Tesla Model S Plaid Build Quality No Longer “90s Kia” Terrible, Still Needs Work

  • Tesla’s Model S is screwed together a little tighter this year
  • Sandy Munro, who reviewed the S’ build quality, also owns Tesla stock
  • Consumer Reports says Tesla has a long way to go

By now, we’ve all heard stories of Tesla build quality. Suffice to say, the EV manufacturer has had a hard time pushing out quality product for some time now. However, one Youtuber says that things are improving at Tesla, at least in regard to the Tesla Model S Plaid. The good news? He’s been critical of the Model 3 before, lending a bit of credibility to it all. The bad news? It’s complicated.

A tight 3/4 shot of the Tesla Model S Plaid in red
The Tesla Model S Plaid is the fastest Tesla yet | Tesla

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Tesla Model S build quality improves, but not by enough

Let’s start with Sandy Munro’s teardown of the Model S Plaid he bought. You can watch that video below. Munro’s biggest gripes center around two things: the rear seats and the windows. Munro spends several minutes speaking on the wind noise present in the Plaid. Not great for an EV with an unreal 2.1-second 0-60 time. Apparently, poor sealing is the cause, and at one point window trim simply comes off in Munro’s hand. Then there’s the rear seats, which Munro says aren’t befitting of a $130K+ car. Plain and simple, they’re not comfy.

The rest of the video is all highs. Munro praises the clever design of some of the Tesla Model S Plaid’s inner workings, as well as how serviceable the front end of the car is. Most trim pieces don’t require tools and are securely melded with the EV’s frame. All good things, especially coming from someone who likened the Tesla Model 3’s build quality to a “90s Kia” with panel gaps “you can see from Mars.” In short, it’s safe to say the build quality for Tesla’s flagship is mostly on-point despite some issues.

Is the Tesla Model S worth it?

A cutaway of the Tesla Model S substructure and frame
The frame that holds the Tesla Model S together | Tesla

… but I had people who advise me on what to do and I just say: “hey look, just do whatever you want,” and now I own Tesla stock.

Sandy Munro, HyperClips podcast

Now here’s the “it’s complicated” part mentioned in the intro. Sandy Munro has publicly admitted to owning Tesla stock (the video is linked above). So, we have to take everything Munro says with a grain of salt. Someone who has a vested interest in the financial health of a company is simply not capable of giving their unbiased opinion on said brand. I sought out another source to confirm or dispel Munro’s findings in the Model S.

Consumer Reports scores a car’s overall merit on a 100-scale, with the Tesla Model S ranking 60/100. Of course, a big gripe was the Tesla Yoke wheel. But the biggest hit to the Tesla Model S’ score is reliability, which CR ranked at 1/5. In the face of numerous Tesla recalls and over-the-air updates, it’s not hard to see why. Consumer Reports also found “several less-than-uniform” panel gaps and some subpar trim pieces hampered what is otherwise a premium product.

Elon Musk has a long way to go

A white Tesla Model 3 Performance shot from the front 3/4
The Tesla Model 3 with the Performance pack | Tesla

While quality efforts appear to have improved over at Tesla, Elon Musk and CO. clearly have a long way to go. While no one can deny the brand’s influence on EV culture or their grasp on electric performance, the rest of the Tesla experience is clearly still lacking. FSD is, simply put, dangerous. Add that to a growing list of recalls, and things look grim. Hopefully, 2022 brings a turnaround for the most prevalent EV manufacturer on the planet.

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