Product Reviews

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The Tesla Model S is so revolutionary and advanced, it's like a car from another planet. That planet happens to be Silicon Valley, where this startup automaker has its headquarters and is run by the same CEO as Space X, the space exploration company with visions of flying to Mars. The Model S requires no excuses -- electric car or not. That's why the Model S is the best-scoring car that we've ever tested.
Alerts
There are 6 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
NA
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
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2015
2016
2017
2018
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and ESC standard. Side and head protection air bags standard.
Road Test

The Tesla Model S is so revolutionary and advanced, it's like a car from another planet. That planet happens to be Silicon Valley, where this startup automaker has its headquarters and is run by the same CEO as Space X, the space exploration company with visions of flying to Mars.

The Model S requires no excuses -- electric car or not. That's why the Model S is the best-scoring car that we've ever tested.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear, 2 third
Drive Wheels
Rear
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 1-speed Direct
Engines Available
  • electric (302 hp)
  • electric (416 hp)
  • electric (362 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2013 Tesla Model S owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

“The screen continues to freeze, even after service. One service rep told me it may be because I have a USB memory chip with music on it plugged in. That seems like something they should be able to fix”

L W., CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Display screen froze and could not operate the car except to drive. Simple rebooting fixed the problem”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Strange problems with display screen suddenly occurred after around 2 years of use - Tesla replaced with new, upgrade screen at no cost”

William N., CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Driver display screen froze and needed to be replaced. Tesla picked the car up and took it to the nearest service center, replaced it (warrantee) and had it back to me the next day”

Stephen W., NV (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)
Display screen goes blank

“Touchscreen replaced under warranty”

Barry D., MO (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“This was an unusual problem that caused them to keep the car for a week to check it out. We were given a loaner of a higher-trim model than ours for that time”

Anonymous, MA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Display screen computer broke, had to get it replaced”

Scott S., MD (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)
External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

“Firmware update to my car screwed up USB file browsing, also broke TuneIn radio playback when pausing or taking a phone call for about 6 months until it was fixed in latest 8.1 update”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Map disappears in areas with poor or no satellite reception (due to the fact that the map is 'on board' the car's computer system). With regards to "Drive system". The "drive train" (motor) was replaced under warranty”

Theo K., CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“NOT able to turn OFF radio frequency emissions on car (bluetooth/cell/wifi type) without the nav unit and other functionality being extremely limited or eliminated. Caused me headaches and exacerbated a cancerous tumor in me, as these frequencies g”

James D., CA (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)

“The 3G radio locks up rendering the navigation unit useless. Need to reset the console to restore the 3G radio. Also the map updates are out of date and the system makes peculiar route suggestions”

Leonard B., WA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)
Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

“This is an ongoing problem that they've looked at several times. It still happens and I have to re-pair the phone”

L W., CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Pairs & unpairs continuously”

Anonymous, FL (2013 Tesla Model S Unsure Electric)

“Occassionally wont pair requiring system to be restarted”

Anonymous, NJ (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)

“reception inferior to radios in all my previous cars. AM static under overpasses, near power lines. Have been complaining for 3 years. Service has worked on the car to no avail. OEM tires lasted only 13,000 miles. In all other respects, this is a fine car, a pleasure to own and drive”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)
Backup or other camera/sensors

“The camera, does not have depth perception. The car did not come with back up sensors so it was difficult to see exactly how far one was when backing up The models that were built in later iterations of the car”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)
CD player

“It does NOT have one! Need I say more!”

James D., CA (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)
Voice control commands

“Best I can tell voice recognition has never worked, but it is not a feature I care about and have only tried a couple times. I have only recently discovered problem when trying (unsuccessfully) to use the bug report feature”

Leonard B., WA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

“Air noise from the front passenger window, even when fully closed”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Wind noise is excessive, never would happen in MB”

Gene K., WA (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)

“I already explained this. Your survey can be difficult to follow”

Anonymous, MA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Roof vent seal became loose”

Dale W., CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Brake pedal squeaked and was lubricated”

Anonymous, FL (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Squeak, infrequent, but coming from back seat, passenger side. Can't pin-point location”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“roof squeak - fixed - also had nosisy a/c compressor - fixed at normal service time”

Steve A., CA (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)

“Panoramic roof rattles and squeaks on unlevel ground”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“I have the panoramic roof, which requires lube and adjustment by the service center to continue to operate properly”

Anonymous, AZ (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)

“Pano Roof squeaks. Needs adjusment (already serviced once)”

Anonymous, PA (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)

“The car is so very silent when driving that minor squeaks and rattles that you wouldn't be able to hear in a gasoline engine car become very annoying. Tesla service has been great about working to fix any and all squeaks & rattles”

James B., CA (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)

“I had a number of issues with rattles, usually in the A or B pillar and there was also an issue with the panoramic roof. All issues were fixed”

Aaron W., CA (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)

“Seatbelt tensioner has an occasional rattle Have not brought it to the attention of the dealer as yet Waiting for the next service”

Anonymous, FL (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)

“Noise from right passenger door window. Seal was not properly installed at plant. Seal replaced. Problem solved”

Anonymous, MA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Driveshaft or axle

