TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker or making a Paypal contribution here: paypal.me/SupportTMC

Experience from my first Tesla Model S Test Drive

Discussion in 'Model S: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by mochouinard, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. mochouinard

    mochouinard Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2014
    Messages:
    339
    Location:
    Montréal, Quebec, Canada
    I have just came back from my test drive of the Tesla Model S P85. There is a lot to say about this experience, but I'll condense to what I didn't expect. I'm sorry for the english error, my native language is french and I didn't bother to spell check it

    I've been obsessed about Tesla and electric car since their Roadster, but I always retain myself from trying it, but I've lost the will to not do it and so I did !

    To begin with, I must say that I'm a men with a height of 6'4", so a big part of my review are affected by this.
    My first thing I notice (a part from it beauty), is how short the car is. I open the door and it when I notice at how small the door opening is. Getting in the car was not possible in a fluid movement.Once I was in the car, I found the seat to be ok, but my head was inside the cavity for the sunroof, a big pothole and I'll probably hit the glass, but it actually wasn't as annoying as I expected though, but not ideal. I have lot of worried about the safety of this car for me, since I'm REALLY close to the frame of the sunroof, and I don't think testing with someone tall as me was in their test parameters, so my head being less than 1 inch to the border of the system is probably dangerous.

    He started to show me the touchscreen panel, in true, I saw so much of it on the web that I was only interested at how good did it look and how responsive and fluid it was, and it was much better than I expected. I worries that the actual map is not stored locally as it still show the square loading like on a desktop computer, but maybe that just slow generation of the map with traffic info in the overlay. So even the dash screen is beautiful, and really show lot of upgrade possibility in term of skin and features.

    The Tesla staff FINALLY let me drive this thing :) First step is trying to get into the driver seat. I actually had to try 3 time and the last I force myself into. This is where my excitement bubble busted ! I was extremely disappointed that the car I wish so much to get was so hard to get into. But anyway, I adjust the mirror, started to adjust the steering wheel since I notice it is way to far to the right, but no adjust for this sadly (This probably what caused me problem to get in also). I also notice quickly that my general field of vision is very limited. Maybe it the fact the car is lower, or that the inside height was lower... What ever the reason, I was a bit worried to drive the car. Especially when it came to look to my left, all I saw was the door frame and required big movement to see if anything was there.

    But hey, let try to move forward a little bit. I started slowly, and I loved the low and smooth speed control of this car without the creap mode. My automatic driving pedal control quickly make me discover regenerative breaking. I didn't like the actual driving experience with it on, but it because of my habit on how I normally drive my car, and I'm sure I would just get used to it pretty quickly.

    And now I pressed the peddle to the floor, if that only for a second, I was already close to the speed limit. Instant reaction as if the car was an extension to my body. I was now hook to the Tesla lure.

    During the drive, I had issues with my visibility, and even tried to move my chest forward to see pass the door frame, but the seat bealt was in lock position probably from a previous fast acceleration.

    When I came back, I wanted to plug the car in, and I really felt like a little kid at that point :) Compared to Nissan Leaf video of the charging port location and process, the Tesla charging is really painless and fun. The lock sound is also nice and strong, I liked how it felt.

    Look at the storage space and it look pretty good. The only thing that I was disappointed is that the frunk require spacial care to close so not to create bend. I wish they improved this before I buy one.

    A part from the super nice 2 screen, the amazing acceleration and the fact if fully powered by water and wind (In Québec, Canada), I was mostly disappointed of the car.

    The field of view is pretty horrible and unsafe based on my short experience. I stressed a lot in my drive because there were more than 1 dead spot and looking at 1 of them and switching to the other could have a car come back in the first, so I'm wasting way too much time checking dead spot than where I'm going. The problem with the seat beat that remain locked also made the problem worst as the second deadspot couldn't be check well.

    Entering the car require change in how I do it. I normally put my right feet in, then slide in the seat and finish with my left leg. But I can't do it in the Tesla Model S. I think it because the steering wheel is too much to the right, and can't slide under it. With the Tesla Rep. we did play a little bit and found with a profile to work 'ok' if I sit first and turn around in the car. One feature request would be a profile with multiple seat position. For example, getting in the car, and once in, when I press the break peddle, it would switch to the driving profile. And when I park the car, switch back to the profile to get out of the car. But I still have to do lot of trial on seat position to see if I can make it workable.

    The inside of the car also left to be desired even on a fully equip model. It not horrible, but nothing great from it. One thing I was really disappointed is the quality of the paint on the silver plastic in the door. It gray paint already started to fade and show the gray plastic color under it.

    So I found my overall experience disappointing.

    My current car is the Nissan Versa Hatchback, and when I drove back home, it was day and night compare to my previous driving experience with the Tesla. I mean by that my Nissan Versa was better! A part from the super acceleration, noise, and gas use. Getting into the car, the field of view, the interior finish for me was better on the Versa than the Tesla. It kind of sad to compare a Tesla to a Versa though, and it not was I was expecting.

