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First thoughts on my Model 3 vs. my Model S

KJennerator

Member
Nov 13, 2012
59
9
MA
Please note that all of the comments below are my subjective opinion based on the first several hundred miles of ownership. My 2018 Model 3 VIN is 39xx. I’m located in San Diego. My other cars are a 2016 refreshed Model S 75D with AP1 and a 2016 Volt. I’m on the list for a second Model 3. The Volt and the Model S will go.

Lane departure warning is totally irritating on winding roads, as it will not allow you to cross the apex of a turn without getting the vibrating lane departure warning. I had to turn it off. (Note that this may be no different than on the S, but it was more noticeable to me.) I’d like an option to have lane departure warning active when on freeways and off otherwise.

You really should use this as an indication of you driving improperly instead of the car doing something wrong. Please keep everyone on the road safe and stay in your lane...Yes, even on tight corners.
 

sbrians

New Member
Dec 25, 2017
4
7
San Diego
My quick review:
Summary: it's awesome.

I remember taking a survey on my Acura ILX a few years ago. One question was whether I felt an emotional attachment to my car. I never have with any car. I did not understand why they had asked.
Well, after 24 hours with my 3, I had an attachment.
After driving our S for 50k miles (7k on one road trip and several smaller ones), here are my thoughts that you may not see elsewhere.
Contrary to what I expected, the 3 would also make a great road trip car. Less storage for suitcases, etc. than the S, but even quieter than our S75D. How much of this is due to no front motor, I don't know.
I was concerned about the lack of HEPA and carbon filters. In the first 200 miles, I have not smelled the ICE vehicles. I have not tested it through the nearly perpetual California fires yet...
I notice some wind noise at 80 mhp. But I thought that's pretty great to not even notice any wind noise at lower speeds.
In short, I thought that this would be a lesser car than the S. I no longer think so. I like cars this size for everyday driving. My wife likes bigger cars. So, the S is "hers" and the 3 is "mine". Although she likes the 3 also, including the back seats. Actually, maybe one day I will get autonomous so that I can ride in the back seat. Cool view.
In comparison the the LEAF that I had for 3 years? None. Except the LEAF is easier to lock and unlock without a "smart" phone. I hope Tesla will sell a fob for the 3.
Old-fashioned energy will go down fast.
 

JKCOOKIE

Member
May 12, 2016
8
4
LONDON
Please note that all of the comments below are my subjective opinion based on the first several hundred miles of ownership. My 2018 Model 3 VIN is 39xx. I’m located in San Diego. My other cars are a 2016 refreshed Model S 75D with AP1 and a 2016 Volt. I’m on the list for a second Model 3. The Volt and the Model S will go.

Overall first reaction: this is the best car I’ve ever owned including Tesla Model S (2), BMW 3-series (3), Audi, Porsche (3), Jaguar E-type (3), Lexus, Volt, Fiat 500E, Mini Cooper S, Miata, etc. Overall, as others have said, it feels like living in the future – and that future is good!

Fit and Finish: Generally good and better than the two Model S’s I’ve owned. The biggest flaw I’ve noticed is that the hood is not quite flush with the fenders about half-way up toward the windshield; it is flush at the front of the car and back toward the windshield. (For perspective, my 2016 S had loose weather stripping in multiple places, a loose door panel, etc. My 2013 S has some poor panel alignments and a few rattles.)

Handling: more taut, more nimble, and way more fun than my model S 75D. More like an older 3 series BMW with sport suspension. It is responsive without being ‘fidgety’ on the freeway like my mini cooper S or my miata.

Ride: firm but rarely harsh. Again, more like a sports sedan with a sport suspension. Lowering the air pressure from 49 psi (as delivered) to 45 psi (recommended on the driver’s door pillar) did not make a noticeable difference. Have not tried anything lower. If you want a more comfortable ride, you may need an S with air suspension.

Performance: Feels quick and about the same as my S 75D. After several years of driving electric cars, I still appreciate the fun of instant torque. See above for handling.

