2016 Tesla Model S Review

Pros & Cons

  • Impressive range on higher-end models
  • strong performance across the board from all models
  • advanced technology features that aren't available from other luxury brands
  • abundant cargo space for a sedan
  • available seven-passenger configuration makes it more family-friendly than most luxury sedans
  • free access to Tesla's expanding Supercharger charging station infrastructure.
  • Lacks the convenience, familiarity and luxury polish of similarly priced sedans
  • unproven reliability record
  • small dealer network means you might not live near a service center.
Other years
List Price Range
$42,999 - $62,500

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Edmunds' Expert Review

As the only true luxury sedan that's an electric vehicle, the 2016 Tesla Model S is unique. It delivers tremendous acceleration, reasonable range, unusual features and more functionality than you might expect. It's Tesla's best offering and deserves your attention if you're shopping for a premium electric vehicle.

Vehicle overview

Perhaps no other car carries the torch of electric propulsion as visibly as does the 2016 Tesla Model S. It’s a battery-electric luxury sedan at the premium end of the spectrum, with style, performance and a price to match. Being from a nascent automaker that doesn’t adhere to traditional ways of doing things, the Model S has developed an enviable following.

As with all electric vehicles (EVs), driving range and charging time are ever-present considerations. The Model S delivers the most range of any EV on the market, offering between 210 to 294 miles of range. This, combined with Tesla’s free national network of Supercharger rapid chargers, makes the Model S a viable steed for longer trips. Traditional luxury sedans by its competitors offer far more range and much faster refueling, but the Model S still sets the benchmark among EVs.

There’s little to dispute the Model S’ performance. It's impressively quick, especially from low speeds, with certain versions accelerating as rapidly as some of the world’s quickest cars. We’ve clocked a P85D to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds, and Tesla claims the range-topping Ludicrous Mode-equipped P90D will do the deed in 2.8 seconds. The entry-level 60D is still acceptably quick, and while the price point isn’t exactly inexpensive, don’t forget to factor in its low running costs and the federal and state incentives (where applicable).

We lived with a 2013 Tesla Model S for 18 months and found numerous reliability issues, though that was a few years ago during the company’s formative period where growing pains were apparent. Repairs under warranty were performed swiftly. It’s a very competent car dynamically, and though it offers some unique features such as over-the-air updates, its cabin isn’t as opulent as other cars in its class.

Then again, the other cars in its class don’t offer electric-only propulsion. Its gasoline-fed contemporaries include the 2016 Audi A7, 2016 BMW 7 Series, 2016 Mercedes Benz S-Class and the 2016 Porsche Panamera. All offer a variety of engines and trim levels and excel in various ways, but if it’s an EV you’re after, the 2016 Tesla Model S is in a class of one. The only other EVs that approach it are the 2016 BMW i3 and 2016 Volkswagen e-Golf. They’re both worth your attention if you’re looking for less expensive, moderately upmarket offerings with plugs.

2016 Tesla Model S models

The 2016 Tesla Model S is a large, four-to-seven-passenger luxury sedan. It's available in six variants: 60, 60D, 75, 75D, 90D and P90D. The digits in each trim level refer to the kilowatt-hour (kWh) capacity of its battery (which directly impacts range), while the "D" denotes the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive models. Be aware that Tesla updates the Model S on an ongoing basis rather than by model year, so what follows might not necessarily reflect the latest offerings.

The Model S 60 comes with 19-inch wheels, all-season tires, LED head-, fog- and taillights, navigation, cruise control, access to the Supercharger network, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 17-inch touchscreen, a rearview camera, keyless entry, parking alerts, power-folding and heated side mirrors, blind-spot warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, cloth and premium vinyl upholstery, heated eight-way power front seats (with four-way power lumbar), 60/40-split folding rear seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, and a seven-speaker sound system with dual USB ports (media and charging) and HD radio. A cellular connection, internet radio and Wi-Fi connectivity are also included, as are a universal mobile connector for charging (with 110-volt, 240-volt and J1772 adapters).

The Premium Upgrades Package includes adaptive LED headlights, an enhanced cabin air filtration system, leather interior surfaces (when leather seats are selected), LED ambient interior lighting, a power liftgate, lighted door handles and LED cornering lights. The Ultra High Fidelity Sound package adds a 12-speaker sound system and includes satellite radio. A Subzero Weather package adds a full row of heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, wiper blade defrosters and washer nozzle heaters.

Outfit the Model S with a second onboard charger for up to twice the standard rate of charge (up to 58 miles of range per hour) when combined with the optional 80-amp at-home wall charger.

Autopilot allows for limited hands-free driving of the Model S, including automatically changing lanes by selecting the turn signal indicator, semi-autonomous steering, a parking-spot detection system, and hands-free parallel parking and summoning functions.

