8 Coolest Tesla Interior Features You Need To Know About

Tesla is most famous for making electric cars not only available, but also desirable, to the masses. However, that's not the only reason buyers love the brand's cars. A key part of the Tesla lineup's appeal is the amount of features every car comes packed with. This includes controversial software like Autopilot, which has been the subject of some debate about safety, but still remains the most capable semi-autonomous driving aid on the market. Perhaps the most instantly noticeable difference between a Tesla and any other EV, though, is the strikingly minimal interior.

It might not look like it at first glance, but every Tesla's interior is in fact packed with features, covering both the software and hardware side of the cabin. This suite of functions remains largely the same whether you're buying a model S, X, Y, or 3, although there are a few extras that are specific to only a small number of cars. These innovations range from whimsical to thoroughly practical, but take full advantage of them, and it'll change the way you look at the brand's EVs.

Netflix and Hulu streaming

One of the most boring elements of being in a car is when you're parked and sitting waiting around, perhaps to pick someone up from work or school. While the default choice for most car owners is to resort to their phones, Tesla offers a host of in-car entertainment features to pass the time. One of those is Theater mode, which allows drivers to stream content from leading platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube directly to the central touchscreen.

Theater mode recently benefited from a UI overhaul for easier operation, and it now includes a wider range of streaming providers, from Twitch to HBO. So no matter what your platform of choice is, you should be covered. For safety reasons, the feature is only available while parked, and you'll need either a WiFi connection or a cell signal and premium connectivity to make use of this feature. If your Tesla doesn't have premium connectivity equipped, you can still stream video via your phone's connection by turning your device into a WiFi hotspot and connecting your car to that hotspot.

Panoramic glass roof

Step inside a Model 3 or Model Y and one of the most immediately noticeable features you'll find is the glass roof that gives the car a more open, airy feel than most of its competition. The glass used was designed specifically by Tesla, using several layers of different materials to provide acoustic insulation and UV reflection, among other things. Tesla says the glass can withstand up to four times the car's mass, making it just as safe, if not safer, than many metal-roofed cars.

Glass roofing is also available on the Model X and Model S, with CEO Elon Musk boasting at the time of the Model X's launch that its panoramic windshield was the largest single piece of glass ever used in a car. As you might expect, such a technically complex component is also quite expensive to replace, with one owner quoted $2,290 for a replacement panel after getting a crack from a rock hitting the windshield. A potentially wallet-busting feature, but a cool one nonetheless.

Dog Mode

Leaving a dog in a hot car for even a short period of time can be a serious risk to its health, and is generally a big no-no for any responsible dog owner. That is, apart from Tesla owners, who can engage Dog Mode while they're not in their car to keep their pooch cool on sunny days. This feature keeps the air conditioning running while the doors are locked and you're away from the car, as well as displaying a notice to any concerned passersby explaining that your dog is comfortable and you'll be back soon.

That latter part is still very important — while it's very useful to have, Dog Mode doesn't enable you to leave your dogs unattended for a long period of time. Still, if you just need to pop into the shop on the way back from taking your dog for a walk, Tesla has you covered.

White vegan leather seats

Tesla's cabin design is already quite futuristic, but anyone looking to really double down on their car's cutting-edge appearance can opt for striking white vegan leather seats. They come as part of the white interior premium package, which adds either $1,000 or $2,000 to the final price of the car depending on which model you buy.

Many potential buyers of this package might have concerns about wear and staining, especially stains from darker-dyed clothing like denim. However, reports from owners and long-term reviewers have found the seats to be largely hard-wearing, with any stains easily removed with baby wipes or a damp cloth. Bleach and strong cleaning agents can damage the seats, however, so it's best to avoid using anything of that nature on them. The earliest Teslas used real leather for their white seats, but the automaker switched to vegan leather in 2015 in an effort to improve its sustainability.

Bioweapon Defense Mode

Despite its over-the-top sounding name, Bioweapon Defense Mode is actually a very practical feature designed to filter out the pollutants that are present in the air before they makes they way into the cabin. A HEPA filtration system filters out pollen, bacteria, and chemical pollution, leaving the air that's channeled inside the car a lot cleaner than whatever's outside. That's especially handy when what's outside happens to be something smelly, like a field covered with animal manure, or a landfill.

It's also beneficial when you're stuck in traffic on the highway, as nearly all of the potentially harmful pollutants produced by gas-powered vehicles are removed before they reach you. Tesla has extensively tested this system and claims it's so powerful that you could use it to survive an actual bioweapon attack if necessary, but thankfully, it's unlikely that most Tesla owners will ever need to put this particular claim to the test.

Steering yoke

One of the most controversial features unveiled in the redesigned Tesla Model S and X was the steering yoke, which replaced the traditional wheel. Musk has been insistent that the yoke is here to stay, pointing out that it gives a better view of the instrument cluster and will be less intrusive when the car is capable of driving itself. It certainly looks the part, adding to the already futuristic vibe of the cabin, even if it takes some getting used to compared to a regular steering wheel.

After initially stating on Twitter that a regular steering wheel would not be an option, Musk eventually caved and allowed owners to buy a retrofitted wheel for $700 if they weren't happy with the yoke. It might not be as practical for low-speed maneuvers that require a lot of wheel movement, but the yoke is still one of the coolest-looking additions to Tesla's ever-evolving interiors in recent years, and it helps cars like the Model S Plaid stand out from the growing crowd of performance EV competitors.


If you're waiting in the car and don't fancy making use of Tesla's Theater mode, there are still plenty of in-car entertainment options to keep you busy. One of those is Caraoke, which can be accessed through the media player. It turns the car into a mobile karaoke bar, with the central touchscreen displaying lyrics that you can sing along to while you're parked up. In some territories, Caraoke is also available when driving, although Tesla cautions that lyrics on the screen should only be read by passengers and not by the driver.

You can either sing alongside the original vocal track or remove it entirely by touching the microphone icon. In China, Tesla took the feature a step further by offering a "TeslaMic," which makes use of a country-specific interface to feed your vocals back to the system. It proved very popular, with the demand crashing the carmaker's website almost as it launched. There are no plans to bring the TeslaMic to the U.S. or Europe.

Tesla Arcade

If neither Theater mode nor Caraoke sounds like a fun way to pass the time, then Tesla's built-in Arcade offers a selection of games that are all playable directly from the car's touchscreen. Depending on the game, you can use buttons on the steering wheel or a USB controller to play, and a wide variety of titles are available. These titles vary by region and are updated or removed over time.

One of the most popular user requests is for Steam integration, which Musk promised is on the way. Integrating a major gaming platform like Steam would allow owners to play virtually any major game through their car, and the idea isn't as far-fetched as it might sound. The latest Teslas come with chips powerful enough to play AAA titles like "Cyberpunk 2077," and the brand's over-the-air software updates prove plenty of potential for seamlessly downloading larger files. For now, though, owners will have to make do with the games already on Arcade, as no official timeline has been announced for Steam integration.