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Why Critics Rank Tesla the Worst Luxury Car

Why Critics Rank Tesla the Worst Luxury Car

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Dive into why reviewers label Tesla as the worst luxury car brand, examining build quality, interior comfort, feature availability, customer service, and high prices. Learn the critical insights that shape this controversial view.

Tesla has revolutionized the automotive industry with its cutting-edge electric vehicles (EVs) and has become synonymous with innovation and sustainability. However, despite its many achievements, Tesla has faced significant criticism in the luxury car segment. Many auto reviewers and critics have pointed out various shortcomings, leading them to rate Tesla poorly among luxury car brands.

Here are five ways Tesla is deviating from the typical path of luxury automotive makers, outlined by car journalists and critics:

Tesla’s innovative approach to electric vehicle technology has garnered much attention and acclaim, but when it comes to the traditional tenets of luxury, critics argue that Tesla falls short in a few key areas.

Jeremy Clarkson said he quite liked the BMW i8 supercar but warned he still preferred a “Mustang to a Tesla”.
Jeremy Clarkson said he preferred a “Mustang to a Tesla”.
  1. Assembly and Quality Control: Tesla’s approach to assembly and quality control is not up to par with traditional luxury automakers. Jeremy Clarkson, former host of Top Gear, pointed out that “Teslas are fast, yes, but the build quality is like it’s been built by a kindergartner.”
  2. Compromised Ride Comfort: Where luxury brands put a premium on smooth and comfortable ride quality, Tesla’s emphasis on performance can compromise ride comfort. Car critic Doug DeMuro mentioned that “The ride in a Tesla Model S is harsher than in a Mercedes-Benz S-Class or a BMW 7 Series.”
  3. Absence of Luxury Refinements: Tesla tends to overlook the smaller luxury refinements that characterize luxury automakers. “There’s an overall lack of finesse,” noted Jonathan Lopez from Top Speed. “Unlike Audi or Mercedes, Tesla interiors don’t give you that cocooned, special feeling.”
  4. Dependence on Digital Controls: Tesla’s reliance on digital controls for almost everything can compromise ease-of-use and safety. Autocar’s Matt Prior noted, “In a Tesla, even simple actions require going through the touchscreen, which is not what you’d expect in a true luxury car.”
  5. Inadequate Dealer Network and Service Centres: Traditional luxury automakers have an extensive dealer network and readily available service centers. In contrast, Daniel Golson from Road and Track commented, “Finding a Tesla service center or a charger can be a hassle, which doesn’t align with the luxury car ownership experience.”

Let’s Break Down These Critical Tesla Claims In Great Detail:

Despite the innovative strides that Tesla has made in the realm of electric vehicles, a growing consensus among auto reviewers suggests that the brand may not live up to its reputation when it comes to luxury. A variety of critiques have been raised, ranging from the build quality to the price point.

Poor Build Quality

Fit and Finish Issues

Numerous auto reviewers have highlighted the inconsistent build quality of Tesla vehicles. Reports of misaligned panels, uneven gaps, and other manufacturing inconsistencies are common. These issues undermine Tesla’s standing in the luxury segment, where impeccable craftsmanship is a key expectation.

Electrical and Mechanical Problems

Electrical and mechanical problems further tarnish Tesla’s reputation. Reviewers from Edmunds and other platforms have noted frequent issues with the electrical systems, such as malfunctioning screens and faulty sensors, which detract from the overall driving experience.

Uncomfortable Interiors

Lack of Spaciousness

Despite its premium pricing, Tesla’s interiors often fall short in terms of space. Critics from Consumer Reports have specifically cited the cramped legroom and headroom in models like the Model 3 and Model S, making long drives uncomfortable for passengers.

Use of Cheap Materials

The materials used in Tesla’s interiors have also faced criticism. Hard plastics and other cheap-feeling materials are often highlighted as areas where Tesla does not meet the luxury standard set by competitors such as Mercedes-Benz and BMW.

Why Critics Rank Tesla the Worst Luxury Car

Lack of Features

Missing Amenities

For the high price point, Tesla’s vehicles often lack features that are standard in other luxury cars. Forbes has pointed out the absence of amenities like a sunroof, heated seats, and premium sound systems in many Tesla models. These omissions are glaring given the expectations in the luxury market.

