Pros: Handsome styling; exceptional range; great power; neat center controls; excellent crash-test scores
Cons: Seats feel a little flimsy; center controls can be distracting
What's New: Tesla doesn't really bother with model years, preferring instead to make changes as they're needed. So while the 2014 Model S is relatively similar to last year's model, revisions could still be coming in the future.
The 2014 Tesla Model S is a full-size luxury sedan that's taking the automotive world by storm. There are many reasons for its success: an alternative powertrain, handsome styling, a unique interior and thrill-seeking luxury-sedan buyers eager to try out the latest and greatest technology. Each factor has combined to make the Model S one of the most sought-after cars on the market.
Under the hood of the Model S, you'll actually find a trunk, one of two in the sedan. (The other more traditional trunk is located in back, under a power-operated tailgate.) The reason is that the Model S is powered not by a gasoline engine but rather by electric batteries located near the bottom of the sedan. Drivers can choose from two versions: a 60-kWh model with 302 horsepower and an 85-kWh model with 362 hp. Both can reach 60 miles per hour in under six seconds.
Drivers who choose the 60-kWh model will spend about $71,000 with shipping before options, though Tesla says there's a 2-month wait for delivery. Standard features include xenon headlights, 19-inch alloy wheels, a huge 17-in center-mounted touchscreen, Wi-Fi connectivity, dual-zone automatic climate control, a rearview camera, heated front seats, power front seats and cruise control.
Step up to the 85-kWh model (dubbed the Performance) and you'll spend about $91,000 before options. The 85-kWh model boasts just one extra standard feature: the Supercharger Enabled package, which allows drivers to use Tesla's nationwide supercharger network for fast charging. The package is optional on the 60-kWh model. Other options on both models include a panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats, leather upholstery, front and rear parking sensors, larger wheels and tires, air suspension and a rear-facing third row that brings seating capacity to seven.
Of course, the biggest selling point for the 2014 Tesla Model S is its range. The 60-kWh model can travel around 215 miles between charges, which is a far greater distance than any EV competitor. Step up to the 85-kWh model and you'll see that figure increase to around 280 miles.
While every Model S is a rear-wheel-drive sedan, many industry insiders expect the brand to expand its lineup shortly. All-wheel drive could be in the cards, while a Model X crossover is expected to debut later this year.