11 Best & Worst Tesla Model S Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Tesla Model S is an electric luxury sedan that was first launched in 2012.

It’s known for its exceptional driving range, rapid acceleration and futuristic tech goodies.

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at its best and worst years…

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Tesla Model S Are:

The best Tesla Model S model years are 2022, 2021, 2020, 2019, and 2018. The worst model years of the Model S are 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, and 2012. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Tesla Model S

Listen below are the best of the best model S models.

2022 Tesla Model S

The 2022 Model S is a top pick simply because it is far more advanced and refined when compared to some of the earlier renditions.

It offers supercar-like performance, slick looks and an estimated electric range of 405 miles.

No major changes were implemented for 2022 as a handful of improvements were implemented in the previous model year. 

This model year came with a significant price bump to the base trim.

  • Edmunds: 3.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Car and Driver: 9.0 / 10

2022 Model S, Edmunds review:

“I drive 30-40 miles per day, and with the wall charger in my garage it takes less than one hour and costs about one dollar to top off the battery, saving me about $1,500 per year in gasoline compared to my performance sedan – and this car performs better. The low center of gravity provides great handling, and the acceleration is breathtaking – literally…”

2021 Tesla Model S

The 2021 Tesla Model S is another great choice for those looking for something high-end, practical, environmentally friendly and really, really fast.

For 2021 the Model S received a number of notable updates.

The exterior of the model was refreshed to have a sleeker, sharper look.

The interior was updated boasting a new driver information display and rear-passenger entertainment display as well as a yoke-type steering wheel.

Tesla also introduced a new variant known as the Model S Plaid, which was tagged as the top-spec trim with 1020 horsepower, and a zero-to-60-mph time of 2.0 seconds thanks to three onboard electric motors. 

  • Edmunds: 3.2 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Car and Driver: 9.0 / 10

2021 Model S, Edmunds review:

“I have owned and driven some very sporty cars in my life. From a BMW M3 to a Porsche Cayanne, to the car I traded in for the Tesla S ( Porsche 911 Turbo), the S blows every car I have driven, completely off the road… The tech of the car is also very impressive. Auto-pilot is cool, but not necessary. The warning system and auto brake system has saved me from a huge potential accident.”

2020 Tesla Model S

The 2020 Model S may lack some of the most recent updates although it still flaunts an exceptional powertrain and superb electric range.

The only model available for 2020 was the Long Range Plus variant with 402 miles of range.

Its Performance trim came with an EPA-estimated range of 348 miles and a zero-to-60-mph time of 2.4 seconds.

For 2020 the air suspension was upgraded to an adaptive system for a more pleasurable driving experience and autopilot came as standard.

The 2020 model year also came with V3 Supercharging compatibility, designed to reduce charging time by approximately 25 percent. 

  • Edmunds: 3.7 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Car and Driver: 9.0 / 10

2020 Model S, Edmunds review:

“I am 54 years old and this is by far the best car I have ever owned. I am spoiled and cannot go back to normal cars. The car’s technology continues to be updated every couple of months… automatically like an iPhone. I have had the car 18 months and it hasn’t needed any servicing. Life without gas stations is wonderful…”

2019 Tesla Model S

The 2019 Tesla is another fun-to-drive, eco-friendly, high-tech, top-pick.

For 2019 Telsa rebranded 75D, 100D, and P100D models to Standard, Long Range, and Performance.

The entry-level car was equipped with a 100-kilowatt-hour battery capable of delivering a 270-mile driving range.

This increases to 335 miles for the Long Rangel model.

The Performance model sacrifices a bit of range for speed, it can do 0-60 in 3 seconds and has a range of 315 miles.

At the cost of $15,000, Tesla will unlock “Ludicrous Mode” for owners looking to hit 0-60 in 2.4 seconds.

