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BabyDrive Verdict

To say I was excited to drive the Tesla Model S would be an understatement!! From the second I saw it gleaming in the showroom when I picked it up I was IN LOVE!!

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Look at that design… it is absolutely stunning! I felt like I was getting to drive an art gallery piece rather than a car. The simplicity and attention to detail are what I love the most, minimal and functional. Something that is a breath of fresh air to most mums!

The key is super cute and a lovely object in itself.

However, I do believe most parents would be sifting through their kid's toy box for it!!

The interior of the Model S is so clean, minimal and unfussy. Without the usual muddle of buttons, switches and levers, the interior is refreshing and the dash has a beautiful wood finish. Everything to control the car is within the media screens, or the three stalks behind the steering wheel.

The media system screen is ENORMOUS!! We are a family without a TV and my daughter could not believe her luck when she saw it!! The system is nothing like a usual car media system and just like the iPads or tablets we are used to using which made it instantly easy to use and navigate. It doesn't have Apple CarPlay or Android Auto but it doesn't need it. It integrates seamlessly with my phone and was simple to use. Having Spotify meant we could groove along to Daniel Tiger or whatever took our fancy at the time!

The only two tiny buttons on the dash you can see concealed in the screen surround are the hazard warning and glove box opening buttons.

Also within the screen are some wonderful little and big kids entertainment!! Fart mode allowed us to have different fart noises going throughout most journeys!! Or when we indicated. The Christmas and more cowbell themes were also favourites as the road visual in the screen in front of the steering wheel turned into a rainbow! I think if they had a unicorn galloping along with it instead of the car then they'd have been bang on trend and parents everywhere would be buying them for their daughters!!

These things were all fantastic for keeping our daughter entertained on journeys, unfortunately, the fun of fart mode never seemed to tire in our family and my daughter is still running around engaging fart mode! Thank you, Elon!! 😉

My daughter also loved the drawing screen and it was a lifesaver when waiting to pick someone up for example. Of course, it got used for writing and drawing ruderies, we're all big kids right!!

That's a picture of me apparently!

The Sat-Nav is just using GoogleMaps which we are all used to using and made it so simple to use! I loved that it would also tell me how much battery I would arrive there with and how much battery a round trip would use, so I knew I could make it home again without having to stress about charging the battery, it took the stress and guesswork out of it.

I didn't have the Model S for long enough to need to fully charge the battery, I did do a little top up during our Mother's Day day out, we just plugged it in for half an hour and that added enough to the battery to get me through the weekend's driving.

The media screen map shows you where all the fast ‘Superchargers' and slower chargers are located. I found that there are enough chargers around to just keep topping the battery up, like at my local supermarket or at my local zoo, park and places like Maleny Botanical Gardens. Or in reality, you can plug it into your normal socket at home too, so if your car is parked in your garage overnight just plug it in! It may not fully charge in that time but it will definitely have topped it up for most peoples' daily drive!

I LOVE that I no longer have to make an extra stop to fill up the car with fuel, I just charge the car as part of my everyday life! AND it is the end of the fuel station debate of whether to take my daughter out of the car when I pay!

Storage inside the Model S is not conventional, there are no door bins which was nice to not have the clutter in the doors and if I was without child I can imagine it would be wonderful to keep it minimal and not have clutter. However, with a child, I found this just wasn't practical.

The central console storage is great and the removable and adjustable bottle holder notches are great for fitting all sizes of drink bottles. I also like that you can cover it all over too. But really that was it for the front, apart from the glovebox (which is quite big) and in the back there are just two cup holders in a pop out drawer on the back of the central console. I feared these would get easily broken and we found our daughter didn't have anywhere within reach to put her water bottle.

The Model S is a sedan so I was expecting a low ceiling. However, in the Model S, it actually wasn't too low. The whole ceiling is a big glass panel, which made riding in the back lovely for looking up out at the trees and sky. At night driving through the city, the lights are nice and colourful too. There is not an interior cover for the glass roof. It is heavily tinted and felt fine for the few days I had it. However they were not hot, summer days and I did feel the roof one day when the car had been sat in the sun and I thought it was too hot to touch and would be worried that if my daughter touched it she might burn herself.

The rear seats are all very comfortable, they all have top tether anchorages on the seat backs and there are ISOFix points in the two outer seats. I could just fit three child seats in the back, which was a surprise. I am sure it wouldn't have been designed as a family car but was surprisingly practical.

Getting the child seats through the doorways was probably the biggest struggle but once they are in there is plenty of headroom and legroom. We could easily fit a 182cm passenger in front of a rear-facing child seat and a 182cm passenger had enough headroom to sit in the back too. With two child seats installed, I could just sit between them and there is no hump in the floor, which helped with legroom.

Being electric, there is no engine under the front bonnet and instead you get the ‘froot' (the front boot)! Of course I tried it!! You can fit two re-usable shopping bags here with room to spare.

Or a large three-year-old!! I am only joking! I am NOT suggesting anyone puts their child in the boot or ‘froot' of their car!

In the back, the boot is very large and will hold fifteen shopping bags and all sizes of toddler, oops! I mean stroller fit in there with shopping too.

There is also an extra under-floor storage area that isn't quite deep enough to hold six shopping bags and shut the lid. The boot floor is nice and flat and carpeted for an emergency nappy change but you do have to bend down into it.

The Model S is quite different to drive, with the adaptive cruise control and semi-autonomous ‘Autopilot' driving mode on you really don't have to do much! The cruise control was the most accurate I have EVER experienced, it never once went over the set speed and held the correct speed whether it was fast or slow speeds or motorway or urban driving. I did find the ‘Autopilot' driving mode was nervous when changing lanes and would slow each time as the car changed lanes which irritated other drivers, especially in motorway traffic.

Because of regenerative braking, the Tesla Model S feels a bit different when slowing down too and it takes a little getting used to. When you take your foot off the accelerator the car starts to stop instantly, so you hardly need to brake at all. I found this especially so around town.

Out of habit, I rest my foot on the brake when I get into the driver's seat, which in the Model S, signals to the car that you are ready to go! Which then sets the baby waking, seatbelt warning chime off if you don't already have your seatbelt fastened! I'd hope over time I would break the habit of resting my foot on the brake. There is a fantastic visual on the left of the screen in front of you when the alarm is on, that lets you know clearly how many seatbelts should be fastened.

Apart from this beeping, the Model S is sooooo quiet it is stunning! There is not even whalesong like in the Hyundai Kona EV, the drive is quiet and smooth and perfect for driving kids to sleep without worrying about burning through your hard-earned fuel.

The Tesla Model S is shockingly fast and the one I tested didn't even have the famous ‘Ludicrous Mode'! I don't think I have ever felt G-Force like it, it feels like an extreme theme park ride and worryingly my daughter loved it!!

The Tesla Model S scored a five-star ANCAP safety rating in 2014 and has six airbags as standard including dual frontal airbags and side chest and head for the front passengers and side head airbags for the outer second-row passengers.

BabyDrive Indepth

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