2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,135
edited September 2014 in Tesla

image2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

As polished as our Tesla Model S might look at first glance, there are few signs of less than perfect workmanship.

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  • meng_maomeng_mao Member Posts: 24
    I saw one in the wild a couple months ago, and it has similar sigh-inducing fitment.
    The hatch panel gap is atrocious:

    It also had the typical prolapsed door handle:
  • zimtheinvaderzimtheinvader Member Posts: 580
    There was some Mercedes top of the line car on Top Gear and you could see in every front end shot that the hood sat closer to the front section on one side compared to the other. There was another 'super' car on the same show with a squeaky center console and some wind noise window problem on another.
    The larger production run cars like the regular S class or A8 don't tend to have the issues but things like these aren't unique among the more exclusive cars.
  • zimtheinvaderzimtheinvader Member Posts: 580
    check out a detailing forum and see what the paint looks like up close on a few Astons.
  • dvanosdvanos Member Posts: 52
    I can only imagine what this car would be really like if BMW or Mercedes bought out the company and produced them at their plants in Germany.
  • kcai_kcai_ Member Posts: 1
    Typical issues with American Car.
  • zhangrenhouzhangrenhou Member Posts: 79
    "It should be flawless." No car is flawless.
  • cuselancer17cuselancer17 Member Posts: 53
    A little annoying to be sure. But its early on for this car. I dont think you can say "typical issues with American Car" just yet. Either way, if i had the money to buy one, id still be all for it.
  • legacygtlegacygt Member Posts: 599
    It is accurate to say that this is early in the run for a new car from a new car company. That may explain these flaws but it doesn't necessarily excuse them. That said, I don't think it will matter to most buyers. Sure it may not seem like Audi fit quality but the Model S kind of stands alone. It's in a class of 1. As much as Tesla wants you to think it's an alternative to an A8 or S Class, it just isn't. For the luxury sedan buyer who wants an electric vehicle and is willing to make compromises associated with an electric car (yes there are compromises), I would say these minor flaws are exactly that, minor. No buyers coming from an A8, willing to deal with range issues and charging times is going to pass on the Model S because of an uneven panel gap. I would say things like a buggy touchscreen are a much greater risk to this car's success than the fit issues highlighted here.
  • fordson1fordson1 Unconfirmed Posts: 1,512
    OK, wait...back on 3/8, this car has 1076 miles on it. On 3/15 it had 1030 miles on it, and now it has 915 miles on it.

    I know these posts are not in chronological order, but...is this car even being driven?
  • duck87duck87 Member Posts: 649
    Still not sure whether to give Kcai a thumbs up or a thumbs down. On the one hand it's a pretty crass statement, but on the other hand, it's so random seeing it on a $100k+ Tesla post (of all the American cars that could have been commented on) that it's got to be trolling. Right? Right?

    Also note the capitalization on 'American Car'. Clearly the Model S stands in a league of its own?
  • mercedesfanmercedesfan Member Posts: 365
    My Model S has a number of little fitment issues as well (plus some rattles inside), but I give it a pass. It is one of the risks you take when being an early adopter. I'm sure things will get sorted out over time.


    That misaligned Benz hood on Top Gear was actually their fault. They hadn't closed the hood properly (it latches in 3 places) before shooting. There was actually a bit of hub-bub about it.
  • throwbackthrowback Member Posts: 445
    The early adopters may not care about fit and finish. However, having worked with high income individuals for many years, build quality like this would not be well received in a 100K+ car.
  • zimtheinvaderzimtheinvader Member Posts: 580
    here ya go, brand new Aston Martin with sanding marks still showing in the paint from the factory:

    Lamborghini with factory sanding marks:

    These guys have been making cars a lot longer and can't even get the paint right and yet Tesla is 'typical American"? Seriously?
  • stovt001_stovt001_ Member Posts: 799
    I think Mercedesfan is about right. Yeah you don't want to see that on a sedan in this class, but the car and plant are new (well the plant is new to this company and the car) and that is something the early adopters probably come to expect.
  • tokyorushtokyorush Member Posts: 24
    Picking mine up in 2 days and if that significant, I'll ask Tesla to fix before I'm willing to take it. It really should be perfect for this kind of money.

    I'm more concerned with how they respond to these flaws - do they look for ways to make me happy and to improve the product over time, or do they look for excuses to not help me at all?

    I once had a Jeep that had no brakes when we pulled out of the dealership. They had accidentally cut the lines. The dealer yelled at me when I walked back in to tell them. I will never buy another Jeep.
  • shepskishepski Member Posts: 45
    I'm still looking forward to sitting in one - or at least being able to peek in the windows of a parked one - soon. Why? Because, in every pic or video I've seen, the seats look awfully cheap and cheesy to me - like something out of a 'Vette. Hope I'm wrong.
  • dashpotdashpot Member Posts: 5
    Shepski - Yes, the seats (among a few other interior things) are not up to luxo brand standards in features. They're supportive and comfortable but lack features compared to the rest of the industry in this price range. They're better to sit in than look at.

    There are a few other misses on the interior, like the lap joint on the A pillar trim, that can easily be rectified. Surprised that one made it this far without comment.

    Whether the driving experience outweighs the shortcomings is up to the individual. The driving experience does not disappoint but the other stuff may detract from "specialness" over time.
  • jeffhrejeffhre Member Posts: 10
    I'm thinking the first few hundred or so A-8's might not quite have the fitment of later ones off the line.
  • josh_bjosh_b Member Posts: 2
    We have the same issues with our Model S; some slight deflection on the front quarter panels. The hood is slightly off as well. The chrome trim is not as well aligned as an Audi's, nevermind a Buick's.

    Nevertheless I feel like Tesla should get a pass for the Model S v.1.0 given that they needed to get product delivered in a hurry. It was more important to get it out than to get it perfect -- at least where fit and finish is concerned. So far the important things (read: safety equipment, powertrain) are impeccable in their reliability.
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