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Model 3: First 100 Miles Impressions from a P85D Owner

MarkS22

Member
Apr 6, 2015
796
1,985
Morris County, NJ
Thanks for the write up, its good to see a fellow NJ person in a 3.

I'm currently deciding between a CPO P85D / 85D or a 3LR. Price and range aside, do you feel like the S is still the superior car?

The P85D is an amazing car with “insane” acceleration and near-SUV levels of utility. It feels magnetized to the road.

The 3 feels superior in terms of technology and design (for now), but obviously won’t win in a drag race.

I think you have to weigh performance (S), range (3), Autopilot (3), cargo and passenger capacity (S), and the like to determine what’s superior to you. I mean they’re both excellent cars.
 

ℬête Noire

Active Member
Jan 30, 2018
3,105
2,556
TX
It’s heavier than I expected, to be honest. It’s mostly useful when it comes to having your hands full. I might not be high on your priority list, but I was also comparing to my S which does have it. In my opinion, the power liftgate is a plus for the S.

Part of it also I think is how tough it is to close. I just got a quick few minutes with and, even with prior knowledge of people saying you needed to be forceful to close it I didn't get it latched first try. I had assumed it was overblown description but it's not, doesn't latch easy. *shrug*
 
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napabill

Active Member
Apr 30, 2009
1,508
280
Napa, California, United States
Have had the M3 (Bluebird) for 1 week and 1,000 miles. All positive comments from above are agreed with, but not enough comment of the additional range. We travel several times a year between Napa and Tucson and we were able to eliminate a charging stop on each of our 2 days of travel. Still prefer my X for road trips, but the sacrifice in range is noticed.
 

MarkS22

Member
Apr 6, 2015
796
1,985
Morris County, NJ
Congrats on the M3, is the 3 replacing the P85D? If so why did you decide to go with RWD coming from AWD in the Northeast?

My P85D is coming off lease in March. A family member wants a Model 3, but isn’t in a hurry. I’m going to drive the Model 3 until the next S refresh or update. Then, I’ll sell the 3 to the family member who doesn’t need AWD or Performance.

So, in short: timing. It’s a nice stopgap for me. I get to stay in a Tesla and watch Autopilot evolve while waiting for the next S.
 
Last edited:

MarkS22

Member
Apr 6, 2015
796
1,985
Morris County, NJ
Have had the M3 (Bluebird) for 1 week and 1,000 miles. All positive comments from above are agreed with, but not enough comment of the additional range. We travel several times a year between Napa and Tucson and we were able to eliminate a charging stop on each of our 2 days of travel. Still prefer my X for road trips, but the sacrifice in range is noticed.

Yeah, I probably didn’t mention it since I’ve never really had an issue with range on the P85D. All of my 200+ mile trips had Destination Chargers or a convenient Supercharger. But yes, the added range is very nice (especially in the cold).
 

MarkS22

Member
Apr 6, 2015
796
1,985
Morris County, NJ
@MarkS22,

I hate to even say this at this point but still surprised QC either didn’t catch or they just tried to pawn off the several delivery issues hoping you don’t notice, especially the hood dents and paint chip

Ski

BTW, I want to be clear here that they were upfront about the chip immediately when we were walking up to the car. I didn’t mean to imply they just showed me the car and pretended it wasn’t there. It wasn’t a minor chip. Something heavy has to have hit it or drop on it.

They were very accommodating and offered to bring it to a body shop or replace the hood. The body shop would be faster. I opted for the replacement since it’s a new car and believe it should be in new condition. They understood my thoughts and ordered a new hood.
 

Skione65

Active Member
May 5, 2016
1,510
743
Kentucky
BTW, I want to be clear here that they were upfront about the chip immediately when we were walking up to the car. I didn’t mean to imply they just showed me the car and pretended it wasn’t there. It wasn’t a minor chip. Something heavy has to have hit it or drop on it.

They were very accommodating and offered to bring it to a body shop or replace the hood. The body shop would be faster. I opted for the replacement since it’s a new car and believe it should be in new condition. They understood my thoughts and ordered a new hood.

