Buying a new Tesla

This guide talks you through the choices when buying a new Tesla. Like this whole site, it tries to give an unbiased view rather than just repeat what Tesla’s own web site publishes. Also remember to use a Referral code to get a credit towards super charging. We've also a short guide buying a used Tesla wich may be preferable if thats what you're planning to do. Also don't miss our extensive listings of all the cars for sale including Teslas New and ex demo inventory.

Buying new no longer comes with unlimited free supercharging, even with a referral. There are however benefits for company car drivers in coming years. The BIK will be dropping to 2% from 2020 although it is pretty steep until then.

Which model?

Tesla currently have 3 models although only 2 are available to order in the UK.

Model S

Ignoring the Roadster, the Model S is the first production Tesla to reach any production volumes. The car is large inside and capapable and handles well in comparison to the MX.

Exterior

The exterior looks have remained pretty much unchanged since 2016 and has that smooth front appearance.

Interior

While the basic interior has changed little, cars since mid 2017 come with a version of seats which are more like the next generation seats but with a few tweaks. The material choice is pretty varied too, there have been various leather, fake leather, "vegan" and cloth seats over the years. Tesla don;t use real Leather anymore.

The various cabin components have all been tweaked over time to give a better finish, there is now a centre console (introduced during 2016) and rear cup holders, but it's no premium German car although some like its more minimalist styling. The rear is great and 3 can sit comfortably in the back. It's also available as a 7 seater with 2 small seats in the boot but these are limited to small people (ie children) but the absence of heating or ventilation can make them a bit uncomfortable.

Model X

The car with the Falcon doors and the size of, well, the millennium falcon. It's the Tesla SUV and its huge. Built on pretty much the same platform as the Model S it shares many of the same good and bad points.

Exterior

The exterior is just big. Lots of styling from the model S but in a bigger shape with that enormous windscreen. No modifications significant changes yet. The doors have given some owners issues as they didn't work well on anything but a level surface and its rumoured that Tesla deactivated some of the sensors to make them more reliable.

Interior

It's big and spacious and various seating options to suit all tastes including a third row and combinations of individual seats and a bench. The quality feels a touch better than the Model S but as Tesla continually improve, that quality will start coming through on that car too, for instance the Model X seats are now on the Model S. The dash is all but identical to the Model S. Regarding the seat options there are 5, 6 and 7 seat combinations and the rear bench also changed to become folding. It's worth checking what it can do on any particular car before buying and assume that the seats all fold magically into the floor for a cavernous cargo bay.

Model 3

The car is now in production and deliveries are happening in the US. Reviews are generally good although there are quirks and some issues being reported. It won't be reaching the UK until the end of 2019 at the earliest and we believe it may even be 2020 as there is a degree of engineering that needs to be done on the production line to move to right hand drive

Currently only a few of the more expensive variants are in production such as the performance model and the long range versions available. Options are limited, colours are increasingly limited, but may of these things are changing slowly as production increases. It way well be easier and smarter to just buy a used MS in the UK.

Technology

We've drawn all the technology together into one section as it's common to all the current production cars.

The fabled high tech cars are actually a mixture of actually quite old immature tech and fantastic innovation. The sat nav used to be a relatively standard, cheap affair that was superimposed onto a google map. It looked a lot better than it was. Its now been replaced with a Tesla version (in software 8.1) and while better, that too is not great. It's steadily improving and V9 is said to bring further enhancements.

DAB and Spotify are both poorly implemented with everything from tuning in not working half the time to displaying DAB text missing, its a frustration. Spotify can often hang and its a feature of the frequent software updates that things get worse and then better and then worse again.

Autopilot boils down to 3 choices for new owners; Not option it, Enhanced Autopilot or EAP on cars from the end of 2016 which to all intents and purposes does similar things to AP1, and Full Self Driving which doesn't exist yet. It's widely expected that the hardware will no not support FSD despite the promises. If the car has the FSD option, it does guarantee you free hardware upgrades as required, but other than that, its hard to see the justification for option given how little we've heard of its features yet. The only exception is in V9, its understood that the cameras can be used as some form of dashcam with HW2.5

Its also worth pointing out what the car doesn't have. It currently doesn't have surround car view, head up display, suspension that you can change the comfort level over, only the ride height, a dynamic cockpit display, Apple Car play or the Google equivalent, you can hopefully see that in some respects the technology is variable depending on the features you want.

Competition

I guess people are buying for the name because we know very little and the competition are already getting close to the model 3 claims today. The i3 has 150-mile range, soon to be increasing to 200 miles, and with the REX, over 200. The Leaf is getting up there too. The Hyundai Kona is getting pretty impressive reviews. And lets not forget the Jaguar i-pace. Choice and range are both increasing, although none have the advantage of the Super Charger network. Another concern for Tesla is the build quality has taken a noticeable downturn in 2017 coupled with both lots of software delays and glitches and increasingly demanding owners as its slowly moving away from being an early adopter, this picked up in 2018 thankfully.

If you're looking at a model S, especially the P100D, then cars like the Panamera Turbo S e-hybrid has all the performance and handling you could want and a glorious interior. With recent changes on emmissions, hybrid cars are coming out with more useable battery range too.

Battery

The battery choice is now largely a question of range. The 75 is, as the name suggests, approx 3/4 of the capacity of the 100. Recent updates means cars built from July 2017 with the 75 battery are noticeably quicker than before then, and now close to the performance of the 100. Buyer beware if buying used as to which version you get although most can now be uncorked, even those built before July 2017 (assuming you have a facelift car).

So which variant?

Buying new the choices are: the 75D is the best value, the P100D is the best car, and the 100D is the best all rounder especially for long drives.

Options

Options on a Tesla have all but disappeared with very little choice. Once you've determined your model, the only real choice is from a limited selection of colours and interior packs, which wheels and whether you want autopilot, an option that can be turned on later. Everyone has a view on their “must haves” so I'll not try to convince you otherwise, but here are the good and bad about them.

Option List