2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,237
edited September 2014 in Tesla

image2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

This past weekend I let three friends drive our long-term Tesla Model S.

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  • zhangrenhouzhangrenhou Member Posts: 79
    That's a good sign!
  • mercedesfanmercedesfan Member Posts: 365
    It's a fantastic car, warts and all. Even after 5 months I still look forward to driving mine everyday.
  • fordson1fordson1 Unconfirmed Posts: 1,512
    I think the Tesla is going to be judged using a different yardstick than those other big sedans, and perhaps that's unavoidable...those cars are much more likely than the Tesla to be an only car...or only car that is not a toy. What I mean by that is the guy with the 5-series probably has another car, but it may be an S2000 or a restored 60s muscle car. Not something that could normally double as an everyday car. The Tesla owners it seems to me are much more likely to have another large sedan, or an SUV or F150...something that can go on long trips or be used as a DD. If the Tesla is in the shop or is judged inconvenient for a longer trip, the Explorer Limited comes out of the garage and it's no big deal. The 5-series has a problem, and the owner is down to his track-day toy for a business trip...that's going to be a bigger issue. I could be wrong...
  • bassrockerxbassrockerx Member Posts: 24
    you have some wealthy friends. what do you drive??
  • mercedesfanmercedesfan Member Posts: 365

    That was true for me. Initially I had planned on replacing my S550 (it has over 130,000 miles on it), but when I made the choice to go EV I decided to hang on to it. The Tesla is great for around town, but road-tripping with it is more hassle
  • bassrockerxbassrockerx Member Posts: 24
    track day toy for a business trip. sounds like a great idea. lets drive the miata to new york once the weather warms up!!
  • victorminator_victorminator_ Member Posts: 7
    I'm just a little stunned that such luxury vehicle owners are gushing about the giant touchscreen.

    I love everything about this car except that monstrosity. Looks incredibly out of place in a luxury vehicle. I don't care about how high tech it looks, it's just...garish and more than unsafe. So I'm more than a little surprised by the remarks.
    Still, I don't doubt they went nuts over its other qualities.
  • darthbimmerdarthbimmer Member Posts: 606
    Wow, seems like you live in a very wealthy neighborhood. I didn't know Edmunds paid that well. p.s. Are you hiring?
  • fordson1fordson1 Unconfirmed Posts: 1,512
    @mercedesfan: Your S-class is long since paid for...wise to hang on to it anyway, but yeah - that's what I would do, for sure.
  • mfennellmfennell Member Posts: 91
    @victorminator: You've used it then?

    Personally, I did not expect to like it but I was really impressed with how well it works.
  • duck87duck87 Member Posts: 649
    Edmunds is located in Santa Monica... I'm sure you folks have seen that the level of wealth in that general area to be higher than many other places in the country. That, plus well connected automotive journalists that attend car events... no surprise? It's kind of a cliche but these guys definitely have some of the best jobs in one of the best locations in the world (minus traffic).

    As for the Tesla... it's pretty clear that guys love it. You DID notice the huge influx of Tesla fan spam over the last couple of posts right?
  • drcomputerdrcomputer Member Posts: 82
    We call it "Tesla Time". Once you own one you get used to it. You need to set aside extra time at the supermarket to answer questions to curious people. Every friend or family member will somehow invite you over for dinner with the ulterior motive of getting a test drive in your car. It is just part of owning something so different.
  • victorminator_victorminator_ Member Posts: 7
    mfennel no I haven't, but I'm basing this not so much on the UI which could be perfectly fine, as much as the appearance of a big screen in the middle. I am curious to know how mercedesfan feels about it versus his S-Class' center stack. I would always pick the latter over anything purely touch, especially because it exudes a more luxurious atmosphere.

    I have too many issues and concerns with having touch only systems, and based on how people reacted at the auto show I went to 2 weekends ago, with other car makers' systems (such as the new ATS/XTS' and Ford's new all touch center stack), I feel it's not a good direction to take.

    Again, UI is probably pretty good. I just disagree with the fundamental existence of a touch only interface in vehicles. It's more than just a subjective perspective to me.

