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Honest review of the wheel

So my Plaid S has been in the shop for a week after the left rear motor failed as I was leaving a parking garage. Service center says it’s the inverter, part arrived and I should have it back in the next day or so, I hope. November build, failed at ~5,000 miles.

I’ve had a Model 3 Performance as a loaner for a few days and thought I would offer my feedback. It has FSD (license, not Beta), no premium connectivity, 2020 model with 28k miles.

1) The turn signals are really finicky - they’re located on a stalk that comes out of the left side of the steering column. Pushing to the soft-detent is hit or miss - a lot of times it doesn’t register. And, what’s completely bizarre is that if I’m in Autopilot, pushing it to the soft detent just makes the blinkers go 3 times but doesn’t actually change lanes. You have to push to the hard detent for it to make a lane change. Why don’t the lane changes work consistently like my haptic buttons? The stalk seems to be a strange design choice considering it has two different modes of operation and isn’t very consistent. If I’m driving manually and click down to the hard detent, the turn signals also don’t turn off automatically when I’ve completed a lane change. Very strange - I have to fiddle with it to make it stop blinking at that point.
2) The steering wheel is small, but is completely round. There are no edges to grab to either rest my hand on when cruising in Autopilot on a long highway ride, or to quickly grab. I found myself frequently being nagged to apply steering force, even though I was resting my hand on the spoke as I was used to. Maybe the wheel is just too small for that to be sufficient torque? It seems like if they had made the wheel asymmetrical in some way, I would have more surface area to grab for small or large wheel movements… It was nice that it wasn’t blocking my instrument cluster at least.
3) There was no instrument cluster.
4) The drive selector was very confusing. I had to pull it down past the hard detent to put it in drive. But despite the counter-intuitive graphic on the stalk, pulling it down a half click actually engages the cruise control. You have to pull it down two times rapidly, but not all the way down, to engage auto steer. I wonder why they chose to overload this physical control to manage the Autopilot function instead of just clicking the wheel that otherwise controls the feature. Very strange. I suspect people frequently put their car in neutral and get confused because of this. It also feels very foreign to push the drive stalk toward Reverse, but not all the way, to disengage the ADAS.

In short, the wheel and stalks were an interesting design choice, but I’m really looking forward to getting my car back with controls that make more sense. I don’t know if they’ll be successful selling cars with such strange controls - it seems like a safety issue to make basic things so counter-intuitive.

(Only slightly sarcastic here - it’s been very eye opening realizing how natural my car feels compared to this loaner)
8A5C16FF-EF97-452D-9D4D-927E017A6C7C.jpeg

(Featured Image Courtesy of Tesla, Inc)
 
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mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
7,470
6,939
MA, NH
Tesla delivered 14,000 Models S/X in Q1. They delivered 295,000 3/Y. I don't think the round wheel or blinkers are a problem.
You get used to what ever you have.
I like the Yoke, but I have zero issues switching back and forth between the S and the Volt, with, can you believe it, a round wheel.
I actually thought that would be a problem and it's been fine.
I think the S vs Volt is so different from each other that I don't trip the wrong muscle memory in the wrong car.
I felt completely comfortable in the Model 3, Model X and Model S.
But going from 3 to X took a while for the AutoPilot lever which you PULLED twice on the lower left side to engage vs two down clicks on the right in the Model 3
One thing some folks complain about on the Yoke is when you double click the scroll wheel you sometimes roll it (change speed).
I wish they would put distance to car in front on sideways clicks on the wheel. Currently it does nothing, I think ;)
 
In the Model 3, to change lanes while using Autosteer you have to either push the turn signal stalk all the way up/down or hold it in the partway position until the car starts making the lane change. In my “legacy” S, you can just press the turn stalk partway up/down, so need to hold it.

Using the gear selector to engage TACC or Autosteer in the 3 is an alternative to having to interact with the touchscreen. It actually requires a very deliberate action to shift a 3 into neutral, so you won’t do it by accident.

Interesting that you find your control-less Plaid more intuitive than the 3. I prefer the dedicated controls of my legacy S.
 
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mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
7,470
6,939
MA, NH
In the Model 3, to change lanes while using Autosteer you have to either push the turn signal stalk all the way up/down or hold it in the partway position until the car starts making the lane change. In my “legacy” S, you can just press the turn stalk partway up/down, so need to hold it.

Using the gear selector to engage TACC or Autosteer in the 3 is an alternative to having to interact with the touchscreen. It actually requires a very deliberate action to shift a 3 into neutral, so you won’t do it by accident.

Interesting that you find your control-less Plaid more intuitive than the 3. I prefer the dedicated controls of my legacy S.
I never liked the fact the Gear Select was on the same stalk as AutoPilot.

