The Model S Plaid is considered Tesla’s luxury-level sedan, and as such, it’s a direct competitor with the fairly new Lucid Air Grand Touring electric vehicle. While Tesla has had several years more of production experience than Lucid, the latter vehicle was Motortrend’s 2022 Car of the Year, though the outlet isn’t shy about a few key drawbacks to the newer EV.
Above: Tesla’s Model S sedan (Image: Casey Murphy / EVANNEX).
A recent story from Motortrend’s Eric Tingwall compares the two luxury vehicles to determine whether Tesla or Lucid builds better luxury EVs. The result, while it’s not black and white, suggests that Lucid may benefit from continued years of experience in production, a trial-and-error journey that Tesla has also had to go through.
“We’ve laid eyes and hands on enough EVs from startups like Tesla and Rivian to know that first-time automakers don’t deliver perfection on the first try, and our 2022 Car of the Year winner [the Lucid Air Grand Touring] is no exception,” Tingwall writes. “After living with our long-term Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance for the past four months, we’ve uncovered a handful of details that fall short of modern car manufacturing’s high standards.”
In the past, Tesla CEO Elon Musk has noted that production is difficult, often openly sharing details about the company’s near-collapse multiple times. Now, the Model S has been in production for over a decade, with multiple major changes to the vehicle’s design. As a result, the automaker largely has the “build quality” component of production ironed out.
Lucid, on the other hand, is still a new company. Despite earning Motortrend’s Car of the Year last year, Tingwall points to panel gaps in the Air Grand Touring’s exterior, in addition to a number of production quality issues on the vehicle’s interior.
While build quality was nearly perfect on the Model S Plaid — save for a slightly loose upholstery job on one of the rear seats — the publication also states that it hopes Lucid won’t someday cut corners on design like Tesla. The story calls the Lucid Air’s “posh cabin” one of the luxury EV’s best attributes, saying that any simplification or shortcuts taken on its design may make the experience less high quality.
Prospective customers choosing between the Model S Plaid and the Lucid Air Grand Touring may want to heed warnings about build quality, noting carefully that Tesla is the only automaker to build EVs at such scale thus far. There’s no denying that both of these luxury EVs are beautiful, but for the time being, the Model S Plaid may be the safer bet for overall build quality, unless you’re willing to put up with a few issues to be on the cutting-edge of a newer vehicle.