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Model 3 Review from a new Owner

ytfsic

Member
Apr 11, 2021
186
329
Kitsap, WA
Hey all...While you are waiting for your Tesla I thought I'd share my experience as a new 2021 LR owner with Tesla Vision because I wish I knew what it was like before I got mine.
1. Cruise control brakes ALL THE TIME at night. It seems to think any oncoming car is in your lane until it's absolutely certain it's not. The car also phantom brakes at dusk/dawn quite a often. If you're imagining that something as simple as cruise control behaves how it does in literally any other car, be prepared for some heart ache. They don't have radar and it doesn't just stick to the set speed (it adjusts based on what it thinks is in front of you).
2. Phantom drain can be extensive if you have sentry mode on or just check your car on the app. Plan accordingly.
3. The car doesn't have an AM radio. If you live somewhere that has drawbridges, snowy mountain passes, or ferries, consider this. I bought a little pocket AM radio to keep in the car but this was a bit of a shock realization.
4. The delivery checklist I used to get my car didn't say to make sure that both wiper blades evenly spread fluid. My driver's side wiper fluid tube wasn't plugged in to the supply so the supply was just spraying fluid onto an electric cable. Easy to fix, but just be very aware when you get it.
5. The Tesla mud flaps go on the front tires (!) and even on a standard height LR M3 are so low to the ground that they scrape the ground when you slow down.

You'll notice I didn't say anything about autopilot. I think everyone here assumes that autopilot is a mess right now, and it pretty much is. Even with the latest updates it can't be trusted for long stints of time. I'm sure I'm coming across as a curmudgeon right now but they said they won't make the entire fleet vision only until it reaches parity with radar vehicles and it's not fleet wide yet, so I'm not crazy.

I feel a lot of regret from not knowing this ahead of time as it really impacts how I drive the car vs how I planned to. When you get your car be prepared for a few rough months until they have things figured out. It's not all doom and gloom but just be aware.

Current version: 2021.4.18.10
 
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thewishmaster

Member
Jun 4, 2018
661
560
California
1. Cruise control brakes ALL THE TIME at night. It seems to think any oncoming car is in your lane until it's absolutely certain it's not. The car also phantom brakes at dusk/dawn quite a often. If you're imagining that something as simple as cruise control behaves how it does in literally any other car, be prepared for some heart ache. They don't have radar and it doesn't just stick to the set speed (it adjusts based on what it thinks is in front of you).
2. Phantom drain can be extensive if you have sentry mode on or just check your car on the app. Plan accordingly.

Given how often these behaviors change, mentioning the version number could be helpful for this snapshot in time
 
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ytfsic

Member
Apr 11, 2021
186
329
Kitsap, WA
Do you think the car is still worth it, without the AP?
The problem is that AutoPilot is part of cruise control and that ruins the experience for me. Tesla cruise control doesn't just keep you at speed, it slows you down for objects it thinks are in front of you using autopilot brains. It often thinks shadows are cars. At night it thinks other cars are in your lane. This means you're not just without AP, you're without functional cruise control. I don't mind being without autosteer--although it's definitely a step back from the car we used to have that had a functional lane-keep-assist function.

Would I buy it again knowing what I know now? I'm not sure, honestly. I used to be a Tesla fanboy and the sunk cost fallacy is hard to overcome.

I'm probably holding too much hope for the future. When the next FSD/AP updates happen let's say they bring up cruise control to be 90% of what my Volvo was, I'm going to be more relaxed when I drive and then less likely to be alert when cruise control floors the brake during that 10% of the time--or worse, if I start using autosteer (which I don't do at all now because I enjoy living) and it works 90% of the time, that 10% of the time I'm not going to be as alert. I'm concerned, but it's too early to tell if these issues won't get ironed out in the next few months given how they just did this and seemingly weren't planning for it happening so soon.

My Volvo autopilot NEVER tried to throw me into oncoming traffic (which Tesla has done 3 times now). While my Volvo did have phantom braking, it was incredibly rare and usually due to an unusual substrate on the road like a metal plate, so it was somewhat predictable. My plan is to wait this out until Volvo's next generation EVs come out and then gauge the market then.
 
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ytfsic

Member
Apr 11, 2021
186
329
Kitsap, WA
You used your volvo cruise control on non divided highways? Your volvo cruise control also had controlled steering?
It did. It works on all roads and even turns corners. Only thing it didn’t do (that Tesla autosteer “does”) is slow down around turns on its own. Here’s a video of a guy using the Volvo “autopilot” on a highway. It’s incredibly effective.
 

Scarletfever

Member
Jul 2, 2021
43
15
NJ
It did. It works on all roads and even turns corners. Only thing it didn’t do (that Tesla autosteer “does”) is slow down around turns on its own. Here’s a video of a guy using the Volvo “autopilot” on a highway. It’s incredibly effective.
Can you auto steer / lane center in the Volvo without having the cruise control active? Like you I don’t know that I can trust AP, but I like how my Honda’s lane keep assist basically steers while I work the pedals.
 
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oreobbq

Member
Jan 8, 2021
253
327
Houston
I wonder how many of these issues you're having are related to TV. I've seen others having issues with phantom braking on previous M3s but I never had an issue on my 2020 M3. Maybe it's worth putting in a service request to rule out any bugs? Your account definitely doesn't inspire much confidence esp since I have a TV car on order.
 
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ytfsic

Member
Apr 11, 2021
186
329
Kitsap, WA
Can you auto steer / lane center in the Volvo without having the cruise control active? Like you I don’t know that I can trust AP, but I like how my Honda’s lane keep assist basically steers while I work the pedals.
On our Volvo (we still have one) it does the steering and the pedals so I’m basically relegated to the guy that controls the cruise control set speed. One thing I especially like over the Tesla autopilot is that it has a little more… “give” where you can nudge it a little bit more than you can nudge the Tesla AP. Like with Teslas you’re pretty much out of AP the moment you apply any intentional nudge to the route. On Volvo you need to make a little more of a correction than a nudge.
 