  • Edmunds: 4.0 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Car and Driver: 9.0 / 10

2019 Model S, Edmunds review:

“The acceleration is wickedly fun. Autopilot is hugely convenient in stop-and-go highway traffic. Where you live relative to superchargers and service centers could influence whether this is a good purchase. Besides the very occasional glitchy software function, or mechanical part function (for which there are few), there is almost no maintenance required…”

2018 Tesla Model S

The 2018 Model S is the oldest on our best list, available in 70D, 100D and P100D models, all of which are equipped with all-wheel drive.

For 2018 the infotainment and digital gauge displays were revised to smooth out some rough spots.

Seat heating tech was added wherein the owner can warm up the seats before entering the vehicle with the use of a mobile app. 

New standard equipment across the lineup included:

  • In-cabin air filter with Bioweapon Defense mode
  • Upgraded stereo system
  • SiriusXM satellite radio
  • Heated front and rear seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Wiper-blade defroster
  • Heated windshield-washer nozzles

Ventilated seats, contrast stitching, updated floor mats, and aluminum doorsill kick plates with the P100D emblem were introduced for the P100D trim. 

  • Edmunds: 4.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.7 / 5.0
  • Car and Driver: 8.0 / 10

2018 Model S, Edmunds review:

“I read a lot of rave reviews prior to purchase, and I come from a Porsche. Yet, this car still exceeds expectations and amazes me to no end. Power delivery is so instant and smooth that you almost feel like you’re floating through air. After driving this car, any gas car now feels outdated. People say the car is expensive, but you get so much for your money, and you get stuff money can’t buy elsewhere, such as the amazing auto pilot with lane change capability, parallel and perpendicular self parking, over the air software updates, free LTE web surfing and music streaming etc…”

Consumer Scores For Best Tesla Model S Years

Below is a table that presents all the consumer ratings of the best Model S model years from reputable vehicle websites:

Model YearEdmunds 
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
Car and Driver
2022 Tesla Model S3.2 / 5.04.7 / 5.09.0 / 10
2021 Tesla Model S3.2 / 5.04.7 / 5.09.0 / 10
2020 Tesla Model S3.7 / 5.04.7 / 5.09.0 / 10
2019 Tesla Model S4.0 / 5.04.7 / 5.09.0 / 10
2018 Tesla Model S4.3 / 5.04.7 / 5.08.0 / 10

Related: 6 Most Common Problems With Tesla Model S (Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Tesla Model S?

Listed below are model S years that have had the most problems and complaints.

2017 Tesla Model S

The 2017 Model S received a large number of complaints for issues with its suspension, electronics and braking.

Owners reported various suspension issues, ranging from parts braking, failure of the suspension and scraping noises.

Here’s one owner’s account:

“While pulling out of our garage, the aluminum left-hand fore assembly cracked and a piece fell on the driveway. The left front tire then rubbed up against the wheel well, which made the car undriveable.”

Owners complained about issues with the main screen, mainly that it would go blank and would often not power up.

There were also widespread complaints from owners about phantom braking, as described by one owner below:

“On several occasions, I have been doing highway driving, and my 2017 Tesla Model S suddenly brakes without warning. It happens primarily on cruise control and around curves on the highway.”

The 2017 Model S had a total of 6 recalls according to Cars.com and 480 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Suspension failure
  • Display screen issues
  • Phantom braking

2016 Tesla Model S

The 2016 Model S shared many of the same troubles as the 2017 model.

The most common issue was the fore-link suspension breaking.

This would often result in the chassis/fender scraping against the road causing damage underneath the car.

Owners widely reported the center screen (MCU) would fail regularly which would prevent them from accessing the backup camera, headlight controls, and many other critical functions.

Headlight daytime running lights were also prone to failure.

The 2016 Model S had a total of 6 recalls according to Cars.com and 623 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Suspension failure
  • Display screen issues
  • Phantom braking
  • Daytime running lights failure

2015 Tesla Model S

The 2015 Model S has received more complaints than any other year.