Interior: airy, minimalistic, comfortable and mostly more functional. Feels almost as spacious as my S with panoramic sunroof. The 3 is more functional given placement of cup holders, coat hooks, usb ports, door storage, lighted vanity mirrors, etc. I really like the ability to control the airflow. The cloth (non-Alcantra) headliner seems nice enough, but I much prefer the black Alcantra material I have in my S; this will likely appear in a future year’s upgrade package. One negative is the piano black finish on the console. It catches dust and fingerprints and will scratch easily. (I will be wrapping mine when I figure out what finish to choose.) Tesla should switch console materials asap.

Exterior J-shaped door handles are cool looking but awkward. For smooth one-hand operation, you have to approach the handle from the correct side using the correct hand. (I cannot believe I am writing this. It reminds me of Apple telling users they were holding their iPhone incorrectly!) For the Driver’s side, use your left hand standing to the rear side of the handle. Push with your thumb and grab the handle that extends out with your fingers. For the Passenger side, use your right thumb and fingers standing to the rear side of the handle. You will get used to it, but your new passengers will not. It will make them feel stupid, which is not good.

Interior push-button door release is elegant, but your passengers are more likely to use the manual release, which does not automatically lower the window. It will make you and your passenger feel stupid when you tell them how to open the door correctly. Again – cool but not good.

Audio: To my untrained ear, the sound system in the Model 3 is as good or better than the premium system in my S 75D.

Noise: the drive train much quieter than my S 75D, as there is no continuous varying motor whine that Tesla service told me was “normal.” At speed, the interior feels about as quiet as my S, which is okay but far from state-of-the-art. In my opinion, there is still too much road and wind noise. Tesla should consider offering a “quiet” package results in the quietest interior in the industry. Starting with a quiet drive train is a huge competitive advantage that Tesla does not completely take advantage of.

Controls and interface: even knowing how an S operates, there is a significant learning curve. Some (perhaps many) interface issues can be improved with software. My current top requests include:
  • Control AP speed from the steering wheel. I use the stalk on my S frequently to adjust the AP speed.
  • Control wipers from the steering wheel.
  • Option to move navigation’s list of distances and turns to left hand side of navigation display (from the current far right-hand side)
  • Improve quality of view from backup camera (to make it similar to model S).
  • Add option to see energy graphs (similar to model S software)
AP 2.5 vs AP 1. Going straight in your lane on a freeway, there may be a bit less ‘squirming.’ On a modestly tight curve, Model 3 AP 2.5 feels scary like it might cross the center line. Subjectively, I’ve had to intervene far more often than with AP1 in my S 75D. In lanes that vary in width, the car seeks the center of the lane, which can result in a ‘weird’ track that is not what one would do driving manually. Using the turn signal to move to an adjacent lane causes a far more abrupt move than under AP1. Overall, sadly, it feels like AP2.5 on Model 3 still has not caught up with AP1 on Model S. Arguably, AP in its current state is most useful in stop and go rush traffic. Given Tesla’s obvious head start toward autonomous driving and all of the data that Tesla has collected, why has Tesla’s AP not improved at a faster rate?

Lane departure warning is totally irritating on winding roads, as it will not allow you to cross the apex of a turn without getting the vibrating lane departure warning. I had to turn it off. (Note that this may be no different than on the S, but it was more noticeable to me.) I’d like an option to have lane departure warning active when on freeways and off otherwise.

Phone as a key. With one potentially big exception, it has worked well for me. Note that I turned off “unlock as you walk up” because you will continually be unlocking your model 3 if you work in your garage. If your garage is close to your house, it may continually unlock the car as you walk around inside with your phone. With “auto-lock as you walk up” turned off, you unlock by touching a door handle or by opening the exterior trunk release button. What you cannot do is open the front trunk (the frunk) without the huge hassle of getting out your phone, finding the Tesla app, waiting for it to find your car, clicking on controls, and finally clicking on open frunk. Those that want to actively use their frunk need to lobby Tesla to make an optional fob.

