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2016 Tesla Model S Review

The Tesla Model S ranks very high in the luxury large car class, thanks to its refined handling, roomy interior, and superb crash safety ratings.

Pros & Cons

  • Stunning acceleration
  • Comfortable, quiet ride
  • User-friendly touch screen
  • Superb all-electric driving range


  • Questionable reliability





Critics' Rating: 9.9
Performance: 9.5
Interior: 8.1
Total Cost of Ownership:
This model has never been fully tested for total cost of ownership. Its overall score is being calculated without total cost of ownership.
Safety: 9.7
This model has never been fully tested for reliability. Its overall score is being calculated without reliability.

2016 Tesla Model S Overview

Is the 2016 Tesla Model S a Good Used Car?

The Tesla Model S is an exceptional electric vehicle. It offers supercar-like acceleration, up to 315 miles of driving range on a single charge, and generous room for passengers and cargo. It also rates highly for crash safety and packs one of the best infotainment systems on the market. However, the Model S is not without reliability issues. Before buying, take note of where the nearest Tesla repair is located.

Why You Can Trust Us

We’ve researched 38 Tesla Model S reviews, as well as hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates, to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our team has decades of experience in the auto industry. Though we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to providing helpful consumer advice. To maintain objectivity, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies.

How Much Is the 2016 Tesla Model S?

You can expect to pay between $63,500 and $124,000 for a used 2016 Model S. These figures are based on over 30 listings for the 2016 Tesla Model S on our site. The average price is $82,200. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

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How Much Does the 2016 Tesla Model S Cost to Own?

At this time, we do not have the 2016 Model S’ projected five-year costs for gas, repairs, maintenance, and insurance.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Model S?

The 2018 Tesla Model S starts at $74,500 but its price can climb to over $135,000 with top trim levels. Available federal and state tax incentives can potentially lower the price. You can save thousands of dollars with a used Model S, especially if you want a base model with few options. You won’t miss out on many features by sticking with a used 2016 model either, largely thanks to Tesla’s frequent over-the-air software updates. However, you have to search the used marketplace if you want a rear-wheel drive Model S. For 2018, all new Model S cars are only available with all-wheel drive.

Read about the new Tesla Model S »

You can save money while still buying new, though. The 2018 Tesla Model 3 starts at just $35,000 before incentives. The smaller Model 3 offers an electric driving range of between 220 and 310 miles, as well as comparable tech and safety features. The only hiccup is its long waiting line. Tesla is accepting reservations for the Model 3, but it may take over a year for these vehicles to be assembled and delivered.

See the Best New Car Deals »

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How Reliable Is the 2016 Tesla Model S?

J.D. Power has not issued a reliability score for the 2016 Tesla Model S. However, Consumer Reports removed the car’s Recommended status 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.

Read more about Model S reliability »

2016 Tesla Model S Recalls

At the time of this writing, there are two safety recalls for the 2016 Model S. Tesla has identified an issue with the car’s power steering rack. The bolts that hold the steering rack to the car may fail, causing a loss of power steering assistance. A separate recall covers a fault with the electric parking brake, which may not adequately hold the vehicle in place. Before buying a used Model S, make sure these recalls have been addressed.

See more information on Tesla Model S safety recalls »

Which Model Year of the Tesla Model S Is Best?

The current generation of the Model S debuted for the 2012 model year. It received a mid-2016 exterior refresh. Unlike other manufacturers, Tesla sends out over-the-air updates, and they offer hardware changes (like a larger battery pack) once new components become available. This means that 2013 through 2018 models benefit from many of the same infotainment updates, but they may not offer the same safety or performance features.

With this in mind, here are a few shopping tips to consider. You don’t have to spring for a new model to benefit from a lengthy all-electric driving range. The Model S (with an 85 kWh battery) has been capable of a 265-mile driving range since 2013. All-wheel drive and Autopilot suite of safety features became available in 2014. Autopilot sensors and cameras eventually became standard on all Model S cars built after October 2016. However, the optional Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self-Driving packages are still required to enable the more advanced features, such as automatic lane change and self-parking. For a deeper look at the history of the Model S and things to consider when buying a used model, check out our Used Tesla Model S Buying Guide.

Compare the 2015, 2016, and 2017 Model S »

Which Used Tesla Model S Model Is Right for Me?

Tesla offers the 2016 Model S in a dizzying variety of trim levels. Regardless, all have the same standard features. These include a 17-inch touch screen, navigation, USB ports, Bluetooth, internet radio, keyless entry, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, leatherette upholstery, a rearview camera, parking sensors, forward collision warning, lane departure warning, and alloy wheels. Available features include Autopilot, leather upholstery, heated rear seats, a power liftgate, sunroof, and an air suspension.

