The Best Tesla Features – Ranked

by Jack

Teslas don’t seem to need any help in selling themselves recently as the company continues to gain prominence and sell a healthy number of cars quarter after quarter. There are a multitude of reasons that people flock to new Tesla models, and here are some of our favorite Tesla features.

Autopilot/FSD

While technically being separate Tesla features, they both fall within the same category of ‘autonomous’ features, so they share the spot together.

A feature that might compete with “it’s electric” when describing your Tesla, the autonomous Tesla features are continuing to evolve and might one day become more impressive than the electric powertrain that it sits on. Autopilot and the FSD features almost need no introduction as they are almost always shown off by any Tesla owner to their non-Tesla owner friend.

Autopilot has become the most useful feature in the car with its adaptive cruise control and autosteer allowing you to have a more peaceful drive to work, home, or wherever. While many have mistaken this as the car driving itself over the years, it is still not that case. However, progress has constantly been made in the FSD department as well.

While some of the features like enhanced summon might seem gimmicky, especially when it’s still in beta and not 100% accurate, it gives a very existing glimpse into the future and progress that Tesla has made, plus its a good party trick. More recent features such as traffic light and stop sign recognition has become even a more exciting development as a refinement of this feature will allow Autopilot to hit city streets and become a major milestone in having full self-driving. 

Once full self-driving is achieved then Tesla can move forward with their next plan of deploying robotaxis that will make money for the owner autonomously, exciting things indeed.

In the meanwhile, I will continue to enjoy my leisurely drives while I wait for the time where I won’t even have to pay attention to the road on my drive.

Over-the-Air-Updates (OTA)

It’s something that we didn’t know we wanted until we experienced it. As cars become more and more connected to the internet-of-things we start to see some interesting advantages when it comes to software. Initially, you might start to ask yourself ‘what would I gain by updating my car’ but much like the updates on your smartphone, some very cool Tesla features have been pushed to the cars over Tesla’s history.

One look at our list of Tesla updates, and you can see that a lot of the updates aren’t simply bug fixes, but actually pretty regular additions to the feature list of the car. Things like games, video streaming, security features, and more have been added all for the enjoyment of Tesla drivers. Even very small features like “Joe Mode” which quiets down car notification noises so that small children won’t be woken up, a feature that was just sourced via a twitter request was added in an update.

But the even better part regarding these OTAs is that they not only add cool entertainment features or small quality of life improvements, but also have resulted in performance boosts to various models in the lineup. Examples include a 5% performance boost to the Model 3 along with a ‘Cheetah Stance’ for the Model S/X for faster 0-60 runs.

Along with pushing electric and autonomous features, I will look forward to seeing OTAs being used by other automakers for more tangible and fun reasons, rather than just bug-fixes.

Sentry Mode/TeslaCam

Another great built-in Tesla feature that doesn’t actually get as much news as features like Autopilot is Tesla’s suite of security features which include Sentry Mode as well as their dashcam equivalent. 

A feature that is basically found on no other car thanks to Tesla’s decision to use cameras placed around their car for the initial purpose of autonomous driving now serves a very useful secondary purpose. Thanks to the cameras flanking the front, rear, and sides of the car Tesla’s Sentry mode will make any thief rethink their decision to steal your car as the action will be captured from multiple actions and the driver will be immediately alerted of any intrusion. It’s a feature that definitely gives you some peace of mind.

And speaking of peace of mind, thanks to your Tesla using its cameras as makeshift dashcams, you don’t have to worry about proving who was at fault in the unfortunate instance that some sort of accident happens to you. Admittedly the footage doesn’t look as great as something you will find from a standalone dash camera, but it will be more than enough for any emergency purposes, and you won’t have to have anything hanging off your windshield.

Games

What other car allows you to play Cuphead on its screen? What about dominating your passenger in Chess on the big screen? It may not be a groundbreaking Tesla feature, but it does provide an avenue of joy that you won’t find in other cars.

The list of available has been growing (through those ever-important OTAs) and Tesla has surprised us by putting in pretty full-fledged games like Cuphead and Stardew Valley to accompany classics like Chess and Astroids. Probably the most talked-about game is Beach Buggy Racing 2 which allows you to control your virtual car with your Tesla steering wheel in real life.

While the games have most likely been put in to account for the downtime while charging your car, there are many other moments in life where you will have to be sitting and waiting in your car, so why not enjoy a few games on something larger than your smartphone screen to pass the time?

Regenerative Braking/One-Pedal Driving

Tying back to having leisurely drives, when not in Autopilot being able to drive with only one foot is still an improvement over having to move my foot an inch over to the left to apply the brakes in a traditional ICE car.

There is not much to say on this one, while it is no exclusively a Tesla feature as it’s found in other electric cars, it doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t get a shout-out for trying to make driving as simple as possible. It might take you a bit to get a hang of the strength of the regenerative braking, but once you got it down, driving becomes even more effortless. 

Plus you know, having some of the power being returned to the battery while braking is pretty cool too.

Video Streaming

Another entertainment feature, but this time for people that don’t want to put any inputs of their own, video streaming services like Youtube, Netflix, and Twitch allows your Tesla to turn into the ultimate man cave

Grab the popcorn, dim the lights, and get ready because this isn’t just a gimmicky feature. With the 360° premium immersive audio standard in every Tesla, your in-car theater experience might challenge your home theater. It’s absolutely astonishing that anyone with an affordable daily driver now has their own home theater as well.

Thanks to the large screens offered it actually makes sense to maybe watch a couple episodes of a show while you wait for your charge or your friend who will most definitely be down “in five minutes”. Don’t strain your eyes squinting at your phone screen, you have a theater right in front of you. 

Internet Connectivity

Another Tesla feature that serves as a smartphone replacement is internet connectivity. While technically this should be higher up on the list due to it even being the reason that we have OTAs that allow for the above-mentioned games and video services. 

But for the purpose of this list, we will just count internet connectivity as being able to go on the internet through your Tesla. It’s probably a feature that is less used than it’s Game and Video counterparts, but sometimes you just want to access a website a screen that’s bigger than your six-inch phone, or when you just want to flex your website on twitter.

Falcon Doors

A silly feature that is only really available on the Model X, but is so cool that I decided to add it to the list. The falcon doors, while maybe flawed in their complexity but provide a spectacle every time they open and show the lengths that the engineers at Tesla went to make something so extra, work.

Are there any Tesla features that we missed? Let us know down in the comments below.

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