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2014 vs 2017 Model S Comparo

Discussion in 'Model S' started by CameronB, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. CameronB

    CameronB Member

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    Apart from a few 10-15 minute test drives in the past, I have had virtually no experience with older Teslas. That changed this week when my 2017 Model S went into the shop for an extended period of time - 4 days (and no ETA yet).

    Thought I'd quickly document my observations from 4+ days in this older Model S they gave me as a loaner vs my regular ride. These are obviously my opinions only and for those that have older and newer Tesla's, your experiences will likely be different.

    My Car - 2017 75D
    May 2017 Model S 75KwH battery. Dual Motor/AWD. Refreshed front end. AWD. All glass roof. Premium Package. White "Vegan Leather" interior on Tesla Premium seats. Standard charger. Air Suspension. EAP 2.0. Standard Audio. 19" Slipsteam wheels. Pearl White. Alcantara on dash and headliner. Carbon fiber trim. 11K miles.

    Loaner - 2014 85
    March 2014. 85 KwH battery. RWD. Nosecone front end. Panoramic sun roof. Black leather on 1st gen seats. Dual chargers (80A). Spring/coil suspension. No AP features. Premium Audio. 19" base (5-spoke) wheels. Pearl White. Fabric headliner. Dark open pore wood trim. 36K miles.

    Interior
    So many differences. Yes, overall and at first glance they are similar. Giant screen in the middle. Similar steering wheels, dash boards and door panel design, etc. Probably the biggest obvious difference (besides interior color) is that my car has a full console while the loaner has the "yacht floor". Which console/floor is better? Hmmm...tough call. My wife likes the yacht floor as it's about the only car that has a good place to put her handbag that isn't a footwell. I'd give the slight edge to the console version...but barely because the Tesla console isn't that practical and has quite a bit of 'wasted' space.

    Switchgear...huge difference (to me). 2014 switches like those controlling the power seats and even the switches on the steering wheel (like the next/previous track buttons) seem much lower quality. They feel just that bit cheaper and flimsier compared to the 2017 vintage. The shifter feels a bit odd too in the 2014. And looks a bit spindly as well. That said, I like the slightly more gratifying "click" the 2014 makes when you shift it. But apart from the more robust "click" of the shifter, the 2017 switchgear and buttons seem higher quality for sure.

    Turn signal on the bottom (2014) vs the top (2017). I distincly remember when I took a test drive years ago that I didn't like the shifter on the bottom of the column. Seemed very odd and atypical. Was happy when I learned Tesla switched to the "normal" top position like 95% of all cars out there. Having driven the "bottom shifter" for some days now...I have to say, it's not really a big deal. After an hour or so I got used to it. I went from being a bottom shifter hater to proclaiming it a tie - overall not really better or worse. Just different.

    I like the 2017 Alcantara strip on the dash. Compared to the all-plastic dash of the 2014, my car has a nicer look and feel (IMO). However, I don't have the same allegiance to the Alcantara on the headliner of my 2017. I find the fabric headliner on the 2014 (and now on the 2018s from what I understand? Back to the future!) perfectly adequate. Honestly I feel the Alcantara headliner is a bit distracting (to me) while the fabric headliner doesn't call attention to itself.

    Seats...I do not like the "flat" first gen seats. They are not supportive at all. And very wide. But I can imagine that some people would prefer them. Amazingly the leather in this 4 year old Tesla looks great! No wrinkles like you often see on the older leather cars. But though the leather looks great, I give the nod to my "vegan leather" and "Tesla Premium" seats in both looks and comfort.

    The open pore wood on the loaner is truly open pore! That wood is downright rough! But it is clearly real wood - not the highly varnished plasticized wood like on BMWs. I prefer the carbon fiber, but obviously that's completely subjective.

    I was not aware until now that the binnacle display in the older Tesla's still had the same center readout with a digital version of an analog speedometer and an "energy tach" on the other side. With the rest of the UI the same as with the 2017, I find it odd that Tesla didn't upgrade the center speed graphic. To me it looks dated.

