GREEN CHOICE
GREEN CHOICE

Tesla Model S

The Tesla Model S rewrites the rulebook for cars. It's is a different kind of car from a different kind of planet. That planet is Silicon Valley, where this startup automaker is based. The fully electric Model S is a remarkable car that combines performance, agility, styling, high-tech, no emissions and low operating costs. It's one of the best cars we've ever tested.
Alerts
There is 1 recall 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.
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.
Fuel Economy & Emissions
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.
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).

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
2019
2020
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
NA
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
NA
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.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
NA
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
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 rewrites the rulebook for cars. It's is a different kind of car from a different kind of planet. That planet is Silicon Valley, where this startup automaker is based. The fully electric Model S is a remarkable car that combines performance, agility, styling, high-tech, no emissions and low operating costs. It's one of the best cars we've ever tested.

Tesla makes it relatively painless to switch to this electric car from a more conventional one with its usable range and the ability to charge quickly and often. In our tests the 75D was able to cruise for 235 miles. Charge times for the 75D are about seven hours on a Tesla dedicated wall connector, or 12 hours on a generic 240-volt connector. Public Superchargers are also available for the occasional topping off and, depending on battery charge level, can add 60 miles of range in 30 minutes or so. The cost to charge the battery is about $10 (calculated using the national average electricity cost of 12 cents per kWh).

Seating
2 front, 3 rear, 2 third
Drive Wheels
AWD
Warranty
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

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 (417 hp)
  • electric (517 hp)
  • electric (713 hp)
  • electric (376 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2018 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

Display screen freezes up

"Screen freezes. Reboot solves the issue. The car still works. No better or worse than when car was new."

Anonymous, (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)

"Tesla could not fix any of the issues permanently. This is not acceptable, especially at this price point."

Anonymous, CA (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)

"A soft reset usually fixes the problem but will reoccur the next day. We did a hard reset and it still froze soon after. Tesla is making a mobile visit next week to, we hope to repair the issue."

Ian S., CA (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)
Display screen goes blank

"The temporary solution was to reboot computer. The software updated slowly made the display screen crashes go completely away."

Anonymous, (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)

"Please see previous comment."

Anonymous, CA (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)

"It just goes blank and none of the features are accessible."

Anonymous, MI (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)

"I am driving along and it goes blank. I have to reset the computer"

Henry K., FL (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)

"Driving along and entire display s here and dashboard goes black. Cannot monitor speed or anything else but car continues to operate. Was told it needed a software fix, I received it and have not had the problem since"

Allan B., NJ (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)

"Took it to dealer and they insytalled new firmware"

Anonymous, CA (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)
External music device interface (e.g., smart phone, MP3 player)

"The Bluetooth interface is pretty poorly designed & unstable."

Anonymous, (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"Problem occurred 2 months following vehicle delivery. Vehicle was not connecting to LTE service. Tesla service professional found vehicle's modem was not communicating properly. Reset of vehicle modem restored normal operation of the LTE connection. Problem has not recurred."

Anonymous, MA (2018 Tesla Model S P100D Electric)

"Some times it just freezes up"

Henry K., FL (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)
Phone pairing (e.g., Bluetooth)

"I initially couldn't connect to my home WiFi, reset the car's computer system, or connect a second iPhone. In addition, I am getting prompted to connect to every WiFi I park near. Tesla service has corrected each of these problems except the WiFi prompting problem via software updates. I lost the ability to connect to my primary iPhone about a month later. Tesla service had me delete both primary and secondary iPhones, reset the system, and repair both iPhones to correct this problem. I didn't experience any of these problems with my 2016 Tesla Model S over the 1.5 years I owned it."

Willam B., CO (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)
Routine software updates

"The car has trouble downloading routine software updates. Have had to have the dealer install the updates."

Anonymous, WA (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)

"Well this is tied into the same backup camera issue. Software updates that were supposed to correct the problem never worked. That's the only issue I've had with updates."

Anonymous, CA (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)
Software update fixes

"Car occasionally requires several seconds to start up. The system seems to be resetting itself. Normally starts up instantly."

Wayne H., HI (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)

"In October 2018 I updated to version 9.0 of operating system. Ever since then the backup camera goes blank after a few times driving. This requires a screen reset which is time consuming. Tesla has tried for months to repair and finally advised last week that it's a known firmware problem that engineering is working on."

Anonymous, CA (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)

"One of their remote software updates scrambled the cars control system, so you had to figure out where features had gone like the phone, songs, etc. which created a driving hazard. It was like going into you favorite grocery store after they just scrambled the location of everything then trying to find what you needed. Randomly features stop working or malfunction like long delays powering up to start the car, the software system randomly reboots itself while driving the car, etc. which are really software bugs. The only way to fix the problems is to press both buttons on the steering where to force the software to reset (like a ctr+alt+delete) in windows. The operating system for this car is frustrating like windows and appears designed by novices with no human engineering skills. Tesla randomly and remotely updates the entire operating system for the car without telling you in advance what they are updating. Based on bugs/changes occurring from their past updates, I'm afraid of what they will mess up next. Bugs that were fixed in past updates pop up again. When I bought the car in 2018, the car would simply not play MP3s from a USB even though the technology was 20 years old. The gave me another Model S loaner car to fix this problem that oddly played MP3s properly. When I got my car back it would still not play MP3's because my computer system was different that the loaner car and they were still working on the MP3 problem with my new computer What this means to me is that Tesla is dealing with different hardware in the same Tesla models and there is no compatibility between the software between models which must create a maintenance nightmare"

Ronald P., FL (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)

Body Integrity

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

What Owners Say

Squeaks or rattles

"There are suspension clunks when moving at slow speeds"

Anonymous, SC (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)

"Driving at speeds up to 35 mph or so on rough roads, I can hear rattling noises that appear to be associated with the car's front suspension or wheels/brakes. I took it for service once and the problem was not identified or fixed."

