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If you were buying a Roadster today, would you aim for a 1.5, 2.0, or 2.5?

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by NicholasJB, Mar 10, 2015.

  1. NicholasJB

    NicholasJB Member

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    I found these old forum threads which were a great help in understanding the differences between the models:

    Differences in roadster versions [Archive] - Tesla Motors Club - Enthusiasts & Owners Forum
    Roadster History North America [Archive] - Tesla Motors Club - Enthusiasts & Owners Forum

    It seems like right now low-mileage 2.5s will usually run closer to $80k and up regardless of options, while low-mileage 1.5s can be found for as little as $55k. Originally I was focusing on 2.5s, but the more I think about the huge difference in price, the more I start to wonder what it is about the 2.5s I actually want and what I could do with an extra $20k. Some are no brainers; I'm sure there is some adapter that would allow me to switch out the old radio for a double-DIN touch-screen GPS system in a 1.5. Other features I wonder about, such as whether a 2.5 front bumper could be purchased for a 1.5 and what it would cost. Some I have no clue about, such as how the extra age will really affect battery life or what "improve reliability" means in the second post above. And with the price of the 3.0 upgrade still unknown, it's hard to know if it would be worth counting on saving the money to do a 1.5 > 3.0 conversion a year down the road...

    So I thought it might be helpful to hear the thoughts of owners who have lived with their cars for years. What makes you glad you bought the model you did? What makes you wish you had waited for the newer model year? In short, if you were in the market now and cost was a limiting factor, would you aim for a clean 2008 that you could use the extra money to update, or would you definitely shoot for a 2.5 sport to get all the factory goodies?
     
  2. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I was in the market last year and cost was definitely a limiting factor. I bought a 1.5 and am very happy with it. Some people claim the 1.5 is in some ways better than the later models: better quality contractors, more reliable PEM, intake fans less likely to clog. Others say the HVAC in the 2.0 and later cars is better so if you live in a more extreme climate than coastal California you will appreciate it. The double DIN in the later cars is certainly a plus.

    The 2.5 bumper change is purely cosmetic.

    Changing a 1.5 to double DIN is a big project, and costly.

    I don't use the stock JVC head unit in my 1.5. I have a mount for my iPhone and use Waze for GPS which is probably better than any GPS in any other head unit, and I play podcasts and music from my phone through the car speakers using Bluetooth.
     
  3. bonnie

    bonnie Oil is for sissies.

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    I think you'll find that Roadster owners will all be happy with the model that they have in their garage. Perhaps the better question would be, 'Does any Roadster owner wish they'd bought a different Roadster model?'.

    I predict no one will say 'yes' - which might indicate that no matter what model you buy, you'll be happy with your decision.
     
  4. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    The one issue I had with my 1.5 is I thought it was quite noisy. So I added the sound deadening kit and while at it we came up with sound deadening 2. It made a big difference but even then it is a Roadster not a quiet sedan. So for a weekend of work and about $500 in materials you can make a 1.5 as quiet as a 2.5. Not easy but doable. And then many can care less about noise level.

    The higher quality PEM and fan arrangement should be good long term. And so many of the other changes are both good and bad. For example it is nice to have a locking glove box in the 2.x. but the storage area in the 1.5 is 3x larger. Since there is so little space I like the extra room.
     
  5. tonybelding

    tonybelding Active Member

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    I went through this same thought process several months ago when I was shopping.

    1.5 Roadsters lack the power gauge on the instrument cluster, which is something I prefer to have. The aluminum knob shifter doesn't seem to be particularly well-loved either. It's a setup that made sense when everyone expected them to have two-speed transmissions, but isn't exactly logical with a one-speed gearbox. You may consider these to be minor nitpicks in comparison with the difference in price, though.

    I personally prefer the appearance of the 1.5-2.0 front fascia over the somewhat ricer-esque (to my eyes) 2.5 fascia. However, the 2.5 nose does support a front license plate bracket better, if you live somewhere those are required (as I do). And the 2.5 nose is starting to grow on me. It isn't homely.