    The 2014 is definitely a bit noisier. Not compared to an ICE of course, but louder than my 2017 for sure. More wind noise. More tire noise. And I can hear the motor more (despite the fact that the 2014 has only the rear one). So while it is still quiet, I can tell Tesla improved on the sound deadener (or something) over the years to cut down the noise.

    My 2017 has rear cup holders and rear USB ports.

    Finally, the loaner has the premium sound while my regular ride has the base sound system. To be perfectly honestly, I was expecting more of a difference. Maybe I have a tin ear. Maybe didn't play the "right" music yet. I think the premium sound in the 2014 sounded a little bit better though.

    Driving
    Quite different drives. RWD vs AWD...with some power in corners, I can make the RWD 2014 step out a bit if I want to. Sometimes that can be fun, I get it. But I like the way the AWD seems almost unflappable. Flat corning at speed and always confidence-inspiring. Coming from RWD BMWs (and others), the RWD Model S was familiar and also well composed. But compared to the 2017 AWD/Dual-motor, I'm going to say I prefer the handling of the AWD.

    Another difference is my car has air suspension while the loaner has springs. Springs definitely seem sportier. I'd give the overall nod to the springs. I got air suspension because of my weird driveway...but if I had a normal driveway, I think I would have opted for coils/springs (I had the option at the time). Springs seem more fun and less "billowy" than the air suspension.

    Surprised to find that the 2014 doesn't have Hill control. I use Hill control all the time (virtually every single time I fully stop at a light/sign). Don't know if that was an option in 2014 that my loaner just didn't have or if it wasn't even an option? Seems like this is something that Tesla could have (maybe?) implemented as a software feature. But I definitely miss this feature.

    No AutoPilot in the 2014. Obviously this was pre-AP1. I use it quite a lot, so I miss this. I don't think the 2014 has auto dimming headlights (didn't notice it anyhow). And not sure about rain sensing wipers - when it rained, I had to toggle the wipers myself. But maybe it had them and they just weren't set to the right position? Will check it out next time I use them if it rains again before I return the loaner.

    Finally, acceleration. My 2017 is "uncorked" and definitely feels faster, especially at a full charge from a stop. But the 2014 still accelerates well. It just doesn't feel as "beast" as my uncorked 75D does. I was hoping my loaner would be a "P" car that would be a notch higher on the beast scale than my own...but unfortunately not this loaner. Maybe next time!

    Other

    Charging - the loaner has dual chargers and charging at home on the HPWC at 72AMPS (I have a 90A circuit) is kind of cool. I don't need it, but it's cool.

    Haven't taken loaner on any long trips (though I may this weekend if I still have it), so I don't know about how a 4-year old 85KwH pack compares to my 75KwH pack in real world mileage. I get about 255 miles on a full charge in the 75D. Does the 85 get 260-270 miles? Not sure.

    It was reinforced to me that I made a good decision not getting the panoramic roof. I opened it on the loaner and it worked fine. But I did it just to do it. I never (well, extremely rarely) used sunroofs in my previous cars that had them. And while the Model S sunroof is larger, I am pretty sure I would not use it, either. For those that love sunroofs, the Tesla's panoramic one is cool indeed. But not for me. I love the all-glass roof I got (even though I had to pay extra for it before it became standard /"free"a few weeks after I took delivery!).

    I got the 2018.14, the new maps and the semi-usable web browser during the time I've had the loaner. Very cool to see a 4 year old car still getting new features! OTA updates rule!

    Summary

    Any Tesla is a great car. All are fun to drive. OTA software updates are a huge advantage to help keep older cars "fresh" with new features and capabilities.

    There are so many small things that have been iteratively improved though through the years. Interior parts quality seem the most obvious to me. You can sense the suppliers are simply better now than they were 4 years ago. And Tesla's production is probably a lot more dialed in. I wish Tesla would reintroduce the coil suspension. Maybe even the "plus" suspension. At least as an option.

    I like the loaner...but looking forward to getting my own car back! Now, if they had given me a P100D instead...
     
    • Informative x 6
    • Love x 1
  2. 12Pack

    12Pack ..

