New Car

Tesla Model S, Model X get revised looks, 520-mile range option, big price increase

The Tesla Model S has gotten a thorough refresh.

Photo courtesy of Tesla

During its fourth-quarter earnings call today, Tesla revealed significant upgrades to its Model S all-electric sedan. The changes bring the car more in line with the looks and technology offerings of its Model Y and Model 3 brethren.

Tesla Model S

Tesla has tweaked the outside of the Model S, giving it a new front bumper with revised air intakes, an altered rear diffuser, and two new wheel designs (19- Tempest (included) and 21-inch Arachnid ($4,500) designs). The Model S's exterior trim is now finished in black, like the Model Y. White will remain the only no-cost paint job option Tesla offers on the car.

Tesla will sell the Model S in three different grades. The Tesla Model S Long Range is priced at $79,990 (a big jump from the $69,420 entry model on the previous Model S) and comes with two electric motors and all-wheel drive. The company says the car gets from zero to 60 mph in 3.1 seconds and has a top speed of 155 mph. The range of that model is 412 miles.

2022 Tesla Model SThe Model S has received exterior revisions while the Model X has not. They share interior design.Photo courtesy of Tesla

2022 Tesla Model S

The mid-grade Tesla Model S Plaid has three electric motors and torque vectoring functionality. It gives the driver access to 1,020 horsepower and has a zero to 60 mph time of 1.99 seconds. This version of the Model S has a 390-mile range and a $119,990 price tag.

The top-tier Tesla Model S Plaid+ delivers over 1,100 horsepower and can get from zero to 60 mph faster than the Model S Plaid. It has a top speed of 200 mph and a range of over 520 miles. It comes with a $139,000 price tag.

The most significant changes are inside the cabin of the Model S where there's a horizontally-orientated 17-inch touch screen at the center of the dashboard with up to 10 teraflops of processing power. The screen boasts 2200x1300 resolution. In front of the driver, there remains a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster. Rear-seat passengers get an 8-inch screen that gives them access to the same infotainment and games as the main screen. It works with wireless controllers.

There's more small item storage in the new car and wireless charging and Bluetooth for multiple devices. There's also USB-C charging ports. Heated seats in both rows and ventilated front seats are standard.

A new steering wheel and infotainment screen dominated conversation surrounding the interior changes of the vehicle.Photo courtesy of Tesla

The talk of the town is Tesla's new steering wheel though it's not exactly a wheel insomuch as a Formula 1 car is driven by a steering wheel. Rather than having traditional stalks for turn signals, lights, and wipers, those functions are controlled by touch buttons on the wheel.

The Model S now comes with more carbon fiber and wood trim, covering door panels and parts of the dashboard. Black, beget, and white remain as the only interior color scheme options. Tesla has redesigned the car's door cards and rear seats, which now have a fold-down armrest with cup holders.

Tri-zone climate control; a 22-speaker, 960-watt audio system; HEPA filtration; and a glass roof are standard. The only besides exterior enhancements is Tesla's Full-Self Driving suite of driver assist systems that is not actually autonomous vehicle technology. That's a $10,000 add-on.

The car lacks traditional climate control buttons, instead relying on the screen to command those functions.Photo courtesy of Tesla

Tesla is currently accepting orders for the upgraded Model S now. The company expects the first deliveries for Model S Long Range and Plaid cars will happen in March. The Plaid Plus version isn't due until late 2021. Keep in mind, Tesla's timeline usually gets pushed a bit.

Tesla Model X

Meanwhile, the Model X will continue to have the same exterior design, but gets the new infotainment screen, steering wheel, and rear passenger screen that the Model S does.

Tesla is pricing the Model X Long Range at $89,990 (a $10,000 jump from the previous edition). It has 360 miles of range, a top speed of 155 mph, and a zero to 60 mph Tim elf 3.8 seconds. A more robust Tesla Model X Plaid has 340 miles of range, a top speed of 163 mpg, and a zero to 60 mph time of 2.5 seconds. That version will run buyers $119,000. There is no Model X Plaid+ variant.

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Updated EV

2023 Nissan Leaf pricing announced

The Leaf got a mild facelift for 2023.

Nissan

Nissan is nearing the release of the Ariya, its first new EV in several years. Even so, the brand hasn't forgotten about its first mass-market EV, the Leaf. It was an early entrant in the space, and has been an efficient, affordable, commuter car for over a decade. The car got a mild facelift for 2023, with updated wheels and exterior styling accents. Today, Nissan announced pricing for the Leaf, which starts at just under $29,000.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf feels lively, despite middling power numbers.Nissan

The base Leaf comes with a 40-kWh battery capable of delivering a 149-mile range. Its 110-kW electric motor produces 147 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. The Leaf SV Plus features a 60-kWh battery for a range of 212 miles. It comes with a 160-kW motor that makes 214 horsepower and 250 pound-feet of torque. Nissan backs all Leaf models with an eight-year/100,000-mile battery warranty.

ProPilot Assist comes standard for the Leaf SV Plus, and brings a full suite of advanced driver aids that include adaptive cruise control, driver alertness features, and a surround-view monitor. All Leaf models get Nissan Safety Shield 360, which includes automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warnings, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, automatic high beams, and rear automatic braking.

2023 Nissan LeafThe Leaf SV Plus offers up to 212 miles of range.Nissan

The new Leaf starts at $28,895, which includes a $1,095 destination charge. The Leaf SV Plus starts at $36,895. The 2023 Nissan Leaf is on sale now, and may be eligible for federal tax credits of up to $7,500. Depending on where you live, you may also be able to receive a state tax credit or other incentives.

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New luxury EV

Lexus announces all-electric RZ 450e

Lexus just announced the new RZ 450e

Lexus

Lexus and Toyota have finally jumped onto the EV train, and we’ll soon see new all-electric SUVs from both. The Lexus variant, named RZ 450e, features a reasonable range, upscale interior, and neat all-wheel drive technology. We don’t have firm pricing for the Lexus, but expect it to start in the mid-to-high $40,000 range.

2023 Lexus RZRange is expected to reach 225 miles per chage. Lexus

The RZ shares a platform and much of its underlying engineering with the Toyota bZ4X and Subaru Solterra, but will take a more upscale approach. Though its size and overall shape are similar to the others, the Lexus’ exterior styling is sharper and sportier, with functional aerodynamic bodywork. A new Lexus logo is spelled out on the rear gate, instead of the traditional “L” of previous models.

The SUV comes with a 71.4-kWh battery that should deliver a range of around 225 miles on a charge. All-wheel drive is standard, and uses the RZ’s dual electric motors to shift power between the wheels that need it most.

Inside, the RZ features a minimalist, open space with controls meant to remind drivers of a horse’s reins. Ultrasuede upholstery and woodgrain trim come standard. Lexus notes the RZ’s head-up display is controllable via steering wheel-mounted buttons that handle navigation, audio, and other functions.

2023 Lexus RZThough similar to the Toyota bZ4X inside, the Lexus IS more upscale and minimalist. Lexus

Speaking of the steering wheel, the first RZs will be available with a round wheel only, but later on, Lexus will offer a yoke-style wheel like the one seen in the Toyota bZ4X concept and Tesla’s Plaid models.

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