Are these really just toys?

Are these really just toys?

I'm not rich. I have a Model S. It is my daily driver. It is starting to get a bit lame, hearing "With a price tag of over $100K, it's just toys for the rich" over and over again.

With that being said, it makes me wonder a few things:

  1. What percentage of owners would view their cars as toys?
  2. Does a $100K price tag mean that a car is automatically considered a toy for the rich?

I know that their's no real way to find out the first one, but I'm starting to wonder if there's any car that the nay sayers would consider "worth it" at $100K.

DonS | 16 Janvier 2014

It could never be considered an econobox, so anyone with a $30k budget could think it is a toy. It is a daily driver in our house, and the preferred ride when only one of vehicles goes out.

jordanrichard | 16 Janvier 2014

Those nay sayers or ignorant. A Lambo or a Ferrari is more of a toy. There is no practicality to them, they burn through gas like there is no tomorrow, etc. To use them properly, you need to take them on the track. The uber functionality of a MS makes a Honda Accord a "toy" in comparison.

ir | 16 Janvier 2014

I consider a Lamborghini is a toy for the rich. Expensive to buy, expensive to own, wasteful in terms of money spent on gas little utility, purely status.

Utility: My MS has the cargo capacity of an SUV, fits wife & kids comfortably, my daily driver, hauls furniture, soil, tools. I drive solo in the carpool lane thanks to its EV status. I can comfortably travel 120+ round trip to visit family with no anxiety.

Cost of ownership: Very energy efficient. Practically zero fuel costs due to free charging at work.

Status: A bonus, not required.

Could I spend less on a Leaf? Too short ranged. Volt? Maybe, but it will be a tight fit.

Roamer@AZ USA | 16 Janvier 2014

Jealousy can bring out the worst in people. What they meant to say was, I manage my personal finances so bad I am in debt up to my eyeballs and because of that I could never be free to make a decision to own one.

redacted | 16 Janvier 2014

A $100K car is not a necessary thing, of course; in that sense, it's a rich man's car. In another way, as part of the grand scheme it's funding the working man's electric car and the only way private enterprise might ever get there.

tes-s | 16 Janvier 2014

I think the "toy" label is a little strong, but I see where they are coming from. It is an expensive car, and not a "necessity".

Something like a Volt would be considered a more "practical" car rather than a "toy". The claim would be that a 90% solution (90% of miles are plug-in electric miles) at half the cost has a better ROI.

Of course, driving the Volt is NOTHING like driving the MS...but I guess that goes to the "toy" label.

If they made the MS ugly and replaced the motor with a 200hp motor, maybe it would not be called a "toy". But I think I would cry.

SCCRENDO | 16 Janvier 2014

21000 miles in 9 months. Its my daily driver. Needed a new car when my Lexus hit 184000 miles. Was looking to spend $60-70,000 on a new Lexus. Spent $100,000 but getting $10000 back in Rebates (state and federal). Fuel was $500 per month now $150 and converting to solar. Could have got it cheaper if I got the 60 rather than the 85 but I believe it is essential to my commute. Could have left out some of the upgrades. Honestly there is some toy involved but the Lexus coupe also has toy involved. This is my daily and weekend commuter.

jonlivesay | 16 Janvier 2014

Fun like a toy but really very practical.

Tanchico | 16 Janvier 2014

I couldn't agree more with these comments. I'm far from being "rich". I moved to a MS from a 2004 Camry. My Tesla is the first new car I ever owned. It saves me over $500 / mo. in travel cost. The difference between that and my carrying cost to own it is not much different than something far less expensive and not near the fun. Those to don't understand this are ignorant of the facts. Could have bought a Leaf... now that's just a toy!

renwo S alset | 16 Janvier 2014

I posted about this about a month ago (pretentious or rich), no need to repeat, but a basic S60 is $62K after tax rebates. $100K is such an easy figure to toss around.

Qwiksilver | 16 Janvier 2014

Best toy I'll ever own. And yes, it's my daily ride and I'm not rich. Looking forward to:
1.) Federal tax credit
2.) never again buying gas
3.) a world full of electric cars

jd3tm | 16 Janvier 2014

I decided to get the Model S to replace my 2006 Toyota Prius. I made this decision after researching several aspects of moving to an All electric vehicle:

1. NOMO Gas
2. I am being screwed by PGE because I get paid zilch for my excess Solar Electricity to the tune of >$500 per year.
3. The engineering of the really is the absolute BEST EV design out there even 3 years after publicly shown. I'm an engineer and I really appreciated the efforts in so many aspects of the design and product.
4. My test drive...this event caused me to decide to get the P 85 rather than S85. It also became clear to me that this could easily be my next 10+ year vehicle because long term maintenance has to be better than ICE.
5. Speaking of maintenance - No oil changes; No transmission work; No radiator to leak or hoses to replace after 50k miles or sooner; No brake fluid to check or brake pads to change (regen braking is just amazing). etc...

