Tesla’s Model S was the first all-electric car to catch the world’s attention when it was first introduced in the market in 2012. It was also the first Tesla to include Autopilot (driver assistance) and the “Enhanced Summon” feature. This year, Tesla released an upgraded edition of the Model S. Despite other options that the market has seen from the automobile manufacturer, the Model S remains unique, and it is considered the flagship car of Tesla. So, is it worth the price tag? Here’s everything you need to know.
Different Editions of the Model S for 2021
You may already know that the Model S Long Range released in 2020 is the only electric vehicle that can go 400 miles on a single charge. That’s higher than any other electric car, and with Tesla’s fast-charging stations, the new Model S is just as convenient as any gas-powered vehicle (or possibly more convenient). Even more impressive is the Model S Plaid+, which adds a third motor, with a combined output of 1020 horsepower. It can drive up to 520 miles, which is a record number for electric vehicles.
Revamped Interior, And Comfort
The new cabin was redesigned to give it a unique look, and it even includes a screen for rear passengers (not just the driver’s infotainment screen). The most notable design feature is the steering wheel, which resembles a yoke more than a wheel. With the Model S’s speed, you’ll feel like you’re piloting an airplane. There is nothing surrounding the steering wheel at all, and everything can be controlled by buttons on the wheel itself. We aren’t sure about the legality or safety of this wheel, but it does look cool and we’re sure many will be eager to try it. We expect there to eventually be the option to change it, or accessories to get a full wheel – but it’s still too early to tell.
Everything else in the cabin is more minimalistic, with clean lines all over. We liked the landscape position of the 17 inch infotainment screen. Even though it takes up a wider area of the dashboard, it’s easier to use and gives you more forward visibility. There’s a separate screen in front of the driver in lieu of the speedometer and other gauges. The rear passengers also get a screen.
We would have preferred to have some buttons for basic functions, but Tesla chose to keep all controls limited to the screen. It may need some getting used to. On a more positive note, the cabin was comfortable and spacious. We found that getting in and out of the car was no hassle, and there’s plenty of legroom as well. Upon first glance, we thought that the seats were going to be stiff and uncomfortable, but we were pleasantly surprised. The cabin comes with heated seats for all passengers and tri-zone climate control. It seems Tesla has gone out of its way to provide quality and focus on comfort.
The changes in the exterior design of the car are minimal, especially when compared to the improvements on the cabin. However, they are still worth mentioning. There are black accents on the handles and windows instead of the traditional chrome. The bumper is updated to give better air intake. The fog lights have a new style that is also seen in the Model X. Slight changes in the exterior design give the car a more sleek appearance, but they aren’t so obvious to the average passerby.
Engine And Performance
The Model S Plaid+ performs exceptionally well, reaching a top speed over 200 mph and going from 0-60 in less than 2 seconds. That’s all made possible by the impressive 1020 horsepower produced by three motors.
The Long Range edition works with a dual motor (one for each axle) with top speeds of 155mph and 163 mph, respectively. The Model S Performance (2020) used to offer “Ludicrous mode,” which is a setting that makes the car accelerate harder (at around 1.14 g for the first 50 mph). These settings exact will not be available, but the Plaid configurations will perform equally or better.
The new Model S drives smoothly – even though it is a fast car, it elegantly rides on the road with advanced tires. Its stability, even on road imperfections, is remarkable.
The battery pack of the Model S is heavier than other EVs (which are already massive. Despite that, the even weight from the low-lying battery gives the car increased stability while driving. We’ve already gone through the variable driving ranges offered (depending on the model). All-new Model S variants will get a new powertrain, with longer battery life for both the 75 kWh or 100 kWh battery packs. As usual, with this car, you will have access to Tesla’s supercharger network. Their chargers are currently being updated, and it won’t be long before charge time at a supercharging station is reduced to 15 minutes. At the moment, it takes up to 30 minutes to fully charge a Model S at any of Tesla’s supercharging stations, which is significantly faster than other electric vehicles.
Real-World Fuel Economy
The Model S is unique among electric vehicles in that it is comparable to gas-powered cars, even on long-distance rides. These aren’t merely claims by Tesla, but real-world testing constantly shows that the Model S gives the highest fuel economy.
Infotainment And Tech
The large infotainment screen controls all the functions of the Mosel S, which may be great as a tech feature, but we thought it could be distracting for some drives. There are an additional two screens in the cabin, too—one as a gauge cluster positioned in front of the driver and another touchpad for rear passengers
Nonetheless, we loved the easy-to-use navigation system. It’s based on Google maps, and provided detailed information no matter where you are, and updates your position more accurately. Unfortunately, there’s no support for Android Auto/ Apple Carplay. That may be a minor inconvenience, but Tesla’s built-in voice controls and media connectivity are nowhere near as good as Android/Apple. We liked the22 audio system but think other Tesla models have surpassed the Model S in this aspect. Of course, the car comes with the Tesla App, an innovative way to control your car and upgrade or improve some features. As usual, the smartphone app and backup keycard replace traditional keys. Every seat can charge smartphones, tablets, or laptops using wireless charging or USB-c charging ports. Note that charging would reduce the car’s battery (and thus the range).
As expected, the car comes with standard safety features and passed extensive crash tests by the IIHS. We asked them about the reports we found of the Model S catching fire upon high-speed impact. Their response was that any car (even one with an internal combustion engine) is prone to catching fire in those conditions. The statistics for the Model S catching fire are not unlike other vehicles, and so they are considered safe to drive.
Other safety features include automated driver assistance (emergency braking, lane departure warnings, adaptive cruise control). Of course, the car also comes with Autopilot mode. Tesla repeats its warning the Autopilot mode semi-autonomous, meaning that the drivers must be awake and alert for the entire duration of Autopilot driving (for safety purposes).
The car’s trunk is massive, even though it doesn’t look like it. In reality, it functions as a hatchback, with a trunk that measures 26 cubic feet. That’s more than we expected because the Model S is considered a luxury sedan. The rear seats fold to add more room for cargo, but we doubt you’ll ever need it. The interior doesn’t have too many extra storage areas. The center console has a large bin that can be divided up according to your needs and preferences, but there are no door pockets at all. Under the rear cabin floor, there is a large bin for extra storage as well.
As you may already know, you can order any Tesla from their website and it can be delivered to the location of your choice. The base price for the Model S has increased for 2021, and these are the details (according to the website)
Model S Long Range 2021: Dual motor, AWD – $74,490
Model S Plaid: Tri Motor, AWD – $114,490
Model S Plaid+: Tri Motor, AWD – $134,490
Details about the estimated range, top speed and 0-60mph time are included according to the options you choose. The website also gives you ane estimated delivery date.
Overall, this electric vehicle is a game-changer. It rivals luxury vehicles, whether they are electric or gas powers. If the original Model S is the flagship car of Tesla’s lineup, almost a decade later, the new Model S will set a new benchmark for electric vehicles once more.
What We Like:
- High Driving Range
- New Stylish Interior
- Excellent acceleration and driving experience
What We Don’t Like
- Limited small storage space (no door pockets)
- Does not support Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
- Voice Control is not as responsive as we’d like
- All vehicle controls are in the infotainment touch screen
In conclusion, we enjoyed trying out the new Model S, and if you can afford it, we recommend you get the Model S Plaid for better performance and exceptional range. The Plaid+ will not be available until the end of this year. The Model S is setting itself up to rival luxury cars, whether they are electric or not, and it seems that it’s going to come out on top.