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9.3

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.6
Performance: 9.1
Interior: 8.0
Total Cost of Ownership: N/A
Safety: 10.0
Reliability: N/A

2015 Tesla Model S Review

The Tesla Model S dazzles with its comfortable ride, quick acceleration, superb driving range, and easy-to-use infotainment system. High safety ratings and a large cargo space further add to this well-rounded luxury sedan.

Pros & Cons

  • Brisk acceleration
  • Comfortable, athletic ride
  • Large cargo space
  • User-friendly touch screen
  • Questionable reliability
  • Rivals have more comfortable seats

2015 Tesla Model S Overview

Is the 2015 Tesla Model S a Good Used Car?

The Tesla Model S is truly a game-changer in the luxury large car class. The stylish electric vehicle (EV) can travel up to 270 miles on a single charge, pack lots of cargo in its sleek hatchback, and practically drive itself using a suite of advanced safety features. Factor in supercar-like acceleration plus free Supercharger access – and the Model S puts the electric car on par with the best gas- and hybrid-powered cars on the market. One of its few blemishes is questionable reliability.

Used 2015 Tesla Model S Performance and Interior

The 2015 Tesla Model S is available in four configurations: 70D, 85, 85D, and P85D. Each number relates to the size of the car’s battery pack in kilowatt-hours. The larger the number, the longer the all-electric driving range. For instance, the Model S 70D has a driving range of 240 miles on a full charge, while the Model S 85 and 85D have ranges of 265 and 270 miles, respectively. The “D” signifies dual-motor all-wheel drive (rear-wheel drive is standard). Lastly, Tesla adds a “P” to its performance versions.

Regardless of configuration, every Model S rockets up to speed with authority and provides swift passing power. The standard 70D sedan zips to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds. The muscular P85D cuts that time to 3.1 seconds with its “Insane” mode. The Model S offers a smooth, pillow-soft ride yet still remains sporty. It has confident braking power and quick steering, and its body motions are well-controlled in tight bends.

Drivers can recharge the car’s battery at home using either a 120- or 240-volt outlet. An adapter is available for using public charging stations. For the quickest charge, drivers can plug in for free at one of Tesla's Supercharger stations. Supercharging can provide up to 170 miles of range in 30 minutes.

Read more about Model S performance »

The Tesla Model S seats five and impresses with its airy interior. The cabin is exceptionally quiet, thanks to the car’s silent electric motors. There’s ample head- and legroom for passengers in both rows, though tall passengers may find rear headroom tight. The Model S has a generous 26.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seats (58.1 cubic feet with these seats folded). A smaller cargo compartment under the hood offers an extra 5.3 cubic feet of storage. The second row has two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats. You may find used models equipped with rear-facing jump seats as well, which bump seating capacity to seven. This optional third row is intended for children, and both seats have five-point safety harnesses. An Executive Rear Seat package is also available, which replaces the rear bench seat with two captain’s chairs. Heated front seats are standard; leather and heated rear seats are available. While the seats are supportive, they’re not that comfortable on longer drives.

Tesla equips all Model S sedans with a 17-inch touch screen, Google Maps, a web browser, Bluetooth, and USB ports. The large touch screen dominates the futuristic dashboard, and it’s surprisingly easy to use. The screen responds quickly to inputs and operates much like a smartphone or tablet – recognizing pinch, swipe, tap, and zoom commands. The screen is also reconfigurable, so you can rearrange the layout to your liking. The interior materials look and feel high-quality, though they aren’t quite up to super luxury car standards.

Read more about Model S interior »

Used 2015 Tesla Model S Prices

Used car pricing information is not available for the Tesla Model S. When new, the Model S started at around $69,000.

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We Did the Research for You: 28 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve researched 28 Tesla Model S reviews, as well as hard data points like safety scores, to help you make the best car buying decision possible.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs for a decade, and our Best Cars team has more than 75 years of automotive industry experience combined. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to giving helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse expensive gifts and trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Reliable Is the 2015 Tesla Model S?

J.D. Power has not given the Model S a reliability rating. Consumer Reports, however, removed the car’s Recommended designation in October 2015 based on its worse-than-average overall problem rate. Owner surveys indicated problems in many areas, including drivetrain issues that have increased as the cars have aged. However, many of the problems identified are covered by the vehicles' warranties.

Read more about Model S reliability »

How Safe Is the Model S?

The 2015 Tesla Model S earned a perfect five-star safety rating in all areas tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The Model S comes standard with many advanced safety features including a rearview camera, parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning with emergency brake assist. Tesla’s Autopilot system is optional, and it provides the Model S with near autonomous driving capabilities. Autopilot includes automatic steering, traffic-aware cruise control, automatic lane changing, and hands-free parallel parking.

See Model S safety scores »

Should I Consider Another Used Model S?

Comparing Tesla models from different years is tricky, because unlike other automakers, Tesla makes software changes throughout the year via over-the-air updates and hardware changes (like a larger battery pack) once new components are available. This means that 2013 and 2014 models benefit from many of the same infotainment updates as newer models but may not have the same performance or safety features.

With this in mind, here are a few shopping tips to consider. The Model S (with an 85 kWh battery) has been capable of a 265-mile driving range since 2013. Only cars built after September 2014 can have Autopilot. Lastly, the high-performance Tesla Model S P85D went into production in late 2014.

Compare the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Model S »

Which Used Tesla Model S Is Right for Me?

The 2015 Tesla Model S comes in four trims: 70D, 85, 85D, and P85D. All models have the same standard features, which include a 17-inch touch screen, navigation, Bluetooth, keyless entry, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, a power liftgate, a rearview camera, parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning with brake assist. Available features include Autopilot, a sunroof, rear captain’s chairs, rear-facing jump seats, and an air suspension.

You may want to shop for a certified pre-owned Model S. Tesla’s CPO vehicles receive the balance of the original eight-year/unlimited-mile powertrain and battery warranty, plus either a four-year/50,000-mile or two-year/100,000-mile limited warranty (dependent on mileage). Additional benefits like roadside assistance are available, so read the Tesla warranty page carefully.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

2015 Tesla Model S and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2015 Tesla Model S or 2015 Porsche Panamera?

The Model S has no direct electric car rivals, but the Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid comes closest. Both sleek hatchbacks have lots of cargo space, muscle car acceleration, luxurious cabins, and many advanced safety features. The Panamera offers a short 15-mile electric driving range before its gas V6 engine kicks in, and it only seats four. Even so, both are solid picks if you’re shopping for an efficient luxury car.

Which Is Better: 2015 Tesla Model S or 2015 Mercedes-Benz S-Class?

The Mercedes S550e is another worthy plug-in hybrid alternative. Like the Tesla, the S-Class has a buttery smooth ride, brisk acceleration, and many standard advanced safety features. It tops the Model S with superior interior quality, a roomier cabin, and luxuries like massaging seats. That said, it offers much less trunk space and only 12 miles of electric driving range.

Compare the Model S, Panamera, and S-Class »

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