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Tesla Model S

Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review:Tesla Model S


On the inside

Layout, finish and space

It’s impossible to talk about the interior of the Tesla without addressing the elephant in the room – that vast, 17-inch portrait touchscreen that dominates the dashboard, and replaces all but a handful of physical buttons.

It handles everything from climate control and audio, via navigation and the hands-free phone, to things like the headlights and sunroof. Happily, despite the size of the screen, the interface/UI is so polished and easy to navigate it’s no more distracting on the move than competitors’ systems. Certain features can also be controlled with buttons on the steering wheel or through voice commands.

Tesla’s issues with build quality are well-publicised – but the 75D we tested recently felt solid, closer to the near-£80K car it is than Teslas we’ve driven in the past. Supple leather, acceptable plastics, textured wood trim on the dash and an Alcantara headliner – these things aren’t without flaw, but for the most part they feel like premium items nowadays. Just as cars that cost this much money should. That said, the more you spend, the more they struggle. At £130k for the P100D, the Model S feels out of its depth. You can get a new Bentley for that, after all…

The driving position is rather good and the seats themselves comfortable enough. The headrests are of the non-removable variety, so they obscure your view out of the rear-view mirror (which isn’t great to begin with).

Space, though, there’s much of. The boot is big enough that you can spec two, rearward-facing child seats (for £3,800), thus turning the S into a seven-seater, and there’s a useful cubby under the floor for storing the charge leads. The ‘frunk’ (for ‘front trunk’), as Tesla calls it, isn’t massive, but that it’s there at all is a little bonus over petrol- or diesel-powered rivals. There are no door bins, but there’s a little shelf under the touchscreen and a couple of deep bins/cupholders to compensate.

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