Delivery process. (Warning: this is even more anecdotal than the discussion about the car.) Our delivery specialist was pleasant enough and patient, but it was not a high-end experience:
  • the car was not properly prepared. It had to been sent back to buff out fine scratches on the hood. They left polishing compound around the door handles and between some panels. The windshield still has something on it that needs to be removed with something stronger than glass cleaner. The latter is especially irritating.
  • they would not swap usb connectors – we wanted two lighting cable for iPhone. I know it is only $14, but this is a no cost thing to address at delivery. Each delivery center should have a big box of each type and ask the new owner what they want.
  • no swag of any kind (e.g., they should consider providing a holder for the credit/valet card)
  • discouraged us from getting lug nut covers and center caps to covert the alloy wheels under the aero caps. They say we wouldn’t be able to remount the aero covers without removing the wheels, which apparently is not true. A conversion kit should be included with each car ordered with Aero wheels.
  • they didn’t even have bottled water in the waiting area refrigerator (we had a 10:30 am appointment). I know, this seems trivial but everything counts when trying to impress a new customer.
What is not different between the S and the 3 but should have been? The front trunk closing process is still dumb for what is supposed to be a mass market car. The process of gently lowering the hood, placing two hands on each side of the Tesla emblem, and pushing down gently but firmly with your palms is ridiculous. New owners will be more than mildly upset when they dent the hood of their new model 3.

In closing. I re-read this and it sounds more negative than I feel about the car overall. As I said at the beginning of this post, this is the best car I’ve owned and I’ve owned a lot of interesting cars. Mostly, I want readers of this forum to hear yet another perspective on the pros and cons of Model 3. After reading a lot of perspectives, one really begins to figure out what to expect.

I also want Tesla to succeed. They’ve designed and built another amazing car, but if and when the auto industry gets serious about competing, there will be other choices. The faster Tesla addresses these mostly minor shortcomings, the faster Tesla will become a viable long term (and perhaps even dominant) player in the auto industry.

Thanks for reading this rather long post!

Great Post Thank you for the detail, but if you had to chose, which would be your go to car? I have a 2016 s85 with 2 M3s on order, but being UK ( RHD) the fact i ordered on Day 1 (3am here) has no value - shame. I just don't know if i will want to keep the S or swap out to the M3 when it eventually gets here? The 2nd M3 is my wife's, so i will get no say in that.
 

nutts1

Member
Dec 28, 2017
37
83
New Jersey
@Andrew - Thanks for the suggestion. I’ll check it out. Having said that, after driving the car for a couple of weeks it has become a non issue. I just had to get accustomed to it’s handling a little sportier than my “S”. As you said, maybe getting a little wear on the tires may have helped as well.
 
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Aellinsar

Member
Aug 2, 2017
247
217
Ohio
Yeah, I don't get the door handle thing either. In any car I've ever gotten into I open the driver's door with my left hand and the passenger door with my right hand.

typically that is true. A few years ago I had my R arm in a splint for a bit. So my wife was driving and I was the passenger but had to open the door with my left hand. That's a pretty rare occurance, but it sounds like it might be difficult in the 3.
 

T34ME

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
2,262
3,872
Inland Empire
typically that is true. A few years ago I had my R arm in a splint for a bit. So my wife was driving and I was the passenger but had to open the door with my left hand. That's a pretty rare occurance, but it sounds like it might be difficult in the 3.
No, I had no problem opening the passenger door with my left hand. Press the rear part of the handle with your left middle finger and pull open with you left index finger and thumb. Felt awkward but certainly doable.
 

RBowen

Member
Jun 14, 2016
109
308
San Diego
Dear KJennerator,

Let me assure you that this was not unsafe or improper driving on my part. This was a two lane road. For me, when you approach a curve to the right, it is natural, more 'efficient' and completely safe to hug the apex of the corner rather than track precisely down the middle of the lane.
 