“The seal on the driveshaft allowed moisture to enter and rusted the wires. The car stopped suddenly and was unable to drive anywhere. Telsa replaced the whole driveshaft under warranty ($7,000). Had the car returned the next day”

Anonymous, NV (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“The Drive unit failed upon acceleration”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Buzz at low torque and whine at high speed”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)
Driveline vibration

“Vibrated. Tesla replaced driveline”

Anonymous, FL (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“A noise the service center called "milling" occurred. This did not seem to affect performance. The motor was replaced at no cost”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)

“Noise from rear drive unit. Fully replaced under warranty. No mechanical failure”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)
Stability control (ESC)

“A failure on the rear tire sensor caused failure of ABS, ESC and Traction Control simultaneously. This happened during winter snows and any slippage would entirely disable these systems and regen braking, making the car difficult, scary and unsafe to drive until it reset after driving about half a mile. Replacing the sensor cost $150 and all is now well again, but it was a rough week!”

Meredith S., RI (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)
Electrical failure

“A module on the management control bus went bad affecting other systems, causing the car to act erratically, needing repair”

Anonymous, VA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Software firmware update reported to cause special D.C. D.C. fuse to fail, which required replacement at dealer service center”

Anonymous, TX (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)
Differential

“A minor amount of play developed in the differential gears. Tesla replaced the entire drive system. Remarkable service!”

Anonymous, UT (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Doors or sliding doors

“I have replaced 3 out 4 door handles that pop out. Wires break and Tesla standard prevents replacing just the wire but the whole handle. $1,000 per handle to replace”

Anonymous, NV (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Door handle shorted out”

Anonymous, TX (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)
Locks and latches

“Door handle failed to present”

Anonymous, NY (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Handle needed to be replaced - door wouldn't open from outside on passenger front”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)
Seat belts

“Different seat belts in car freezing up, replaced and happened again. Long waiting time for parts (21/2 months)”

Gene K., WA (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)

“The air deflector bracket broke”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)
Windows

“Twice, I've had problems where the right rear window would open and then not close again (or only close if I was pulling on it)”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Steering linkage (includes rack and pinion)

“According to the dealer, a few bolts on the rack and pinion had loosened up causing a slight noise”

Anonymous, VA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“When driving 50 mph more the car would pull to the left and then to right,”

Stan M., CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)
Tie rods

“Had to replace at 50,000 miles, just after warranty ran out. Cost about $700. Seems a little early for this item to wear out”

Anonymous, VA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)
Wheel bearings

“Left front wheel bearing starts to worn, making a humming noise while driving. The front left wheel hub was replaced”

Anonymous, NJ (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)
Alignment

“The car on the alignment machine shows it is aligned but the car pulls to the right. The local dealer attributes it to the crown in the road, but the demos I drive do not pull to the right”

Anonymous, TN (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)
Tire wear is uneven

“Rear tires wear inside tread, about a two inch band, due to " squatting " rear suspension under exceleration. dangerous situation as very hard to see. Dealer tried to blame the driver for hard driving. Gee, I bought the Performance model to drive!”

Anonymous, NV (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Headlights

“Headlamps don't illuminate far enough. Cornering lights are useless”

Paul B., MA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“A headlight just went out”

Vincent M., CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)
Exterior lights (other than headlights)

“The string of small white lights above each headlight just went off, both daytime as well as nights”

Vincent M., CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Door handles do not open automatically”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“I was getting false reading of the tires losing pressure, and warnings that the tire pressure monitoring system needed service. I took the car to a Tesla Service Center and they replaced all 4 tire pressure monitors”

Edward F., MD (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

Engine rebuild or replacement

“Car made whining sound. Was told "Drive Unit" was replaced and this included the motor and controller”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“The car had the known drive unit issue where it started clunking on acceleration/deceleration. Drive unit was replaced”

Brian H., IL (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Car wouldn't start one day. Tesla towed it to the service center. Could not reproduce the problem. But replaced the engine as in the spirit of "overabundance of caution" according to them”

Anonymous, CA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Excessive noise in one drive unit. Replaced without issue under warranty”

Anonymous, FL (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

“Roof rack covers are easily removed by carwash. No locking mechanism and thin plastic hinges easily torn off”

Anonymous, NV (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)
Loose interior trim or moldings

“Dashboard panel vibrated at normal speeds Was replaced by TESKA and problem has not returned”

Anonymous, FL (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

“Paint chipping off hood”

Anonymous, TN (2013 Tesla Model S Performance Electric)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

What Owners Say

Hybrid/electric battery replacement

“Battery died. Would not charge. Stuck out of state”

Paul B., MA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)
Hybrid/electric system and battery (excluding replacement)

“Charging system failed. Tesla repaired it in one day. Excellent service”

S A., WA (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

“A critical component had a fuse blow so the whole component needed to be replaced. Costly repair. Multiple other people with same issue”

Anonymous, OH (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

“Fuse blown. Replaced at no cost with beautiful loaner. Car was picked up, repaired, dropped off clean as a whistle”

Joshua B., ON (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

Transmission rebuild or replacement

“I heard noises from the rear-end of the car. I took it in and they replaced the motor/transmission”

Anonymous, MN (2013 Tesla Model S Base Electric)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

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