The Smart Air Suspension option adds self-adjusting (adjustable height) suspension.
Optional fold-flat, rear-facing jump seats (for small children) increase total passenger capacity to seven, while an Executive rear seat package replaces the rear bench seat with two captain's chairs, thus reducing overall capacity to four passengers. The Executive rear seats and rear-facing jump seats cannot be simultaneously equipped.

The Model S 60D adds an additional motor that powers the front wheels. Otherwise, all of the above features and options apply. The 75 and 75D models are simply 60 and 60D models with software that allows the battery to be more fully utilized.

A physically larger (90-kWh) battery is available in the 90D and P90D, which also offer options such asa carbon-fiber rear spoiler, 21-inch wheels with high-performance summer tires, the Smart Air suspension package and other features, plus revised suspension tuning.

2016 Highlights

Instead of introducing changes on a model-year basis as other automakers do, Tesla phases in rolling updates, especially when it comes to software and electronics. In 2016, the Model S received revised front-end styling similar to that found on the Model X SUV and an enhanced cabin air filtration system, adaptive headlights and Autopilot semi-autonomous driving technology. The company also phased out the 70 and 70D variants and introduced the entry-level 60 and 60D, which are simply software-limited versions of the 75 and 75D, respectively.

Performance & mpg

The 2016 Tesla Model S is propelled by water-cooled electric motors (one motor for 60 and 75 models; dual motors in 60D, 75D, 90D and P90D models) that route power directly to the wheels through a single-speed, direct-drive transmission. Single-motor models are rear-wheel drive only, while dual-motor models (denoted by “D”) power all four wheels. Lithium-ion battery packs are also used throughout the lineup.

The Model S 60 (and 75) is rated at 315 horsepower and and 325 pound-feet of torque, and Tesla estimates it can reach 60 mph in 5.5 seconds. The EPA estimates energy consumption at 34 kWh per 100 miles and a range of 210 miles (249 miles for the 75). As with all EVs, driving style greatly influences actual range. According to Tesla, the range also decreases by 3 percent if a Model S 60 is equipped with 21-inch wheels.

The dual-motor Model S 60D (and 75D) is rated at 328 hp and 387 lb-ft of torque, and Tesla claims it will hit 60 mph from a standstill in 5.2 seconds. EPA-estimated energy consumption stands at 33 kWh per 100 miles and a range of 218 miles (259 miles for the 75D).

The Model S 90D has 417 hp and 485 lb-ft of torque and is capable of an estimated 0-60-mph time of 4.2 seconds. EPA-estimatedenergy consumption is 33 kWh per 100 miles and with an estimated range of 294 miles, it’s the range champion among all Model S variants.

Tesla says the high-performance P90D boosts output to 463 hp (532 hp with the optional Ludicrous mode), good for a 3.1-second sprint to 60 mph (2.8 seconds for Ludicrous mode). EPA rates the P90D's range at 270 miles with an energy consumption rate of 35 kWh per 100 miles.

All Teslas can be recharged from all standard 110- and 240-volt household outlets and from various public charging stations using the included Universal Mobile Connector and adapters. Charging with a 110-volt outlet is very slow — you'll only be able to recharge about 3 miles worth of range per hour. For instance, an overnight charge of eight hours on a 110-volt outlet would net you only 24 miles of range. In contrast, by utilizing a 240-volt outlet with a 50-amp circuit (referred to as a NEMA 14-50 outlet, and common at RV parks), you can recharge about 30 miles of range per hour, which works out to about seven hours to completely recharge the Model S 60's 60-kWh pack with the single onboard charger and about eight hours for the 75D. The Model 90's 90-kWh pack would need about nine hours.

The dual-charger system — which needs a 100-amp circuit to operate at full capacity — is an option. Using the optional wall connector doubles the recharge rate to about 60 miles of range per hour, meaning a full recharge for the 60-kWh version takes about three-and-a-half hours, four hours for the 75D, and about four-and-a-half hours for the 90-kWh versions.

The Model S can also use a nationwide network of Superchargers that Tesla continues to expand. Tesla says the industrial-grade high-speed chargers can replenish up to 170 miles of range in the 90-kWh batteries in about half an hour, enabling long-distance travel. Although an hourlong stop every 170 miles might not be the swiftest way to travel, it does enable Tesla owners to drive across the United States if they plan their journey carefully enough.


Standard safety features for all Tesla Model S variants include head, knee and pelvic airbags for the front passengers, as well as front and rear side curtain airbags. All models have stability and traction control, crash sensors for high-voltage disconnect, antilock disc brakes and a rearview camera. Also, the rear-facing seat option augments the existing rear bumper with a second, high-strength aluminum framework.