@MarkS22,

Thanks for the clarification! Much appreciated. Glad to hear that’s how they approached it and more in line with what I’d expect from Tesla. Super! I agree you made the right choice going with a replacement new hood.

Ski
 

MarkS22

Member
Apr 6, 2015
796
1,985
Morris County, NJ
A couple new observations:

(1) Problems with icing. So, we had a very mild cold rain the other night followed by 25F weather. In the morning, I went to open the doors of the Model 3 and the handle took reasonable pressure to open. There was no ice on the exterior... it felt like I was pushing through freezing behind the handle. The door opened, but the window didn't drop 1" like usual, so it wouldn't close. I could hear the motor trying, though. Basically, the windows were iced into place. I want to be clear that there was no visible ice on the window or lining the edge of the window. It took about 30 minutes of high heat to finally warm the window enough to melt the within the door and allow the door to open and close properly. Later in the day, with the exterior of the window dry, I lowered the window and then raised it. The exterior of the window was wet. This leads me to believe some water is getting inside the door, between the molding and the glass. On a cold day, this can freeze and lock the window in place... basically leaving you stranded because you can't close your door against the rubber weather seal. I believe upgraded weatherproofing is in order because, again, this wasn't even close to a major weather event. It shouldn't strand you for 30 minutes. (I have videos of this to give a better idea.)

(2) The app often won't "wake" the car to heat it. This usually happens after it hasn't been used for a while, as though it won't wake properly. When I walk up to the vehicle, it turns on fine with the phone/Bluetooth. This has never happened with the Model S. One guess is that the LTE goes to sleep and, unlike the S, there's no ability to keep connected to my home Wi-Fi?

(3) I'm feeling a vibration in the steering wheel lasting about two seconds at apparently random times. It's not at a specific speed, but typically around 40-50mph. It almost feels like it's a rumble strip or lane departure warning, but a little more subtle, and it happens when I'm not even close to crossing a lane marking. Again, nothing I've felt on the Model S.

(4) Going back and forth between AP1 and AP2 in the same day, I can say with confidence AP2 is not as close to AP1 as many have suggested. I have high hopes for it with all the sensors, but I'm had a few scares in less than one week of ownership than I've had in 2 years with AP1 on the same exact roads. Also, as many of you know, AP2 still doesn't depict adjacent lanes or the types of vehicles. It's just not there yet.

(5) The rear camera of the Model 3 is just as bad, if not worse, than the Model S in getting covered by rain. If this is required for safe FSD or even automatic lane changes, there would have to be some kind of upgrade to keep it clear (like a blast of air or mini wiper). In rain today, it was practically useless.

On the positive side:

(1) In comparison to the Model S, the new navigation is really slick. When you're using route guidance, the map gently zooms and rotates perfectly to give you situational awareness. The built-in arrows telling you which lane to get in for an upcoming turn are very intuitive and make you easily forget the pop-up images that appear on the Model S instrument cluster. It's fluid and has a high frame rate.

(2) The car is still a joy to drive. I'm finding it more "fun" than the S, even with less power. My wife isn't a car person. She puts up with my talking about Tesla when anyone asks about it. She drove the Model 3 the day we got it, but today took it out to drive around town for the first time today. I received an unsolicited text: "This car is so much fun to drive. It hugs the turns. It's awesome." For reference, her car is a Mercedes GLC300 but she has been driving the P85D for the past week. Even so, she still went out of her way to text about the Model 3. She has never complimented a car like that before.

I'm convinced this could be a massive hit for Tesla, but it does feel like we're still in the beta stages here. As I noted in my original post, I knew what I was getting into. I share all the positives and negatives here (and with Tesla Service) in hopes of setting expectations and ultimately (in a very small part) helping make the car better.
 

T34ME

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
2,262
3,528
Inland Empire
but it does feel like we're still in the beta stages here. As I noted in my original post, I knew what I was getting into
Yes, I believe that was Tesla's plan - employees first, then owners, and then the rest of us. Who better to be beta testers than employees and owners in exchange for getting their cars first? The rest of us are best served by sending your observations and feedback to Tesla. The car is getting better week by week and the rest of us thank those who already have their cars for being the beta testers.
 

emir-t

Member
Oct 28, 2013
452
527
Istanbul
Yes, I believe that was Tesla's plan - employees first, then owners, and then the rest of us. Who better to be beta testers than employees and owners in exchange for getting their cars first? The rest of us are best served by sending your observations and feedback to Tesla. The car is getting better week by week and the rest of us thank those who already have their cars for being the beta testers.

