AAA Magazines

Tesla Model S 100: sleek, stylish, and super-fast

Photo courtesy of Tesla

The first mass-production EV retains its panache nearly a decade on.

The Tesla Model S was introduced in 2012. Nonetheless, the Model S still impresses with its sleek styling, sporty handling, quick acceleration, and a sophisticated aura. Major differences worth noting are a new front fascia and increases in battery sizes. The big change for the 2019 is the elimination of smaller battery packs and respective cheaper vehicle prices. The entry model S is priced at $85,000 (all incentives disappear at the end of 2019).

All Model S versions have 300-plus miles of range and dual-motor AWD. The Model S Performance model offers much quicker acceleration and a bit more range for $100,000–$106,000 (depending on options). If that’s not quick enough, “ludicrous mode,” which provides more power, is available for an additional $20,000. During instrumented testing, we recorded a 0-60 mph time of 3.0 seconds in this mode.

The Model S is dynamically excellent, with smooth and quiet acceleration, sporty handling, and responsive steering. Ride quality, however, is on the firm side. Inside, there’s a huge 17-inch center display that handles audio, navigation, vehicle settings, and Internet access and contributes to the cabin’s modern look. However, the plastic-looking carbon fiber–like trim detracts from the minimalist cabin. 

With AAA's free Car Buying Service, members can enjoy a no-hassle experience when purchasing a new or used vehicle. Get estimated pricing and access to online inventory before visiting a AAA-recommended dealer near you. For details, go to or call 800-709-7222. 

Model years: 2018–2019
Vehicle layout: Full-size 4-door sedan, two electric motors (463 hp), single-speed automatic, AWD
MSRP: $135,000 (base), $144,700 (well equipped)
MPGe, city/hwy/combined: 92/105/98
Crash-test ratings: NHTSA: 5 stars overall. IIHS: good (all crash-related ratings except driver-side small-overlap front [acceptable])
Basic warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles
Spare tire: Tire-inflator kit
Final assembly: United States
Range: 315 miles

Zip code banner

Welcome to the

American Automobile Association

Please enter your home ZIP Code so we can direct you to the correct AAA club’s website.

back to top icon