In government crash tests, the 2015 Model S earned a top five-star rating for overall crash protection, with five stars for total frontal-impact safety and five stars for total side-impact safety. Because the 2016 model is fundamentally the same car, we expect similar crash test scores.

In Edmunds brake testing, a P85D with high-performance summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in just 102 feet. To put that distance in perspective, most large luxury sedans take about 110 feet to stop, and even high-performance sports cars take about 106 feet. Considering the Tesla's significant mass, that is an impressive result.


The 2016 Tesla Model S offers a unique driving experience, even among EVs. Yes, like all EVs its acceleration is both responsive and eerily quiet. But the Model S has so much torque on tap that under full acceleration it's like being shot out of a cannon — with a silencer. The thrust is enormous and addictive. Catapulting away from every stoplight has a significant impact on range, but getting up to speed quickly in the Model S is one of the most exhilarating experiences available in a car today. It’s the car’s signature party trick.

Braking is also praiseworthy, not just because the pedal feels like one from a conventional car, but also because it gets the Model S stopped with authority. The well-tuned steering and suspension further add to the experience, with a sharpness and accuracy not typically found in an EV. This big luxury sport sedan isn’t afraid to take corners, thanks to the the floor-mounted batteries that keep its center of gravity low. We also rate its adaptive cruise control system as among the best we've sampled. It reacts extremely well to traffic conditions and inspires an eerily high level of confidence to let the car control the accelerator.

Fortunately, the Model S' sporty capabilities don't come at the expense of comfort and compliance, as the ride quality is smooth. Through neighborhoods and around town, the extreme quietness induces peacefulness. At freeway speeds, however (especially when the Model S is equipped with the wider, high-performance tires), wind and road are prominent, and the big sedan becomes merely average in terms of overall noise isolation. Attentive drivers will also notice the whine from the electric motor up front in dual-motor models. Put the stereo on at a reasonable volume, though, and the road noise is not nearly as noticeable.


A colossal center touchscreen controls nearly every aspect of the car’s ancillary functions. Knobs and buttons are few and far between, which results in kind of a mixed bag, function-wise. Though the touchscreen is well-lit and quick-acting, it’s cluttered and requires too much attention. There’s a degree of configurability in the placement of audio, climate and navigation controls.

Both front and rear seats offer ample legroom for adults, though taller rear seat passengers might run out of headroom due the slope of the roofline. The front seats are nice, but they do lack the multitude of adjustments (and, ultimately, comfort and support) found in other similarly priced luxury sedans. If you have a soft spot for old-school station wagons, you might be attracted to the optional rear-facing jump seats. Be aware that they’re suitable only for small children. The seats have multi-point safety belts, so no added safety seat is necessary, but they're also comically small.

Those third-row seats fold flat into the footwell, allowing for a substantial 26.3 cubic feet of cargo space, which is significantly more than in other large luxury sedans. Folding the middle row flat expands that space to 58 cubes. There's also a secondary trunk under the hood that offers a few cubic feet of additional storage space, but the front trunk on a dual-motor Model S has about half the space.

Though the cabin materials are nice-looking, they don't quite match those found in luxury cars in the Model S' price range. Fit and finish doesn’t seem up to par in this segment. In extensive testing, we've found the leather upholstery holds up well over time, but the leather in premium luxury brands feels a bit more supple and high-end. Elsewhere, the typical window switches and driver controls appear to have been sourced from Mercedes-Benz. They work well.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Tesla Model S.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

