2013 Tesla Model S


$35,799 - $41,506

2013 Tesla Model S Interior Review

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


Interior: 7.8

The 2013 Tesla Model S draws criticism from one reviewer, who says that the interior of his test car suffered from loud wind noise and trim panels that didn’t fit as well as they should. However, another auto writer notes that the Model S’s switchgear has a high-quality feel.

  • "Our car was plagued by at least one severe wind leak that started howling between 70 and 80 mph. Perhaps not coincidentally, it also had several poor-fitting panels." -- Car and Driver 
  • "The Model S isn't perfect; no car is. But tellingly, our gripes are limited to the kinds of things that we gripe about in normal cars: The Model S's power seats don't have a memory setting. The interior rattles occasionally over very rough pavement." -- Road and Track 
  • "… the typical window switches and driver controls have been sourced from Mercedes-Benz, making them hard to fault by any measure." -- Edmunds (2012)


The base Model S seats five and comes with cloth upholstery and 12-way power-adjustable heated front seats. Options and features available on higher trims include leather seats and a pair of folding jump seats in the cargo area, which can accommodate two small children. Most reviewers agree that the 2013 Model S offers comfortable seats and ample space in both rows, though one test driver points out that taller back-seat passengers may want more headroom.

  • "Tesla says some changes will come soon via software upgrades, but missing features such as adjustable thigh support won't be downloaded through the internet." -- Car and Driver 
  • "The Tesla S offers a very unique 5 + 2 seating configuration with an optional rear-facing jump seat. These bucket seats have 5-point seat belts and should be comfortable for children under age 10. The seats fold flat when not in use." -- The Chicago Tribune 
  • "In terms of comfort, both front and rear seats offer ample legroom for adults, though taller rear-seat passengers may run out of headroom." -- Edmunds (2012) 
  • "Buyers can opt for two additional wayback seats that raise from the floor in the cargo area; they face rearward in the vintage station wagon style. ... They're strictly for children between 35 and 77 pounds and at least 3 feet, 1 inch tall, according to Tesla. However, our child-seat training suggests children on the smaller side of this range should be in child-safety seats." -- Cars.com (2012)

Interior Features

The 2013 Tesla Model S comes with a backup camera, dual-zone automatic climate control and a seven-speaker stereo with two USB ports, Bluetooth phone and audio streaming and a 17-inch touch-screen display. Instead of a key or push-button start, the Model S has a seat detection sensor, which allows you to drive when it senses someone in the driver’s seat. 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.

Most test drivers love the Model S’ large, vibrant touch-screen display, saying that it’s highly customizable and easy to use. However, one reviewer notes that while the display is attractive, a small font made it difficult to read street names on the navigation screen. Additionally, another critic notes that the sensor in the driver's seat, which is supposed to switch off the car to save power when no one is in it, would occasionally stop the car if he took too much weight off the seat.

See the full 2013 Tesla Model S specs »

  • "Switching between screens is intuitive, and you can operate it by pinching your fingers, as on an iPhone. It's what you'd expect from a car conceived in Silicon Valley." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Google Maps Navigation display is huge and breathtakingly high-resolution, but it presents street names in a font so small you'd need an electron microscope to read them." -- Road and Track 
  • "Besides looking good, the system actually functions well, too. Users can configure the placement of audio, navigation and climate controls to their liking on the screen and we experienced few, if any, flaws." -- Edmunds (2012) 
  • "Too often there are unintended consequences. None is worse than the butt sensor. Get out of the seat and the car turns off. Fine. Unfortunately, a couple of times when I was backing up, leaning toward the passenger seat to look over my right shoulder, I must have taken enough weight off the seat that the car shifted itself into Park with a lurch. Another editor reported the same." -- Cars.com (2012)


While a few reviewers say that the Model S needs more small item storage space, others are pleased with its expansive cargo hold. There’s 26.3 cubic feet of space behind the Model S’ back seats, which expands to 58.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. That’s more space than most cars in the class, including the Audi A7, which has a similar hatchback design.

  • "There's not a single interior storage binnacle. There's no cargo cover for the trunk." -- Road and Track 
  • "The trunk, sans rear-facing seats, holds an excellent 26.3 cubic feet of cargo volume, and total storage for the S rings in at more than 58 cubic feet. All told, this makes the S the most viable family vehicle in the EV segment." -- The Chicago Tribune 
  • "These third-row seats do fold flat into the foot well, allowing for a capacious 26.3 cubic feet of cargo space, which is significantly more than other large luxury sedans." -- Edmunds (2012) 
  • "More troublesome than unintended consequences are the obvious oversights, like minimal front and backseat storage and inadequate cupholders." -- Cars.com (2012)

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