A Tesla Test Drive: Does the Model S Live Up to the Hype?

In 2013, Tesla's (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) Model S accumulated an exhaustive list of accolades, including safest car ever tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Motor Trend "Car of the Year", "Automobile of the Year" by Automobile Magazine, and a 99 out of 100 possible points from Consumer Reports. After such an incredible year for Tesla's Model S, the car has moved to fifth place in Consumer Reports' most recent brand perception survey, up from eleven last year.

While the car certainly sounds nice when you read about it, driving it yourself is the ultimate test. With that in mind, Fool contributor Daniel Sparks headed over to Tesla's headquarters in Palo Alto, Calif., to take a Model S for a spin in the Golden State.

In the video below Daniel and industrials bureau chief Blake Bos discuss the test drive.

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Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 9:05 AM, countrarian wrote:

    Hope you were wearing asbestos underwear.

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 9:17 AM, Jim5437532 wrote:

    For being touted by shills as the "safest car" it catches on fire and explodes more than other EVs.

    Did a brand-new Tesla spontaneously combust?

    In the Toronto Tesla garage fire it is doubtful that the Tesla charger system is at fault because it allegedly wasn't plugged in. Tesla offering to pay damages, suggests that the source of the fire was the Tesla model S. I would be interested in seeing the fire department's investigation. I don't trust Tesla's so-called "investigations", they are more like denial and blame games.

    The Tesla model S. still has defects that make it a fire hazard. Tesla charger connections are still overheating, melting and burning. Tesla batteries are poorly located and poorly protected. Tesla is Junk.

    On 1/9/2014 Elon Musk said that replacement adapters that are part of the recall would be mailed out within two weeks. A month later Tesla customers have still not received the replacement adapters that are part of the Tesla model S. recall.

    Several people have been injured by faulty Tesla charge connectors. Tesla is big on making promises and hype, but short on delivery. Tesla needs to start making safety a top priority. Tesla needs to stop playing blame games and games with semantics. Tesla needs to stop lying. Tesla needs to be proactive instead of reactive. Tesla is being a follower of technology, rather than a leader. Tesla is a greedy corporation that has a disregard for safety. The Tesla model S. is an E-Pinto.

    Tesla and Tesla fan boys have a bad record when it comes to safety. They have a tendency to hype safety, yet they sweep safety concerns under the carpet and drag their feet to resolve safety issues. They often threaten, harass, slander, bully, censor safety advocates, critics and skeptics. That is not a culture of safety.

    Tesla fabricates more excuses than it does cars.

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 9:41 AM, NavyChum wrote:

    Jim - who is paying you to say that?

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 10:29 AM, chinesebuffett wrote:

    Another fire involving Tesla:

    Does Tesla have a team waiting on a tarmac with a G5 ready to respond. It seems as though they are the first on the scene.

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 12:39 PM, stainlesssteel77 wrote:

    Jim/Jim5437532 appears to be a desperate short, shotgun blasting anti-Tesla FUD.

    As of 14Feb2014 9:07am, Googling "Tesla is junk" with time range "past week" gives at least fifteen articles with the same cut-n-paste FUD comments containing this phrase, under the names Jim and Jim5437532 (Motley Fool, Disqus).

    News for "Tesla is junk"

    A Tesla Test Drive: Does the Model S Live Up to the Hype? - The Motley Fool

    What Is Tesla's Greatest Threat? (TSLA) - The Motley Fool

    Tesla Ousts Mercedes as Consumer Reports Crowns EV the King of - Brandchannel

    Report: Tesla Model X to come only in AWD - egmCarTech

    Would you sell your Tesla Model S for a profit? Electric superstar ...

    Gut check time for Tesla shareholders - Torque News

    It's Electric! Tesla Stock Soars to All-Time High - ABC News ("Tesla is junk" deleted but response still there)

    Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) Model X Pre-Orders Tally Rising Sharply - Valuewalk ("Tesla is junk" deleted but response still there)

    Tesla Stock Surges On China Subsidies - ValueWalk

    Tesla faces ban on new stores in Washington state - GeekWire

    Tesla Motors: More Burning Questions - Stocks To Watch - Barrons ...

    T-Mobile named among most innovative companies of 2014 ... tmonews

    For executives, Twitter is a chance to serve the brand and show their ...Automotive News

    Morning Buzz: Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA), Campbell Soup

    Tesla Motors Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) Gained 5.94%; TSLA Stock ...fxnewsrecall

  • Report this Comment On February 14, 2014, at 6:58 PM, mmkinc wrote:

    you all have no clue as to TSLA' s batteries or how the s class is made if you think it's got car of the year, safety car of the year and ELON Musk is probably the best innovator of our time after Steve Jobs. before you open your mouth ,,,,actually check some thing out . have a toty first LOL

  • Report this Comment On February 15, 2014, at 12:01 AM, singaporenick wrote:

    Yes,one wonders about the motivation behind people who male inaccurate comments about Tesla.

    As for safety,it has won numeorus accolades and awards because of its safety,and no-one has died in a Tesla in the 6 years of its existence.End of story.

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Daniel Sparks

Daniel is a senior technology specialist at The Motley Fool. To get the inside scoop on his coverage of technology companies, follow him on Twitter.

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