$41,738 - $65,290

2016 Tesla Model S Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2016 Tesla Model S was new.

Scorecard

Interior: 8.1

Most test drivers say the 2016 Tesla Model S has an upscale interior made with high-end materials, but some competitors have nicer materials. The seats don't provide as much support as some rivals', though there is ample legroom in both rows. Tall passengers may not have enough headroom in the second row.

The large touch screen is intuitive, and like a tablet or smartphone, it can be operated with gestures. The Model S has one of the largest cargo capacities in the class.

  • "In other respects, such as the stitched-leather dash, soft-touch material and high-quality furnishings (the gear shifter is even sourced from the Mercedes-Benz S-Class), the Model S' cabin is everything one would expect from a luxury sedan." -- Left Lane News
  • "Numerous interior upgrades fit in with the Tesla's luxury-oriented image." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "We love the 17-in center touchscreen, which feels incredibly futuristic, more so than any infotainment system in any other modern vehicle. We also like the fit and finish and the general cabin materials, which would be impressive for any automaker, let alone a startup brand such as Tesla." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • While the cabin materials are nice looking, they don't quite match those found in luxury cars in the Model S's same price range. In extensive testing, we've found the leather upholstery holds up well over time, but the leather seen in premium luxury brands feels a bit more supple and high-end. Elsewhere, the typical window switches and driver controls have been sourced from Mercedes-Benz, making them hard to fault by any measure." -- Edmunds (2015)

Seating

There are seats for five in the 2016 Model S, though seating capacity increases to seven with the optional rear-facing jump seats. The Model S comes standard with 12-way power-adjustable, heated front seats and leatherette upholstery. Heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and leather upholstery are optional.

The front seats are not as supportive nor as adjustable as those in some rivals. Still, there's plenty of legroom in both rows of seats. Rear-seat headroom may not be sufficient for tall passengers, and the optional jump seats only offer enough room for small children. Due to its electric powertrain, the Model S has a remarkably quiet cabin.

  • "With its available rear-facing jump seats, the Tesla Model S electric sedan for 2016 can become a mini station wagon, although the jump seats are admittedly only large enough to fit two children in comfort." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Our only gripe is the seats, which feel a little flimsy and not quite supportive enough for a luxury car." -- AutoTrader (2015)
  • In terms of comfort, both front and rear seats offer ample legroom for adults, though taller rear seat passengers may run out of headroom. The front seats are nice, but they do lack the multitude of adjustments (and, ultimately, comfort and support) found in other similarly priced luxury sedans." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • On the highway, you have to pay attention, because your inner-ear gyroscope will tell you you're doing a mild 60 mph when in fact you're going 93. Your frame of reference is probably not calibrated to the degree of serene imperturbability provided by the suspension." -- Car and Driver (2015)

Interior Features

The 2016 Tesla Model S comes standard with a 17-inch touch screen, navigation, dual-zone automatic climate control, a seven-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, two USB ports, HD Radio, front- and rearview cameras, front and rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning.

Optional features include a 12-speaker premium audio system, satellite radio, a panoramic sunroof, automatic parallel park assist, adaptive cruise control, and advanced lane keep assist with automatic steering. The Model S' driver assistance features form the Autopilot system, which can autonomously adjust speed, steer in the lane, and change lanes.

The Model S' touch screen operates like a tablet or smartphone, allowing you to use gestures like swiping or pinching. It controls most of the car's functions, and it is easy to use and reconfigure based upon your preference.

See 2016 Tesla Model S specs »

  • "If you like high-tech, you'll love the massive 17-inch infotainment screen in the 2016 Tesla Model S. The screen acts as the command center for the Model S, using tablet-like controls to swipe, pinch and drag functions for everything from the climate to the audio system." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The highly customizable system can display two functions at once (nav and internet browsing, for example) and features numerous clever touches - to open the optional panoramic sunroof, for instance, simply summon an overhead image of the car and drag the roof as far open as desired." -- Left Lane News
  • "If you like the sensation of using a touchscreen tablet, you'll almost certainly love the Tesla's massive center control screen. There are very few buttons or knobs along the dashboard, replaced by a sleek 17-inch vertical touchscreen that controls almost all onboard systems. Besides looking futuristic, the system actually functions well, too. Users can configure the placement of audio, climate and navigation controls to their liking." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "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 (2013)

Cargo

The 2016 Model S is a hatchback and has 26.3 cubic feet of cargo room behind its rear seats and 58.1 cubic feet with them folded. Additionally, a small storage space under the hood provides an additional 5.3 cubic feet. The Model S has one of the largest cargo capacities in the class. A power liftgate is optional.

Due to its lack of an engine or fuel tank, the Model S impresses with its ample cargo room. There are few small-item storage spaces in the cabin, however.

  • "You'd be surprised how much passenger and cargo space you can get in a car when you don't have an engine or fuel tank. The Tesla Model S is actually a hatchback, meaning there's a ton of cargo space behind the rear seats. In addition, there's a supplemental front trunk, or 'frunk' as Tesla calls it (is it a 'froot' in England?)." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Thanks to its practical hatchback configuration, the Model S offers a surprising amount of cargo space: a crossover-like 26.3 cubic feet is available behind the rear seats, while a full 58.1 cubes can be unlocked by folding the rear seats down." -- Left Lane News
  • "Those third-row seats fold flat into the footwell, allowing for a capacious 26.3 cubic feet of cargo space, which is significantly more than in other large luxury sedans." -- Edmunds (2015)
  • "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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