Essentially, I have easily dumped $5k into Toyota Service and I felt cheated of every dollar. Lots of emotional/semi-logical issues which were already pushing me into the $60k range for an ICE that might have been close. Add free "fuel", amazing performance, excellent styling, etc. and there really wasn't another choice. In the end, I believe my $100k Model S will be FAR cheaper than a Toyota Prius will be over the same 10 year timeframe and mileage.

And, yes, this is my daily drive vehicle with 18000 miles since Nov 2012 delivery of my Sig S.



Thomas N. | 16 Janvier 2014

Maybe a bit of a toy in my case.

Although take today as an example. My wife volunteers for an organization and we needed to drop off these flyers for donations at various schools. I drove and she counted flyers and distributed them to the various schools (she called each one first). We used the Tesla Nav which was just great for locating each school. The ability to just say "Navigate to Lutheran Preschool" and have it go right there was beautiful! We ended up going to 15 schools. Then we did lunch. Then she took the car to her girlfriend's house, and now she's out getting groceries. So the car did 18 errands today and did them flawlessly. We remarked that all of the stop and go would have sucked in an ICE and the exhaust from the repeated opening and closing of the trunk and the passenger door would have choked us.

So yeah, I can see how my 0-60 runs and minimal mileage on our car might qualify it as a toy but all in all it's a very useful toy!

(I wish Tesla Corporate could post the number of 0-60 sub 5-second runs that each driver has made. I promise you, PROMISE you, that nobody has more. I probably do anywhere from 10-15 per day as I have become an absolute expert at lining up for the hole shot. With 55mph corridors everywhere in my city and little traffic I'm like a meth addict in the Breaking Bad laundry lab!)

hsadler | 16 Janvier 2014

Kinda miss the guys at the gas station.
But fun to pull in occasionally and wave.


It was a stretch for us, but the numbers made sense. Not a toy in the sense of worthless, frivolous, show off thing.

But it does make you feel younger (and wonder where it was when I was young). Then it woulda been a very fun toy !!!

Then again.... think I have to go to the store for some uhhh... some uhhhh....

diegoPasadena | 16 Janvier 2014

A philosophical question, really. But it is one of the great benefits of living in an affluent society to be able to make purchase decisions that go beyond pure necessity. This is one of them. That doesn't make the car a toy, any more than a 60" screen TV is over one with a 40" screen. It's a reward for hard work and smart financial managements and some luck, I suppose, to get to enjoy something a little (or lot) nicer. | 16 Janvier 2014

Not a toy here either. My daily driver and are preferred vehicle when we go out. Thanks to the range and all the SuperChargers in CA, the Jeep mostly gathers dust these days.


JohnnyMac | 16 Janvier 2014

+ 1000 Thomas. Love to line up for the hole shot from 0-whatever! Sure seems like I get it less now with the MS. Seems to often be some dog slow ICE in the way, darn them! It sure is nice though when you do get it.

BTW, I think of the MS as the most practical car one could own and use as a dailey driver for all the reasons stated above! It simply incorporate so many aspects that are usually mutually exclusive in other cars. Show me any other car with this cost of ownership, sleek design, storage, comfort, safety, performance, etc. Most everyone on this form knows this. That said, the sleek lines and jack rabbit starts do perhaps influence some to think of it as a toy. Fine by me. Gotta go find that hole shot now....

carlk | 16 Janvier 2014

Any car that is not a minivan or have a engine larger than 1.6L is a toy.

Docrob | 16 Janvier 2014

It seems to me that questioning whether what others say determines your own opinion of yourself and your choices represents a problem with self confidence rather more so than a problem with the comments being made. Essentially a grown up version of thinking your ugly because a kid in the playground says so. Do you think your car is a toy? If not why do you care what others with vested interests and ignorance on their side think?

Brian H | 17 Janvier 2014

Here's the killer answer: many or most owners with other cars rarely or never use them, for routine or pleasure use. I.e., the most utilitarian and enjoyable option in virtually every application.

Doug H | 17 Janvier 2014

Volt only seats 4, I needed 5. ROI in 6 years exceeds the $45K Genesis I planned to buy. I call that practical and smart. It is pretty and drives in snow and on dry pavement like a beast. Those are welcome bonuses. They only make me feel smarter.

I also feel like I'm part of a revolution thumbing my nose at big oil. I feel like I have control of my finances again when it comes to my car. The marginal cost of driving is very low.

chrisdl | 17 Janvier 2014

I definitely is a toy.
As a pro gamer I can say with some authority that toys are an important part of our society.