I really want to believe this is the way things are going. Are we even seeing stable and noticeable improvements? Another line of argument could very easily be; if you set sail with holes in a ship, would you really be able to patch them all? or would you patch one only to crack another one open somewhere else? Also even if you did manage to patch them all to perfection you still have to pump all the water out. So definitely sounds better to start clean. But hey, nothing is conventional with Tesla so why should this be?

Been waiting on my "Model 3 dream" for 5 years + now. Due to me being located where I am it's still a good 18 months away despite the day 1 res. I really hope they can patch everything and make the experience really premium until I get mine. Of course my current car BMW i3 isn't a comparison to Tesla because mine isn't even a car it's an urban mobility vehicle with 70 mile range but with the BMW you don't think about window seals, windows freezing, wind noise or anything of that nature. It just feels well put together.

Now that Jaguar iPace-like longer range big name EVs are coming out around the same time Model 3 comes to Europe, it is worrying as a fan to see Tesla still struggling with Level 1 auto maker issues. Maybe I'm being too harsh since it's the early stage for Model 3 production but if they keep their QC like this they'll become just another American auto maker in Europe when electric cars are the normal and being a long range electric isn't a thing anymore. I really want them to be successful.
 

suwaneedad

Member
Dec 11, 2016
921
1,113
Atlanta
but it does feel like we're still in the beta stages here
This is a really great point, because it would provide a REALLY good reason for Elon to sacrifice continued progress on the exponential growth ramp objective in favor of Elon rolling out AWD, SR, white seats (etc) for existing owners first. He can claim the "rewarding existing owners' loyalty" to save face in PR land, with the real reason being that cars rolling off the line today are not yet ready for prime time (meaning, owners new to Tesla). This would buy him time, he can matter-of-factly explain his PR-approved reasoning, and we all move along. Should be interesting to see which direction he chooses (stick to LR/PUP in favor of ramp improvement, or expand the offerings to keep the ownership group 'in the family' until the cars bugs are better resolved).
 

T34ME

Active Member
Mar 31, 2016
2,262
3,528
Inland Empire
Now that Jaguar iPace-like longer range big name EVs are coming out around the same time Model 3 comes to Europe, it is worrying as a fan to see Tesla still struggling with Level 1 auto maker issues.
Jaguar a quality auto maker? I owned a Jaguar once. Never again! Electrical, engine cooling, rattles, AC, cracking leather - never could fix them, dealer just threw up their hands. Jaguar is the poster picture for unfixable quality issues at an exorbitant price.
 

PeterK

Model X & 3 Owner
Jan 17, 2013
1,713
657
Cambridge, MA
@MarkS22,

Excellent write up! Thank you for taking the time to compile such a detailed review. One of the most detailed, informative reviews yet....what I like is the applicability of review as it compares to your years driving the ‘S’. Great perspective. I hate to even say this at this point but still surprised QC either didn’t catch or they just tried to pawn off the several delivery issues hoping you don’t notice, especially the hood dents and paint chip. They just plain have to get control of these even though I understand they are trying to ‘ramp up’. However, excellent that they stepped up and are correcting those issues appropriately. Kudos to Tesla there.
Enjoy your new 3!

Ski

BTW, I want to be clear here that they were upfront about the chip immediately when we were walking up to the car. I didn’t mean to imply they just showed me the car and pretended it wasn’t there. It wasn’t a minor chip. Something heavy has to have hit it or drop on it.

They were very accommodating and offered to bring it to a body shop or replace the hood. The body shop would be faster. I opted for the replacement since it’s a new car and believe it should be in new condition. They understood my thoughts and ordered a new hood.[/QUOT

My guess is that the hood dents and paint chip occurred after the factory QC, while being transported for delivery.
 

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