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ytfsic

Member
Apr 11, 2021
186
329
Kitsap, WA
I wonder how many of these issues you're having are related to TV. I've seen others having issues with phantom braking on previous M3s but I never had an issue on my 2020 M3. Maybe it's worth putting in a service request to rule out any bugs? Your account definitely doesn't inspire much confidence esp since I have a TV car on order.
I brought it up with the service guy the first week I had it. He told me that I’d receive a camera calibration message if it was the system. It’s just what it has to offer right now. I will say that I think the night time performance is definitely because of TV but I had rented a model 3 with radar before I got my new one and it also tried to throw me into oncoming traffic around a turn on a two lane road. Watching videos from YouTubers I have since learned that my experience isn’t unusual. I will say that my experience with AP is much worse than it was with radar. As my original post said, if TV was as good as radar Elon would have moved the whole fleet by now but he didn’t, so he knows what’s up.

Also, with my nighttime braking, I’m considering any hesitation a phantom brake because I can’t make it down the darn road without a slow down or brake every time a car approaches. These aren’t hard brake checks. Those have been inconsistent and infrequent but still unacceptable compared to what we’ve experienced with our Volvos. I was naive to think that Tesla was better than what we had, I had kinda believed the hype before I got this car.

I hope they get it up to the same level of reliability as Volvo, though. It’d be quite a feat of engineering, much harder than what Volvo did WITH radar but so much more useful and capable of pulled off. The Volvo pretty much never did a brake check or even an incorrect hesitation. Def not as much as my TV Tesla, and again, I’m not saying this because I hate Tesla. I’m saying this because I hate my experience today, with this version.
 

ytfsic

Member
Apr 11, 2021
186
329
Kitsap, WA
I wonder how many of these issues you're having are related to TV. I've seen others having issues with phantom braking on previous M3s but I never had an issue on my 2020 M3. Maybe it's worth putting in a service request to rule out any bugs? Your account definitely doesn't inspire much confidence esp since I have a TV car on order.
You know, one thing that may explain our differences in experience, there are a lot of trees (casting shadows) here and a lot of hills and turns in occluded vision roads. If I remember Houston there were a lot less hills and super tall trees lining the roads casting shadows. I’m not at all dissing Houston but recognizing that we may have different driving conditions (and forgive me if I’m wrong about these differences, I haven’t been to Houston often or for a long time).
 

oreobbq

Member
Jan 8, 2021
253
327
Houston
You know, one thing that may explain our differences in experience, there are a lot of trees (casting shadows) here and a lot of hills and turns in occluded vision roads. If I remember Houston there were a lot less hills and super tall trees lining the roads casting shadows. I’m not at all dissing Houston but recognizing that we may have different driving conditions (and forgive me if I’m wrong about these differences, I haven’t been to Houston often or for a long time).

Yeah it's pretty flat here. Drive further out from the city and you might see some cows. That's about as scenic as it gets.
 

ytfsic

Member
Apr 11, 2021
186
329
Kitsap, WA
Yeah it's pretty flat here. Drive further out from the city and you might see some cows. That's about as scenic as it gets.
Ok yeah so that may explain the differences in our experiences but the Volvos still got us Teslas beat with autopilot/pilotassist. I wonder how Subaru’s autopilot is. As I understand it they are also vision-only, but I could be wrong.
 

LaneDS

Member
Jul 9, 2021
92
161
Virginia
Interested to hear other "vision only" Tesla owners impressions with autopilot, as this is worrisome (about to take delivery on a "vision only" vehicle here).
 
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ytfsic

Member
Apr 11, 2021
186
329
Kitsap, WA
Interested to hear other "vision only" Tesla owners impressions with autopilot, as this is worrisome (about to take delivery on a "vision only" vehicle here).
Your mileage may vary, I'd be interested in hearing about your experience. If I remember right VA has similar geography to WA so our experiences ought to be similar. I'm on the conservative software update schedule so if you do "Advanced" you'll often have patches newer than me.

Story behind why I do that: when I rented a Perf Model 3 in April the car had a software bug that caused the backup camera to not work intermittently. I assumed at the time and the Turo owner assumed at the time that this was due to the specific software update installed on the vehicle. Since I've received my vehicle I've heard of other people getting bugs like Speed Limit signs in the interface being buggy and by the time I got a similar patch I didn't have that issue.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
10,804
12,523
Riverside Co. CA
Interested to hear other "vision only" Tesla owners impressions with autopilot, as this is worrisome (about to take delivery on a "vision only" vehicle here).

The thread on tesla vision is here:

 
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LaneDS

Member
Jul 9, 2021
92
161
Virginia
Your mileage may vary, I'd be interested in hearing about your experience. If I remember right VA has similar geography to WA so our experiences ought to be similar. I'm on the conservative software update schedule so if you do "Advanced" you'll often have patches newer than me.

Story behind why I do that: when I rented a Perf Model 3 in April the car had a software bug that caused the backup camera to not work intermittently. I assumed at the time and the Turo owner assumed at the time that this was due to the specific software update installed on the vehicle. Since I've received my vehicle I've heard of other people getting bugs like Speed Limit signs in the interface being buggy and by the time I got a similar patch I didn't have that issue.

Will do! Not sure where I'll land on which software updates to run with, but will try to remember to post some impressions once I get the opportunity to test.

The thread on tesla vision is here:


Perfect, thank you!
 
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