Way to go Tesla, in making a practical car so much fun!

chrisdl | 17 Janvier 2014

I definitely may be a toy as well, but I meant to say
"IT definitely is a toy"

gibbs | 17 Janvier 2014

@Docrob - I ask this because of the annoying news reports. Which turns into people saying it to me. I don't think that it says anything about me, except my intolerance toward stupidity.

@chrisdl - what games do you play?

Mathew98 | 17 Janvier 2014

@gibbs- "what games do you play?"

Bolt & Go.

JenAlJill13 | 17 Janvier 2014

Not a toy, but the family work horse. Our "other car" is a Lexus hybrid. We hardly ever use it since the Tesla. The S85 is more than twice as mileage efficient, infinitely more fun to drive, and much safer. If I have to drive a couple of miles to CVS, it's the Tesla. On long trips from PA to VA, it's the Tesla with a stop at the Delaware SC. My wife takes it on her daily 60 mile commute. Range anxiety, not an issue even on long trips, you just plan for it. On cold days, use the app to prewarm it. Need to carry a large box or 8X4 paneling? It's the Tesla. A large screen flat panel TV? It's the Tesla.
I previously owned a diesel MB... Never kept it in the garage, I just couldn't take the diesel scent, however light, wafting through the house, nor could I take the few drops of oil and fuel here and there on the garage floor. The Tesla? In the garage every night getting ready for the next day.
Best Car I have ever owned by an order of magnitude. Will never buy another ICE... Can't wait for Model X and Gen III.

wavehopper27 | 17 Janvier 2014

When you get right down to it, a car, whether it's a used Ford Focus or a fully loaded Bentley, is nothing more than a tool to get you from point A to point B. From a purely economical standpoint, there are tons of ICEs that will get you around alot less expensively than an MS would.

From an environmental standpoint, you could argue that the MS has no tail pipe and thus is non-polluting. You could also argue that fossil fuels and nuclear power generate the electricity you charge the car with making them just an environmentally unfriendly as an ICE.

My point is, ANY car that you buy that does more than just get you where you need to go can be considered a toy.

chrisdl | 17 Janvier 2014

gibbs: I'm a freelance game reviewer. I play just about anything on pc and console. Specialized in racing games (duh!), shooters, and adventures.

There's no shame in a car being a toy or a gadget, however you want to call it. If something costs that much money, it better be fun or you really got screwed over!

Chunky Jr. | 17 Janvier 2014

I think it more as a gadget than a toy. It's really cool technology, but also very practical, so that disqualifies it from being a toy IMHO.

They used to consider plasma/LED TVs rich people toys, and now everyone has them. To me, getting a Model S is similar to being an early adopter of any cool new technology.

Jewsh | 17 Janvier 2014

It's no toy to me. If I don't have my 'S, I don't get to work!

bryceha | 17 Janvier 2014

The Model S is most often compared with the top flight sedans from the Germans (S, 8, 7). ..and a fully equipped Model S is similarly priced. I purchased a very well appointed S60, which after tax breaks, was priced right in the ballpark of the Audi A6 TDI that I had on order at the time.

I don't see anybody making snide comments about the tens of thousands of people who are buying cars in the $60-$70K price range. Yes; fear and loathing.

thranx | 17 Janvier 2014

When you can take your vehicle to Home Depot, buy a new (shortish) aluminum ladder, and fit it inside said vehicle (with rear seat folded down), that automatically eliminates the "toy" label.

michael1800 | 17 Janvier 2014

@OP - Your first two questions depend on the dynamics of people, not the price tag or car itself. The final thought of your post addresses the true issue...there likely isn't--it's the joy of our diverse perceptions. Although online naysayers are insatiable and unmoving, I find giving the naysayers I run into 'out-in-the-wild' a test ride results in a near-immediate sway. I like to think charisma plays a role, but I know it's the car.

Live and let live.

Brian H | 17 Janvier 2014

Works the other way, too.

"making a practical car so much fun!"
making a fun car so practical!

NKYTA | 17 Janvier 2014

Not a toy; daily driver; member of the family. The only thing toyish is the fun in driving her.

chrisdl | 17 Janvier 2014

Oxford's definition:
toy: 1.1. an object, especially a gadget or machine, regarded as providing amusement for an adult

Seems like my Model S will qualify. I must say that I feel a bit sad for the many people here saying that it's not "a machine regarded to providing amusement" to them. For me at least, that is part of the reason I bought a Model S. Maybe I just read the word 'toy' differently :-) I certainly don't read it as meaning a child's toy because, in Belgium at least, children are not allowed to drive cars ;-)

PJDoty | 17 Janvier 2014

To me, a TOY is for play, a TOOL is for work. Sometimes objects can be both (skis, bicycles, Teslas).

