Practicality and Boot Space
As the battery and motors are under the floor of the Model S, the cabin has been moved forward compared to a conventional car to give much more space for passengers. This, together with a floor which doesn’t have the usual lumps and bumps caused by gearboxes and bits of engine running down the middle, means the Tesla feels incredibly spacious inside.
The boot is huge too. With the seats up it has enough space for an airport run or family holiday. Like many electric cars there’s an extra space under the ‘bonnet’ too, with enough room for a couple of squashy bags or a cabin-bag sized case.
Fold the seats down and the space is vast – bigger than a large estate car and most SUVs. It will swallow a bike without having to take the wheels off, but it’s not a boxy shape, so don’t rely on it for moving wardrobes! Don’t expect it to be a seven-seater either – Tesla dropped that option for the Model S when the Model X was launched.
The Model S almost seemed like something from a sci-fi movie when it was launched in 2014, and although rivals have caught up in many ways, it will still be a revelation to anyone who hasn’t seen a luxury car for a few years. It might be a few years old, but the Model S is still one of the most advanced cars on the road.
Core to the Tesla experience is the central 17-inch screen, which controls most of the car’s functions, from the sat-nav and charging timer to the kids’ sketch pad and retro games console.
The Model S also has an amazing quality hi-fi, linked to streaming services which means there is an endless choice of music and podcasts. Like all of the features in Teslas, the software is constantly updated via over-the-air data from the manufacturer, for free. These can bring all sorts of improvements, unlocking features and adding functionality, just like a mobile phone update. Occasionally Tesla will send an ‘Easter egg’ too – that’s a frivolous but fun extra, such as the ability to have the sat nav road picture looking like a computer game.
An electronic ‘safety shield’ of cameras, radar and ultrasonic sensors make it pretty difficult to crash a Model S, especially if you are letting the car’s automated driving functions take some of the strain. They constantly scan the traffic looking for potential problems such as pedestrians and other vehicles, which the driver might not have spotted.
The car is also very hard to roll over, as so much of the weight is low down in the body, making it much more stable than a traditional vehicle. If you do have an accident though, the Tesla has a strong shell made of aluminium and steel which protects the occupants and the battery from harm.
It’s been a few years since independent crash testers have smashed a Model S and its scores have been beaten by rivals (and other Teslas) since then, but there’s no doubt that it’s a very safe car.