Refresh is absolutely fine and probably the most intuitive setup yet for Gear Select and AutoPilot.

If you like buttons there are touch sensitive gear select buttons on the console in the refresh. Which you rarely read about and didn’t even know it had until I got it.
 
In the Model 3, to change lanes while using Autosteer you have to either push the turn signal stalk all the way up/down or hold it in the partway position until the car starts making the lane change. In my “legacy” S, you can just press the turn stalk partway up/down, so need to hold it.

Using the gear selector to engage TACC or Autosteer in the 3 is an alternative to having to interact with the touchscreen. It actually requires a very deliberate action to shift a 3 into neutral, so you won’t do it by accident.

Interesting that you find your control-less Plaid more intuitive than the 3. I prefer the dedicated controls of my legacy S.

I was being a little bit facetious as a counterpoint to all the hand-wringing over how utterly unsafe and chaotic and unusable the refresh S is. I preferred the autopilot stalk on my previous S vastly over the 3/Y setup, and the scroll wheel single-click is very close (and it’s absolutely a better implementation when you turn on one-click mode, because disengaging auto steer also disengages TACC - it makes no sense to me why the car would keep accelerating due to TACC when I take over control.)
 
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TomT

Technical Maven
Mar 24, 2014
625
611
NE Georgia
1) The turn signals are really finicky - they’re located on a stalk that comes out of the left side of the steering column. Pushing to the soft-detent is hit or miss - a lot of times it doesn’t register. And, what’s completely bizarre is that if I’m in Autopilot, pushing it to the soft detent just makes the blinkers go 3 times but doesn’t actually change lanes. You have to push to the hard detent for it to make a lane change. Why don’t the lane changes work consistently like my haptic buttons? The stalk seems to be a strange design choice considering it has two different modes of operation and isn’t very consistent. If I’m driving manually and click down to the hard detent, the turn signals also don’t turn off automatically when I’ve completed a lane change. Very strange - I have to fiddle with it to make it stop blinking at that point.

Yours clearly has an issue. Mine behaves exactly as one would expect and completely reliably. Having driven a S for a while with the yoke, etc., I find the 3/Y implementation to be far more ergonomic and logical.
 
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mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
7,470
6,939
MA, NH
Honesty the biggest problem with using anything Autopilot related on the refresh is Tesla's moronic decision to have the right wheel side-to-side do.... nothing. And instead move that function (adjust follow distance) 2 menus deep into the settings UI. Who thought that was a good idea??
In good time. I hardly ever use that setting but it seems a logical place to put it is on the side to side of the wheel.
 
Thanks for the honest feedback! To me, it just sounds like you've become used to your yoke and now these things are now minor inconveniences. I wouldn't consider these inconveniences to necessarily be design flaws by any means imo. I personally like the hard clicks when selecting gears in the M3 because it gives me confidence as to what gear I'm in. I would actually argue that swiping up and down on my infotainment screen to select gears to be less intuitive because it would require me to take my eyes off the road and hand off the wheel
 
So my Plaid S has been in the shop for a week after the left rear motor failed as I was leaving a parking garage. Service center says it’s the inverter, part arrived and I should have it back in the next day or so, I hope. November build, failed at ~5,000 miles.

I’ve had a Model 3 Performance as a loaner for a few days and thought I would offer my feedback. It has FSD (license, not Beta), no premium connectivity, 2020 model with 28k miles.

1) The turn signals are really finicky - they’re located on a stalk that comes out of the left side of the steering column. Pushing to the soft-detent is hit or miss - a lot of times it doesn’t register. And, what’s completely bizarre is that if I’m in Autopilot, pushing it to the soft detent just makes the blinkers go 3 times but doesn’t actually change lanes. You have to push to the hard detent for it to make a lane change. Why don’t the lane changes work consistently like my haptic buttons? The stalk seems to be a strange design choice considering it has two different modes of operation and isn’t very consistent. If I’m driving manually and click down to the hard detent, the turn signals also don’t turn off automatically when I’ve completed a lane change. Very strange - I have to fiddle with it to make it stop blinking at that point.
2) The steering wheel is small, but is completely round. There are no edges to grab to either rest my hand on when cruising in Autopilot on a long highway ride, or to quickly grab. I found myself frequently being nagged to apply steering force, even though I was resting my hand on the spoke as I was used to. Maybe the wheel is just too small for that to be sufficient torque? It seems like if they had made the wheel asymmetrical in some way, I would have more surface area to grab for small or large wheel movements… It was nice that it wasn’t blocking my instrument cluster at least.
3) There was no instrument cluster.
4) The drive selector was very confusing. I had to pull it down past the hard detent to put it in drive. But despite the counter-intuitive graphic on the stalk, pulling it down a half click actually engages the cruise control. You have to pull it down two times rapidly, but not all the way down, to engage auto steer. I wonder why they chose to overload this physical control to manage the Autopilot function instead of just clicking the wheel that otherwise controls the feature. Very strange. I suspect people frequently put their car in neutral and get confused because of this. It also feels very foreign to push the drive stalk toward Reverse, but not all the way, to disengage the ADAS.

