2017 Tesla Model S Review
Edmunds expert review
The 2017 Tesla Model S stands out as the only true electric luxury sedan. Tremendous acceleration, cutting-edge tech and 300-plus miles of potential range make it more suited for almost anybody, not just early EV adopters. There are drawbacks, but the overall ownership experience is very positive.
As with all electric vehicles (EVs), driving range and charging time are constant considerations. But the Model S delivers the most range of any EV on the market, with the new P100D model rated to cover 315 miles on a full charge (that's the EPA's estimate; Tesla claims it's higher). Combined with access to Tesla's Supercharger rapid charging stations, this makes the Model S a legitimate long-haul road tripper.
You'll need those superchargers, too, as the Model S forever goads you into dipping into its accelerator for a burst of effortless, astonishing speed. Fully boosted with electrons, the Model S can sprint from zero to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds. That kind of speed can pin back your eyeballs, but can drain range just as quickly, so it's best to be judicious.
Despite its luxury station and price, the Model S still comes off a bit unpolished and less opulent than some of its German contemporaries. No matter — this is a car that bleeds tech, will uniquely fascinate the tech-obsessed and will otherwise charm anyone simply looking for an alternative to living with a gasoline engine-powered car.
What's new for 2017
Trim levels & features
The 2017 Tesla Model S is a four- to seven-passenger luxury sedan available in seven variants: 60, 60D, 75, 75D, 90D, 100D and P100D. The digits 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. Effectively, there's a single, feature-loaded Model S that buyers can then upgrade with several options packages and increased battery performance.
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 most current offering.
The Model S 60 comes with 19-inch wheels, all-season tires, LED headlights, access to Tesla's Supercharger network, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 17-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, a rearview camera, keyless entry, parking sensors, power-folding and heated side mirrors, blind-spot warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, cloth and premium vinyl upholstery, heated power front seats, 60/40-split folding rear seats, a power tilt-and-telescoping steering column, Bluetooth 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 charging (up to 52 miles of range per hour) when combined with the optional 80-amp, at-home wall charger.
Enhanced Autopilot allows for limited hands-free driving of the Model S, including automatically changing lanes by selecting the turn signal indicator, semiautonomous steering, a parking-spot detection system, and hands-free parallel parking and summoning functions. You can also get a further upgrade (Full Self-Driving Capability) that Tesla says will eventually support full autonomous driving.
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 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 ordered together.
The Model S 60D adds another 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 maximizes battery function and capacity.
A physically larger (90-kWh) battery is available in the 90D, which also offers options such as a carbon-fiber rear spoiler, 21-inch wheels with high-performance summer tires, the Smart Air suspension package and other features, plus revised suspension tuning. The 100D uses a larger 100-kWh battery pack for increased range, while the P100D uses the same battery pack and a second electric motor on the rear wheels. This yields an EPA-estimated 315 miles of range and astonishing acceleration from zero to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our First Drive of the 2015 Tesla Model S P85D.
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Model S has received some revisions, notably the discontinuation of the P85D trim. Our findings still remain broadly applicable to this year's Model S, however.
Noise & vibration4.0
Ease of use4.5
Getting in/getting out4.5
Child safety seat accommodation
Audio & navigation3.5
Edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.