slow to charge – it takes 12 hours to fully charge the Fiat from emptly on a 110 line – 2 Hours on a 220 line – Tesla requires 3 hours to fully charge on a 220 line 4.Commercial recharge stations are available but they are slow to fully recharge – 2 hours from empty – Tesla Superchargers will charge 50% in 20 minutes – Starbuck’s nearby! 5.Unknown battery life – manufacturers estimate 8 years -- Battery disposal may pollute the environment – Replacement batteries might be very expensive 6.Regenerative braking takes a while to get used to"

48 people out of 50 found this review helpful

Amazing car, in every way!

By on Monday, January 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 14,000

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

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

"Amazing car. So fun to drive, high tech and constantly updating itself. My only gripe is that the build quality could use some help. I've had several rattles in the car from loose pieces and bad clips. Other than that the car is perfect in every way. If you're really worried about range, keep track of how many miles you drive each day for a month. In nearly all, except the very rare cases, I'd bet that consumers will rarely drive more than 100 miles per day, which means you can go 2 days without charging. Every night you get a full battery, so mileage range is never an issue."

12 people out of 15 found this review helpful

Best Vehicle ever

By on Tuesday, November 17, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 27

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: "best car on the road"

Cons: "none"

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

"No collisions, slight curb rash, can repair, very clean. The best, Most intuitive, comfortable car Ive ever driven. Premium package mechanical and interior, Interior tan with grey trim and graphite. I am purchasing the newest model."

9 people out of 17 found this review helpful

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