Everyone has been chiming in with their thoughts on the Tesla Model S lately, and with the car taking home awards like the prestigious Motor Trend Car of the Year, this probably won't change anytime soon. Not wanting to be left in the dark, Consumer Reports has managed to get its hands on a Model S to give its own impressions of the luxurious electric hatchback.

Like many other outlets (including our own first drive), CR praised the Model S for its styling (which it compares to an Audi A7) and performance (which it says "can put serious hurt on a Corvette"). With limited time with the car, the video doesn't touch on the specific range the institute attained, but it appears most of the car's time was spent on the track anyway.

On the flip side of things, CR dinged the Model S for its retractable door handles which the reviewer refers to as "fussy," and as much as CR has blasted Ford and its MyFord Touch for being distracting and largely button-less in the past, we were surprised at how much it seemed to adore the lack of buttons on Model S. They even glossed over the fact that drivers can surf the Web on the 17-inch touch screen while driving.

Scroll down to watch the first drive video and then head over to Consumer Reports for the write-up.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 128 Comments
      Bruce Lee
      • 2 Years Ago
      The Model S's touchscreen is insanely more responsive when compared to Ford's system so it's perfectly possible to hate the Ford system but love the one in the Model S. People hate the one in the Karma as well because it's near impossible to use.
        bluepongo1
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Bruce Lee
        That's because when they tried to reverse engineer it from the Tesla Roadster they didn't find the software booby-trap within.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      I got a good chance to use one a few days ago. Everything not related to internet access (3G) on the center stack is quite fast. But the center stack has flaws. It does a pretty good job of trying to do what you want despite a total lack of buttons. But ultimately it falls short. There are functions that have no dedicated button elsewhere in the car. This includes almost anything related to climate control plus headlights, NAV, sunroof, suspension, etc. Now people are used to not being able to use NAV without clicking through some screens on the center stack. But the headlights? The sunroof? The headlights are at least automatic, so you typically don't have to adjust them. But to open and close the sunroof you must bring up a large mode screen on the center stack and then tap to adjust it. If you have to turn your headlights off (they turn on automatically), there is a smaller mode screen. It's just really, really dumb that you can adjust your seat position (something you will rarely do) with a single touch but not open or close the sunroof (unless you leave the sunroof screen up all the time). The center stack splits top and bottom. There are 5 items (rear camera, radio, nav, energy info and something else) you can set to be the top item. You can also switch the top item to the bottom and then change the top. So you can mix and match these 5 items as you please. But other items like climate control you cannot mix and match because they are separate overlays that block all or most of the screen. You must bring them up, adjust them, dismiss them. Ultimately, it's not awful. But it could be a lot better and it is on a lot of cars that are a lot lower end than this. Tesla has to improve the user experience in-car.
        Grendal
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Nice review. The beauty of their system is that it can be updated. I'm sure all the issues you mentioned will be corrected or adjusted over time. How long that might be is certainly in question. It's the hazards of being an early adopter. By the time I get my Gen III car I expect most of the issues will be fully ironed out. Of course there will be new issues but functionaity should be pretty smooth.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rotation
        Oh, and one more thing. They really messed with the gamma on the display to make sure it was bright enough to view in the daytime and as far as I can tell, it is. When viewing the in-built UI they've compensated in their UI design so it isn't noticeable. But if you view google maps satellite view or a web page you can see the color crushing. It's totally acceptable. What isn't acceptable is "day mode". The stack has 3 modes, day, night and auto. Night mode is white on black with a fixed brightness. Day mode is black on white with (I think) a fixed brightness. Auto mode selects a mode and adjust the brightness automatically. The problem is "day mode" is too bright and distracting. So that means everyone sets it to night mode and then fixes the brightness, possibly adjusting it for day and night manually. Tesla even mentions this to owners upon delivery, saying set it to night mode for now. This will presumably be fixed in an update. Updates come out automatically (and periodically) over 3G data and install with a simple click.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
      Pinhead
      • 2 Years Ago
      I used to IM Tom Mutchler now and then back when he was just some dude on the internet who had a miata. Pretty nice guy.
      Patrick
      • 2 Years Ago
      "can put serious hurt on a corvette" awwww that's cute =)
      Brodz
      • 2 Years Ago
      Yeah... bit of a double standard there CR. Praising an enormous touch screen you can surf the web on, but label fussy a system that reduces buttons. How safe is it to have to take your eyes from the road to turn the headlights on? Not very. Don't know why Tesla had to go and reinvent physical controls.
      Snark McGee
      • 2 Years Ago
      wow, nice video. I like this one reviewer - he seems to be an auto enthusiast and an automotive engineer.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        brotherkenny4
        • 2 Years Ago
        As well as every other car company in the world. Just by different governments.
        Turbo Froggy
        • 2 Years Ago
        Give Laser a break, he is a very confused person right now. Rush and Fox news has brainwashed him into thinking that Mitt would win and electric cars suck. He is still trying to comprehend how all those talking points mean nothing in the face of the literal phalanx of awards that the Tesla Model S is winning. He is very confused and angry as he fills up his 10MPG pickup while going into the convenience store to buy cigs and Black Velvet. He will enjoy both on his lunch break at the Chrysler plant all while mumbling under his breath about how electric cars are crap.
        Making11s
        • 2 Years Ago
        If you have a problem with government investment in new technologies, why are you on the internet? Looks like you're not as principled as you are partisan. Good job, pawn.
      • 2 Years Ago
      [blocked]
        • 2 Years Ago
        [blocked]
        m_2012
        • 2 Years Ago
        Why do you come on here? Have you ever made a positive comment? Just end your life already!
          stumpy
          • 2 Years Ago
          @m_2012
          i don't like what peter_nixon said about the model S, but I dislike what you said to him even more. Don't you EVER tell anyone to kill themselves... EVER. You don't know him. You don't know what he is going through. Everyone is entitled to their opinion (il-informed as it may be). But please. Let's keep autoblog a place for healthy automotive discussion. Telling people to kill themselves is not the answer. You're the one who needs to go.
          Grendal
          • 2 Years Ago
          @m_2012
          I go out of my way to point out how crazy the guy is and I agree. There is no reason to top his jerkiness. Peter nixon/knodoctor/thor petersen/luigi tony has mental problems. He recently posted a typical negative comment then came in under a different identity just to agree with himself. It's quite sad he needs that kind of justification.
        NickDG
        • 2 Years Ago
        What hype isn't it going to live up to? The car is out and it works as advertised. Close to 300 mile range with a lot of storage and great performance. The car lived up to and passed the hype months ago. I don't understand why people think this car is going to fail. Once Tesla starts selling a 300 mile range model in the 50-60K range I will be buying.
        Making11s
        • 2 Years Ago
        It's on the road and living up to the hype as we all type these comments.
      john92lx91gls
      • 2 Years Ago
      So, if it had a Ford oval or Lincoln star on it, they would've berated it and cursed it until the cows come home. Figures.
      Carma Racing
      • 2 Years Ago
      It would be great to take this car to the mountains or to the beach for a day - if it would make it! There was a time when electric cars accounted for more than 25% of the cars on the road in the US. Electrics were on a level playing field with internal combustion and lost. They are still a poor choice for anything but specialized use (city car, delivery vehicles, etc.). Great car - except for one glaring deficiency. Only people with more money than sense will buy one. Cool as an I-phone in a deep mine! Joke of the Year is more like it.
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Carma Racing
        Battery technology has changed in the last 100 years.
      BipDBo
      • 2 Years Ago
      Wow, CR actually likes the S! This makes me wonder if nobody told them it's built in the US rather than Japan.
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