The 2013 Motor Trend Car of the Year has all the features you'd expect from a vehicle that has earned that honor. It has a light body, advanced design, a roomy cabin, and plenty of load capacity. What the Tesla Model S doesn't have is an internal combustion engine.
Motor Trend heaps praise on the Model S, saying it drives like a sports car and sashays like a supermodel working a Paris catwalk. I never thought about a car being able to sashay, but it's certainly an evocative comparison.
This all-electric supermodel starts at $58,570 and has a range of 265 miles. That's not enough for a cross-country road trip, though a new network of Supercharger fast charging stations could make it more practical for long journeys.
We've come a long way since Cadillac took home the honors for the first Motor Trend Car of the Year back in 1949. That behemoth sported a honking V8 engine and enough chrome to blot out the sun.
I just broke the news of Tesla's win to Harvey, my 2008 Prius. He took it pretty well. You might recall how Prius grabbed the Car of the Year award for 2004. In car years, that's nearly a lifetime. The gas/electric hybrid is starting to look kind of old school next to the sleek all-electric Model S.
Does this mean Motor Trend is setting aside all of its V8s and gallons of gasoline in exchange for batteries and plugs? Not really. There's still something about the throaty hum of a big engine that's hard to consign to the past. The onward march of electric-car technology is a welcome sight, but I'm not about to give up my 1956 DeSoto and her mighty Hemi. I'm just thinking a shiny new Model S in my driveway would be the perfect balance for my classic gas-guzzler.