    I'll have to go back to give the Model S another try and take more time on the seat adjustment and try to see how much I can squeeze the seat forward and see if my field of view improved before my leg are lock. I'll also bring my winter stuff so I can see if I can drive with my normal boots one.
     
  2. Tesss

    Tesss Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2014
    Messages:
    10
    Hard review!
     
  3. Thud

    Thud Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2014
    Messages:
    236
    Location:
    Atlanta
    If you're used to driving a Versa, then I think you are going to have problems with entry/exit and visibility in almost any performance sedan on the market today. When I test drove I didn't notice any issues with visibility. I'm only 6' tall, so maybe it only causes problems for tall people. :scared:
     
  4. mknox

    mknox Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Messages:
    8,552
    Location:
    Toronto, ON
    I'm about 5'10" and am somewhat short from the waist up, so the seating position is fairly good for me. Perhaps because of where I have the seat positioned, I also don't have the problem with the door frame (I assume you mean the B-pillar). I do find on occasion that the passenger side A-pillar blocks my view of traffic in that direction when checking before making a left turn, but not horribly so.

    It definitely is a bit trickier to get in and out of. The door sill seems unusually high, but that might be a design constraint because of how the battery is packaged. My 86 year old mother has a bit of trouble lifting her feet up over the sill when getting out. My wife has come from mini vans and now primarily drives a taller Pontiac Vibe. These cars you kind of step up and in to as opposed to the Model S where you have to drop down, so she often struggles a bit getting in and out.

    I find the interior fit and finish to be quite good. Style is another matter and one of personal taste. They have certainly gone with a bit of an austere, and kind of plain motif in my opinion, especially having come from Cadillac, whose interiors I especially like. But having said that, I recently had a passenger who owns a brand new Cadillac ATS, and she said she much preferred the Model S interior. For me, the seats actually feel a lot better than they looked like they would.
     
  5. scottf200

    scottf200 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2013
    Messages:
    1,271
    Location:
    Chicagoland ModelX S603
    #5 scottf200, Aug 6, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
  6. caddieo

    caddieo Member

    Joined:
    Mar 21, 2013
    Messages:
    877
    Location:
    Palm Coast, FL
    Not being critical - but it sounds as if the outside mirrors were not properly adjusted and the rear view camera was not used while driving.
     
  7. AMN

    AMN Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2013
    Messages:
    209
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    I agree that getting into Model S takes extra effort if you are over 6ft/183cm. After 3 hours of tennis, I end up throwing my exhausted self into the seat and then swiveling legs into the car... :)
    I still think SLS, CLS, 911, R8, and even ML63 are worse.

    You should check back next year when they have Model X on the floor. More headroom and higher driving position may suit you better.
     
  8. karmamule

    karmamule Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2014
    Messages:
    230
    Location:
    Waltham, MA
    I'm 6'2" and getting in/out was awkward, but I was able to get the seat & wheel into a position I felt very comfortable with while driving. If I remember right there are a couple other 6'4" owners who have been able to find a seating/wheel position that worked for them. I'd suggest spending a little more time trying out different wheel/seat positions. Maybe one that you normally wouldn't do (wheel extended further, seat back reclined more, for example) might help with your fit.

    If not, it does sound like the Model X will suit you better.
     
  9. jerjozwik

    jerjozwik Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2014
    Messages:
    699
    Location:
    san gabriel valley
    i dono... if it were between me owning a p85 or being superhumanly tall...

    can you get free leg reduction surgery in canada?
    legs.png
     
  10. mochouinard

    mochouinard Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2014
    Messages:
    339
    Location:
    Montréal, Quebec, Canada
    I know it hard review... I really didn't want to be one !!!

    I'm not saying the interior was horrible, just that it felt as good as the one from my Nissan Versa, so I expected something much better. Also I was really disappointed at that cheap gray plastic in the door that losing it paint finish.
    For the field of view, it is the B-Pillar on the driver side especially that blocked most of my view. My complaint was not much about the rear view but the front and side view. This is also what I'll need to go try again to see.

    It true that I never probably experience other normal sport sedan because they never interested me... I guess I'll go give them a try in the next few weeks ! I'll add the other EV in my list (even if only want a Tesla :)

    I wish I could get into a Model X today and see how it feel, but based on what I heard, I would take a while even if I'm a reservation holder starting today to ever try it!
     
  11. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2012
    Messages:
    4,493
    Location:
    Maine
    You wrote that you're 6' 4", but proportion matters for a car. What's your inseam?
     
  12. ThosEM

    ThosEM Space Weatherman

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2013
    Messages:
    610
    Location:
    Annapolis, MD
    Sounds like you'd definitely be happier with the Model X, or in general, an SUV rather than a performance sedan. I'm 6'2" but prefer my cars with a low center of gravity so I've learned to get into them by sitting first and then swiveling legs into the car. That's the reverse of the way most people get out of a car, so I don't see it as a liability at all. When I test drove the car, I brought along my wife (6'), her dad (6'7", 300 lbs), and his partner (5'10). With the Tesla rep, that made five of us in the car, and it accommodated well even the big guy, though he did notice that the door tops were an issue for him on entry and exit.

