2012 Tesla Model S Sedan - Rating Details


A
Edmunds Rating
Vehicle Tested 2012 Tesla Model S Sedan Signature Performance (Electric 1-speed Direct Drive) Driven On 8/14/2012 Ratings Summary The Tesla Model S is a groundbreaking vehicle on many levels. Not only is it an electric vehicle with unprecidented range and performance, but also it's a great luxury car in its own right. An amazing first whole-car effort from a start-up.
B
Comfort Was hoping for a little more, but our test car was equipped with a performance-oriented sport suspension and low-profile performance tire package. We expect a bit more smoothness from cars with the standard air suspension setup.
Seating Comfort
B
Supportive and well shaped, but also thin in the name of light weight and space maximization. Comfortable, but those who crave deep cushy padding might not be satisfied.
Ride Comfort
B
The air suspension is generally smooth, but uneven pavement can be harsh. This is a likely outgrowth of the sport suspension and low-profile 21-inch tires fitted to our test car.
Quietness
B
Generally very silent, but coarse surfaces do generate some road noise and the electric motor emits a thrum at highways speeds that's audible if the surface is smooth.
A
Interior A spacious, airy cabin with a high tech feel. The iPad-esque interface is groundbreaking in the sense that it controls nearly everything, though some controls (headlights, sunroof) are inconveniently buried in the menus.
Ergonomics
A
Double-size iPad-like center stack controls everything that isn't on the Benz-sourced stalks and window switches. Easy to use, but potentially distracting in some cases.
Ingress/Egress
A
Generous door openings and no obstructions. No problem here.
Space/Room
A
Plenty of front and rear leg-and headroom. Cabin feels airy and wide, too.
Visibility
A
Generally good to the front, sides and rear quarter. Huge back-up camera can be left on while driving, too, so rear visibility isn't an issue.
Cargo/Storage
B
Cargo storage behind the seats is excellent, and there's a front trunk (Frunk) too. But interior storage is weak, with no door pockets, no center console storage.
A
Performance The Model S stands up to conventional gas-powered Grand Touring machines in terms of acceleration and composure. Add in the smoothness of the EV power delivery (of which there is an abundance) and you've really got something.
Acceleration
A
Wow! This thing is quick. Never mind that it's an EV. But the EV powertrain does make it seem even faster because of the seamlessness and the silence.
Braking
A
Secure stops come about in short order, though the pedal height is too similar to the throttle. A robust regenerative braking system handles most routine slowing.
Steering
A
Response is quick and direct, and there are three EPS assist maps to choose from. We like the default just fine, as it balances effort and feedback just about right.
Handling
A
Returns good numbers at the track and feels planted and secure in the real world. The Model S also feels lighter than it is, because its massive battery pack is mounted quite low.
Driveability
A
The AC induction motor and single-speed gearbox are smooth and utterly seamless. Say what you will about EVs, but their powertrains feel like a million bucks.
A
Value This EV has enough, range, performance, style and high-end appeal to make the price seem reasonable, unlike the adapted EV econoboxes out there that seem shockingly expensive and of limited use.
Build Quality (vs. $)
B
Our Model S came up short in the body panel alignment department, but this was a very early build car. The materials used inside look good.
Features(vs. $)
B
265 miles of range is one heck of an EV feature, but beyond that the Tesla Model S comes across as a high tech automobile with lots of unique content.
Cost
B
Considering its luxury position, outright performance, engineering and otherwrldly EV capabilities, the Model S's price does not seem out of line.
MPG
A
MPG means little in the EV world; it?s the plug-in range that matters. The Tesla Model S offers a game changing 265 miles, enough to make it much more than a mere commuter.
Warranty
C
The battery and powertrain warranty is more than anyone should need, but the basic warranty that covers the rest of the car is about average. But you have to buy a service plan.
Ownership
B
Little maintenance is required here. The trick is supporting the home charge port, which works best with a 100-amp circuit. Anything down to 40 amps will do, though.
A
Fun To Drive It's fast, it's high-tech, it's unique, it draws attention, it'll wow your friends. And then there's the EV part, the 265 miles of range and growing Supercharger network that'll allow cross country travel.
Driving Experience
A
Here's an EV you can take places. It has enough range to go somewhere for the fun of it. And it's fast, smooth, quiet, high-tech, luxurious.
Personality
A
This big luxury sedan is easy on the eyes and turns heads. And until someone else comes out with a long-range EV it'll be unique, the only one of its kind.
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