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RBowen

Member
Jun 14, 2016
109
308
San Diego
Great Post Thank you for the detail, but if you had to chose, which would be your go to car? I have a 2016 s85 with 2 M3s on order, but being UK ( RHD) the fact i ordered on Day 1 (3am here) has no value - shame. I just don't know if i will want to keep the S or swap out to the M3 when it eventually gets here? The 2nd M3 is my wife's, so i will get no say in that.
I would choose the model 3. I like smaller, more nimble, cars. The beauty of having two reservations is that you can experience the first one and then decide on the second.
 

suwaneedad

Member
Dec 11, 2016
921
1,158
Atlanta
I really wish AP had it's own stalk or controls on the wheel for speed and distance. Major downside for me.
I suspect Tesla will roll out an update that moves these controls to the two wheels on the steering wheel after a while, if not part of dramatically improving voice control functionality. They're going to have to do something given how universally frustrated customers are with the lack of a stalk for AP.
 

Kbra

Member
Feb 4, 2015
919
493
San Luis Obispo, California
I suspect Tesla will roll out an update that moves these controls to the two wheels on the steering wheel after a while, if not part of dramatically improving voice control functionality. They're going to have to do something given how universally frustrated customers are with the lack of a stalk for AP.
Maybe the mid 2018 models will randomly get a stalk change like the early model S line...
 

ℬête Noire

Active Member
Jan 30, 2018
3,105
2,699
TX
I really wish AP had it's own stalk or controls on the wheel for speed and distance. Major downside for me.

Do people really adjust their steering wheel column position often enough to dedicate the spinner controls on the steering wheel to that? I had gotten the impression at some point that those were going to be programmable.
 

KJennerator

Member
Nov 13, 2012
59
9
MA
Dear KJennerator,

Let me assure you that this was not unsafe or improper driving on my part. This was a two lane road. For me, when you approach a curve to the right, it is natural, more 'efficient' and completely safe to hug the apex of the corner rather than track precisely down the middle of the lane.
I usually hate people who pull their profession as an excuse, but I'm a driving instructor and would rate you poorly for doing that. The car is functioning as intended. However, it is difficult for me to know exactly how close to the line you are getting. If you aren't crossing the line, then the car may be too sensitive.
 

Andrew

Model S #6151, Model 3 #1576
Supporting Member
Mar 11, 2013
434
210
Santa Monica, CA
@KJennerator - @RBowen's original post said "cross the apex of a turn" and he later said "hug the apex of the corner." So perhaps this is just an issue of semantics.

I've found the Model 3 does indeed give a lane departure warning (vibration) quite often when hugging the inside of a turn, even when not actually crossing, or even touching, the line. Though it doesn't bother me, it does seem to be a little overzealous sometimes.
 
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gregincal

Active Member
Oct 26, 2012
3,774
2,357
Santa Cruz, CA
No, I had no problem opening the passenger door with my left hand. Press the rear part of the handle with your left middle finger and pull open with you left index finger and thumb. Felt awkward but certainly doable.

That's funny, when I open a door with the "wrong" hand, I find it easier to flip my hand over, press with my thumb and grab the underside of the handle. I've done it once or twice when holding something in the hand I'd normally use to open the door. There are a lot of car doors where you grab up from the bottom anyway, so it's feels fairly natural.
 
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T34ME

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
2,262
3,872
Inland Empire
That's funny, when I open a door with the "wrong" hand, I find it easier to flip my hand over, press with my thumb and grab the underside of the handle. I've done it once or twice when holding something in the hand I'd normally use to open the door. There are a lot of car doors where you grab up from the bottom anyway, so it's feels fairly natural.
I think I will like your method better. I will give it a try next time. The point is, no matter which way you choose, it is easy enough and not an issue.
 

⚡️ELECTROMAN⚡️

SS of 96 and falling
Jul 15, 2016
2,869
5,425
Pacific Northwest
@KJennerator - @RBowen's original post said "cross the apex of a turn" and he later said "hug the apex of the corner." So perhaps this is just an issue of semantics.

I've found the Model 3 does indeed give a lane departure warning (vibration) quite often when hugging the inside of a turn, even when not actually crossing, or even touching, the line. Though it doesn't bother me, it does seem to be a little overzealous sometimes.
I’m sure does. If you’re driving and need a vibration to tell you that you are departing your lane, maybe you should call a cab.
 

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