The updated Tesla Model S probably would have garnered the highest road-test score we’ve ever recorded if it weren’t for its new yoke-style steering wheel. The yoke—similar to the half steering wheel pilots use to control airplanes—and the other control changes that come with it, bring major compromises in usability, maneuverability, and comfort. It’s a shame, because the fully-electric Model S is otherwise a truly amazing car.
For starters, the Long Range model we purchased is the quickest car we’ve ever tested, scorching from 0 to 60 mph in just 3.2 seconds. The thrilling acceleration from the 670 horsepower is immediate, seamless, nearly silent and, unlike many electric vehicles which lose steam at higher speeds, the power and forcefulness of the Model S just keeps going and going. All-wheel drive is standard, thanks to the two electric motors—one driving the front wheels, the other driving the rears.
The Long Range version has an EPA-estimated 405-mile driving range, which is quite good for an EV. Charge times are long, though, especially compared to fueling a gasoline-powered car, but the Model S’s large battery eliminates the need to charge very often. It took us about 7.5 hours to charge the battery to full from about 30 percent remaining on Tesla’s wall-mounted home charger. The ability to use Tesla's supercharging network—typically found in fairly convenient public places, including highway rest areas—is a huge plus when taking long drives.