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    Thanks for the review. So, apart from actual functional options (D, AP, roof), nothing really significant then.
     
    • Disagree x 2
  3. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    No, The two cars are vastly different. I've got a 2014 and a 2017 and the differences add up to a very different car. Pretty much every aspect of the car has changed.

    I much much prefer the open area to the console. The console is such a waste of space for what? Two more cup holders?

    As for the seats, I like the newest iteration of the seats a lot for short drives, they have great side bolstering and are very comfortable. However for long drives they hurt my back, where as the 1.5 seats are great for long drives.

    I wish the older style speedo was an option on the AP cars, I like it a lot better than the AP display.

    The other huge difference is the frunk size. The frunk on the RWD pre-facelift cars is huge! Its super handy to have and was a big selling feature for us on the car. Frunk now is pretty much worthless.

    All in all I agree with most of your points and I do prefer the 2017, however its definitely a case of two steps forward, one step back. I really wish the console was an option and that you could still get a RWD with the big frunk.
     
    • Informative x 1
  4. SouthlakeDad

    SouthlakeDad Member

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    Reductive much?

    As the owner of a 2014 (September build) 85, anxiously awaiting the proverbial interior refresh to update mine -- hopefully before my warranty expires -- I found the review very informative and helpful. Thanks for posting
     
    • Like x 1
  5. GatorGuy

    GatorGuy Member

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    Jacksonville
    I love the console. It large enough for my stethoscope and other items which have never fit any any car compartment. However, I did buy this which made the console vastly more usable. It actually gives you a secure place to put keys, etc and not worry about them falling into crevices like the charging area.
    2016-2018 for Tesla Model X S Accessories Interior Auto car Armrest Storage Box | eBay

    Other than the center screen, the seats are what people have commented on the most. I have had 4 people tell me they are the most comfortable seats they've ever felt in a car. I find this funny because I've never had anyone comment on the seats before even when I had really nice ones in my AMG's, M cars, or even my Audi seats which were their "comfort seats" and could adjust 72 ways and had built in massages.

    I also wish it had the larger frunk. But I guess non of their AWD cars ever had the larger frunk so I'm not willing to give up the performance for the space. But it definitely would have been convenient.
     
  6. mike25

    mike25 Member

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    Location:
    Seattle
    I had similar experience this week, I got a 2015 85D with premium audio, smart suspension and sunroof as loaner. I have a 2017 (Oct build) 100D. Overall I like the interior much better in mine, quality is better, much less noise in general, all control around steering wheel are better, seat are so much better, center console again much better, back camera quality better, acceleration is much better in mine but this is expected...

    However few details that I liked more in the loaner:

    - headlight have a better pattern at night
    - The leather on the steering had a better feel
    - the alcantara on the dash (mine don't have that). I like alcantara in general, mine has alcantara on the divider on the sunroof the loaner didn't, I plus for mine.
    - The ride was a little more sporty, I think this is due to the tires, Michelin vs goodyear on mine (both 19's).

    Other differences I noticed:

    - sunroof rack attachment are larger on loaner and in different location (more on the edge of the car)
    - lane departure vibration was different not sure the one I like more.
    - more body color parts like rockers are painted on mine not on the loaner.
    - back seat design is different in both cars (I have one that match more with the front seat) both the way the seat are attached was also different, you can see a precluding hinge in the trunk in the loaner for example.

    It was also my first experience with AP1, and AP1 still seems to display more information about other vehicle compare to mine.
     
    • Informative x 1
  7. suraj1194

    suraj1194 Member

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    Excellent report! I identify with a lot of these observations, in general. I got a P85+ loaner during my first scheduled service, and had the same view. The yacht floor was particularly a revelation. I'd seen the term, but never knew what it was, until I sat in that loaner and realized 'ah, that's why they call it a yacht floor'. I too will take the console, as imperfect as it is.
     
  8. CameronB

    CameronB Member

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    A few more things I thought of after I posted but wanted to add them now...

    Driving

    In addition to not having AP proper, I also miss the auto parking from the 2017. I use auto perpendicular parking fairly regularly. So not having the cameras and sensors take away several of these other features that I have already become accustomed to in less than a year of driving my 2017.

