I've driven every Tesla model you can buy. Here are my favorite features.

Tesla Nav on AutopilotMatthew DeBord/BI

  • Over the years, I've driven every car Tesla has ever produced.
  • They've all been good, but features of individual models have stood out.
  • Here's a rundown of what I love about the Tesla original Roadster, the Model S, and the Model X, and the Model 3.


I wrote my first words about Tesla in January 2008. In the ten years since, the company has gone from selling one car to selling three, and from delivering a few thousand vehicles the early 2010s to 250,000 in 2018.

As it turns out, I've driven every model the company has ever sold, starting with the now-discontinued original Roadster to the highest-spec version of the new Model 3 sedan.

Read more: Tesla's $2,000 price cut doesn't mean it has a demand problem.

Each of the vehicles has its particular charms, quirks, and appealing features. I found myself reflecting on them at the beginning of 2019 as we look forward to some new machines from Elon Musk's plucky automaker: the Model Y SUV, a new Roadster, and perhaps even a pickup truck.

Here are all my favorite features on the Tesla's I've driven:

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1. Original Roadster. The first Tesla to hit the road, this straightforward electric sports car captured hearts and changed minds — an EV didn't have to be a glorified golf cart! Now discontinued, the original Roadster can still be picked up used.

1. Original Roadster. The first Tesla to hit the road, this straightforward electric sports car captured hearts and changed minds — an EV didn't have to be a glorified golf cart! Now discontinued, the original Roadster can still be picked up used.

Read the review.

It's still my favorite Tesla, although the Model 3 has me rethinking that position. I love it's open-air style.

It's still my favorite Tesla, although the Model 3 has me rethinking that position. I love it's open-air style.

But what I truly adore is the simple joy of driving it. The speed is electric lightening: 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds. And the feedback-heavy steering is point and shoot. Driving this car of the future is surprisingly old-school.

But what I truly adore is the simple joy of driving it. The speed is electric lightening: 0-60 mph in under 4 seconds. And the feedback-heavy steering is point and shoot. Driving this car of the future is surprisingly old-school.

2. Model S. Motor Trend's 2013 Car of the Year! I've driven various trim levels, including a P90D that I took on an ill-fated but instructive road trip.

2. Model S. Motor Trend's 2013 Car of the Year! I've driven various trim levels, including a P90D that I took on an ill-fated but instructive road trip.

Read about the adventure.

The Model S is luxurious and speedy, as well as a pleasure in long highway cruises. But where it really shines is in its versatility: it can carry as much cargo as a good-sized SUV, thanks to a rear hatch and a front trunk, or "frunk."

The Model S is luxurious and speedy, as well as a pleasure in long highway cruises. But where it really shines is in its versatility: it can carry as much cargo as a good-sized SUV, thanks to a rear hatch and a front trunk, or "frunk."

The Model S was also my introduction to Tesla's extensive Supercharger network — a fast-charging system that no competitor can really match.

The Model S was also my introduction to Tesla's extensive Supercharger network — a fast-charging system that no competitor can really match.

3. Model X. Tesla threw every idea, good and bad, it could into its expensive SUV.

3. Model X. Tesla threw every idea, good and bad, it could into its expensive SUV.

The dramatic falcon-wing doors sounded goofy when I first heard about them, but in the flesh, they're sci-fi cool.

The dramatic falcon-wing doors sounded goofy when I first heard about them, but in the flesh, they're sci-fi cool.

But the best feature about the Model X? Honestly, it was how much my dog loved the vehicle!

But the best feature about the Model X? Honestly, it was how much my dog loved the vehicle!

Read about another adventure, this time with a dog.

4. Model 3. Tesla's newest and most important set of wheels debuted in 2017. I didn't truly get my hands it until 2018, however.

4. Model 3. Tesla's newest and most important set of wheels debuted in 2017. I didn't truly get my hands it until 2018, however.

Read the review.

The interior is the grabber. It's a study in elegant minimalism. Almost all vehicle functions are accessed via the central touchscreen.

The interior is the grabber. It's a study in elegant minimalism. Almost all vehicle functions are accessed via the central touchscreen.

The Model 3 was sheer joy for me. The perfect Tesla, crammed with great ideas. My eight-year-old certainly enjoyed it.

The Model 3 was sheer joy for me. The perfect Tesla, crammed with great ideas. My eight-year-old certainly enjoyed it.

5. Model 3 Performance. At almost $80,000, the P3D — high-performance, dual-motor, all-wheel-drive — is the Model 3 turned up to 11.

5. Model 3 Performance. At almost $80,000, the P3D — high-performance, dual-motor, all-wheel-drive — is the Model 3 turned up to 11.

Read the first-drive take.

But what really got me was the white interior. I first experienced it on the Model X, but in the more compact confines of the Model 3, it was stunning.

But what really got me was the white interior. I first experienced it on the Model X, but in the more compact confines of the Model 3, it was stunning.

I know I said the Roadster is my favorite Tesla of all time. But the Model 3 Performance is probably my new darling. Electric bliss on four wheels!

I know I said the Roadster is my favorite Tesla of all time. But the Model 3 Performance is probably my new darling. Electric bliss on four wheels!
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