    I've heard about some bits of the 1.5 cars being more reliable (PEM, TPMS) and other parts being improved on the newer cars (HVAC, etc.), so I think that's really a wash.

    The later cars have better sound insulation, though I'm not sure exactly at what point that was introduced. It can be added to older Roadsters, but it's a non-trivial job.

    The double DIN head unit with the backup camera is a plus, I'd say.

    After all my shopping, I ended up with a 2010 year model 2.5 Roadster with the double DIN stereo and camera and level 2 sound insulation. It wasn't the cheapest Roadster around. I've had it just over a month now, and it's fantastic. I did look closely at older cars, and if money was tighter I very likely would have gone for a 2008 model, and I'm sure it would have been fantastic too.
     
  6. NicholasJB

    NicholasJB Member

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    I'm surprised to see so many point out advantages of the 1.5s. I wasn't aware there was a difference in storage space, and I certainly hadn't heard that the 1.5s had superior craftsmanship in some areas. So I'm glad I posted this thread; I've already learned some valuable information.


    I think this is pretty accurate and I knew this was a bit of a difficult question to phrase properly when I wrote it. :)


    Why is this? Do you know if anyone has written up the process somewhere?
     
  7. tvuolo

    tvuolo Member

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    The biggest concern for me getting a 1.5 vs 2.x were people complaining about the hard seats. I'm not a big guy, 5'9" 150lb, and the 1.5 seats are great. They are more comfortable than the sport seats in my BMW. I still wouldn't want to spend more than 3 or 4 hours in them at a stretch, but my 1 hour commute is pleasant.

    I'd love to have the power gauge, the VDS in the middle, and a double DIN radio, but I'm not missing them. I love the "shifter" and the aluminum tray.

    My 1.5 was manufactured in early 2009. It has 13,400 miles on it, and the battery pack is doing fine. I don't think the age of the battery has a significant impact on it's health. I charge to 185mi using the HPWC @ 44A and 188mi using 110V 15A. The CAC dropped a few from 150.01 to 146.88 when I was using 110V, but is climbing back up using the HPWC -- Almost 148 now. That could also have been the very cold weather and not the charging.
     
  8. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    They announced the 2.5 the very day my 2.0 arrived. I'd have taken the 2.5 if it were offered, but I'm happy with my car.
     
  9. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    #9 ChadS, Mar 10, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
    The differences are so small, compared to what the car is, I really don't think it matters much. I don't think there's anything that's going to make you unhappy with your purchase.

    Unless there's something really specific in the list of changes (like you HAVE to have a glove box) don't worry about it. So few are available, pick one for sale that has options, miles, color and price you feel comfortable with (and as with any used car, you can have inspected and you feel comfortable with the seller). All of that is tough enough without limiting your options further by only considering a specific version.

    The car improved slightly over time; but as people have pointed out the changes were small and there were some tradeoffs, and market prices seem to favor the older cars - though I'll bet after a 3.0 upgrade that will even out some, so older cars may be a relative bargain now. I love my 2.0, but if something happened to it and I were shopping for another one, I would be happy to consider any version.
     
  10. Habious

    Habious Member

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    I test drove a 2.0 before I bought my 2.5.

    The double-DIN stereo/NAV in the 2.5 is very nice to have. I prefer the seats in the 2.5 also.

    I don't find the "locking glove box" to be all that useful. I think it's appropriately named...since there is room for ONE glove in it (and nothing more).

    My biggest reason for going with a 2.5 was that it was the "last". The final update (or so I thought).
     
  11. dhrivnak

    dhrivnak Active Member

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    I agree the double DIN would be nice to have but because of how the dash is assembled you have to take it ALL apart. Modify the opening (saw time) and modify the vent ducting along with needing the new parts. So it typically is not a simple or inexpensive change. Once Tesla realized what could be done they made the changes standard on the 2.5.
     
  12. shrink

    shrink Member

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    I have a 2.0 and while I love it, I would have bought a 2.5 for the Double-DIN and backup camera. I've since converted to Double-DIN and added a backup camera, but it was costly and time consuming.