See 2016 Tesla Model S trims and specs »

How Safe Is the Model S?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2016 Tesla Model S a five-star rating (out of five) in overall, front, side, and rollover crash safety. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Model S top grades in four out of five areas tested. The Model S received an Acceptable rating (the second highest) in small overlap front crash safety.

The Model S comes standard with a rearview camera, parking sensors, lane departure warning, and forward collision warning with emergency brake assist. The available Autopilot Convenience Features package adds adaptive cruise control, automatic steering and lane changing, as well as hands-free parallel parking. The hardware in this package was updated in late 2016 with additional cameras and sensors, and it became known as Enhanced Autopilot.

See Model S safety scores »

2016 Tesla Model S Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Tesla Model S or 2016 Porsche Panamera?

The Model S has no direct electric car rivals, but the 2016 Porsche Panamera S E-Hybrid comes closest. Both of these sleek hatchbacks have lots of cargo space, muscle-car acceleration, luxe cabins, and many advanced safety features. The Panamera offers a short 15-mile electric driving range before its V6 gas engine kicks in. Also, the Porsche only seats four. Still, both are solid picks if you’re shopping for an efficient luxury car.

Which Is Better: 2016 Tesla Model S or 2016 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 safety features. It bests the Model S with a richer cabin, more room to stretch out, and upscale 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 »

2016 Model S Performance

How Does the 2016 Tesla Model S Drive?

The 2016 Model S is available in a variety of configurations: 60, 60D, 75, 75D, 90D, P90D, and P100D. Each number relates to the car’s battery pack size measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Rear-wheel drive is standard, and the “D” signifies dual-motor all-wheel drive. Lastly, Tesla adds a “P” to its high-performance versions.

There’s absolutely no slowpoke in this lineup. Each Model S surges up to speed briskly and offers muscular passing power on the highway. The racy P90D and P100D models can dash to 60 mph in under three seconds, when equipped with the optional Ludicrous mode. The Model S pairs this agility with well-balanced driving dynamics. Its suspension soaks up rough pavement nicely, yet it maintains great stability when rounding turns. The steering is quick as well, and the brakes provide confident stopping power.

How Far Can the 2016 Tesla Model S Drive on a Full Charge?

The 2016 Tesla Model S 60 and 60D have an EPA-estimated driving range of 210 and 218 miles, respectively. The Model S 75 and 75D have a range of 249 and 259 miles. The 90D and P90D have a range of 294 and 270 miles, and the P100D has a range of 315 miles.

Drivers can recharge the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery at public charging stations, or at home using a 120- or 240-volt outlet. For the quickest charge, drivers can plug in at one of Tesla's Supercharger stations. Supercharging can charge the car to 50 percent in just 20 minutes, though this rate varies depending on the size of the battery pack.

Read more about Model S performance »

2016 Model S Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Model S Seat?

The Tesla Model S is a four-door hatchback with seating for five, but it’s styled to look like a sedan. The Model S offers generous head- and legroom for adults in both rows. Curiously, it’s also available with a pair of rear-facing child seats, which raise its seating capacity to seven. These seats are equipped with five-point safety harnesses, and they can fold flat into the cargo floor when not in use.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Tesla Model S?

The Model S has two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child car seats in its second row. The IIHS gave the vehicle’s LATCH system the second-lowest rating of Marginal for ease of use, noting that some of the anchors are hard to access.

2016 Tesla Model S Features

The Tesla Model S largely impresses with its futuristic cabin. The interior remains exceptionally quiet, and most cabin materials have a quality look and feel. That said, they aren’t quite up to the level of Audi or BMW. However, the highlight of the interior is the large 17-inch touch screen, which dominates the dashboard. The screen provides access to all of the audio and air conditioning functions, and it’s as simple to use as a smartphone or tablet; the system recognizes pinch, swipe, tap, and zoom commands. Response times are quick and the graphics are crisp. The screen is also reconfigurable, so you can rearrange the layout to your liking.

See 2016 Tesla Model S specs »

Read more about Model S interior »

2016 Tesla Model S Dimensions

Tesla Model S Cargo Space

The Model S’ hatchback opens to reveal a roomy 26.3 cubic feet of cargo space. That expands to 58.1 cubic feet after you fold down the rear seats. The Tesla also has a front trunk – or “frunk” – underneath the hood with an extra 5.3 cubic feet of storage.

2016 Model S Length and Weight

The Tesla Model S is 16.3 feet long. Depending on configuration, the Model S’ curb weight ranges from 4,469 to 4,941 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Tesla Model S Built?

The Tesla Model S was built in California.

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