Tesla Model S 2017 car review
By Cade Wilson
Zero Emissions, Zero Compromises, Tesla’s first fully electric sedan is an evolution in automotive engineering. Combining performance, safety, and efficiency, it has reset the world’s expectations for the car of the 21st century. The Model S features the highest possible safety ratings, the longest range of any electric vehicle, and over-the-air software updates that continuously make it better.
Our test car, the Model S P100D, was valued at $273,132 and includes upgrades like a carbon fibre rear spoiler, 21” wheels, midnight silver metallic paint, and premium sound just to name a few. An interesting feature included as standard for the Performance Model S was ‘Ludicrous Speed’ mode; I have never been in a vehicle that accelerated with that much force! Figures report 0-100 Km/h in just 2.7 seconds – not that this is something I was able to verify.
The interior of the vehicle was refreshingly simple, apart from the elephant in the room - the huge central control hub infotainment screen. Set around the steering wheel were some very standard looking gear selection, wiper, indicator, and cruise control stalks. These are all designed to make the car as easy to operate as possible and it works. The dark interior, sculpted door cards and carbon fibre accents gave it a luxurious feel, while the front seats were sporty but also very comfortable and heating was available across all seats.
The giant touch-screen controls everything; vehicle control characteristics, air con, seat adjustments can all be changed and saved under a driver profile and recalled when you enter the car. Spotify is included and Tesla supply a working SIM card when you purchase the vehicle so music search works without subscribing. Our test car also had a $4,100 premium sound upgrade; with speakers throughout and no engine, the sound quality was amazing.
This is also the first electric car I have actually had to take to a charging station and not plug into the household power outlet. I was very much the newbie and parked the wrong way round to start with and couldn’t reach the portal properly. I then had to be shown by a Nissan Leaf owner how to actually turn the charging on after plugging it in - how humbling!
The drive is exceptional; the air suspension offered 4 different ride heights, which allowed me to enter our not so gentle underground carpark on “very high” mode without dragging the bodywork behind. The vehicle had cruise control, but the adaptive autonomous driving mode wasn’t activated, so I couldn’t try it out. The only downside is that, as it’s an extremely quiet car, you can hear every little rattle and squeak inside.
So how much electricity do these cars actually use? Well if you convert the energy usage to what we are used to seeing, this vehicle would use 2.6ltrs/ 100kms, so it’s very economical. On Tesla’s website there is a range calculator based on the vehicle’s speed and wheel size, as well as the outside temperature and whether you have the A/C turned on or not. So our car should be able to travel 508km at 100kmh, in 20deg temperature with the 21” wheels and A/C on. Sadly I couldn’t drive this far to be able to try.
If you truly want to embrace technology, you can download the Tesla app on your smartphone. This puts you in direct communication with your vehicle allowing you to remotely monitor charging progress, heat or cool the car before driving and locate your vehicle using GPS - you can even use the app to access and drive the car without keys!
At a glance
|Models||Tesla Model S P100D|
|ANCAP safety rating||5-star|
|Luggage capacity / payload||894 Ltrs of storage|
|Collision Avoidance (over the air update)||Traction Control|
Autonomous Emergency Braking