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Hands-on review part two: The pros and cons of owning a Tesla Model S
Tue, 22nd May 2018
FYI, this story is more than a year old

In the first part of this two-part review I discussed what it's like to drive a Tesla, you can read part one here, in fact, I recommend you do in case you haven't already.

In this part of the review, I will go over some more of the internal features and UI as well as the pros and cons of owning a Tesla.

What the Tesla is like from the inside

The UI:

From the second you climb into the car everything screams high-tech comfort.

There are no physical buttons on the UI or knobs to turn, instead, everything in the car can be controlled through the centre console.

This lead to a running joke on our adventure that to drive a Tesla you basically need a co-pilot to operate all of its features.

From the central UI, everything from door locks to heated seats can be controlled.

While some might find the interface a bit daunting, after a couple of hours of use it becomes fairly easy to navigate all of the panels.

The only drawback to the centre console is that I can suffer a bit under high glare.

On top of the console, the Model S also has a heads-up display for the driver.

This is one of my favourite features as it displays battery usage, speed, the lane ahead, the approximate distance from the car ahead and the GPS map.

On top of that, the display will flash proximity warnings if the car is getting a bit too close to something else.

Having all of these features right in the line of sight of the driver really does make it easy to stay on top of the road ahead.

Comfort features:

When it comes to comfort this car has all of the latest bit and bobs to ensure that everyone in it is as comfortable as physically possible.

This includes heated seats, both in the front and back adjustable seats, including incredible lumbar support and an amazing climate control system.

The seats are made of 100% high-quality faux leather, meaning they give all of that leathery comfort, minus the animal murder.

Overall if you are taking a long drive in a Tesla, I can guarantee you that it will be the most comfortable long ride of your life.

The pros and cons of the Model S


There is a lot to love about this car and it's hard to nail them all down into one small section as the features that I may like may not be as likeable to others but here is what is, in my opinion, the best features.

  • Superb driver-assist features.
  • Amazing stereo system.
  • The UI control panel.
  • All of the various comfort features.
  • The regen-braking. 
  • Long battery life. 
  • The reversing camera when parking. 


Now when I list out the things we didn't like as much it's important to note that these weren't things we hated however when compared to the best features they just felt a bit lacking. These are less deal breakers and more minor quirks.

  • The aggressive auto-headlights.
  • The integrated Spotify App is very clunky. 
  • Glare becomes a bit of an issue. 
  • The rearview mirror isn't very useful. 

Some other things to note: 

While the car charges remarkably fast at the supercharger currently there are only three of these chargers in NZ. At a normal fast charger, we got about 25% battery in an hour. When charging at home it took us around 12 hours to charge up from 20% to 80%.

As such this car would not be the best fit for someone who will be doing a lot of driving and expecting quick top-ups, however, as a regular commute vehicle it works perfectly.

Currently, these cars are not cheap and they 100% fall into the luxury car category, so they are a little bit inaccessible to the average middle-class driver. However, as their popularity starts to grow we are already seeing car share services that offer Teslas as an option.

Final thoughts

In the end, driving and reviewing this car has been one of the best experiences I have had to date.

Despite being very pro-ev, this car has shown me the true potential of this technology and completely changed my perspective on what is currently possible.

If you can afford a Tesla I'd highly recommend getting one, if you can't I'd highly recommend taking one out for a test drive, because simply put it is an incredible experience.