Review of the Tesla Model S Hatchback
Fancy owning the most talked about electric car in the world? The ostentatious new Tesla Model S Hatchback is still only Tesla’s second ever car to hit the road. It’s handsome, hyper-quick, refined, luxurious – and practical.
The best thing? It’s fully electric but doesn’t come with the usual niggles EV’s have to put up with, such as poor range. Instead, it has a 300 + mile range. This greatly reduces range anxiety.
And did we mention it can do 0-62 in 2.5 seconds? It might be an environmentally conscious car, but it’s still a rebel.
OSV takes a closer look at what it’s all about with our 2017 Tesla Model S Hatchback review.
On the Road
There is a lot to enjoy about the Model S’s driving experience. For one thing, its lack of a gearbox means that it’s super smooth on the road. Secondly, because power comes solely from an electric motor, it’s able to blast off from standstill in a way very different to conventional cars.
It’s also fantastically hushed.
Large 19” alloys come as standard, but buyers have been adding the meatier 21” turbine-style alloys instead. At £4,500, they won’t be for everyone, though, and the problem with adding big alloys is that the ride gets a bit fidgety – something not even adaptive air suspension can resolve convincingly.
That said, the ride quality is hardly any worse than your average high-performance saloon.
The car’s flat-mounted battery pack is heavy, but it serves to give it a very low centre of gravity. Indeed, it’s a lot lower than petrol or diesel-powered rivals. Four-wheel-drive is available as an optional extra and it helps to minimise body lean.
Regenerative braking is standard on all models, a feature that stores excess energy during braking, before distributing it to your battery in order to extend range. This sounds helpful, but it means the Model S will take you by surprise with its abrupt braking.
That said, you are able to adjust how much regenerative braking there is.
So what’s the deal with the electric motor? Tesla don’t provide official figures for power output, but the entry level, rear-wheel-drive only model can race from rest to 62mph in 4.3 seconds.
And yes, that’s the entry level model.
The P100D model guns from a standstill to 62mph in a tarmac burning 2.5 seconds. It also has a max range of 381 miles, which makes it an attractive super car for those who can afford it.
Bear in mind that the 0-62 time is an official number only. We’re not sure if Elon Musk managed to ever clock that time himself, but most buyers find that they average 0-62 in 3.3 seconds.
That’s still an incredible surge of acceleration.
Tesla Model S Hatchback Interior, Design & Build
Inside, Tesla have gone for a mix of luxury and tech. The cabin is spacious, light and airy too. It’s a pleasant place to spend your time on the road.
For the dashboard, the brand have used wood, zinc and leather. The wood element is a core part of Tesla’s green strategy, and has been used for environmentally friendly reasons.
Don’t worry, it also looks excellent.
Each model gets a massive 17” colour touchscreen. Thanks to its incredible size, it’s really easy to use as its icons are also big. Moreover, it houses pretty much every single function the car needs, with only two buttons remaining on the dash.
Fit and finish is decent, as is the quality of the materials used. We use the word “decent” because the quality isn’t as good as rivals. This is a bit of a disappointment, especially if you splash out £120,000.
In terms of how practical it is, the Tesla Model S leads the way in its class for interior space. It also has more boot space than most rivals, thanks to the relatively small size of its electric motor. The boot measures 894-litres, though this capacity is divided between a 150-litre boot in the front and a 744-litre boot in the rear.
The front “boot” is carpet-lined, while an additional underfloor storage area provides more space.
Back seat passengers are treated well, with each one getting an air conditioning vent. The full-length glass roof creates the sense of more space, while the floor is totally flat. This means anyone sat in the middle gets as much legroom as they could want.
Equipment and Safety of the Tesla Model S
Standard kit is good across the range, with all models getting power-adjustable heated leather seats, a reversing camera, remote control apps, internet connectivity and sat-nav that will update for seven years. And this is really what helps the Tesla stand out; much of the car is controlled using software, which means there will be room for upgrades in the years to come.
Is the Tesla Model S safe? It scored 5/5 when crash tested by Euro NCAP, while its standard safety kit comes with a speed assistance system and lane-departure warning. An Autopilot system is a useful optional extra, as it effectively turns the car into a temporarily self-driving vehicle.
Costs of the Tesla Model S Hatchback
Prices for the new car start out from £56,835 and rise to £131,835. If you prefer to lease, you can pick up a deal from £801 + VAT per month. For more information on our leasing deals, check out our page here.
In terms of its running costs, the Tesla might cost a lot to buy, but one of its major perks is its frugality. Not that its buyers don’t have deep enough pockets to cover high running costs, but if you’re an eco-conscious driver you’ll be pleased to know that the Model S Hatchback does a lot for the O-zone.
Where its range is concerned, how much you get out of a single battery charge depends on which model you go for. The 100D has a claimed range of 324 miles, but that can drop pretty quickly. How quickly it drops depends on your driving style, the conditions and whether the car is almost empty or fully loaded.
In terms of speed and cost, Tesla reckon that a 30 minute charge from a household socket can keep you going for 11 miles. That’s not exactly much bang for your buck, but the car can go for 85 miles from a 30 minute charge if you stop off at a dedicated charging point.
Pros and Cons of the Tesla Model S Hatchback
Forget that it could be the first electric car you own – this could be the most luxurious car you ever own.
Not all the Model S variants can do 0-62 in 2.5 seconds, but the fastest one can – and that is enough to show its rivals a clean pair of heels.
There is no need to worry about CO2 emissions or the exorbitant cost of petrol.