Comparison with Other Brands

When compared to other luxury brands, Tesla’s feature set appears sparse. Competitors offer a more extensive range of luxury features, including advanced driver assistance systems, high-end audio options, and customizable interiors, which Tesla often lacks.

Poor Customer Service

Service Wait Times

One of the most significant complaints about Tesla is its customer service. Long wait times for service appointments and delays in receiving parts are common issues. This can be particularly frustrating for owners who expect prompt and efficient service as part of the luxury car ownership experience.

Customer Support Issues

Reaching Tesla’s customer service representatives can also be challenging. Many reviewers have shared their frustrations with the lack of responsiveness and support, which is a critical area for improvement for the brand.

High Price

Price vs. Luxury Value

Despite the various issues highlighted, Tesla’s vehicles come with a high price tag. Critics argue that the cost does not align with the level of luxury and refinement offered. For instance, Motor Trend has emphasized that Tesla often does not provide the same value for money as other cars in its price range.

Comparison with Competitors

When compared to traditional luxury brands, Tesla’s pricing appears steep for what is offered. Brands like Audi, Lexus, and Jaguar provide a more balanced combination of luxury, performance, and value, making them more attractive options for luxury car buyers.

Detailed Analysis of Build Quality

Specific Issues

Reviewers have identified specific build quality issues such as paint imperfections, poorly fitted trim pieces, and inconsistent panel gaps. These problems are more commonly associated with mass-market vehicles rather than luxury cars, making them a significant detractor for Tesla.

Expert Opinions

Experts like Jeremy Clarkson have been vocal about Tesla’s build quality problems. Clarkson noted that while Tesla vehicles are fast, their construction often feels subpar, likening it to being “built by a kindergartner.”

Ride Comfort Comparison

Tesla vs. Traditional Luxury Brands

Tesla’s emphasis on performance sometimes comes at the expense of ride comfort. Critics like Doug DeMuro have pointed out that the ride quality of a Tesla Model S is harsher compared to the smooth and comfortable experience offered by luxury sedans like the Mercedes-Benz S-Class or BMW 7 Series.

Interior Refinements

Missing Luxury Touches

Tesla interiors often lack the small, luxurious details that define high-end vehicles. Reviewers have noted the absence of plush materials, sophisticated design elements, and attention to detail that are hallmarks of brands like Audi and Mercedes-Benz.

Material Quality

The use of hard plastics and other lower-quality materials in Tesla’s interiors has been a consistent point of criticism. These materials do not convey the premium feel that luxury car buyers expect.

Digital Controls and Ease of Use

Dependence on Touchscreens

Tesla’s reliance on touchscreens for nearly all vehicle controls is a polarizing feature. While some appreciate the futuristic approach, others find it cumbersome and distracting. Critics argue that traditional buttons and knobs are easier to use and safer, particularly while driving.

User Experience

The user experience with Tesla’s digital controls can be frustrating. Simple actions like adjusting the climate control or changing radio stations require navigating through menus on the touchscreen, which can be less intuitive and more time-consuming compared to traditional controls.

Dealer Network and Service Centers

Availability Issues

Tesla’s dealer network and service centers are not as widespread as those of traditional luxury brands. This can be a significant inconvenience for owners who need service or repairs, especially in regions where Tesla’s presence is limited.

Convenience Concerns

The limited availability of service centers and the difficulty in finding charging stations do not align with the convenience that luxury car owners expect. This aspect of Tesla ownership can be particularly off-putting for those used to the extensive networks provided by other luxury brands.

Assembly and Quality Control

Industry Comparisons

When compared to the meticulous assembly processes of brands like Lexus and BMW, Tesla’s quality control appears lacking. Reviewers have pointed out that Tesla’s rapid production expansion may have come at the cost of stringent quality checks.

Expert Reviews

Industry experts have consistently highlighted Tesla’s quality control issues. Publications like Road and Track have noted that finding a Tesla service center or addressing quality issues can be a hassle, which diminishes the luxury car ownership experience.

Compromised Ride Comfort

Performance vs. Comfort Trade-Offs

Tesla’s focus on delivering high-performance electric vehicles sometimes compromises ride comfort. The stiff suspension setup designed for performance can result in a harsher ride, which is not typical of luxury vehicles known for their smooth and comfortable driving experiences.

