Tesla Model S review: reliability & safety rating
The Tesla Model S has a relatively clean record for reliability, and once again boasts a five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating
|Euro NCAP||Adult protection||Child protection||Safety assist|
|5 stars (2022)||94%||91%||98%|
The Tesla Model S has secured five out of five stars in its Euro NCAP crash tests twice now: once in 2014, and again in 2022. What’s more, there are no reliability issues known to keep cropping up on the Model S and Tesla’s four-year/50,000-mile warranty should give you adequate peace of mind. Better still, the battery is guaranteed for eight years, and you can do an unlimited number of miles in that time without invalidating it.
Tesla Model S reliability & problems
In 2017, Tesla issued a recall for the Model S and Model X, covering cars built between February and October 2016. This was to fix a potential fault with the electronic parking brake, although the company was keen to stress that at no point were cars unsafe to drive.
As the Model S is an electric car, there are few moving components and therefore few things that can go wrong it. Tesla also issues periodic over-the-air software updates, which can fix potential problems and also unlock additional performance from the electric motors. In 2016, the Model S achieved the highest ever percentage score in the Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, finishing fifth overall for reliability – although the Model S was absent from the 2020 survey. What's concerning in recent years is that, while Tesla came second in our 2022 survey, nearly half of Tesla drivers reported issues before the car was a year old.
The Tesla Model S scored five out of five stars in its Euro NCAP crash test in 2014, rating 82% for adult safety, 77% for child safety, 66% for child safety, and 71% for its safety assistance systems. The latest versions of the Model S were tested in 2022 and received the full five-star rating again, this time receiving 94% for adult safety, 91% for child safety, 66% for child safety, and 98% for its safety assistance systems.
Collision avoidance and automatic emergency braking systems are included as standard, as are front airbags, two ISOFIX child-seat attachments, a seat belt reminder, and much else besides. The Model S is also very sturdy: when its roof was crush-tested in the US, it actually broke the testing machine, having withstood a force four times that of gravity.
While not a safety concern as such, the Model S is now (from May 2023) left-hand drive only. This may not suit some buyers looking to own and drive their car in the UK.
In This Review
- 1VerdictThe Tesla Model S set the bar that all other long-range EVs had to meet – but you can no longer buy a right-hand-drive car in the UK
- 2Range, battery & chargingLarge batteries and access to Tesla's Supercharger network makes the Model S a great long-distance car – but it's now left-hand drive only
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe running costs of the Tesla Model S are very low, but the asking price isn't cheap
- 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 & infotainmentThe 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 there's lots of room for passengers too
- 7Reliability & safety rating - currently readingThe Tesla Model S has a relatively clean record for reliability, and once again boasts a five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating