Tesla Model S: Test Drive!

Review time!

Last week I setup an appointment for a test drive with the new Model S. I’ve seen the car, sat in it, and messed around with the display previously in the show room, and have been waiting for them to get a test drive vehicle locally so I can give it a spin.

Staff Impressions: I dealt with Tim, he wasn’t pushy, in fact quite the opposite, he allowed you to ask questions, pretty open with any information, and was very knowledgeable with the products and whats going on with the company/future plans.

Car Test Drive Impressions: Got to the car with my wife, Tim had the key on him, so when we got in proximity to the car, the door handles popped out, and the displays started up as soon as we opened the doors to get in/sit down in the car. (Nerdy dreams completed) I adjust the seat, and get everything setup like I like it, and the steering wheel has a powered adjuster so you can control if it goes up, down, closer, or further. (very nice powered addition) We tested out the radio, and it had very nice sound quality. Messed around with that huge display screen and a few of the options in there, and switched the screen to a rear view mode for backing out of the space.

Screen Controls everything from the height of the car, auto-creep, radio, map, temp controls, sun roof, ect.)

Pushed the shifter stalk to the reverse position, and no lurch from the transmission to let you know it’s trying to push you in that direction, just when lifting off the brakes, you feel the car start to inch back (like a traditional gas car that is able to be turned on or off) backed out of the space, and then switched to the drive gear and we’re off. No noise, and smooth as silk. I did notice the power steering noise when turning while going slow, but with the lack of noise from everything else, it was to be expected, but once at speed, it was silent. Driving it was very smooth, the suspension is sporty, the steering is very crisp, and acceleration was damn impressive.

They had a route they bring people on, so we got a little on ramp and off ramp testing, along with some highway and side streets. Very easy to drive, and very predictable.

One thing I found I would need to get used to was the regenerative braking. I believe it was set to aggressive (3 settings?) but it was nice as i didn’t need to use the brakes except for complete stops or to avoid the person who insists on pulling out in front of another moving vehicle…

The vehicle feels fairly large to drive, like an A6, but very nimble feeling, and handles very well especially for it’s size. I’d have no hesitation in purchasing one if I had that kind of money to dump on a vehicle. Personally I’m holding out for one of the 30K price point vehicles. As soon as those come out, I’ll be in line like an Apple Fan boi at the stores camping out. :high5:

Overall 2 thumbs up to detail and delivery of the vehicle, and if I had the money, I’d have 1 or 2 in my garage for my wife and myself.


I wanted to add a few more details for part of the test drive I left out. We did the twisties to get onto a highway, and the car accelerated so smoothly, i looked down as i was merging into traffic and i was doing 70. This was a very positive feel since it is an american car with the charecteristics of a high end European vehicle built for the Autobahn. it seriously felt like i was going 40 and seeing 70 just put a big smile on my face. Tim then directed me where to get off of the highway, and to turn onto a frontage road where there were some more twisties. In conjunction with the regen and turns, it felt like you were driving spiritedly in a manual car with a downshift while going into the turn then accelerating out and it was absolutely amazing.

When we came up to a straight part of the frontage road (for about 1/2 mile) Tim said “if you want to come to a stop, then test out the acceleration, go ahead”. Who was I to turn something like that down… I came to a dead stop, and got on the throtle, and the car felt like an AWD car launching because the electric motor had to get the momentum of the car going forward, and as soon as the car started getting going, the car accelerated and just kept going. I took it up to about 80 and let the regen take the speed back down, (other cars coming the other direction) and just couldn’t believe how smooth of a drive it was.

Another thing I wanted to mention since I hadn’t thought about it until after the fact, but the car being fairly large, had a good turn radius for also being sporty. I’ve driven small cars like my Miata that have an awesome turn radius, and other cars like an EVO X that have a horible turn radius, and It was pretty impressive how decent the turn radius was on the car.

I’m still waiting on that 30K model, and once that comes out, I’m positive I’ll have at least one.

I’m jealous!

[QUOTE=LuvMyTJ;15261]I’m jealous![/QUOTE]

if you have a location near you with a dealership, go to Tesla Motors and click on “test drive” :wink:

Wow that is one of the best reviews I have seen for some time :slight_smile:

Thanks, I was leaving out some of the details, but I think i’ll go back in there to add them. didn’t want to get anyone in trouble… :wink:

I agree, great review! I can’t test drive one though since I’m sure it would take an ill tempered police dog to get me out of it at the end!

[QUOTE=sugarmaker;15307]I agree, great review! I can’t test drive one though since I’m sure it would take an ill tempered police dog to get me out of it at the end![/QUOTE]

Yea, I wanted to let the salesman out and drive home, but I don’t think Tesla would like that very much.


Do you have plans to test drive any other EVs? I think your reviews are much appreciated by the forum members although you are making us all jealous lol



[QUOTE=Editor;15360]Hi FEUS

Do you have plans to test drive any other EVs? I think your reviews are much appreciated by the forum members although you are making us all jealous lol



Yes, as soon as I can start fitting in the time, I’m looking to also test drive the Nissan Leaf, Focus electric, and Mitsubishi-i. I’d like to compare them all, but I need some seat time for them as well.

With seeing the Tesla Model S at least once a week now, i’m starting to see a pretty strong presence for these and it looks like they are picking up some major steam. (I do live around some very wealthy areas though so that’s not to be unexpected)

I also see a Leaf at least once a week. However I’ve only seen the Mitsubishi -i once and not even driving but sitting in a parking lot with some body damage waiting to be fixed. I’ll make sure I get some other reviews out there.