2015 Tesla Model S Road Test and Review…
Electric cars are no longer science fiction and the 2015 Tesla Model S is a great example of just how far the technology has come in the past decade.
I got the opportunity to road test the Tesla Model S and walked away stunned at just how impressive this vehicle is, especially given that it is the product of a company that has never even built an automobile before!
Australian Tesla Model S prices kick-off at just over $96,000 and round-out with the top-of-the-line P85D which starts from just over $150,000. I had the keys to the Model S 85, an offering priced from just under $112,000.
So, prices are right up there and expectations are justifiably high. What I’m really pleased to report however, is that this is one enormously well-rounded, well-equipped and enjoyable vehicle.
Obviously the striking external styling speaks for itself, slide into the cabin however and things are just as sexy.
The first thing you notice is the enormous 17″ vertically inclined touchscreen.
Being the ‘nerve centre’ of the Tesla, the screen features all vehicle controls, from climate and audio settings to the Google Maps navigation feature. It might sound daunting but the layout is very intuitive and user friendly.
In saying that, I did feel that the audio search function using the in-built 3G streaming service was a touch frustrating, particularly when trying to browse different artists etc.
Probably the only area within the interface that could use a little attention from the Tesla engineers.
In front of the driver there’s another hi-resolution screen, this one, naturally, covers speed and charge settings etc. and is uncomplicated and attractive.
The steering wheel, featuring fully-electric adjustment, is nicely-sized and the few traditional controls that the Tesla Model S has all have a quality feel about them, including the unique drive selector on the left hand stalk.
Electric, heated seats and LED lighting rounds-out a cabin that provides plenty of room front and back and a genuine five-seat capacity.
If you like a quiet cabin then the Tesla will keep you smiling, not only is the electric drive whisper quiet but the cabin seems very well insulated too.
Just before we take the Tesla out on the road a quick mention of the boot space, which in a word can be described as ‘ample’, despite the electric-car housing the battery and rear-drive engine behind/under the rear seat!
OK, to the bit you’ve really been waiting for – how does it drive? Well, I’m pleased to say I’ve kept the best until last.
The 285kW electric drive in the Tesla Model S provides tremendous thrust both off the line and at speed. It’s not just the power that keeps you smiling but the smoothness with which it comes on.
Beyond the thrust, the Tesla Model S 85 boasts a superb ride and great handling, and while the steering sometimes feels a touch heavy, it is never unmanageable.
For the record, the Model S 85 features a range of up to 502 kilometers from a single charge.
Naturally, the Tesla comes with a charger to top you up at home (even programmable to charge in off-peak times) and you can plug in and charge at public charging stations too.
At this stage there isn’t an ANCAP safety rating for the Tesla Model S.
Summing it up; there is no doubt that Tesla are destined to continue to push the boundaries of what’s acceptable in car technology in coming years.
The Model S is a remarkably impressive vehicle, that while isn’t cheap, is a genuine look into the future and a car that does more than enough to justify the price tag.
NUTS and BOLTS – 2015 Tesla Model S 85
Engine: Electric drive producing 285kW and up to 502km range
Transmission: Automatic (only)
Safety: Not tested
Origin: United States
Price: Model S 85 from $111,808
Dave Conole owns and writes for the independent vehicle review and news website – A Wheel Thing.
With over 15 years of automotive journalism and reviewing experience, plus front line experience in vehicle sales, Dave is proud to be aligned with Behind the Wheel.