A couple of years ago I purchased my dream car, a Tesla Model S. Since then both the company and lineup of vehicles have changed significantly. From the outside, my car looks like any other Model S built today but internally the two differ greatly. A 2020 Tesla Model S has a newer and faster entertainment system, updated Autopilot hardware, a larger battery, newer motors, and an upgraded suspension system leading to a much smoother ride.
Above: Inside a Tesla Model S (Image: Tesla)
I know I probably shouldn’t get myself caught up on unnecessary necessities, but curiosity got the better of me. So I visited my local Tesla store to request a test drive in one of these newer vehicles. Taking a massive depreciation hit on a 2-year-old car that works perfectly fine is probably not the best financial decision. Still, I wanted to know what all the hype was about. I’ll leave the comparison for a future discussion and instead will go over the overall experience from the perspective of a potential two-time Tesla owner.
Now I’ve test-driven a few cars throughout the years from all walks of life. Just recently I felt obligated to test drive both the Jaguar I-Pace and Audi e-tron (Porsche Taycan TBD). None have given me the experience provided by Tesla. Previously we discussed how Tesla leads the pack and is transforming the future of car dealerships and clearly that still holds true today.
Tesla is unlike any other car manufacturer. They don’t have franchises or dealerships of any kind. Instead, they offer small showrooms with available product specialists. These specialists are not there to sell you a car, they’re there to answer your questions and nothing more. Whereas a regular dealership drowns you with a helicopter parent who gets paid on commission, Tesla provides you with a guide. There’s no one pushing you around, no one ready to take you for every penny you have, no one with an incentive to sit you down for “the talk.”
When I walked into the Tesla store, I'm instantly shocked by the lack of salespeople flocking towards me. It's a scene you find a bit repetitive after visiting a few other dealerships. A little hesitant I take a step up to the counter where two specialists sit and I say (and hear) the magic words:
Me: “Do you guys do test drives here?”
Tesla Rep: “Sure thing, which car would you like to try?”
Just like that, I’m in. They ask me for just three things, my phone number, email, and my driver’s license. I have a quick conversation with the second specialist about his thoughts on my car vs a 2020 Tesla Model S. According to him, the new suspension system is “not like a knife going through butter but like butter going through butter.” That doesn’t really make much sense but who am I to tell him how easy butter can go through butter?
Not even two minutes after walking into the store and I’m alone inside a brand new 2020 Tesla Model S. Confused, I asked whether or not the specialist would be joining me. Nope, Tesla just lent me the car for “20-30 minutes." I’m still uncertain if this is the go-to or if the fact that I’m a current owner entails a different process.
Regardless, I drove off checking out all the new features my car currently doesn’t have. Did you know you can watch Netflix inside of a Tesla now? Absolutely bonkers. The screen… so smooth. One pedal driving is an absolute game-changer. The suspension? Like butter.
As I got back to the Tesla store I instantly regretted the decision to do a test drive that day. If there was a pushy salesperson I probably would have walked away with a car. Instead… who am I kidding? I’m probably going to order the car anyway. Or perhaps I’ll wait on a possible refresh that Tesla might have in store in the future.
Above: This is what it looks like to do a 0-60 MPH launch in a 2020 Tesla Model S P100D in Ludicrous+ mode (YouTube: Jessica Kirsh)
Tesla doesn’t need salespeople because their products sell themselves. Ignore what everyone says. If you’ve never had the opportunity to drive a Tesla, stop what you’re doing and go visit a Tesla store today. A Tesla test drive is all you need. I can assure you, you won’t regret it. Well, maybe your finances will.
An earlier version of this article appeared on EVBite. EVBite is an electric vehicle specific news site dedicated to keeping consumers up-to-date on any developments in the ever-expanding EV landscape.