In short, the wheel and stalks were an interesting design choice, but I’m really looking forward to getting my car back with controls that make more sense. I don’t know if they’ll be successful selling cars with such strange controls - it seems like a safety issue to make basic things so counter-intuitive.

(Only slightly sarcastic here - it’s been very eye opening realizing how natural my car feels compared to this loaner)
View attachment 798037
(Featured Image Courtesy of Tesla, Inc)
I would probably say the exact same thing if I owned a Model S and drove a M3, it Is likely just bias. I love my Model 3 LR and at around half the price of your car, it is more than adequately appointed with enough tech. Initially, I admit experiencing the turning signal buffoonery you mention, but after a couple of drives, my muscle memory took right over. you are correct about the steering wheel nagging however, but I chalk that up to safety. Not sure about your comments about circular steering wheels… I was under the impression that was the very definition of a “wheel.”
 
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DayTrippin

Active Member
Supporting Member
Apr 30, 2021
1,361
1,562
Park Cities, TX
I switch back and forth every day between my refreshed S and my 3. Every time I have to do a multi point turn to put the car in the garage. Depending on who parks near my garage, it could be either a 3 or 6 point turn.

The yoke setup totally sucks in this situation. So much easier to tap a stalk up or down to change direction. I can do it without looking or taking my hands off the wheel. Exiting my street on a VERY busy main artery, there is a row of park cars that obscure oncoming traffic from the left. You often can't tell if it is safe to proceed until your nose of the car is literally half way into the lane. Can't tell you how much easier the stalks are to find in this situation and quickly reverse. In the S I almost got hit because I couldn't get the car quickly enough into reverse and there was no possibility to proceed forward.

These are 2 use cases I deal with every day, sometimes multiple times a day, where the S absolutely sucks compared to the 3. Absolutely NO WAY of quickly engaging reverse in this situation with the S. You almost always have to take your eyes off the road to find the screen or stupid console buttons. Not to mention the gear selector won't come up on the screen while rolling so you have to brake to get it. On the 3 you can be rolling and go from forward to reverse or back while the car is rolling as long as it isn't too fast. I'd love to have a long discussion with the moron(s) at Tesla who designed this from one engineer to another.

I can tolerate the yoke more but I think it should have been smaller. The need to fix the useless right button so you can adjust following distance as well. While at it, the made the reach for the buttons on the yoke that almost none of them are in reach for my wife to use with her hands on the wheel. Apparently they only wanted mostly men to drive the S/X.
 
So my Plaid S has been in the shop for a week after the left rear motor failed as I was leaving a parking garage. Service center says it’s the inverter, part arrived and I should have it back in the next day or so, I hope. November build, failed at ~5,000 miles.

I’ve had a Model 3 Performance as a loaner for a few days and thought I would offer my feedback. It has FSD (license, not Beta), no premium connectivity, 2020 model with 28k miles.

1) The turn signals are really finicky - they’re located on a stalk that comes out of the left side of the steering column. Pushing to the soft-detent is hit or miss - a lot of times it doesn’t register. And, what’s completely bizarre is that if I’m in Autopilot, pushing it to the soft detent just makes the blinkers go 3 times but doesn’t actually change lanes. You have to push to the hard detent for it to make a lane change. Why don’t the lane changes work consistently like my haptic buttons? The stalk seems to be a strange design choice considering it has two different modes of operation and isn’t very consistent. If I’m driving manually and click down to the hard detent, the turn signals also don’t turn off automatically when I’ve completed a lane change. Very strange - I have to fiddle with it to make it stop blinking at that point.
2) The steering wheel is small, but is completely round. There are no edges to grab to either rest my hand on when cruising in Autopilot on a long highway ride, or to quickly grab. I found myself frequently being nagged to apply steering force, even though I was resting my hand on the spoke as I was used to. Maybe the wheel is just too small for that to be sufficient torque? It seems like if they had made the wheel asymmetrical in some way, I would have more surface area to grab for small or large wheel movements… It was nice that it wasn’t blocking my instrument cluster at least.
3) There was no instrument cluster.
4) The drive selector was very confusing. I had to pull it down past the hard detent to put it in drive. But despite the counter-intuitive graphic on the stalk, pulling it down a half click actually engages the cruise control. You have to pull it down two times rapidly, but not all the way down, to engage auto steer. I wonder why they chose to overload this physical control to manage the Autopilot function instead of just clicking the wheel that otherwise controls the feature. Very strange. I suspect people frequently put their car in neutral and get confused because of this. It also feels very foreign to push the drive stalk toward Reverse, but not all the way, to disengage the ADAS.

