2018 Tesla Model S Review
Until Tesla came out with its Model S, electric vehicles were never thought of as fully viable replacements for gasoline-powered vehicles, and they didn't have much appeal beyond their potential eco-conscious benefits. Today, though, the 2018 Tesla Model S boasts tremendous acceleration, cutting-edge tech, and an electric range that now resembles that of a gasoline car. It's well-suited for just about any luxury vehicle buyer, not just EV converts.
Tesla has made the 75D the base model, which means the Model S now has a minimum EPA-rated range of 259 miles. That's significantly more than most other EVs. And with the 100D model rated to cover 335 miles on a full charge — combined with access to Tesla's Supercharger rapid charging stations — the Model S is a legitimate long-haul road tripper.
Then there's the range-topping P100D. When fully charged with electrons, this Model S will rip from zero to 60 mph in just 2.5 seconds. That's quicker than many exotic cars these days, and it's the kind of speed that can pin back your eyelids and distort your sense of self-restraint. It'll also put a quick drain on your battery and large loads on your drivetrain, so it's best to be judicious.
Tesla is a car company that operates like no other. It releases new firmware updates — installing new features, optimizing software and fixing bugs — that get beamed to your car over the air. Newer cars equipped with the latest hardware will eventually have access to more functions over time. A good example of this is the Full-Self Driving Capability option that's available now, which should allow your Model S to drive itself someday when technology and legislation allow. It changes the car-ordering experience a little if you're paying for features that you can't use immediately, or may never use.
Despite its many upsides, the 2018 Tesla Model S may still feel a bit unpolished next to some of its German contemporaries. The latest modern comforts such as cooled and massaging seats, or even Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, don't appear anywhere on the Tesla ordering sheet. Even so, this is a car that is a great choice for an EV, a luxury sedan or both.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Tesla Model S is a five- to seven-passenger luxury sedan available in three variants: 75D, 100D and P100D. The digits refer to the kilowatt-hour capacity of its battery, which directly impacts range. The D denotes the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive models, which is standard for 2018. Effectively, there's a single, feature-loaded Model S that buyers can then upgrade with several option 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 75D is EPA-rated for 259 miles of range. It comes standard with 19-inch wheels, all-season tires, an adaptive air suspension, LED headlights, access to Tesla's Supercharger network, a power liftgate, 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, automatic wipers, blind-spot warning, automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning.
Inside, you'll find cloth and premium vinyl upholstery, power-adjustable front seats with heating, 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, lighted door handles and LED cornering lights, a premium 12-speaker sound system with satellite radio (when paired with the sunroof), a full row of heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, wiper blade defrosters and washer nozzle heaters.
Enhanced Autopilot comes with three extra cameras and upgraded sensors, and it allows for limited hands-free driving of the Model S. This includes 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 to the Full Self-Driving Capability package that Tesla says will eventually support full autonomous driving.
The 100D uses a larger 100-kWh battery pack for the most available range at 335 miles, quicker acceleration, and a higher top speed of 155 mph.
The top-of-the-line P100D uses the same battery pack and a second electric motor on the rear wheels, yielding an EPA-estimated 315 miles of range and an astonishing 0-60 mph time of just 2.5 seconds. The P100D also comes with all the features in the Premium Upgrades package and the option of a carbon-fiber spoiler.
All variants can be outfitted with optional fold-flat, rear-facing jump seats, suitable for small children, which increases total passenger capacity to seven.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the 2015 Tesla Model S P85D (dual electric motors | direct drive | AWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Model S has received some revisions, notably the discontinuation of the P85D trim. It's similar to the current 100D and P100D, however, and our findings remain applicable to this year's Model S.
Noise & vibration
Ease of use
Getting in/getting out
Child safety seat accommodation
Audio & navigation
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.