AmpedRealtor | 17 Janvier 2014

The Model S is not a $100,000 car. The Model S starts at just over $70,000 before tax credit. Whenever people ask me how much the Model S costs, I tell them it starts at $70,000 and goes up from there. People are usually surprised because they thought the car started at $100,000. So that's the first misconception that I try to clear up for folks.

The next thing I do is tell them that my full 5 year registration and vanity EV plates cost me under $170. Then I mention the $7,500 tax credit, the fact that fueling the Model S costs 1/3 as much as fueling a 50 MPG Prius to travel the same distance, and then the 0-60 time is icing on the cake.

If someone tells me that I must be rich because I bought this car, I tell them the opposite is true. It wasn't until I bought this car that I realized how rich my life could be.

JPPTM | 17 Janvier 2014

Daily driver and only car. Takes me to work, to Costco, occasionally to Home Depot. Dress it up and go to a nice restaurant in SF and get to park out front. Dress it down, load it up and do errands. Works for me.

aaronw2 | 17 Janvier 2014

I don't consider it a toy. It's my daily driver and my only vehicle. I've hauled a dishwasher in it and just hauled a lot of cargo yesterday with the seats folded down. I've taken it on road trips. I sold my Prius and hopefully within a couple of years I will never have any need to rent a car for the camping trips I go on (there's no easy way to get out to a lot of the out of the way places yet unless I use RV parks).

DallasTXModelS | 17 Janvier 2014

I'm not rich either. My very nicely loaded 85 was $89,720 not $100,000. When I added up how much money I would spend on $3.509 gal gasoline over six years and added it to the cost of buying a 2013 ICE sedan equally equipped I ended up with a cost of $10,000 more than my Model S Configuration.

I plan on keeping this car far past 6 years. In 6 years I will not have a car payment and will be paying about $700 a year in electricity. While in 6 years after buying a new ICE car I wouldn't have a car payment but would still be paying $6500 a year in gasoline assuming it's only $3.509 gal in 2020.

Mathew98 | 17 Janvier 2014

Dang it @Dallas, how often do you drive to rack up that kind of gas bill?

I'm glad you traded in you Hummer for the S!

Thomas N. | 17 Janvier 2014

It's all perception, Amped. I never had anybody ask me what I did for a living when I was in a 5-series but it has happened at least a half a dozen times in my P85.

"Wow, nice car, man. What do you do for a living?"

Embarrassing as hell. I've learned to just say "It's my boss's car."

I look young enough and uncouth enough to pull it off.

AmpedRealtor | 17 Janvier 2014

There was that one client who excitedly asked, "wow, isn't that like a $50,000 car or something?" I just nodded in embarrassment... lol :P

gibbs | 19 Janvier 2014

People that I work with know how much the car costs. So they just looked at me and wondered how I could afford it. Then they saw my 10 year old shoes that I wear, and how I don't smoke or drink. If you add up all of the money that I've saved on these things (versus what they spend), I could almost buy one in cash.

Mathew98 | 20 Janvier 2014

@gibbs +1

Let's see how much you can save from not smoking, skipping caffeine and alcohol. Granted you'll feel less hangover and live a longer life, but who's counting?

A pack of smoke in NY = $15 x 30 = $450/mth
2 cups of joes from Starbucks = $4 x30 = $120/mth
6 pack of beer = $13 x4 = $52/mth

So a beer drinking, joe slurping smoker can save over $600 a month or $7200 a year on average. So one can get a base MS for free after 10 years...

Jewsh | 20 Janvier 2014

+ 1 AmpedRealtor, +1 gibbs:

I am in exactly the same boat. My wife and I work hard for every penny and only invest in things that make an appreciable difference in our lives.

Our accounting was much the same as others' on this forum. By the time I took a boring car payment into account and then added gas and insurance on a car less safe, it was a wash which car was more expensive; the 'S or a $700/mo car payment for a Golf TDI.

hcwhy | 20 Janvier 2014


Of course it's a toy (if toy means fun to use)...just watch "again again" available on this forum...the girls screams of delight say it all.

It's also:

An engineering marvel.

A work of art.

A serious hauler.

A kick-azz daily driver.

The safest car on the exceptions

A huge move in the right direction in getting our country liberated from oil dependency.

DallasTXModelS | 20 Janvier 2014


Not a hummer, a dodge charger with a HEMI that got 28 mpg because most of the time it was running in fuel saver mode. 4 cylinders.

I drive between 20K and 22K miles a year.

Bighorn | 20 Janvier 2014

Don't forget the savings from eschewing hookers, cocaine and alimony--that's some real money.