    As for the interior, of course it's a matter of taste, but I dislike the baroque overstuffed trappings of most luxury cars, and really appreciate the artful if spartan Model S, which has been characterized by the NYT as "totally hip." In any case, I don't really see the interior as relevant to my decision to buy the car, which was far more influenced by the avoidance of gasoline, the grin-inducing acceleration and ride stability, the high utility of front and rear storage space and roadtrip capability, and the high tech features (where else can you get an energy strip chart!?).

    I suggest that you find a car you prefer, and then go to the forums for that car and share with them how you came to your decision. That way, you'll be among those who can best help you learn about and deal with the issues associated with the car you chose instead.
     
  13. mochouinard

    mochouinard Member

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2014
    Messages:
    339
    Location:
    Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  14. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2012
    Messages:
    1,722
    Location:
    Plano, TX
    Hard but fair review.

    I like reviews like this that are negative but truthful, unlike the ones that complain that supercharging is so slow compared to 5 minute gas fillups. Those are the ones that have no clue about electric driving.
     
  15. Tesss

    Tesss Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2014
    Messages:
    10
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1407350336.005970.jpg Mr Chouinard, btw I'm the owner of the TeslaTaxi in Québec City... Some clients have difficulties to get in and out but when they are sit they are very happy lol
     
  16. rogbmw

    rogbmw Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2012
    Messages:
    786
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I am 6' 3", and have had my Model S for 1 1/2 years now. The Model S is no more difficult to get into than say a BMW, Mercedes or Audi of the same size car (7 series, S Class, Audi 8). I find the visibility is good in the car - no worse than say a Audi 7. Once the mirrors are adjusted, I have no problems. But, I am also one that turns my head and looks - so many people do not do this anymore. I would bet that the mirrors and seats were not adjusted to you when you entered. The makeup of the B pillar and the contour of the inside require paying attention to, but like any car, once you get used to them, it is no big deal.
     
  17. Alysashley79

    Alysashley79 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2013
    Messages:
    646
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #17 Alysashley79, Aug 6, 2014
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2014
    Just weighing in for a second I've found that many of the sales people while they are all quite friendly and several are owners (and those that are make the BEST sales people) many of the ones that take people on test drives will point out the features as you drive. Let's look at the 17" screen. Look at what it can do. The camera screen is on the bottom while nav screen is on the top or the media is on etc....they show you WHAT the car can do vs really allowing you to experience how the car does and feels. I've had a couple friends drive with the showroom and then in my car and they've said it's night and day. They've taken the 5 minutes or more to really get comfortable like they are going to drive the car like it's theirs and adjust everything. I show them how I drive the car. Camera on top nav on the bottom. And then off they go. As long as they want an hour or more different types of roads.

    Also keep in mind. Just because a test drive car is "fully loaded" doesn't mean it's top of the the line. That car you test drove could be a loaner car that. Gets driven 100+ miles per day and sees more wear and tear than my car has seen in the last 10 months and has almost 24,000 miles on it.

    Maybe you can find someone in your area that would be willing to allow you to come sit in their car and show you some tricks etc?
     
  18. NigelM

    NigelM Recovering Member

    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2011
    Messages:
    13,257
    Location:
    Sarasota, FL
  19. karmamule

    karmamule Member

    Joined:
    May 24, 2014
    Messages:
    230
    Location:
    Waltham, MA
    Alysashley79, I think that's an excellent point. They often have a series of test drives scheduled, so while they do their best to hide it, they are rushing things along at a fairly brisk pace so they can get the car back in time for the next test drive. Having some quiet time to leisurely play with mirrors, seat and wheel positions, etc. could really help find the optimum arrangement.
     
  20. purplewalt

    purplewalt Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2013
    Messages:
    1,412
    Location:
    Dallas, Texas
    In response to the OP:
    I think if you can get in a MS and spend some time adjusting the seat position a bit for your height and build you may find the car to be a bit more accommodating.

    I am 6'-3", and have the seat tilted back a bit with the front edge of the seat then tilted up, and the steering wheel then extended out and up a bit.
    Entering the car is easier if I just sit in, and then swivel my legs around, up and into the car.

    I don't have the pano roof, and I still have a bit over 3" of headroom.

    Similarly: there are a lot of adjustments to the mirrors and side mirrors.
    The rear window view for me was a bit different than previous cars I have owned, but after 13 + months of driving, things are fully in view.
    The really severe rake of the rear window does change your perception slightly: you might actually get used to it.
    The rear-view camera on the console takes a couple of minutes to understand, and then you are set.
    I can literally pull up and stop the rear of the car at a curb edge using the rear-view camera.

    As far as me ever getting behind the wheel of a Roadster, that probably is NOT going to happen... lol :tongue:
    I am just too tall.
    I might be able to get a ride as a passenger tho... :biggrin:
     

Share This Page