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Potential Owner with questions....

Discussion in 'Model 3: Ordering, Production, Delivery' started by jonquiljo, Sep 27, 2019.

  1. jonquiljo

    jonquiljo Supporting Member

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    Hi, I'm someone who is incredibly interested in buying a Model 3 (LR, Red, Aeros). I drove one yesterday and it far exceeded my expectations. I do have the following concerns from past car purchases - and they worry me today. If anyone wants to chime in with advice, I would be eternally grateful.

    My wife is physically disabled - totally degenerative spine, replacing hips and knees as they come due, etc. It's more of a chronic pain problem than being crippled. I bought a Porsche 911 a number of years back and found out the hard way. She rode in it exactly once. I want to buy a Model 3 to be actually used (the Porsche was a big mistake for our circumstances). Those of you who have purchased M3's - do you feel it is back friendly? Is it too low to the ground when getting in? Low to the ground puts lots of strain on the knees, hips and back. For example our Mercedes E320 is no problem. Then again, I don't want another Mercedes!

    My wife cannot easily come with me to the dealership and "test ride" an M3. It will be a couple of weeks before I can arrange that. I've e-mailed the rep at the Tesla showroom asking if I could take (any) M3 out for about 2 hours to bring it home and have my wife check out the passenger seat without anyone standing over her and making her feel self conscious. I'd like to order the car soon, but am not sure if/when I can get her to try it.

    When getting into the Model 3, it seemed as if the seat height was low to the ground - echoing the disaster or buying a Porsche. The seats seemed very comfortable. I would expect that the 18" aero Wheels would give a smoother ride, but the 19" premium wheels would raise the car up a bit.

    When test driving the car, it seemed "jerky" for lack of a better word. When I would back off the gas, the car would lurch forward. I assume this is somewhat normal - and also that I am very new at driving the car. I think the dealer had the car set in sport or standard mode instead of comfort mode. I also wonder if the regenerative braking was creating a bit of a whiplash - not letting the car just roll when backing off on the gas. I don't want to put my wife into a very uncomfortable situation where the car is bouncing her all over the place. I can deal with it, she likely cannot. I'm not sure that the car cannot be "set" to ride a bit differently also. There was so much that was not explained in the test drive.

    Finally, the last reservation I have pertains to me - in this case, the Navigation. I get lost easily - so a good Nav is important. Perhaps it was the route that I was led through - but the nav did not often announce turns when I reached them - only a few hundred yards in advance. When driving though large cities, this can be problematic for people like me. I prefer to get spoken directions and visual indicators as secondary. Does the Tesla nav do this, or was it the drive that they had me go on - mostly winding curvy roads that did not represent real day to day driving. It showed off the capabilities of the car. Yes it can handle close to a Porsche 911, but how does it do in regular boring streets with traffic?

    Thanks in advance for any comments! For some reason, people here are more overall happy with their M3's where at the Tesla owners forum, they are far harder on Tesla. Lots of complaints there - though from a small group of people.
     
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  2. albtrssp

    albtrssp Member

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    I have some minor back problems, and the M3 has never been an issue for me. It doesn't feel super low to me; seems about the same as the BMW 328 I used to have.

    It seems like the ideal thing to do is take advantage of Tesla's 1-week return policy. Hopefully someone else can chime in and verify that the actual return policy is low-hassle, but it seems like the ideal thing for your circumstance.

    Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but I think the ride height with 19" wheels will be exactly the same as with 18"; the actual tires are lower profile for 19" wheels. I recommend the 18"; the extra range is great, and I think they look really good. Not everyone agrees with me, however, it seems. :)

    This is probably due to a learning curve with regenerative braking. It's common for people transitioning to a car with strong regeneration to have that experience for a while. You get used to it quickly.

    I can't comment on navigation voice guidance; I always turn the voice off.
     
  3. albtrssp

    albtrssp Member

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    Also, the adjustable seats can be raised up quite a bit in the 3; that may also help you.
     
  4. jonquiljo

    jonquiljo Supporting Member

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    Thanks .... I guess I really made a mistake with the 911 - so "too low" is always in the back of my head. Thanks for your comments about the back-friendliness. I don't have any back problems, so I never can really tell! My wife just doesn't want to get "hurt" if I drive her somewhere. I don't think it will (if I can get the regenerative braking right).

    I don't think I would be comfortable returning the car. It's a problem I want to figure out before I buy - but thanks for mentioning it.

    If the actual tires are lower profile for the 19" wheels, then the 18" wheels will likely be less abrupt a ride. The regenerative braking seems best for me to turn off. That care seriously acts like a downshifting manual when you back off the throttle. Do you think that regenerative braking off and comfort mode to "comfortable" (or whatever it is called) would be helpful?

    I know I will get better driving it over time. What I don't know is how important the regenerative braking is. I realize that I have been driving for 50 years now - and driving a Tesla is totally unlike any car I have driven before. Yet the Tesla drives well, as well as any top-end car out there. It is solid and it feels like driving a high end car. While people complain about build problems, it certainly does not drive like a tin can!

    Are there perhaps any other settings that I don't know about that will help me when driving someone? The person at the dealer gave me a good test ride, but you really need 2 or 3 hours to get the idea of what you are doing. I spent the first half of the drive just totally overwhelmed by the differences between a Tesla and any other car.

    I wish they had enough cars available for me to take one home. If so, I'd probably place an order the next day.
     
  5. SilverSp33d3r

    SilverSp33d3r Member

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    Find one listed on Turo in your area. This will allow you to keep the car and test it out in your life, including charging at home.
    Find a rental car alternative or earn money sharing your car | Turo car sharing marketplace
    I came from a model s and the 3 definitely feels higher and easier to get in for my retired father in law(multiple back and knee surgeries).

