- Over the years, I’ve driven every car Tesla has ever produced.
- They have all been good, but features of individual models have stood out.
- Here’s a rundown of what I love about the Tesla original Roadster, the Model S and the Model X, and the Model 3. Plus a little something extra …
I wrote my first words about Tesla in January 2008. In the ten years since, the company has gone from selling one car to selling three, and from delivering a few thousand vehicles the early 2010s to 250,000 in 2018.
Each of the vehicles has its particular charms, quirks, and appealing features. I found myself reflecting on them at the beginning of 2019 as we look forward to some new machines from Elon Musk’s plucky automaker: the Model Y SUV, a new Roadster, and perhaps even a pickup truck. Tesla is also juking pricing on its Model S and Model X vehicles, dropping vehicles with smaller, cheaper battery packs and going all-in with a 100-kilowatt-hour design that can be range-curtailed by software if you choose lower-cost options.
Here are all my favourite features on all the Teslas I’ve driven:
1. Original Roadster. The first Tesla to hit the road, this straightforward electric sports car captured hearts and changed minds — an EV didn’t have to be a glorified golf cart! Now discontinued, the original Roadster can still be picked up used.
It’s still my favourite Tesla, although the Model 3 has me rethinking that position. I love its open-air style.
But what I truly adore is the simple joy of driving it. The speed is electric lightning: 0-to-60 mph in under four seconds. And the feedback-heavy steering is point-and-shoot. Driving this car of the future is surprisingly old-school.
2. Model S. Motor Trend’s 2013 Car of the Year! I’ve driven various trim levels, including a P90D that I took on an ill-fated but instructive road trip.
The Model S is luxurious and speedy, as well as a pleasure on long highway cruises. But where it really shines is its versatility: it can carry as much cargo as a good-sized SUV, thanks to a rear hatch and a front trunk, or “frunk.”
The Model S also serves up superb range — and it did so well before the competition.
3. Model X. Tesla threw every idea, good and bad, it could into its expensive SUV.
The dramatic falcon-wing doors sounded goofy when I first heard about them, but in the flesh, they’re sci-fi cool.
But the best feature about the Model X? Honestly, it was how much my dog loved the vehicle!
4. Model 3. Tesla’s newest and most important set of wheels debuted in 2017. I didn’t truly get my hands on it until 2018, however.
The interior is the grabber. It’s a study in elegant minimalism. Almost all vehicle functions are accessed via the central touchscreen.
The Model 3 was sheer joy for me. The perfect Tesla, crammed with great ideas. My eight-year-old certainly enjoyed it.
5. Model 3 Performance. At almost $US80,000, the P3D — high-performance, dual-motor, all-wheel-drive — is the Model 3 turned up to 11.
But what really got me was the white interior. I first experienced it on the Model X, but in the more compact confines of the Model 3, it was stunning.
I know I said the Roadster is my favourite Tesla of all time. But the Model 3 Performance is probably my new darling. Electric bliss on four wheels!
EXTRA! I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Tesla’s Supercharger network as something I’m fond of. It’s widespread in the US, making road trips much easier.
My dog doesn’t understand electrical engineering, but I do. Tesla Superchargers can re-juice your ride at 135 kilowatts, much faster than 220-volt level 2 home chargers. Superchargers use direct current to get the job done.
The company has installed Superchargers along major highway routes, but also in dense urban areas.
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