Used Tesla Model S long-term review
With used Teslas starting to become more affordable, what’s it like to actually own one? We've bagged ourselves a 2016 example to find out...
The car: 2016 Tesla Model S 75D Dual Motor
Run by: Alex Robbins, special contributor
Why it’s here: It’s one of our favourite new electric cars, but does saving your money and buying a used Tesla instead actually make more sense?
Needs to: Prove that an electric luxury car makes sense both day to day and on longer weekend trips – and show us that there’s nothing to fear from buying one used
Price when new £70,235 Value on arrival £50,600 Value now £50,600 Mileage on arrival 23,335 Mileage now 25,422 Real-world range 200 miles
Price when new does not include optional extras
25 December 2018 – taking the strain
There’s no doubt in my mind that the Tesla has made my commute rather less stressful. These days I seem to arrive home feeling considerably less frazzled than I used to, while the usual M25 motorway gridlock on my journey to work no longer fills me with dread.
This is partly thanks to the way the Tesla Model S can accelerate, brake and steer itself. I’m deliberately avoiding calling it ‘Autopilot’, because there’s plenty of controversy around that name, but with that exception, the system is impressive.
I've already detailed just how well it works, and while it isn’t perfect, it’s still probably the best system of its type out there. It doesn’t always get lane changes right – sometimes it fails to spot there’s a lane to move into, so you have to override the automatic steering to move it into the next lane yourself. But the majority of the time, it does what you ask of it.
It’s not just the automated systems that help, though. The sat nav’s huge display means I can zoom out and view the my entire journey around three-quarters of the M25’s circumference – and the traffic that might affect me. So I can make a judgement when I leave home whether that’s the best route – or, if there’s more traffic than usual, whether I’d be better served by finding a way through the suburbs instead. Of course, it’s possible to do this in other cars, too – but so much easier in the Tesla thanks to its vast, responsive touchscreen.
There are a couple of niggles that grate on me frequently, though. The Model S has no parking brake switch – instead, it activates automatically when you put it in ‘Park’. This means at traffic lights, you’re forced to choose between doing just that – which effectively turns the car off and brings on the interior lights – or holding the car on the footbrake and, consequently, dazzling the person behind you.
And while the Spotify integration in the infotainment system is a great idea, it never loads my music library when I’m signed in. I still get to listen to music – but I have to search for and select albums individually, rather than listen to my own playlists.
Find a used Tesla Model S in the What Car? Classifieds here
Next: More from our used Tesla Model S >
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
Buy a new car with What Car?
Before you buy, visit What Car?’s new car deals section.
We have discounted deals on most new cars on sale, so you're never far away from finding a new car deal in your area.
It's all based on Target Price, which is the price we think you should pay based on research by our team of mystery shoppers, and the best discounts they can achieve.
If you’re still not sure then our deals team can help; call them on 03302 216207 – lines are open from 8am until 10pm seven days a week.
Best electric SUVs 2023
Thanks to big advancements in battery and charging technology, the best electric SUVs are now as usable as they are desirable. Here we count down the top 10 – and reveal the models to avoid
Used Tesla Model S long-term review
With used Teslas starting to become more affordable, what’s it like to actually own one? We've bagged ourselves a 2016 example to find out