2013 Tesla Model S

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2013 Tesla Model S Review

Note: This review was created when the 2013 Tesla Model S was new.

Auto reviewers say that a tech-heavy cabin, stunning looks, athletic handling and a revolutionary powertrain make the 2013 Tesla Model S one of the most dynamic vehicles in the class.

Pros & Cons

  • High-tech, user-friendly interior
  • Excellent cargo space
  • Responsive electric motor
  • Balanced handling
  • Meager small item storage

Research & Ratings

Currently, the Tesla Model S's overall score is not available, though its Critics' Rating, Performance score, and Interior score are based on our evaluation of 19 pieces of research and data.




Critics' Rating:
This model has never been fully tested for critics' rating. Its overall score is being calculated without critics' rating.
This model has never been fully tested for performance. Its overall score is being calculated without performance.
This model has never been fully tested for interior. Its overall score is being calculated without interior.
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
This model has never been fully tested for reliability. Its overall score is being calculated without reliability.

2013 Tesla Model S Overview

The Model S is powered by an electric motor, and test drivers are amazed by its responsive nature and ample power. A single-speed transmission is standard. The EPA reports that the 2013 Tesla Model S can go 208 miles on a charge with a 60 kWh battery pack, which is exceptional for an electric vehicle. Still, the Model S’ 94/97 mpg equivalent isn’t quite as good as the fuel economy equivalent ratings of less expensive electric vehicles, like the Mitsubishi i-MiEV and Ford Focus Electric. Test drivers write that the Model S’ precise steering and athletic handling add to the exciting driving experience, and while some cars sacrifice ride quality for agility, the available air suspension keeps the Model S comfortable and composed over imperfect roads.

Many auto writers note that the 2013 Tesla Model S’ cabin is just as innovative as its powertrain. While one reviewer complains about wind noise in his test car, others gush about the 2013 Model S’ attractive, modern design and quality construction. Most auto writers say that the Model S’ standard five-seat cabin offers plenty of space in both rows. A pair of optional jump seats in the cargo area can increase seating capacity to seven, though test drivers write that these seats are only intended for small children. The automotive press agrees that the crown jewel of the interior is the vivid 17-inch touch-screen display, which they say is highly-customizable and easy to use. The 2013 Tesla Model S comes with a backup camera, dual-zone automatic climate control and a seven-speaker stereo with Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and two USB ports. Optional features include a panoramic moonroof, an upgraded stereo and a tech package that includes a power liftgate, automatic keyless entry, navigation and a high-definition backup camera.

  • "It's attractive, comfortable, fast, practical, technically fascinating, and not overpriced. Most important, it's not just a good electric vehicle, it's a good car." -- Car and Driver 
  • "Beautiful, well-crafted, cool, and seriously fast, the Model S isn't just the most important car of the year. It's the most important car America has made in an entire lifetime." -- Road and Track 
  • "The car is a technological wonder, with luminous paint on aluminum bodywork, a spacious and ultrahip cabin, a 17-inch touch screen to control functions from suspension height to the Google-driven navigation system." -- The New York Times
  • "It's a large sedan with luxury leanings, eyebrow-raising performance and stunning good looks. By all accounts, it's one of the best cars you can buy, electric or otherwise." -- Edmunds (2012) 

Other Cars to Consider

If you like the Model S’ styling and don’t mind a conventional gas-powered car, consider the Audi A7. The A7 has more cargo space than most cars in the class, and reviewers love its powerful engine, capable all-wheel drive system and opulent interior.

While reviewers aren’t as enthusiastic about the Lexus GS 450h’s performance, they still say that it’s a powerful hybrid car. The GS 450h also uses less fuel than most cars in the class, and earns praise for its comfortable front seats and high-quality interior.

Compare the Model S, A7 and GS 450h »

Details: 2013 Tesla Model S

The 2013 Tesla Model S seats five and has rear-wheel drive. An electric motor and a single-speed transmission are standard on all models. Two trims are offered: base and Model S Performance. The Performance trim is more powerful, comes standard with a larger battery and upgrades some interior materials. The Model S sees few changes for the 2013 model year. As a result, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from 2012 and the current model year.

See the full 2013 Tesla Model S specs »


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