In short, the wheel and stalks were an interesting design choice, but I’m really looking forward to getting my car back with controls that make more sense. I don’t know if they’ll be successful selling cars with such strange controls - it seems like a safety issue to make basic things so counter-intuitive.

(Only slightly sarcastic here - it’s been very eye opening realizing how natural my car feels compared to this loaner)
View attachment 798037
(Featured Image Courtesy of Tesla, Inc)
Hear ye! Hear ye! ☺️
 

strider

Active Member
Oct 20, 2010
3,970
1,703
NE Oklahoma
I think the saddest part of this thread is that your car is already in the shop for a major failure after only 5,000 miles. I'm not trolling. I pick up my Plaid X in 9 days. Having been following all of the various delivery and issues threads, I hope that I'm able to purchase my car and actually drive it home instead of to a Service Center.
 
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I agree with @TomT - the turn signal on the loaner Model 3 wasn't working correctly. On my Model Y (and I assume every other Y and 3 and older S and X) if you push partway down the signal flashes 3 times, if you push all the way down (past an easily noticed detent) it stays on until you turn. It's the same as virtually every other car on the market and works flawlessly so the fact that the OP had problems figuring out out it works is baffling.
 
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I think the saddest part of this thread is that your car is already in the shop for a major failure after only 5,000 miles. I'm not trolling. I pick up my Plaid X in 9 days. Having been following all of the various delivery and issues threads, I hope that I'm able to purchase my car and actually drive it home instead of to a Service Center.
I am also considering a Tesla purchase but am worried about buying a problem.
 
I agree with @TomT - the turn signal on the loaner Model 3 wasn't working correctly. On my Model Y (and I assume every other Y and 3 and older S and X) if you push partway down the signal flashes 3 times, if you push all the way down (past an easily noticed detent) it stays on until you turn. It's the same as virtually every other car on the market and works flawlessly so the fact that the OP had problems figuring out out it works is baffling.
It was sarcasm/a joke, comparing the more traditional style of the Models 3/Y to the S (which has no stalk).
 
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Model 3 & Y are really really rock solid reliable. Model S & X push the envelope so far that you may have an increased incidence of service.
I actually saw the model X on a list of ‘Worst Cars in America.’ I don’t know if I would say that but the article pointed to the notorious reliability as the reason.

It was sarcasm/a joke, comparing the more traditional style of the Models 3/Y to the S (which has no stalk).
Are you sure? I just read the OP’s post again and if s/he was being sarcastic I sure couldn’t tell.
 
In the Model 3, to change lanes while using Autosteer you have to either push the turn signal stalk all the way up/down or hold it in the partway position until the car starts making the lane change. In my “legacy” S, you can just press the turn stalk partway up/down, so need to hold it.

Using the gear selector to engage TACC or Autosteer in the 3 is an alternative to having to interact with the touchscreen. It actually requires a very deliberate action to shift a 3 into neutral, so you won’t do it by accident.

Interesting that you find your control-less Plaid more intuitive than the 3. I prefer the dedicated controls of my legacy S.
Our old AP1 model S required you to either hold the turn signal or push it past the detent. Similar to the model 3/y.
 
I agree with @TomT - the turn signal on the loaner Model 3 wasn't working correctly. On my Model Y (and I assume every other Y and 3 and older S and X) if you push partway down the signal flashes 3 times, if you push all the way down (past an easily noticed detent) it stays on until you turn. It's the same as virtually every other car on the market and works flawlessly so the fact that the OP had problems figuring out out it works is baffling.
Yes, that’s what it does - I know exactly how it works. It’s working as designed. Except if you’re in autopilot, then pushing down to the soft detent just blinks but doesn’t change lanes. You have to push down to the hard detent for it to execute a lane change (or I guess hold it down in that soft-detent zone which is silly). That’s dumb (and my legacy S wasn’t like that - you tap and it changes lanes - you don’t have to push the stalk all the way). And if I’m driving manually and decide 3 blinks isn’t enough and click it down to the hard detent to execute a lane change, I have to manually stop it from blinking - which counter intuitively requires you to tap a little bit, again, in the same direction... Yes this is how every other car works - my point (which everyone here is too busy being defensive of their worldview to see the facetiousness in) was that the refresh S is actually fine, and the things people have taken for granted are just habit, not “objectively better design”.

Anyway, as you were - everyone can continue bitching that they’d totally buy a new S tomorrow if it just had a wheel and filing NHTSA complaints in the meantime.
 

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