Both local safety agencies have yet to conduct a full Tesla Model S safety review for the latest model, but the NHTSA's review of the Tesla Model S returned full marks for all evaluations for the 2022 model year. The Model S has a high-strength architecture and numerous advanced safety features as standard, however.
NHTSA safety ratings are not available at this time.
The Model S's safety features remain a hot topic, but it does have a long list of stuff meant to keep you safe. It has stability control, ABS brakes, LATCH attachments, LED lights and fog lights, and eight airbags. Driver assistance features include active forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitoring, and lane-keep assist. Enhance Autopilot will equip even more.
For an additional $15,000, you can upgrade to what Tesla calls Full Self-Driving Capability. Even though Tesla puts a disclaimer right underneath that particular segment of the website, stating that it does not make the vehicle fully autonomous, some people assume otherwise. Before we get to the implications, let's look at what you get. This system consists of navigation on Autopilot, auto lane change, autopark, summon, a full self-driving computer, and traffic light and stop sign recognition. An abbreviated version is available for $6,000.
To be clear, we've seen Tesla's Autopilot doing some pretty amazing stuff over the years. There's no doubt that Tesla is way ahead of the pack and much closer to producing an autonomous car than anyone else. But the Model S is not fully autonomous. Fact. It says so on Tesla's own website. Yet many owners place too much confidence in the system, doing idiotic things like napping on the rear seat while they're supposed to be driving. You can't blame Tesla for Darwin's good work, but we also think Tesla shouldn't use phrases like "Full Self-Driving Capability" so fraglantly. The whole autonomous driving thing is still a grey area, and until the legalities around it are resolved, clearer language should be used so there's no doubt of what the car is legally allowed to do and technically capable of doing.
|Tesla Model S Trims||Model S||Standard Range|
|Rear Parking Aid||S||S|
|Blind Spot Monitor||S||S|
|Lane Departure Warning||S||O|
|Lane Keeping Assist||S||O|
|Tire Pressure Monitor||S||S|
Despite fundamentally being a decade-old design, the Model S has been far from trouble-free. Three recalls are listed for 2023 for issues pertaining to the forward-facing camera, a seatbelt that may become detached, and full self-driving software that may crash. The 2022 derivative was recalled a scary 12 times, and many of these issues were for various safety systems. This included a problematic pedestrian warning chime, an improperly deploying side curtain airbag, a faulty seatbelt chime, and a problem with the driver-assist systems that could see the car fail to stop at a stop sign. It was also found that, among other complaints, the windshield may not defrost properly, hampering visibility. The 2021 model was even worse, with 15 recalls in total, most of which are related to safety equipment.
Tesla offers a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty and a warranty for the battery/drive unit that runs for up to eight years or a mileage of up to 150,000 miles.