Absence of Luxury Refinements

Comparison with Top Luxury Brands

When compared to top luxury brands, Tesla’s vehicles often lack the refinements that define the segment. Competitors offer a more polished and sophisticated interior experience, with features like massaging seats, high-quality leather, and customizable ambient lighting, which Tesla frequently overlooks.

Digital Dependence

Safety Concerns

The heavy reliance on digital controls raises safety concerns. Critics argue that having to navigate through touchscreens for basic functions can distract drivers and reduce overall safety, a significant drawback in a segment where ease of use and safety are paramount.

Ease of Use

Traditional luxury cars offer a more intuitive user interface with physical controls that are easier to use while driving. Tesla’s approach, while innovative, can be less user-friendly, particularly for those who prefer tactile feedback and immediate access to controls.

Service Network Adequacy

Tesla’s Service Network

Tesla’s service network is still growing, and in many areas, it is not as extensive as those of traditional luxury brands. This can result in longer wait times for service and greater inconvenience for owners.

Comparison with Traditional Brands

Traditional luxury brands have well-established service networks that provide quick and convenient support for their customers. The lack of a comparable network is a significant disadvantage for Tesla in the luxury car market.

Comparative Analysis with Competitors

How Tesla Stacks Up

When stacked against other luxury car brands, Tesla often falls short in several key areas. While it excels in innovation and technology, it lags behind in build quality, interior comfort, and overall luxury refinements. Brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Audi provide a more comprehensive luxury experience that meets the high expectations of discerning buyers.

Case Studies and Customer Experiences

Real-World Experiences

Numerous Tesla owners have shared their experiences, highlighting both the positives and negatives of owning a Tesla. While many appreciate the advanced technology and performance, others have expressed dissatisfaction with the build quality, interior comfort, and customer service.

Expert Opinions and Reviews

Insights from Leading Journalists

Leading automotive journalists have provided critical insights into Tesla’s position in the luxury market. Their reviews often highlight the same recurring issues, reinforcing the perception that Tesla falls short of traditional luxury standards. These issues have led many automotive reviewers and journalists to name Tesla as the worst luxury car on the market.

Future Prospects for Tesla

Potential Improvements

Looking ahead, Tesla has the potential to address these criticisms by improving build quality, enhancing interior comfort, and expanding its service network. By focusing on these areas, Tesla can better align its vehicles with the expectations of luxury car buyers.

Future Outlook

As Tesla continues to innovate, there is hope that the brand will evolve to meet the luxury standards set by traditional automakers. With ongoing advancements in technology and manufacturing, Tesla has the opportunity to redefine what luxury means in the electric vehicle era.


What are the main criticisms of Tesla’s build quality? Reviewers frequently mention issues such as misaligned panels, uneven gaps, paint imperfections, and mechanical problems, which detract from the luxury car experience.

Why do critics say Tesla’s interiors are uncomfortable? Critics highlight the lack of spaciousness, particularly in terms of legroom and headroom, as well as the use of hard and cheap-feeling materials.

What features do Tesla cars lack compared to other luxury brands? Tesla vehicles often miss out on amenities like sunroofs, heated seats, premium sound systems, and other features that are standard in many luxury cars.

How is Tesla’s customer service perceived by owners and reviewers? Tesla’s customer service is often criticized for long wait times, difficulty in reaching representatives, and inadequate support, which are significant issues for luxury car buyers.

Why is the high price of Tesla vehicles a point of criticism? Critics argue that Tesla’s high price does not align with the level of luxury and features provided, making it less competitive compared to similarly priced vehicles from other luxury brands.

How does Tesla’s digital control system impact user experience? While innovative, Tesla’s reliance on touchscreens for almost all controls can be cumbersome and distracting, affecting the overall ease of use and safety.


Tesla has undoubtedly made remarkable strides in the automotive industry, pioneering electric vehicle technology and pushing the boundaries of innovation. However, when it comes to the luxury car segment, Tesla faces significant challenges. Critics and reviewers have consistently pointed out issues with build quality, interior comfort, feature availability, customer service, and the high price point. For prospective buyers, these insights highlight important considerations that should be weighed against Tesla’s innovative appeal. As Tesla continues to evolve, addressing these criticisms will be crucial in redefining its position in the luxury car market.

* This is of the opinion of leading automative journalists and not Pursuitist