    Other

    Rear view camera. Seems better in 2017 iteration. Not sure if it’s a different part, bad alignment or wear on the lense or what, but the 2014 camera is definitely inferior on my loaner. More pronounced fisheye and the whole image seems softer. I wouldn’t say fuzzy per se, but like soft focus and a bit washed out.

    Frunk space. As @jaguar36 mentioned, the frunk on the older RWD cars is cavernous in comparison to the AWD one. Depending on your needs, the bigger frunk could be very useful. Or not that much. For me, I am fine with the smaller frunk because I just use it for “smelly” things like gym clothes, shoes and occasionally take out to keep those odors out of the cabin. So the small frunk is fine for me. But if I wanted to use it for cargo, then, yeah, the RWD frunks are great.

    No auto close for charge port door. I am so accustomed to just unplugging and letting the car handle closing the charge port door. With my loaner...nope. The display will remind me it’s open, but I need to get back out and manually close it. Little touches like this are nice. I know after a while I’d get used to it and close it before I got back in the car....but 5 days in now and I still haven’t gotten used to it yet.
     
  9. BIG ACH

    BIG ACH Member

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    The trunk in the RWD gives you that extra opening kinda to the back of the main storage area which is great for fitting an umbrella stroller don't think you could do the same in an AWD model.
     
  10. CameronB

    CameronB Member

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    True. For storage and transporting larger items, the RWD frunk is definitely superior.
     
  11. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    Even in the AWD pre-facelift cars the frunk was pretty big and fairly useful.
     
  12. CameronB

    CameronB Member

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    Its day 6 and I am anxious to get my car back. Service center seems to be making little progress on what should be a pretty straightforward repair. I am grateful for some time with an older car to help me see the dozens of incremental changes that have been made over the last 3 years - but I surely wasn’t expecting to have a whole week (or more) with it.

    Ready to have “Tessi” back ;)
     
  13. DevFonzy

    DevFonzy Member

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    Spring coils over air? That’s the one upgrade I regret not opting for. Coils are great for smooth roads but I live in Cleveland. There’s a pothole every five feet.
     
  14. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    The coils handle potholes just fine. Really isn't that much of a difference between the coils and the air sept for the gimmicky height adjustment.

    Now the + suspension, that's a different story!
     
  15. DevFonzy

    DevFonzy Member

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    I disagree. You feel every bump with coils. I’ve had a loaner with air a few times and the ride is noticeably smoother IMO.

    What’s + suspension?
     
  16. SSonnentag

    SSonnentag Rocket Scientist

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    The "gimmicky height adjustment" is the only way I can get my car the last mile to home. Without it I'd have to get a different car with more clearance.
     
  17. jaguar36

    jaguar36 Active Member

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    The sport suspension that was on the P85+ and the early P85Ds.
     
  18. Saimaannorppa

    Saimaannorppa Member

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    That's a useful accessory. I further modded mine to do wireless charging. Works great and acts as a 3rd screen for waze.
    Facelift Center Console Wireless Charging Modification
     
  19. CameronB

    CameronB Member

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    My experience is somewhere between yours and @jaguar36 's. I agree the air suspension is smoother, but IMO it isn't night-and-day smoother. Maybe 20% if I had to put a number on it. That said, I like the road feel with the coils better. The air suspension can at times be a little "floaty" in my experience. And although I suspect that if Tesla has made air suspension standard on Model S/X, that it overall must be pretty reliable. That said, the reason I have had this coil-equipped loaner for a week now is because my car is in the shop for an air suspension issue. So while overall SAS is probably fairly reliable, I suspect that it must be at least somewhat less reliable than a traditional coil/spring strut suspension.
     
  20. CameronB

    CameronB Member

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    Specifically, as I understand it, the "+" package consisted of:

    • 21-inch aluminum wheels
    • Staggered-width 245/35 front and 265/35 rear Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 tires
    • Retuned dampers
    • Upgraded stabilizer bars
    • Different rear lower control arms
    • Different rear upper links
    • Stiffer bushings
     

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