If you charge at home using a standard domestic plug-equipped charging cable, you’ll get just six miles per hour.
It’s cheap to run, but expensive to buy.
Tesla Model S Hatchback vs Mercedes CLS Saloon vs Porsche Panamera Hatchback
Let’s see how the car fares against its rivals in the comparison section of our 2017 Tesla Model S review.
Tesla Model S Hatchback vs Mercedes CLS Saloon
The new Mercedes CLS Saloon is a beautiful saloon that drives like a coupe and is capable of turning as many heads as the Tesla.
It’s a fairly large car that doesn’t feel so big once you’re out on the road. It handles like a much smaller hatchback, and is bags of fun to drive. It’s agile on weaving country lanes, has good body control and benefits from nicely weighted steering.
And despite being so much fun, it’s also supremely comfortable, with adaptive damping coming as standard. If you feel like that’s not enough, you can add the optional AIRMATIC suspension.
There is a good selection of engines on offer, including a boisterous CLS 63 AMG model that delivers a frankly ridiculous 577bhp. This is the niche choice that does 0–62 in 4.1 seconds, but most buyers will be content with the smaller engines.
These include a CLS 400 petrol model that produces 329bhp, and can surge its way from a standstill to 62mph in 5.3 seconds. That’s a lot faster than the much, MUCH smaller CLS 220 BlueTEC diesel that delivers just 168bhp. It takes a leisurely 8.5 seconds to complete the 0-62 dash and won’t satisfy most buyers.
A bigger CLS 350 develops 201bhp and does 0-62 in a more appealing 6.2 seconds. It’s our top pick, and its 52.3mpg fuel economy returns should be attractive to anyone who is considering alternatives to the Tesla Model S.
The AMG model will price most buyers out of the market with its returns of 27.2mpg, while the smallest diesel is good for 61.4mpg economy.
Inside, the Mercedes CLS Saloon is as impeccable as ever. The leather seats are comfortable, the driving position is perfect, and there is luxury everywhere, including lashings of wood and metal trim.
There are also sporty flourishes, too, such as heated front sports seats, though the steering wheel is a bit too distant from the driver for our liking.
In terms of how practical it is, one thing you’ll always get from Mercedes is space. Despite driving like a coupe and having the potential to do 0-62 in 4.1 seconds, the CLS treats all its passengers well. There is more than enough room for four adults, the coupe roofline doesn’t eat into the rear head room, with our only criticism being the small rear windows.
The boot measures an impressive 520-litres, but folding seats are not standard.
Tesla – £56,835 – £131,835
Mercedes – £47,950 – £88,630
Tesla Model S Hatchback vs Porsche Panamera Hatchback
To use a popular phrase, the new Porsche Panamera is a bobby dazzler that’s gorgeously put together. There is so much to love about it, from a well-built and accommodating interior to its ability to move at a staggering pace.
Cars like this are worth every penny. Despite being designed with families in mind, the Panamera also satisfies the raw, primal desire of the driver who just wants to go fast. That said, the car never feels intimidating and is surprisingly easy to drive. Honest.
Even on twisting country roads, the Panamera doesn’t present you with a challenge. On the motorway, it’s an absolute pleasure. Our only real complaint is that adaptive air suspension isn’t standard.
In terms of the engines, even the entry-level turbocharged 2.9-litre petrol engine has serious chops. It packs six cylinder, develops 325bhp, can do 0-62 in 5.7 seconds, and can be specified with four-wheel drive.
If you want more speed, the 4.0-litre, eight cylinder Turbo model delivers a whopping 542bhp, and does the 0-62 sprint in 3.8 seconds. Add launch control, and you can cut that down to 3.5 seconds – which is still nowhere near the fastest Tesla.
If speed matters a lot to you, the diesels aren’t usually worth considering, but the Panamera 4D model is surprisingly quick. It does 0-62 in 5.8 seconds, and delivers as much as 416bhp.
However, if running costs are important to you and one of the reasons you’re looking at a Tesla, the Porsche Panamera Hatchback Hybrid might appeal. It does 0-62 in 4.6 seconds, and officially returns 113mpg economy. It’s also exempt from road tax and can run on pure battery power for 31 miles at speeds up to around 87mph.
The rest of the Panamera range is pretty damn expensive to run, with the smallest petrol engine returning 37mpg and the diesel averaging similar numbers.
So, fuel economy is hardly going to be the Porsche’s strongest suit. Inside, however, it’s as classy as anything else in this review. Its cabin is well appointed, fit and finish is excellent and it looks genuinely beautiful.
The seats are comfortable, the layout is logical and the design is timeless. The analogue rev counter is a nice nod to the past, but we do have an issue with some of the buttons – they’re just too fiddly.
And where the Tesla gets a gigantic screen, the Porsche settles for a more modest 12.3” infotainment touchscreen that doesn’t get all the neat software upgrades of the Model S.
The Porsche Panamera Hatchback is practical, though. Head and legroom is good throughout, 18-way adjustable sports seats are a versatile optional extra as are all-round ventilated massaging seats, while the boot measures 495-litres.
Porsche – £70,924 – £124,505
Overview of our 2017 Tesla Model S Hatchback Review
Everything about this car is ostentatious, from the 17” colour touchscreen to the 21” alloys, to the 0-62 time of 2.5 seconds, to the fact that it’s got an eco-conscious but still has a bad boy streak.
It’s like a handsome, brooding movie star that’s also a vegan.
In many ways, the trail-blazing Tesla Model S Hatchback is the car of the future that, handily, you can get your hands on right now.
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