Tesla Model S interior, dashboard & comfort
The Tesla Model S feels spacious and elegant inside, although the fit and finish leaves a little to be desired
The interior of the Tesla Model S feels clean and uncluttered; this is largely down to the fact that almost all the car’s functions are controlled by the 17-inch portrait touchscreen. In fact, the only buttons provided open the glovebox and operate the hazard warning lights, and the absence of items on the dashboard makes the Model S a relaxing place to sit.
The Model S features power-adjustable leather heated seats throughout, and there’s room for five passengers. It's quiet on the road, with the whir of the electric motor only faintly audible over the road and wind noise. It also features ‘smart’ air suspension, which automatically adjusts depending on your speed, and can be programmed to raise itself for your driveway when it detects that you’ve arrived home using its GPS.
Tesla Model S dashboard
The interior centres on a huge 17-inch colour touchscreen on the dashboard, which controls virtually all of the features on the Model S: everything from the sunroof to the headlights is operates using this screen. In any car, using a touchscreen can be difficult on the move, as you have to take your eyes away from the road to see what you’re pressing. While this is no different in the Model S, Tesla uses large icons to make things as easy and intuitive as possible. The rest of the dashboard is finished in a mixture of zinc and wood, but while the interior is of a reasonable standard, quality falls short of what you’d expect from a premium car.
Equipment, options and accessories
Exact Tesla Model S specifications are somewhat up in the air at the moment, as the 2022 model-year car has no confirmed delivery date in the UK as yet and Tesla says on its website that "pricing and options will be finalised as delivery approaches".
Standard kit previously included ‘smart’ air suspension, a powered tailgate, keyless entry and ambient lighting to name but a few items. Tesla also provides a year of ‘Premium Connectivity’ to satellite maps and live traffic updates. Over-the-air updates also arrive via wi-fi and cellular connectivity.
'Autopilot' – which can steer, accelerate and brake the Model S unaided within its lane – affords a degree of hands-free driving, although it’s important to remember it’s a driver aid as opposed to a driver replacement. With Autopilot, the Model S will match the speed of the vehicle in front, keep itself within a lane, change lanes at the flick of an indicator stalk (detecting when it’s safe to move) and even self-park when near a space. It can also be summoned to and from your garage.
Tesla also offers what it calls ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’, which doubles the number of exterior cameras and allows you to simply enter a destination before sitting back and letting the car take you there. A word of caution, though: Tesla is rolling out this feature depending on local laws, so it’s worth checking with your dealer first to see if you'll actually be able to use it, before agreeing to pay the extra cash. It's typically an expensive feature; you'll be charged £6,800 for it on the smaller Tesla Model 3.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
The Tesla Model S uses Google Maps for sat nav, so it should be familiar and easy to use. Instructions can be followed on the touchscreen, or on the second digital screen within the instrument cluster. Bluetooth connectivity is available, allowing for smartphone voice control. Apps can be downloaded straight to the car, too, allowing you to access services such as Spotify on the go.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe Tesla Model S remains one of the most desirable electric cars on the market, but its qualities come at a substantial price
- 2Range, battery & chargingA combination of large batteries and access to Tesla's Supercharger network makes the Model S one of the easiest electric cars to cover long distances in
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe running costs of the Tesla Model S are very low, but the asking price is sky-high
- 4Performance, motor & driveThe Tesla Model S is exceedingly quick and performs well as a refined motorway cruiser; semi-autonomous features reduce the strain further
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfort - currently readingThe Tesla Model S feels spacious and elegant inside, although the fit and finish leaves a little to be desired
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThere’s a generous amount of luggage space in the Tesla Model S and interior room is pretty generous, too
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe Tesla Model S has a relatively clean record for reliability, but its Euro NCAP crash-test rating from 2014 has now expired