    I actually made good use of the glovebox. My insurance card and registration paperwork fits there, as do my sunglasses, and different cables from my new stereo. When I use Apple Car Play, my iPhone is in the glovebox plugged in and hidden from view.
     
  13. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    This is mostly true although 2 people above have said they'd have bought a 2.5 if it was available. I've talked with a few people who upgraded to 2.5 after driving a 1.5 for a few years because of the improvements. But only a few. You really have to look at your priorities and ask yourself what matters. If I was buying used I'd spring for the extra 15 - 20k to get a 2.5. And just to prove Bonnie's point, that's what I have in my garage! Others prefer 1.5/2.0 for valid reasons. The things I really like:

    Power gauge next to speedometer. I like and use this a lot.
    Much larger choice of tires than the 1.5.
    I really like having a backup camera.
    I like the seats a lot better.
    I like it being quieter.
    Better PEM and motor cooling in the 2.5 but don't like that you have to clean it out more often, so that's a wash.
    I've never noticed better craftsmanship in the 1.5s. Not sure where you got that.
    Based on data from the PIA Roadster study, the 1.5 PEM is no more reliable than the 2.x but not a lot of data.
    I like the glove box. Nice to store things hidden and so they don't slide around.
    I like the VDS in the center console near the radio and other controls.
    Stronger HVAC, but only useful in extreme climates.

    A few things I like better on the 1.5:
    Gear shift. It's better than buttons IMO.
    Better TPMS system.
    1.5 and 2.0 bumper is cool.:cool:

    One thing which might not have anything to do with version, I really like the adjustable suspension. Better handling and comfort. I think you can add it to any version??? Not sure.

    So that's why I would buy another 2.5, but that doesn't mean it's right for you. And like others have said, all of them are great cars.
     
  14. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    This is the biggest factor in favor of a 2.0/2.5, IMHO. The 1.5 is very limited on tire choice because it doesn't have the tire learning feature, and the TC goes nuts if you use a nonstandard diameter tire.

    Not hard to add to the 2.0 - running the wires is the biggest pain. The JVC head unit common on the 2.0 has the capability; there's just no camera.

    They changed the seats between the 2.0 and 2.5 (although some of the later 2.0's had the improved seats).

    I find this more convenient when driving, but less convenient if you need to access from outside the car... i.e. you can't.

    I believe the adjustable suspension would fit any version, and I HIGHLY recommend it. I don't know what percentage of cars were shipped with the option, but if I was looking for a Roadster this would be near the top of my criteria.
     
  15. DeedWest

    DeedWest 2011 Roadster 2.5 Sport #1438

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    I spoke with an owner named Andrew on here over a year ago who had upgraded his Roadster to 2.5 seats and double-DIN to match the 2.5. He mentioned it was over $8,000 for the installation & also that Tesla had stopped offering such a project.

    Having nearly purchased both a 1.5 and 2.0 at separate times in my three year-long Roadster debacle, I went through the same thing you're experiencing now. My personal conclusion was that I would only look for a 2.0 or above due to the interior changes. After all, even if you stare at the car for hours like I enjoy doing, you'll spend the most time inside enjoying the interior and driving the car. It all comes down to your needs & preference, and of course: budget. Hope this helps!
     
  16. AEdennis

    AEdennis Active Member

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    We're happy with our 1.5, but it is very noisy.
     
  17. samcarney

    samcarney Sam C

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    I currently own a 2.0 purchased new in 2009 #635 and a 1.5 purchased used 1 year ago #436. I love them both.
    I prefer the transmission stick over the buttons. I don't have to look down to find a button when going from reverse to forward (hectic when backing out into traffic etc). In fact I have glued a small piece of felt on the reverse button so I can feel it without taking my eyes off the road.

    Contrary to what most on this forum say, I find the single din JVC unit very good, get the updated antenna for better, but not great AM reception, I have traveled all over the Midwest and Canada, the GPS has never failed me yet (I keep it updated with the latest maps avail.). I have taken road trips from SoCal to southern Arizona with the 1.5 also using the JVC unit for navigation. As noted by others the JVC unit is setup for a rear camera. I have it on the 2.0 the screen is small but it helps. I will eventually put one on the 1.5.