Unavailable Repair Parts Tarnishes Tesla Image
Tony Barre,11/08/2016
70 4dr Sedan (electric DD)
When I bought my new Tesla Model S in May 2016 and for months before I was proud to be part of “accelerating the world's transition to sustainable energy.” I talked it up with my friends and family and even with strangers I met at Starbucks. I got 2 of my kids to pre-order the Model 3. Then I ran over a truck tire tread on the freeway, causing $6k of damage to the bumper and undercarriage. Since then, the car has been at Kniesl's Repair Shop in Roseville, CA, a Tesla-authorized repair shop. It has been there for 6 weeks now awaiting repair parts, with no ETA for those parts. In fact, Kniesl's tells me that they have 3 other Teslas in their shop in similar condition awaiting parts for as much as 3 months. After 4 weeks, I contacted Tesla using the form on their web site. No response. At all. If “the world's transition....” involves no repair parts, I want no part of it, and neither should you. If “the world's transition....” includes the inability to forecast a delivery date for repair parts, I am ashamed to be a part of it. If “the world's transition....” entails a complete lack of interest in post-sales customer service, I am afraid of it. What would you do if your car was unavailable for 6 weeks with no forecast for when it would be available again? Would you feel like you were accelerating the world's transition to sustainable energy?
I'll never go back to ICE after having a Tesla
70 4dr Sedan (electric DD)
I've had my Model S60 for three months now and its great. I have the smallest battery pack and its still plenty of range. The one time I went beyond its range I was able to quickly charge up with the free superchargers. You might knock it for the weight and size but the pickup is crazy for a car this size and the weight is all down low in the battery pack. The Autopilot is amazing for Bay Area freeway congestion. The only small knock is the lack of door storage. I have seen the Model X does much better here and I suspect in time they will add this to the S. I rented one on Turo for a long weekend and it really helped me decide to go for it.
We own 2 of the orginal Tesla Model S
Mark Levin,08/30/2016
70 4dr Sedan (electric DD)
UPDATE Mar 2020 We traded the first Model S 60 for a 2017 Model S 90D. We had that car for 5 years and put 106k miles on it with the battery degrading only 10 miles from new. that car was sold within 3 days and the person is still driving it. Tesla was able to upgrade the navigation system for him and a few other improvements. I now have 101k miles on my P85 and that battery has degraded about 20 miles from new. The Performance models tend to use more energy, I would not recommend purchasing it, as the car is outstanding without it. That and the 22in wheels are something that only costs money and energy and is a complete waste for most people. We still love the cars and will plan on purchasing another maybe in a few years. My son has had the Model 3 for about 2 years and loves it. Many improvements in the M3, it charges faster and has a better a/c unit. Cant go wrong with a TESLA. We have 2 MS. The first one I ordered a smaller battery 60, with only 2 options, leather interior and pano roof. We received the car in May 2013. That car now has over 85k miles and has only been in the shop for one repair very early. Some guide clips on the Pano roof broke. It was quickly repaired and I was given a new MS to drive while the repair was being done. The car looks and runs like it did new and we have only lost 3 miles of range in the battery! We are told to charge the car 90% every night, and when new it totaled 185 miles and now it charges to 182 miles at 90%. My wife drives that car about 90 miles per day, round trip to work. I purchased a used one in Nov 2014, with 15k miles. It is a MS P85, at that time it was just about the most powerful car in the lineup. Today they offer 90D and P100D models. But I don't think they have anything on mine. The car charges to 230 miles each night at 90%. Realistically when driving at or above normal highway speeds you will only get about 80% of the range, so need to be careful when doing long distance trips. But around town, you never need to be concerned with range. The only weak point about the car is that it is rather plain on the interior. I don't mind it is nice enough for me. And the advanced technology over rides the lack of pizzaz. Like many people who own this car, I doubt I would ever go back to a gas car as my primary vehicle. Overall it is an amazing car.
Still Revolutionary
Tim L,10/19/2016
70D 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD)
Electric cars are here to stay. Amazing range, acceleration and handling. If you can afford the hefty price tag, these cars have little to no maintenance so the actual cost during ownership is small in comparison to non-electric cars. The autopilot feature is a game changer for folks who drive daily in traffic. Your right foot will be bored and your blood pressure will drop. It takes the stress out of driving while being stuck for hours in traffic. That alone is worth the hefty entry price for these cars! Beware of any body shop work that may be required because it takes forever to get basic parts from Tesla and when it's in stock they ship using slow ground transport from a warehouse far far away. Tesla customer service is terrible! The product is exceptional but they do not care about how they treat loyal customers when they are repeat buyers. For Texas residents, they have the audacity to charge you for the right to fully pay for your car before shipping it which takes 10 days to arrive. So in conclusion, closing costs are higher and you get to wait 10 days for delivery. Win/win for Tesla but not for their customers!

Features & Specs

See all Used 2016 Tesla Model S features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover5.7%

More about the 2016 Tesla Model S

Used 2016 Tesla Model S Overview

The Used 2016 Tesla Model S is offered in the following submodels: Model S Sedan. Available styles include P90D 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD), 75 4dr Sedan (electric DD), 60D 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD), 60 4dr Sedan (electric DD), P100D 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD), 70D 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD), 90D 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD), 70 4dr Sedan (electric DD), and 75D 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD).

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Tesla Model S?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Tesla Model S trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Tesla Model S 75 is priced between $44,995 and$44,995 with odometer readings between 31504 and31504 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Tesla Model S 75D is priced between $42,999 and$60,995 with odometer readings between 18327 and34668 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Tesla Model S 70D is priced between $43,953 and$43,990 with odometer readings between 40301 and52647 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Tesla Model S P90D is priced between $62,500 and$62,500 with odometer readings between 17287 and17287 miles.

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Find a used Tesla Model S for sale - 8 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $25,592.

Find a used Tesla for sale - 9 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $15,341.

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Should I lease or buy a 2016 Tesla Model S?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Tesla lease specials
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