The 2013 Tesla S holds major significance, as it is the first electric car to actually provide high-level performance. It is both environmentally-conscious and extraordinarily powerful, and was rewarded for its novelty as it was named the 2013 Automobile of the Year by Automobile Magazine. Buyers have four different trims to choose from, and there is an enormous price gulf between the lower and higher trims. The Tesla S has the appearance of a sedan, although it is in fact a five-door hatchback. The car should not be compared with the more economic electric cars currently on the market, as the price point is entrenched firmly in the luxury performance car category.
New For 2013
Practically everything, beyond some familiar Mercedes Benz–supplied switchgear.
The exterior of the 2013 Tesla S is relatively tame and does not quite match up to its game-changer status. Even so, the car’s design is unlikely to deter many prospective buyers, as it looks long and sleek. There is no confusing the 2013 Tesla S with other electric cars on the market, as its size and bold design are quite distinctive. Tesla equipped each of the four trims with 19-inch wheels, which go a long way towards supplying a sporty appearance and make it look even lower to the ground than it already is. In fact, the smooth lines actually recall the appearance of British luxury automobiles. Black door accents make for another luxury touch.
Interior & Cargo
The 2013 Tesla S boasts a spacious interior, although it does not offer the elevated level of distinction that characterizes most vehicles in its price point. Without a doubt, the centerpiece of the interior is the enormous LCD touch screen, which totals a full 17 inches. To its credit, Tesla has supplied a number of interior features that go a long way towards counteracting the relatively tame interior. A microfiber and synthetic leather interior looks classy and luxurious, and the cargo space is actually quite notable for the luxury car category. Drivers will also remain comfortable, as there are eight-way adjustable, powered front seats. Entertainment features include Bluetooth capability, and another major bonus is that the car offers 3G Wireless connectivity. Other features vary between trim levels. While this is not unusual, it should be noted that the price point of the 2013 Tesla S is immense, as the cost for the top-level Signature Performance is nearly double that of the base trim Model S. In fact, the Signature Performance trim tops out at over $105,000, pricing it above many performance cars from both the United States and Europe. It should be noted that although the 2013 Tesla S boasts superlative fuel economy numbers, it is unlikely that the car will be purchased out of a desire to save money at the pump. Buyers will receive a $7500 tax credit, although when one is spending over $100,000 on the car the discount is hardly noticeable. Ultimately, purchasing the car should be viewed as an environmentally-conscious lifestyle choice more than a money-saving initiative.
The car will seat five people, but buyers can also spring for a pair of rear-facing, third-row seats. Rear passenger room is not ample, and especially so for a seven-passenger car. This final row of seats should only be considered for the smallest of child passengers, as the space is quite snug. The rear-facing row of seats actually makes it so that the 2013 Tesla S can seat up to seven passengers. However, those considering this option should consider that the children who are seated in this row will be placed in close proximity with the door, and so this is unlikely to be a sound purchase for those who drive through bumpy or harsh weather conditions.
Safety features on the 2013 Tesla S include front head, knee, and pelvis airbags. There are also rear side curtain airbags. Stability control comes standard, as do rollover and crash sensors. Both of these features are invaluable in securing a safe and sturdy ride. The 2013 Tesla S also comes with a backup camera and child safety locks.
The driving experience of the 2013 Tesla S constitutes the major advantage that the car has over its electric car competition. Other electric cars simply cannot match the high levels of performance achieved by this car. From a standing still, it is estimated that drivers can go from zero to 60 in between 4.4 to 6.5 seconds, depending on the trim level that is selected. The transmission is a one-speed direct drive that offers 402 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Fuel economy is perhaps the greatest attraction of the 2013 Tesla S. Drivers can expect to receive the equivalent of 88/90 mpg city/highway.
The 2013 Tesla S can match the performance of its non-electric competition in the luxury performance category, thanks in large part to the low ground clearance, which strengthens the handling capabilities. The steering is well-proportioned, and one can certainly take the 2013 Tesla S out onto the highway without feeling as though they have sacrificed any performance by springing for an electric car.
Rear-wheel drive comes standard on all trims of the 2013 Tesla S. While this does improve the fuel economy numbers for the car, it may discourage those who drive through difficult driving conditions.
Key Competitors For The 2013 Tesla Model-S
- BMW 5-Series
- Prosche Panamera
- Fisker Karma