As you can see from the above section, nobody can touch Tesla when it comes to range. But when it comes to the nitty-gritty of car building and churning out models with consistently good build quality, Tesla could still learn a thing or two from heritage manufacturers. This used to be most evident on the inside, where Tesla struggled with material quality and even something as basic as panel alignment. We could forgive Tesla initially, but a decade down the line, most kinks should be ironed out. The new interior is a giant leap forward. It takes minimalism to the extreme while incorporating a few old-school luxury touches and better materials. It's too early to tell whether the build quality has improved, and given Tesla's history, we're disinclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. We hope we're proved wrong, however.
One of the significant benefits of a skateboard design is more room to work with. Designers don't have to work around a transmission tunnel or exhaust system. Having a flat floor to work with is a designer's dream, as they can replicate the interior space of a much larger car in a shorter wheelbase. That's the theory, at least.
The legroom up front is 42.4 inches, while the rear only offers 35.5 inches of legroom. The headroom is 39.7 inches in the front and 38.1 inches in the rear. The smaller Model 3 offers more room in the front but the Model S has significantly better rear legroom. The Model S does also score some points for providing a proper middle rear seat. Since there is no transmission tunnel, there is space for the middle passenger's feet.
The Model 3 proves that Tesla's designers are getting better at packaging, but this is still not applicable to the Model S. It's an inherent problem that can only be solved with an entirely new model. The Plaid provides enough space for a family of five, though.
|Tesla Model S Plaid Trims||Plaid|
|Headroom Front Seat||39.7 in.|
|Headroom Back Seat||38.1 in.|
|Legroom Front Seat||42.4 in.|
|Legroom Back Seat||35.5 in.|
|Shoulder Room Front||58.4 in.|
|Shoulder Room Rear||55.1 in.|
|Hip Room, Front||54.8 in.|
|Hip Room, Rear||50.3 in.|
One would imagine that being called the Plaid, there would be only one tartan interior choice, right? Wrong. There are only three interior options and not one of them has even a hint of plaid anywhere to be found. The options are no-cost All Black, or two $2,000 options in black/white or black/cream. All these color schemes are complemented by carbon-fiber inlays.
The Model S gives the establishment a thorough spanking in this department. High-end sedan designers struggle to find more than 20 cubic feet of cargo capacity, but Tesla doesn't have that problem. The trunk has 25 cubes of cargo capacity, which can be increased by folding the rear seats forward. And because there's no ICE engine under the hood, you get a neat 3.1-cube frunk. You can pack a soft bag or two in the frunk, but we find it most beneficial for the weekly trip to the shops. When only the driver and a front passenger are on board, total cargo volume works out to a crossover-like 64.6 cubes.
In terms of small-item storage, there is a sliding center console in front with space for wallets and the like, along with cupholders. Wireless charging is offered for every occupant and in front, two smartphones can be accommodated alongside each other on the charging pad. The rear fold-down center armrest houses more storage space as well as cupholders. There are also handy door pockets in all four doors.
|Tesla Model S Plaid Trims||Plaid|
|Max Volume||61.4 in.|
The highlight of the interior is undoubtedly the 17-inch cinematic display, but we'll get to that shortly. As a high-end car with a sticker price to almost match the Mercedes-Benz S-Class, it's only reasonable to expect a long list of features. Tesla provides them, but they do an equally excellent job of hiding them. As standard, it comes with tri-zone climate control with hidden vents, a heated steering wheel, heated front/rear seats, ventilated front seats, 12-way power adjustment for the front seats, a rearview camera, and the controversial yoke steering wheel ahead of the digital instrument cluster, which can be exchanged for a round wheel at no charge. Power-folding side mirrors with heating elements are also standard. The comprehensive Autopilot suite includes features like blind-spot monitoring and automatic emergency braking, and, provided you spec the Enhanced Autopilot at the time of purchase, you're able to remotely summon your car. The so-called Full Self-Driving Capability is supposed to soon be fully capable of semi-autonomous driving within city streets thanks to traffic light recognition and stop-sign control.
Front passengers get a 17-inch "cinematic display" touchscreen that controls nearly everything, climate control included. Its operating system is not compatible with Apple or Android devices, but you can connect to it via Bluetooth. You can also stream movies or play games. It's a brilliant concept and a great way to keep busy while the car charges on a trip. Unfortunately, some die-hard Autopilot fans found some sneaky ways around this. We won't mention them here. Tesla offers one-year premium connectivity including satellite-view maps, video streaming for services like Netflix and Hulu, and internet browsing.
Rear passengers get a smaller eight-inch display that you can game on. Tesla says it's as powerful as today's newest consoles. It's compatible with wireless controllers and offers a gaming computer with as much as 10 teraflops of processing power. There are also two wireless chargers hidden in the middle seatback, and all passengers get access to USB-C ports. The cinematic display is mated to a 22-speaker, 960-watt sound system with active noise cancelation. Both front and rear systems operate flawlessly.