The Model S is NOT a Luxury Car | 2015 Tesla Model S 70D

The Model S is NOT a Luxury Car | 2015 Tesla Model S 70D

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|| While it may not be luxurious, it’s something even better! ||

|| 2015 Tesla Model S 70D ||

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The Idea

Back in the early 1970s, heavy metal music was just that… Heavy Metal. Black Sabbath, Motörhead, The Stooges, while they all had their own unique sound, they stayed in bounds of the genre; which at the time was just like rock but on Schwarzenegger-level steroids. We’re in the late 2010s now and the genre has evolved into an almost unrecognisable beast; but for the better. Now it is more diverse than a bag of Skittles and M&M’s combined. If it never suited your taste, surely, now you can find a band that does. If you’re interested I recommend Periphery, which is djent; a sub-genre of progressive metal, and Plini; a small but pivotal artist of djazz… seriously. The variety is just incredible and, believe it or not, that brings us to Tesla.

Tesla’s first car used battery tech from Silicon Valley’s AC Propulsion and a chassis from why-does-it-rain-so-freaking-often-here’s Lotus to make a conventional lightweight sports car with an electric drivetrain. They called it the Roadster. Though the car performed quite well, it lacked a sense of imagination. Fortunately they were aware of that and made the Model S. Tesla says it’s a luxury saloon. The European Union says S-segment (sports car). Germany says F-segment (limousine). I say somewhat-overpriced-half-hatchback-half-muscle car.

(Disclosure: The original plan was to review my dad’s 2019 Tesla Model 3 LR AWD. Sadly, after multiple repairs, he returned the car for a refund. I can’t say how much. Tesla says his problems were anomalies. The Model S featured in this review was an in-less-than-ideal-condition service loaner from Tesla Canada which I had access to for about a month. )

Just like everyone else who wants one of these, I approached it expecting a tech-filled electric sporty luxury saloon. Although it makes a great first impression, quite a few of my expectations were not met. For example, design-wise, the car has really good proportions but, considering its conventional styling and fake hexagonal grille, used to disguise itself as a petrol-car, like a millenial’s first house, it’s a little underwhelming.

Hands On

The 70D model is quicker from 0 to 100 km/h (62mph) than many 2019 Ford Mustangs, has a higher top speed than a 2018 Subaru BRZ, better handling than a 2016 BMW i8, more cargo space than a 2019 Volvo V90, easier to drive than 1999 Toyota Corolla and fits just as many people, and one Beagle, as a 2019 Land Rover Discovery Sport. If you told me, back in 2011, that a car can have all that I would’ve called you Goofy but here we are in 2019 with one. The Model S is many things. If you called it a sports car, grand tourer, hatchback, wagon, minivan, or all of the above, I’d say absolutely! It’s just not a luxury car.

First impressions are key and the Model S does well in that aspect, even very much so. Although I didn’t have access to the feature-filled mobile app, I had the key which was minimally designed after the car and arguably looks better than Porsche’s. Almost every time you walk up to enter, all the door handles slide out to greet you. Inside, you won’t find a “START” button anywhere on the dash because the car does that for you. All you need to do is press the brake, shift to drive, and send it!

I’ve driven all kinds of electric cars. I know what that instant torque does. I read on all the specs before driving and that power delivery still surprised me. It feels twice as quick than it really is. The car corners very well because of that heavy battery pack in the floor and wide frame. It just sucked a little when the nicely contoured seats weren’t able to hold my thin frame but that one’s on me. My babcia always tells me to eat more. Guess I should start now… for the car reviews. Plus, what I think is most impressive, is how unlike most performance-focused cars, it was not developed on the Nurburgring race track. This means the ride is nicely balanced and, regardless of your driving behaviour, relaxed or spirited, your spine will stay intact. James May would be very proud.

I’d just like to take a moment a mention some of the useful features the car offers; most of which are located in the infotainment. GPS uses Google Maps with live traffic and HD satellite view but with no option to change to simplified view or 3D. In addition to the usual FM and AM radio, you also get Slacker; a free music-focused internet on-demand radio service, and TuneIn; a free talk-focused internet on-demand radio service. There’s a web browser available which is a little slow, review car used 3G, and doesn’t allow video playback… yet. Because of the numerous internet-based apps, Tesla currently offers every owner free unlimited data for life. You can’t tether because AT&T but still very nice! My favourite “feature” is the free-for-life unlimited level 3 charging; meaning battery can refill from 0 to 80% in about 30 minutes. Just remember that offer only refers to Tesla’s own chargers; for the rest you might need to pay and use an adapter.

Options are nice to have but are more suited to luxury vehicles, where personalisation is absolutely key. Unfortunately the Model S, and the rest of Tesla’s fleet, severely lacks in this department. Like I previously mentioned, the car makes a great first impression and because impressions are mainly based on looks, the Model S uses nice styling to distract from the missing details. You will notice that none of the seats have an adjustable headrest. So unless you’re an average Jo(sephine), you might have some difficulty getting comfortable. The colour and trim division of Tesla must be non-existent because I’ve only seen two interior colours: black and beige. It does have a selection of “driving modes” but not in the conventional sense. Overall quality, in and out, sucks. And most importantly, there are only two cupholders! What if you want to order three tall, double, non-fat, one-pump, no-whip, Frappucinos? You can’t! It’s just not a car for affluent or even halfway-to-affluent consumers who want a bespoke electric car. It seems more like Tesla’s main target audience includes influencers, hypebeasts, and hardcore environmentalists willing to take a second mortgage to pay for one.

Its Value

This one’s difficult because Tesla, as a company, is figuratively and literally more volatile than Bitcoin. Right now Tesla’s are very hot and might be for some time. Everyone wants one because of the name and bragging rights. As a result, several dealerships will take advantage. It was possible to get free lifetime supercharging on used Model S cars but not anymore and that should help bring prices down. Don’t count on it. Tesla first cancelled the free supercharging when they dropped their affiliate program but then brought it back few weeks later to help sell inventory and Model 3 cars. Tesla is unpredictable which means so are the price tags. Currently, the cheapest used Model S in Canada is $42,000 but if you time it correctly and play your cards right, I believe you can likely get a solid, low-mileage 70D or mid-mileage 85 for $50,000.

In the End

 

Whether you love or hate Tesla, they are an innovative brand. They managed to make a fast, somewhat-premium electric sedan that people want and managed to keep a monopoly on that market since 2012… which is probably why the company, and dealerships, have been able to get away with these high prices. While Tesla has been steadily increasing the base price of a new Model S, the opposite is happening with used ones and as they’re slowing starting to become more accessible to the masses, so is its secondary market. You bought a Model S but still want more cupholders. Well, here you go. And as I mentioned in the video, you can even replace your bumper pre-2016 with the refreshed design which will make it look brand-spanking new.

Don’t look at the Model S as luxury car because it does not meet the criteria of a conventional luxury saloon. It’s not heavy metal. If you look at it as a fusion between a sports sedan and a family wagon you’ll see it as a very fast and powerful electric family car from a small but pivotal startup company with some social status as a nice little extra. It’s djazz.

You agree or disagree with this review? Let me know in the comments! Otherwise, thank you for reading and have a good morning, evening, and night!

TL;DR

I believe the Model S is not a luxury car because it has way too many compromises. However, it is very practical and fun to drive. Best to think of it as a sporty family car and possible to get a solid, used, low-mileage 70D model for $50,000.


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