2022 Tesla Model S Plaid Interior Review: Where’s the Plaid?

The 2022 Tesla Model S Plaid’s tri-motor powertrain was designed to meet two goals: going fast and re-establishing the Model S as the electric car benchmark just as multiple rivals finally start hitting the street. Although much talk justifiably centers on the electric Model S Plaid’s 1,020 horsepower and 2.07-second 0–60-mph performance, the powertrain isn’t the only significant change in the updated Model S—the Model S Plaid’s interior has been drastically updated to be more luxurious and comfortable than ever. What follows are questions you likely have about the Model S Plaid’s interior—along with our answers.

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Is there any plaid on the inside of the Model S Plaid?

No.

Why not?

Lack of imagination, maybe? It’s not like plaid wouldn’t be out of place in the Model S Plaid’s cabin—it could tastefully be integrated in place of the herringbone gray cloth trim on the door panels, and plenty of luxury automakers offer patterned textiles these days.

OK, so what’s new inside the Tesla Model S?

According to Tesla, just about everything inside the 2022 Model S Plaid interior (and the slightly less quick Model S Long Range) is brand new. The only carryover pieces are the two front seat rails, says the automaker.

The most drastic change is to the dashboard—gone is the vertically oriented tablet infotainment system; in its place is a new 17-inch landscape-oriented display with upgraded hardware and Tesla’s new infotainment software. The new system is more tablet-like and intuitive than before, and it’s designed to be easily customizable for driver and passenger alike. The Model S Plaid interior also gets an updated digital instrument cluster for the driver and, most notably, a steering yoke instead of a steering wheel (Tesla says it currently has no plans to offer a traditional steering wheel). For our review of the yoke, head here.

Not only is the dash redesigned, but the center console is, too. Immediately below the large display are two inductive phone chargers and a reconfigurable center console. The inductive chargers are well placed and strong enough to charge a phone with a case on it, although we found them to work intermittently at times.

The reconfigurable center console features near–Ford F-150 levels of customizability. You can close the well-damped carbon-fiber lid, slide it open halfway to reveal a little cubby, or open it fully to reveal two generously sized cupholders. The cubby and cupholders can then be retracted independently to reveal an even larger storage area with two USB-C outlets. Under the nicely padded armrest is even more storage.

Both front seats are heated and cooled, and all three back seating positions are heated.

In back, passengers now have their own infotainment display capable of streaming content via Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, and Twitch; playing music over the car’s 22 speakers; and controlling the rear area of the tri-zone climate-control system. If there’s no middle passenger, rear-seat riders can click a button on the back of the center headrest to drop down an armrest that features two additional inductive chargers, a pair of cupholders, and a storage bin. There are also two USB-C outlets on the back of the center console.

Hey, wait—where are the air vents?

It’s a secret.

Really?

No. They’re hidden from view, though, a design feature Tesla is particularly proud of. In the front, there are vents hidden in the dash and above the instrument cluster. They can be adjusted by dragging, pinching, or spreading your fingers on the climate-control screen within the infotainment system. In the back, they’re hidden just above the display on the back of the center console. We were skeptical of how effective they’d be in the hot California sun, and they’re more complicated than simple physical vents, but it turns out they work pretty great. Porsche has a similar system in the Taycan.

How roomy is the Model S Plaid? Is it comfortable?

Pretty roomy, despite the fact that Tesla moved the front seats slightly forward to make the back seat more spacious. (The redesigned front seats are also thinner to enhance rear legroom.) Although moving the seat mounts slightly diminished legroom up front, even those above 6 feet tall will have plenty of spread-out space, as well as simple headroom. The new seats are also very comfortable, keeping occupants feeling fresh even after a long day behind the wheel. Our biggest wish for the front seats is for more aggressive (or at least adjustable) side bolstering, as they don’t hold the driver in place well enough on a good winding road.

As mentioned, the Model S Plaid’s rear-seat area is larger than before, gaining 2.8 inches of headroom and 0.1 inch of legroom, but it still doesn’t come close to something like, say, a Mercedes-Benz S-Class. To avoid straddling a front driver’s seat set for a 6-footer, folks 6 feet tall or more will need to sit bolt upright with their knees high and their feet splayed in the footwell, as there’s very little toe space underneath the Tesla’s front seats. It’s far easier on the passenger side to find a happy medium for both front and rear occupants.

There’s no center pass-through for long items, but the Model S Plaid offers 25.0 cubic feet of storage in the trunk and 3.1 cubic feet in the frunk. That’s down from the 26.3 cubic feet (trunk) and 5.0 cubic feet (frunk) the Model S offered prior to the 2022 model year.





















Is the Model S Plaid luxurious? How are the materials? Fit and finish?

The changes for the 2022 model year make the Model S a much more luxurious car than before, long overdue moves for the brand’s flagship electric car. The cabin’s design remains minimalist, but the revised look is more elegant and modern than previous versions of the Model S. Tesla doesn’t offer a wide array of interior color schemes like some rivals do, but the available white on black with carbon fiber and aluminum treatment is elegant and distinctly Tesla.

Material quality is an order of magnitude better than before; every touchpoint looks and feels expensive, and each material impresses as it should—the carbon fiber feels like carbon fiber, the aluminum like aluminum, and so on. “Well, duh,” you’re saying to yourself, but you’d be surprised how many luxury automakers try to pass off textured plastics as authentic materials.

Fit and finish was fantastic on our early-build Model S Plaid car. We hope Tesla can keep it up over the car’s production run.

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