newsdog Facebook

Nearly-new buying guide: Tesla Model S

Autocar 2020-07-30 11:24:52

You are here

  1. Car news ›
  2. Used cars ›
  3. Nearly-new buying guide: Tesla Model S
Share Open gallery
Share story News by Doug Revolta 3 mins read 30 July 2020 Follow @DougRevolta

No doubt you’ll have opinions of the bloke himself, but it says a lot about foresight that the oldest model in Tesla’s current line-up still feels fiercely futuristic compared with almost any other new car.

In fact, even if you buy a six-year-old , it’s more cutting-edge and innovative than many of the modern alternatives, whether they’re engine-powered or electric.

And while some versions of the Model S asked for north of £100,000 when new, you’ll find that used ones start from just £30,000 today. No matter the model you go for, you’ll get a big car that handles tidily, rides nicely and has a dose of luxury to go with its sizeable electric advantages.

Used market prices start with a 60 or 80 model from 2014 with one motor driving the rear wheels. For a big boost in performance (and, in most cases, range), look out for later cars with a D suffix, which indicates dual motors and four-wheel drive.

Of the lot, the 75D makes the most sense, with prices starting at around £40,000. It will be able to cover more than 200 miles from a full charge in real-world driving conditions and still crack 0-60mph in a staggering 4.3sec.

But if you’re hell-bent on speed, try the P100D with Ludicrous mode (or P100DL in slang). You will obliterate 0-60mph in 2.5sec and never meet anything faster than you on the road. This version is scarce, though, so don’t dither if you find one; prices start from around £65,000.

While Tesla’s headline-grabbing performance figures are a major draw, its charging infrastructure solution should appeal more. With its Supercharger network, you’ll have access to 500-plus charging stations at more than 60 destinations around the country and pick up a 10-80% charge in as little as half an hour. Plus, the used Model S you’ve found may be able to use them for free; ask to see the Tesla account linked to the car to find out.

Advertisement Advertisement Back to top

If you do that, you’ll also get a handle on what ‘self-driving’ abilities your car has. This gets complicated, because the Autopilot system (which includes lane-keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control) has changed definition and names down the years and didn’t always come as standard.

You may also see Full Self-Driving Capability, which allows the Model S to park itself, change lanes on the motorway and even be controlled at very low speeds from a smartphone. Plus, it enables the car to recognise stop signs and traffic lights and come to a standstill. It will also be able to use Autopilot to navigate around cities – once the tech and law allow.

You need Autopilot 2.0 to support Full Self-Driving Capability, so a car built from late 2016 onwards. And even if the Model S you fancy doesn’t have this tech, you can add it over the air for a fee.

Need to know

The latest Model S variants are badged Long Range and Performance, but they’re so new that you won’t find many for sale.

There was a seven-seat option for the Model S, but cars with this are very rare on the used market.

There are signs of gradual improvement, but overall Tesla has a dreadful record for reliability.

Every Model S comes with an eight-year, unlimited-mileage warranty covering its battery pack, while the car itself gets a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Advertisement Back to top

A light facelift in 2016 brought a new front end without an imitation grille surround and the Bioweapon Defence Mode air filtration system.

Our pick

75D: With great range and great performance, this is a fine example of an electric car that’s exciting to drive and easy to live with. Still goes toe to toe with any other modern EV.

Wild card

P100D Ludicrous: Not just ludicrous but also maddeningly, frighteningly rapid beyond all reason. It’s the Model S to have if you crave ultimate performance bragging rights, even if you’ll need access to a disused airfield to be able to make full use of its pace.

Ones we found

2014 Model S 85, 79,000 miles, £29,995

2016 Model S 75D, 48,000 miles, £41,995

2017 Model S P100D Ludicrous, 31,500 miles, £65,000

2019 Model S Performance, 2484 miles, £92,950

READ MORE

 


  • Car news
  • Used cars
Share story Are you as passionate about cars as we are? Get all the best car news, reviews and opinion direct to your inbox. Subscribe to the Autocar newsletter now. Haymarket Media Group, publishers of Autocar takes your privacy seriously. You can unsubscribe at any time using the unsubscribe mechanism on any email you receive from us. We will use your information to ensure you receive messages that are relevant to you. To learn more about how we use the information you provide to us please see our Full Privacy Notice. Advertisement