Average Seats for the Price - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: Average Seats for the Price

June 7, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

As impressive as our 2013 Tesla Model S is for a pure electric car, it's still a very expensive car in general. And with a price tag of well over $100,000, there are certain expectations that come along with it.

For me, that means a great set of seats, at least for the driver and front passenger. In the Model S, the 8-way adjustable front seats are pleasantly comfortable. They have a good shape, nice materials and a decent amount of adjustment. But as luxury cars go, they're nothing special.

In the Audi A8 L 4.0, which starts at around $88,000, the standard seats have 18-way adjustment and can be upgraded with massage and cooling functions. Not exactly necessary, but nice to have if you're shelling out such money for a car.

Ed Hellwig, Executive Editor @ 4,437 miles


  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    The lack of seat features has never bothered me. As far as I'm concerned, those extras just suck up energy and decrease range. I bought an EV knowing their would be some concessions. Besides, after the first year or two I rarely used the gazillion massage options in my S550 anyway. What I did appreciate was the comfortable seats. The Model S also gets that right.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    I think this is probably the way to view it, too, although it does point up another liability with expensive luxury EVs - if you gave a Leaf, it's just an economy car, and nobody expects it to have power everything. With the Tesla, now you start getting this kind of question. With the Leaf, you don't have all this stuff whacking into the range, and that's OK. With a luxury ICE car, you can have it all and turn it all on and it won't have an appreciable effect on range. With a lux EV, if you have all the gadgets, it starts eating into the range in a more significant way.

  • zcalvert zcalvert Posts:

    well... maybe. perhaps it should have more seat gimmicks for the $. but on the other hand, other comparably priced lux sedans don't have game-changing propulsion tech. its just a matter of where the money is being spent. as impressive as this car is from a brand new manufacturer, i think we can cut them some slack for not having borderline useless massage seats.

  • sharpend sharpend Posts:

    It seems Ed doesn't even realize that the Tesla Model S is an electric vehicle! Doodads use up precious battery and 18-way adjustable seats simply aren't needed - and suck up too much battery. If anything, you would think manual seats are all that's needed and that 8-way seats are a luxury.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Well, that's true, and as long as all you are selling to are early-adopters and true EV believers, that's fine. But if you are going to sell to the general populace, the thin feature set you have to avoid battery drain starts to become an issue. This car is $100k and I don't think there is even a $40k sedan on the market that does not have heated 8-way seats.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    @sharpend: Let's be realistic- moving electric motors once or twice per trip (if even) is not going to suck up the several kilowatts it would take to move the car, not even by a long shot. Not including luxury features just because they "use up preci

  • josh_b josh_b Posts:

    When is Edmunds going to get it? THE COST OF THE CAR IS BECAUSE OF THE TECHNOLOGY. We should be so thankful that a small car company provided us with the few luxuries they did. Do I think everything is perfect in my Model S? No. Do I think it's a great first effort, worth the money? Absolutely. Stop whining about the seats, the door handles, etc. You are buying the most technologically advanced car on the road. The fact that they got it down to the price they did is remarkable.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    josh_b, that attitude will result in Tesla S sales hitting a brick wall once the built-in demand is reached. Once the people like you who are gag over the technology have all bought them, they are going to be compared in the general marketplace to other $100k cars, feature and benefit to feature and benefit. Devote your coming exasperated response to telling me where I'm wrong.

  • mfennell mfennell Posts:

    VIN assignments are about to break 14,000 and deliveries to the EU still haven't started. I'm going with: Tesla is demonstrating (again) that all those silly features don't sell cars - the experience does. People test drive the cars and suddenly don't care that they have 10 fewer ways (seriously?) to adjust their seats.

  • mfennell mfennell Posts:

    And duck87 has it right. All those gadgets will be inconsequential to the range. Skipping them now has several positive effects if you're Tesla: 1) their margins are higher; 2) lower engineering costs early and they got the car out that much sooner; 3) they can add them later as "improvements" ("I traded my '12 in on a '14 to get the 32-way power seats and automatic pinky ring polisher" or whatever crap people seem to think is important), differentiating newer cars w/o a costly redesign. They already coughed out a $6500 "Performance Package" and more than one person is coming up with a rationalization to trade up.

  • jederino jederino Posts:

    The seats in my wife's Ford Fusion are the best I've experienced in any car so far - simply because the are comfortable and supportive. They are not infinitely adjustable, but I still consider them a triumph when I consider other cars I've owned or driven.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Skipping the high-end gadgets will make Tesla's margins higher? Do you work in this industry, mfennell?

  • mfennell mfennell Posts:

    Of course it will. It will also reduce NRE. If you are In The Industry, perhaps you could explain to me why not.

  • evjuice evjuice Posts:

    Plus one the the cooling seats. Hope Tesla does this later.

  • mayhemm mayhemm Posts:

    I've said this before in another post but it's relevant here. Tesla is not even through YEAR 1 of the Model S. What other brand new model (from a new-ish car company, BTW) has had every feature that everybody wanted from the onset? Nothing, that's what. Give them a year or two and you'll have your precious massage seats.

  • fiorillica fiorillica Posts:

    This is my biggest concern. Elon Musk listen up. I drive close to 100 miles a day to and fro. Mostly highway. I want an EV because it is good for the environment, it should be cheaper than gas to fuel up, and because I could use the carpool lanes when needed. BUT driving 100 miles a day - most of it on highways - I need to feel assured that I will be comfortable driving it every day for those kinds of highway miles. I'd also like to be sure it is really safe in case of an accident at highway speeds. Just my 2 cents. I really like this car but comfort and safety could be dealbreakers. Hard to really know without trying it, but, they sure don't look like seats you'd find in an S class or 7 series etc...

  • fiorillica fiorillica Posts:

    Everyone has their needs. If you have 2 dogs you need an SUV. If you just run errants you can drive a Prius. If you like speed or contours you have a range of cars depending on budgets. If you like everyone to know you can blow $100k on a car there are a dozen cars to buy. But if you are like me, driving 100 miles a day on the highways, you don't want your legs to go numb or back to stiffen up, and you want to have a better than average chance in a highway accident. I am not saying this car will or won't, I just don't know. I came here actually while researching the issue. I really like this car and it is one of the two cars I am considering getting. But I know I will be comfortable and safer than average driving a 750iL 100 miles a day. I don't know if I will in the Tesla. These are, to me, very important factors considering I will spend at least 40 hours a month at high speeds sitting in that seat. Thanks for all your input.

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