The vast majority of them were related to electronics and equipment issues, including:

  • Rear trunk will not open
  • Instrument cluster not powering on or crashes/glitches
  • Wheel speed sensor kept getting disconnected
  • eMMC issues

Suspension failure was widely reported and owners also reported that the door handles would break easily.

The 2015 Model S had a total of 6 recalls according to Cars.com and 772 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Electronics issues
  • Trunk would not open
  • Display wont turn on / crashes
  • Broken door handles

2014 Tesla Model S

The 2014 Model S received a large number of complaints for air bubbles and leaking glue on the instrument cluster obscuring the visibility of the speedometer and other displays.

Here’s one owners account:

“The instrument cluster display screen on this model used defective adhesive causing “bubbling” and blurring of the information displayed, and may include the speed of the vehicle. This bubbling defect in the instrument cluster screen is a know defect by Tesla who is currently charging customers approximately $1600 to repair. This defect in the screen can make it impossible to determine the speed of the vehicle, as this is the only place it is displayed.”

The suspension was also problematic with owners complaining of creaking noises when turning the wheel, and “jumpy” when driving over bumps.

The 2014 Model S had a total of 6 recalls according to Cars.com and 388 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Air bubbles and leaking glue on the instrument cluster
  • Suspension issues

2012 and 2013 Tesla Model S

The 2012 and 2013 Model S were the first iterations of the car and were known to have a few teething issues which were mostly electrical related.

Owners reported that the vehicle refused to start despite system resets whilst others had issues charging their vehicle.

Here’ is’s what one owner had to say:

“Both the 12 volt system and high voltage battery system or a component communicating between the two failed. I received a warning message that my vehicle may not restart and within 30 seconds it completely shutdown while driving in the middle of the road. The vehicle was essentially dead weight at this point…”

Touchscreen failure was also widely reported.

The 2013 Model S had a total of 4 recalls according to Cars.com and 475 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

The 2012 Model S had a total of 3 recalls according to Cars.com and 73 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Car stopped without warning
  • Main lcd screen has cracked
  • Not charging properly

Related: Tesla Model S: 11 Common Problems (Solution Guide)

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Listed below are the number of reported complaints and problems for each model year of the Model S. 

Model YearRecalls (Cars.com)Problems (CarProblemZoo.com)
2022 Tesla Model S970
2021 Tesla Model S13127
2020 Tesla Model S668
2019 Tesla Model S538
2018 Tesla Model S6151
2017 Tesla Model S6480
2016 Tesla Model S6623
2015 Tesla Model S6772
2014 Tesla Model S6388
2013 Tesla Model S4475
2012 Tesla Model S373

What Problems Do Tesla Model S Have?

  • Suspension issues
  • Phantom braking
  • Air bubbles and leaking glue on the instrument cluster
  • Display screen issues
  • Daytime running lights failure

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Tesla Model S?

The Model S comes up against stiff competition in the EV market however it still scores highly.

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPGe)
Mercedes-Benz EQS Sedan9.2$104,400 – $147,500City: 76 – 97 / Highway: 78 – 99
Lucid Air9.1$87,400 – $169,000City: 110 – 121 /Highway: 111 – 122
BMW i78.9$119,300City: 81 /Highway: 85
Tesla Model 38.7$46,990 – $62,990City: 118 – 138 /Highway: 107 – 126
Tesla Model S8.7$104,990 – $135,990City: 119 – 124 /Highway: 112 – 115
BMW i48.6$55,400 -$65,900City: 94 – 109 /Highway: 98 – 108
Audi e-tron GT8.5$102,400 – $142,400City: 79 – 81 /Highway: 82 – 83
Polestar 28.3$48,400 – $61,600City: 105 – 113 /Highway: 96 – 100
Porsche Taycan8.3$82,700 – $187,600City: 69 – 83 /Highway: 71 – 84

MPGe stands for miles per gallon of gasoline-equivalent

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com

Related: Where are Tesla Model S Made? (Solved & Explained)











  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...