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Review Of The 2013 Tesla Model S Car

In the old days, I would take my muscled-up ’74 Charger down PCH from San Francisco to Half Moon Bay whenever I needed a little relaxation and open road. The combined sounds of the crashing waves and 440-horsepower hemi created a magical symphony in my ear. Those days have long since passed, but a month or so ago, I decided to re-live those glory years with a different chariot, the 2013 Tesla Model S. I must say, the roar of the pavement-crushing hemi was sadly missed at times, but the Tesla’s quiet and effortless ride was a modern day work of art.

Underneath the “Hood”

First things first, for all of you who may be quick to assume that the electric-powered Tesla is nothing more than a fancy Nissan Leaf will either be sadly disappointed or happily surprised. The 2013 Tesla Model S, the brainchild of PayPal creator Elon Musk, is as close to a Nissan Leaf as a Sentra is to a Maserati.

It became immediately evident as soon as I pulled out of the dealership that the newest Tesla was radically different from every other electron-powered vehicle that has been made to date. The car’s smooth power didn’t allow for a burnout once, but it definitely delivered more than I expected.

Pulling out on to PCH, I immediately put the 85kWh Performance Signature model to the test. With open road ahead, I was amazed at the acceleration of the vehicle. Powered by nearly 2,000 pounds of lithium ion batteries spanning five feet by eight feet in dimension, the Tesla was able to propel to 60 miles an hour in only 4.2 seconds. The car’s top speed was immediately put to the test soon after, reaching 130 mph before the governor kicked in.

Even more impressive is the Tesla’s maximum driving distance. With a maximum driving range of 300 miles before charging is required, the Tesla is far from being a mere “around the town car.” All in all, I raked up 220 miles on the trip, and there was still plenty of juice left in the batteries to power the vehicle’s electric motor, located above the rear axle, at least another 50 miles or so.

Body and Style

Unlike the tiny, boxy electric cars that we have become accustomed to, the sleek style of the new Tesla Model S is more akin to a fine German Audi, BMW, or Mercedes. The low, aerodynamic styling of the Tesla Model S is both functional and appealing to the eye. Unlike the decidedly utilitarian look of every other electric vehicle, the new Tesla mirrors the finest Germans creations in both style and attention to detail. Although it is not needed, the car even has a pseudo front grill meant to mimic the familiar look car buyers have become used to seeing.

Inside the Cabin

The Tesla Model S may be sleek and stylish on the outside, but it doesn’t disappoint on the inside either. Surrounded by plush leather and all of the modern features I have come to expect from luxury car manufacturers, driving the Tesla was an extremely comfortable experience. I especially liked the fact that the large touchscreen display I was greeted with upon entry was easy to navigate and use. Another unique feature was the ability to turn the air conditioner on and cool the vehicle down before entering directly from my smartphone.

Despite having a low clearance and a semi-sporty exterior, the wide body provides plenty of room in the cabin as well. In fact, when the two rear-facing seats in the rear of the cab are put to use, the 2013 Tesla Model S can seat up to seven people.

Overall, driving the Tesla Model S is an absolute pleasure. The superb handling and weight displacement, capable motor, and large, luxury cabin create an excellent driving experience. It is by far the best electric car available to date, and to some, may rival the best that traditional luxury manufacturers have to offer.

By Andrew Handley


Written on Friday, January 17, 2014 by
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