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STYLING | 9 out of 10
Sleek carbon-fiber bodywork
Road & Track
It's stunning. The crisp lines across the carbon fiber body give a futuristic look
The Detroit News
Cabin has a minimalist design
The 2009 Tesla Roadster is based on a Lotus Elise platform, but its styling is wholly unique and unquestionably cool.
A number of reviewers mention that the Tesla Roadster isn't an all-new vehicle; Car and Driver reports that this "two-seat targa [is] assembled by Lotus in England and finished by Tesla Motors in San Carlos, California." However, while the underpinnings are derived from the Elise, the exterior bodywork is completely changed, and the Tesla Roadster has received fantastic reviews from both critics and consumers. Road & Track loves the "sleek carbon-fiber bodywork," while The Detroit News calls it "stunning," featuring "crisp lines across the carbon fiber body [that] give a futuristic look." Cars.com notes that this Tesla 2009 model "comes with a removable soft-top (a carbon fiber hardtop is optional)."
Despite the car's undeniable stage presence, the Tesla Roadster is actually quite small. The Detroit News marvels that the 2009 Tesla Roadster "is only 155 inches long (that's 6 inches shorter than the 2009 Honda Fit) and only 44 inches tall—and that's including the roof." Nobody seems to mind the tiny dimensions, however, and The Detroit News in particular feels "there's a minimalist approach to the car's body that combines form and function into fine art."
The understated style of the Tesla 2009 Roadster's exterior carries over to the interior, which is sparse but pleasant. Car and Driver reports that the Tesla Roadster's cabin "is efficiently trimmed with a glossy carbon-fiber console with buttons for the cabin-temperature controls, seat heaters, and air conditioning." The main screen you'll find in this high-tech marvel is the "Vehicle Display System," which Road & Track says is located "down to the left of the steering wheel and, among many other features, has touch-screen settings of five operational modes." Cars.com notes the "minimalist design" of the 2009 Tesla Roadster's interior, but reviewers once again find it more futuristic than annoying.
The 2009 Tesla Roadster has the stunning looks to match its sportscar performance.