Anonymous, CA (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)

"Just a squeaking driver’s seat. Tesla service fixed it at no cost"

Edward H., UT (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)

"rattle in front end suspension that they haven't be able to fix."

Anonymous, AZ (2018 Tesla Model S P100D Electric)
Wind noise

"Window trims did not line up properly and there was wind noise from the driver side B pillar."

Anonymous, SC (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)

"The windshield was not set flush to the glass roof and caused turbulence leading to loud cabin noise, which the serviceman told me was actually a common problem. The windshield was reset, but the baseline wind noise level is still significantly louder than one would expect from a luxury car at that price point."

William W., MD (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)

"Wind noise from driver side window corrected with one service trip."

Anonymous, CA (2018 Tesla Model S 100D 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

"color of DRLs changed from normal white to a dim yellow; of course, this happened to each headlight at a different time; they both required replacement"

Anonymous, IA (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)

"The signature daytime running lights (the part of the headlight assembly that outlines the headlights, giving the cool Tesla look), have failed to maintain their brightness all the way around. They become yellowish/brown and dull in places. Both headlight assemblies have been replaced and need to be replaced a second time."

Robert B., NC (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)
Horn

"steering wheel wiring had to be replaced"

Anonymous, CA (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)
Keyless entry

"Keyless entry is somewhat erratic. Sometimes requires waving the key fob and/or touching the door handle. Often the charge port will not open until I move to the front of the car."

Wayne H., HI (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)

"One of the two key fobs that came with the car just completely stopped working and was replaced by Tesla."

Anonymous, SK (2018 Tesla Model S P100D 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

Locks and latches

"Auto presenting door handle made squeaking noise when coming out."

Anonymous, WA (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"Trunk lid does not fit snugly therefore it moves like a diaphragm and make low frequency booming noise at low speeds."

Anonymous, WA (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)
Windows

"Wind noise from door windows. Fix is to adjust weather strip and window heights"

Anonymous, OR (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)

"The rear passenger-side window interfered with the trim when the door was opened. Tesla replaced the trim which fixed the problem."

Brice H., NV (2018 Tesla Model S 100D 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

Bushings

"Grease was leaking from the left front steering bushing that is integral to the U bracket. The entire bracket was replaced including the bushing and the boot."

Anonymous, CA (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)
Electronic or air suspension

"Rattle in front air suspension. Both parts were replaced under warranty"

Anonymous, (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)
Shocks or struts

"Jiggling noise at low speeds over moderately bumpy roads. It’s a known defect with no apparent solution yet."

Anonymous, CA (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)

"There was a light rattle noise from the front of the dash. The fix was to replace both front air shocks. Car is fine now."

Anonymous, SK (2018 Tesla Model S P100D Electric)

Paint/Trim

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

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"Very, very minor. Left rear molding bowed out slight from quarter panel."

Anonymous, CA (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)

"Chrome molding around rear quarter window popped out"

Anonymous, OR (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"There is a paint defect developing on the driver side rear fender. Appears to be a piece of dust in the paint coming to the surface."

Anonymous, FL (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)

Climate System

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

What Owners Say

Automatic climate control

"The unit was working fine when all of a sudden the compressor "turned off" and started blowing warm air. After about two to three minutes the compressor came back on and worked perfectly. The same issue happened last winter when the heater stopped "heating" and just blew cold air from the vents. In this case after about 4 to 5 minutes the heat came back on and the unit worked perfectly from that point forward. After inquiring about this with the service department I was told that at times if the battery in the vehicle gets too cold or hot the car diverts the HAC to the battery to either cool it or heat it as needed in order to maintain an optimum temperature for operation. This sounds logical and from what I have read would appear to be the case. The cost in the last twelve months that was asked in the previous question involved a HAC service that the service department recommended. Unfortunately, due to the conditions existing at this time with the virus, we have not driven the car any great distance, but later this month we will. It will give us a chance to determine if the service work helped in any way to upgrade the performance of the HAC system in this vehicle."

Anonymous, (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)

"rats chewed the wires, air conditioner did not work"

Anonymous, CA (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)

"During the first winter driving season, there were at least two instances where the air coming from the dash vents put out cold air. The unit was operating normally, then all of a sudden it seemed as though the heat turned off and only cold air came out of the vents. As for the summer months we are experiencing right now, the same thing almost happened in reverse. We were driving home during the hot part of the afternoon when the fan motor seemed to slow down and push enough cool air into the cabin to stay comfortable. I did everything I know to speed up the fan motor to increase air movement in the cabin to no avail. I will be having this looked at as of Monday, July 29. Just to throw in one more item of concern, the audio system/streaming process sometimes can just disappear for no apparent reason. When it works, it works well however."

Anonymous, CA (2018 Tesla Model S 75D Electric)

Exhaust

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

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

"Adaptive does not accelerate smoothly on lane change, hesitating slightly"

Anonymous, CA (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)

"Auto pilot includes cruise control and the ability to see and monitor other cars when passing. Without it, it made driving more dangerous. It was intermittent but would often be out for house on long drives"

Allan B., NJ (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)

"A wheel sensor failed that caused the unavailability of several other features until fixed: Emergency auto braking, cruise control, autopilot, stability control, traction control, regenerative braking, auto steer."

Robert B., NC (2018 Tesla Model S 75D 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

Electrical failure

"I received error messages and eventually the car quit operating."

Anonymous, FL (2018 Tesla Model S 100D Electric)

Brakes

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

Engine Cooling

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

Transmission Minor

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

Engine Major

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

Engine Minor

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

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.

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

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