It's Still Impressive - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: It's Still Impressive

February 11, 2014

2013 Tesla Model S

With new supercharger stations opening daily, our long-term 2013 Tesla Model S has been clocking quite a few miles as of late. It has seen several road trips, and I don't see it in the office nearly as much. I hadn't driven our Tesla in ages, but when I got back into it recently, I remembered exactly how much I love this car.

The interior is still fantastic. While there are minor gripes about panel fitment, the door panel design is stunning, and I find the massive center screen massively pleasing to look at and touch.

The exterior is still gorgeous, too. The character lines are as appealing as they were when the Model S was new, and in my mind they will look good for a long time (unlike some over-styled EVs of the past).

Most of all, the acceleration continues to delight me. The readily available torque in the Tesla Model S entertains everyone that sits in the passenger seat and quickly leaves surrounding traffic in the rear view.

Some cars lose their luster once the new-car smell is gone, and even this $100K electric supercar sedan is subject to some of that. But after nearly a year in our fleet, the Model S still gets my vehement seal of approval.

Travis Langness, Associate Editor @ 17,803 miles


  • jeepsrt jeepsrt Posts:

    I love these and see quite a few around Colorado Springs and Denver, I saw about 7 in Breckenridge a few week's ago. If I could afford it I would buy one.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    If I could afford it I would actually buy it though strictly as a toy with which to go grab groceries or take the misses to a nice dinner in part of town that doesn't look well on 1 ton diesel trucks.

  • Meh, the more I see of them, the more the rear looks a bit bulbous or something. It's truly a shame that the Fisker wasn't successful as well, because I really like the look of those much more.

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    I absolutely agree about the exterior. I've had my Model S for a little over a year now and still get excited walking up to it at the end of every work day. I just love the way the thing looks. I also haven't grown tired of its instant swell of torque that makes even regular drives seem just a little bit more special. Unfortunately, I have grown cold to the interior over time. At first I kind of liked its novel look, but mostly I just find it kind of ugly now, to be totally honest. It isn't even the build quality that bothers me, just the general styling. Even after 7 years I never felt that way about my S-Class. Oh well, as Tesla matures they will find a way to bring some of that exterior drama inside. I still adore the car.

  • evodad evodad Posts:

    @markinnaples. I initially felt the same, the tesla was eh compared to the fisker's WOW. But over time the tesla has looked better and better to me. If I could I would get one for going to/from work and short road trips to visit family, all of which for m

  • noburgers noburgers Posts:

    One plus for Edmunds--the Tesla generates a ton of comments. I would enjoy one under the same conditions @hybris mentions.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    Who would have thought just a few years ago that there would be an electric car in the fleet where road trips were discussed on a regular basis and among the most significant complaints was that the door handles were gimmicky?

  • handbrake handbrake Posts:

    We're on our third month of owning a P85 and my wife is more in love with this car than ever before (she's the primary driver...I drive a stripper 2008 Rabbit because I enjoy a basic small car with a manual transmission). To say that it's exceeded her expectations is an understatement. It's her daily commuter car for the 100 mile roundtrip between our home and her job (depends on the day of the week, either Silicon Valley or downtown SF). She doesn't use the superchargers on a regular basis, as we had a NEMA 14-50 put in our garage, but with the PG&E EVA rates we're paying about $40 a month to charge the Tesla, versus about $400 a month to put gas in the Audi A7 that she used to drive. We do take the Tesla on longer drives up the coast or to Sacramento and have never had an issue with range. The superchargers work well and are in the right places to give us the added range we need. Last week, in fact, my wife took the Tesla from SF to LA for a conference. She had airline tickets but wanted to see how well the I5 supercharger network would work. So she canceled the airline tickets and drove. It turns out that while it still took a bit longer to drive versus flying (maybe 1 hour difference), she arrived in LA totally relaxed, no backaches, no headaches from TSA lines and crowded/late planes, etc. The two supercharger stops each way took about 20 minutes each and she actually liked the opportunity to get out, stretch, use the bathroom and get a coffee. So yeah, we agree, not only is the Tesla "still impressive", it actually seems to be getting more impressive as the supercharger network expands.

  • Since this car needed a new driveline/powertrain at about 10k miles, it seems the mileage total needs a huge asterisk next to it. What was the final analysis of that failure anyway?

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    Desmolicious brings up a good point whatever happened to the first motor this thing had?

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Nobody at Tesla will talk about it, hybris. This car pushes so many boundaries and you HAVE to take into consideration that so much of the technology is all-new...but as a long-term car test and what such a test is supposed to provide in terms of a prospective ownership experience, I have to say that if any of the ICE-powered LT cars needed its entire engine, transmission and final drive assembly replaced at 10k miles...and then the mfg. would just refuse to say what necessitated it, that would not wash with the Edmunds staff, I'm sure...much as I make fun of them sometimes. Tesla's defenders will say, "you have to understand, this is so new..." and I agree, but we can't understand if no one will come clean.

  • I'm still wondering why Edmunds never followed through on what went wrong with the cylinder head on their Jeep Wrangler. These are huge failures, on the Tesla and on the Jeep. But it seems Edmunds only follows through on the fluff and ignores the elephant in the room, maybe hoping that the readers will forget about it too? Sure, we can search the internet for answers, but doesn't that defeat the purpose of this site performing Long Term tests? It really isn't that interesting coming here to read about editor complaints stemming from not RTFM.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Could not have said it better myself.

  • hybris hybris Posts:

    I agree that this is new tech and I only ask out curiosity more than anything else. Also MASSIVE +1 for Desmolicious point that the content has dropped to a lot of RTFM moments and for me the monthly fuel bill posts always get me.

  • tlangness tlangness Posts:

    Sorry you feel that way guys, I've done some research and here's what I've got for you... The original Drive Unit replacement on this car was done by a tech, under warranty. He didn't investigate what failed with the part, because that's not his job. He just replaced it and sent us on our way. We inquired with Tesla about what part broke, but to no response. If we ever get an update from them, you'll be the first ones to know.

  • fordson1 fordson1 Posts:

    Thanks for the inquiry, Travis - no, I would not expect the tech to know - he was told to replace it and not tear into it. The decision by Tesla corporate to dummy up was a calculated risk on their part that no one higher up the food chain at Edmunds than yourself or Dan Edmunds would make a stink about it. No such person has, so their gamble paid off. No offense, but if no one higher than an associate editor or engineering editor places this particular request, it's going nowhere. I remember a little over a year ago, when Scott Oldham got in Ralph Gilles' (CEO of SRT Division at Chrysler Co.) face because SRT refused to allow a new Viper to participate in a track throwdown with a pre-production C7 Vette. I don't recall if the ploy was successful or not, but this is the kind of thing that would have to happen in order for Tesla to come clean in this instance. A request by an Edmunds drone to a Tesla drone about a catastrophic powertrain failure in their flagship paradigm-changer? C'mon.

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