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Model S review

8/10
Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review:Tesla Model S

n/a

Owning

Running costs and reliability

Even 75Ds come well-stocked, so there aren’t many options to choose from. The rearward-facing child seats are quite expensive at £3,800, and really only good for kids. If you need to stick teenagers or even adults back there, or think you might need them quite often, you’ll need to move up to the Model X.

Tesla’s trademark driver assistance tech, dubbed ‘Enhanced Autopilot’, costs £4,800. But because all Model Ss are fitted with the necessary hardware (in the form of many cameras/sensors), if you change your mind you can activate it after you’ve taken delivery. ‘Full Self-Driving’ is another £2,900 – it adds more cameras/sensors ready for when Tesla activates it, presumably via an over-the-air update.

Yep. Instead of having to go to a dealer or service centre to get your car updated, Tesla pushes updates to its cars over the net like it’s a massive, wheeled smartphone. These updates add new features, improve existing ones and fix bugs. Theory is however old your Model S, it will always have all the latest features, provided you’ve let it update (you don’t have to be in or anywhere near the car). This is clever and we like it very much indeed.

Not that Tesla has conventional dealers, mind you. You buy direct from the company, not via a dealer, and the ‘stores’ where you’d do so are usually found in big shopping centres, not extra-urban industrial estates. Or you can buy online, because obviously.

Charging is always an issue with EVs. The Model S can draw about five miles per hour-of-charge from a household three-pin plug. This increases to about 20 miles per hour-of-charge from a 7kW wallbox, which, should you buy an EV, we’d definitely recommend getting fitted to your house. They’re less than £300, after all.

The big draw with Tesla is that you get access to the Supercharger network – they’re fantastically rapid and very convenient, as they’ve been installed at most UK motorway service stations. You can also use their ‘Destination Chargers’ – Tesla-branded chargers at hotels, gyms and so-on.

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