    Can't wait to see how many thumbs down this gets.
  • fordson1fordson1 Unconfirmed Posts: 1,512
    I can see how this car is going to help to build and rebuild all kinds of relationships, drcomputer. The 60 seconds it takes for me to refill my car's gas tank leaves no time at all for socializing. The photos I've seen of those Supercharger stations...they're stuck out in the middle of nowhere. Musk is missing a sure thing by not putting in Starbucks, coin laundries, maybe a HD or Lowe's. You know - the kinds of places that...you're going to be there for awhile anyway. Maybe at the long-term lot at the airport. DEFINITELY at parking garages. I'm kinda kidding, but kinda not also. Let's see...skate park, dog park, health club, emergency room, DMV locations, traffic court, ladies' rooms at any sports venue... Hell, they could put them alongside LA-area freeways - at rush hour, with a 50-foot cord, you could pick up 10 minutes' charge easy.
  • bassrockerxbassrockerx Member Posts: 24
    i am more of a botton person. i am the person that buys the same phone with the slide out keyboard attatched to it and does not complain when it costs 50 more dollars over the regular one and do not mind the extra weight because buttons>touchscreen. out of all the infotainment systems out there the one in the new lexus cars makes more sense to me and for that reason i could see myself buying a lexus ls over a mercedes s class (if i ever could afford one that is.. ) the super huge tablet interface looks neat now but i would be concerned over the fact that it controlls absolutely everything with the car! there are a lot of things i would rather buttons and switches for like traction control. its just kinda daunting to me that one device controls everything. also, while it is top of the line today 5 years from now it will be a dinosaur technology wise and you will be reminded by that every time you use the vehicle! to me what defines a luxury car is how special it still is 10,20 years later.
  • tokyorushtokyorush Member Posts: 24
    @victorminator - You should definitely try one out. I was really hesitant about the screen, its feel, and the whole UI concept but after driving one and spending time in it I think it is both luxurious (nicer than my old A6's center stack for certain) an
  • victorminator_victorminator_ Member Posts: 7
    I did spend some time shortly after my post earlier, on Youtube checking out demos of it.
    Like I said, probably the best UI out there for automotive. But I just can't bring myself to like how garish it is and how it forces a natural habit of motor skills in manipulating knobs and buttons to be shoved aside in favor of the touchscreen generation. It really feels like a joke to tell us that if people like using their iPhones while driving, then we might as well give 'em a huge screen with it.
    But it's not a joke heh.
    Gah... I badly want to own such a car one day. If only that screen wasn't so prominent and by itself without buttons.

    @Bassrocker I believe I heard somewhere that the software's UI can get updated, which implies that outside physical car features, the system can stay up to date as much as any newer Model "x" car Tesla makes. That's great, except if they decide to redesign the UI too much. I can only imagine what it'd be like for owners to get a new UI, and start driving and forget to get acquainted with it. A disaster waiting to happen.
    Sadly even Toyota is going touch with the Avalon's climate control. I tried it out at the auto show and cursed it. Just like every other stupid trendy touch attempt. Feels like the Germans and Koreans are the few who have stayed true to haptic experience.
  • mercedesfanmercedesfan Member Posts: 365

    From a real-world usability standpoint I actually think the Model S' giant touchscreen is about the same as the S550's knob-based COMAND. When sitting parked, the Tesla has a wonderfully intuitive UI, the graphics are stunning, and the sy
  • throwbackthrowback Member Posts: 445
    mercedesfan, please keep commenting on your likes/dislikes on the model S and how it compares to the S550. Although Audi gets raves for their interiors I still prefer the current S class' interior. I like the model S a lot, but I'm old school and my preference for buttons and knobs in cars is strong. It's nice to get the perspective of someone running both cars at the same time.
  • victorminator_victorminator_ Member Posts: 7
    Mercedesfan, I wasn't actually thinking of COMAND when I asked how you felt about the cabin, but it's still good you added your two cents on it. I was thinking more about the buttons, the layout of them, just how it feels using them. And indeed you addressed it.
    I truly hope Tesla does another iteration or perhaps a smaller version without such a big screen and more button redundancy. I'd seriously consider it.

    And yes I agree with throwback, it's great to get your perspective as an owner of two high end luxury cars.
  • mayhemmmayhemm Member Posts: 6
    I fail to see why "hard" buttons are considered superior to the Model S's touch UI. You really reach down and adjust your climate controls without looking at what you're setting them to? In my Audi I always first glance down to see what they're currently set on (1 sec), look back at the road while I adjust them a bit, then look down again to confirm my selection (1 sec). Total time looking away = 2 x 1 second. How do you do it faster/easier without looking? The only setting I can confidently adjust "blind" is the volume control and that's because it's on the steering wheel. On Model S, you can set fan speed to the steering wheel so you only have to reach down and bop the temp up or down a degree (The controls are always there and in the same position, just like buttons). Or do you always make your temp adjustments in 5 or 10-degree jumps? Admittedly, the fan POSITION controls in the Model S are a bit convoluted and harder to adjust on-the-fly than most systems.
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