    I think the 1.5 has more mid-range torque than the 2.0. It is marginal (7-8 foot lbs?) but I think I can feel the difference.
    As for build quality I see no difference. The 2.0 has perpetual TPMS problems, not the 1.5. The 1.5 has the fan shroud mods so I don't see a problem with the AC.

    Tires, I run Continental Extreme Contact DWS 195x16 front and 225x17 rear on both cars, no problem.

    The VDS is not so conveniently located on the 1.5. It is easier to read from outside the car when parked, and nearly impossible to read driving in bright sunlight with the top off. The 2.0 is not easy to read in sunlight either, but is better.

    I like the analog Kw gauge on the 2.0, but the digital Kw gauge on the 1.5 tells me the same thing.

    As for cosmetic differences front and rear, I think is personal, I like both.
    Both are noisy, but I am willing to live with it. After all it is a sports car.

    Just my 2 cents, FWIW.
     
  18. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    I prefer the 1.5 gearshift to the later center console push buttons. With the gear shift I don't have to look to change gears, it's just dead-easy to feel where the shift lever is and then move it m

    I like the extra space the shelf offers. And the VDS on the left side is easy to read from outside the car.

    But the later models have their advantages as others have pointed out and I'm sure they are correct.

    Really the differences seem minor to me. Earlier cars can be updated to a certain degree, though of course it costs $$$s. The adjustable suspension can be added to any model, and the coming 3.0 upgrade package can be added to any model as far as we know right now.

    If you can afford a later model than why not get it, but if you can't I can assure you that a 1.5 is a blast to drive and a joy to own!
     
  19. PokerBroker

    PokerBroker Member

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    Ibcs and I had an opportunity to swap cars last fall and each had the exact same observations of the areas in which each other's car were superior.... I drive a 1.5 and he drives a 2.5... I think that says a lot about how close these two cars really are... I added dynamat, upgraded to the double DIN, and swapped up to the 2.5 seats for better side support for much cheaper than the extra $30k I would've spent on a 2.5 and I couldn't be happier... Ibcs on the other hand has upgraded/mod'd his ride into an absolute masterpiece since ;)
     
  20. gregd

    gregd Member

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    Interesting thread! I've learned that I got really lucky with my 2.0... and, yes, I'm quite happy with it.

    Before buying it at the end of 2014, I had lusted over getting a Roadster for some time. Then Tesla opened a service center just down the road, so the lust increased. I left a car search window open in my PC browser, and hit "refresh" once in a while, to get a feel for what was out there. Developed a cost target, and decided that I really preferred the 2.0 / 2.5 model over the 1.5 due to some of the cabin refinements, and a general desire to get a car with a few additional years of engineering under its hood. Decided I did not want Red (ticket bait) or Black (thermal issues in central California), nor the orange-inset seats. Personal preferences, there.

    The local art community in town held a "Art Walk", and one of the local Roadster owners brought his 2.5, which we all agree is a work of art. I sat in it. I'm 5'4", and he's considerably taller, and didn't do my homework trying to get a seat position where I could see, reach the pedals, etc., which basically I couldn't do. I guess I figured that 19-way adjustable seats and steering wheels were standard equipment, no? No!, I found out later. I nearly closed the browser window, but left it open just to see the pretty cars. Lust does that to you.

    Around Christmas I hit "refresh" one more time, and There It Was. Met my criteria, price, etc., and long story short, it's in my garage. Due to circumstances, I bought the car without ever seeing it in person (but had a 7 day return promise, if it didn't work), but the service center did confirm that the repair and maintenance record looked good. Turns out that the seat pulled full-forward is perfect for me, as are all the controls, and laying a piece of 1x6 redwood at the base of the driveway lets me drive the car into the garage without making the nose and mud flaps "self trimming". The prior owner did a great job taking care of the car (as I promise to do), so I let the 7 day return lapse without hesitation.

    I admit I took some risks in buying the car, especially under the circumstances, but it worked out well. I hope you find the same result.
     

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