    Hope this helps you figure out your concerns.
    Ps- if your ready to buy use someone’s referral code to get free charging. If needed Message me and I’ll explain how.
     
  6. MrG_NY

    MrG_NY Member

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    I don't know with back problems if getting in and out of the vehicle will be good for your wife. Only way to tell is do an extended test drive and bring the car home and have her get in and out. The regenerative braking can be dialed back and you can set the car to creep so it rolls when you take your foot off the brake. Putting the car in chill mode will make it a bit slower off the line so you don't give your wife whiplash.


    Maybe a better fit for getting in and out would be the Model X. The seats a bit higher and she can slide in and out of the vehicle.
     
  7. maketm

    maketm Member

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    My wife also has some back issues that sound similar, she has found the Model 3 to be better than her Subaru. The car is very easy to drive, which has helped a lot, and has allowed her to reduce/avoid some of the painful motions that go along with driving.

    When I'm driving with her in the car I tend to go a lot easier on the regen, and try and really smooth that foot off the gas feeling out as much as possible, it's a pretty big jerk at the standard level until you get used to riding the edge of the accelerator to coast. Driving around the city it can get a little rough. There is a setting to turn it down ("low") which limits the amount of regeneration as you take your foot off the accelerator. Interestingly my wife prefers the standard when she is driving, because it allows almost one foot driving, and thus less stressful motions.

    There is also a Chill mode that limits acceleration that she uses, it's not that hard to emulate with your foot, but it really smooths out the acceleration curve, and sort of slows down your starts.

    We have the 18" wheels, and I find the car a little bit bouncy, on rough city streets, which is not great on her back. That has been mitigated by running the tires on the low end of the Tesla recommended air pressure. It's definitely not as rough as some of the sports car suspensions I've driven, but it's also not floating on air either.
     
  8. jonquiljo

    jonquiljo Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the info about your retired father. My wife has had multiple back and knee surgeries too!

    I checked Turo and they seem to only have Model S's. I'll check again later. Perhaps Model 3's are just harder to find - but not impossible.

    I will say that my wife has no problem being driven in a friend's 2019 Honda Accord. That car is far less smooth a ride as a M3, low to the ground (for a sedan), and not as good at handling.
     
  9. jonquiljo

    jonquiljo Supporting Member

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    Thanks. Perhaps I should try the car on "Chill" mode again. I only got to try that for about the last 30 seconds of the test drive and it seemed to help. The amazing g-forces that the dual motor has when even mildly accelerating will take a bit to mitigate.

    I have wondered if the car can be driven feasibly without regenerative braking? Do you or anyone else think this would be a problem? I don't know how this affects range. I will say that I am not a road trip kind of guy (prefer airplanes!). I only drive about 4-7K miles per year. That computes to very few miles per day. The longest trip I could expect to make is 120 miles round trip - and that's about it. With a standard dryer socket in my garage, this would charge in 4-5 hours! And 120 miles at a clip would be unusual. I want the LR dual motor for the speed, traction, and range anxiety (which is foolish, I understand).

    Perhaps with a Model 3 I would drive more! I am semi-retired and work from home. I am a bit confused about the wheels. What would be a better ride - the 18" or 19". The way they look or perform is not important to me. I just thought that 18" would be smoother than 19". We do drive in San Francisco a lot - so the roads there are always bad. Again, thanks.
     
  10. OCR1

    OCR1 Active Member

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    The regenerative braking is one of the car’s best features. You don’t want to turn it off. You just need to adjust how you drive the car. With an ICE car you ease into a red light by taking your foot off the accelerator and riding the brake into the stoplight. With the Model 3 you just gently ease up on the accelerator and the car slows down very gently.

    Once I got used to this I found it really annoying to drive or be a passenger in an ICE vehicle because the feeling of someone hitting the brake to slow down is too jarring for me. A Model 3 is smooth as silk once you get the hang of easing off the accelerator. You will virtually never use the brakes.

    Some people adjust to it quicker than others but I seriously doubt you will have any issues with it after your first couple of days of driving.

    Also, there is no need to put the car in chill mode. You can drive the car as gently or aggressively as you want. It just depends on how hard you press the accelerator. Sometimes I’m in the mood to race off a stoplight at full speed. Other times I drive like a little old lady. I never have to change any settings. I just have to change my frame of mind.
     
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  11. jonquiljo

    jonquiljo Supporting Member

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    Yes, I will admit that I test drove the model 3 like a 16 year old kid with a driving instructor inside! It really is like learning an iPhone after using a flip phone. BUT ... aside from that, the car drives totally different than anything I have ever driven. The technology doesn't confuse me, it's the totally different feeling of driving.

    It will just take me a while to learn to drive it as not to make people throw up. So you ease up on the accelerator and use brakes sparingly, if at all?

    And the seats are high enough and comfortable? Just wondering what people think. My wife says cars are only a problem for her to ride in if her knees are above her waist. She's relatively tall, with longer legs. But even then I think the M3 is just set up like a regular sedan. With the low dashboard it's deceptive.

    Thanks!
     
  12. OCR1

    OCR1 Active Member

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    That is exactly the reason why this forum has so many loyal Model 3 fans...because it drives so differently than any other vehicle! Once you get used to it you will NEVER want to go back to the old method of accelerating in your ICE vehicle and then jamming on the brakes every time you need to slow down. You’ll wonder how you ever went so many years doing something so archaic and unpleasant. The accelerator is so refined that you can control with unbelievable precision how quickly to you want to speed up and how quickly you want to slow down. It’s pure joy.

    Regarding the seats...I came from a Lexus LS460 with seats so comfortable that you feel like you’re sitting on your living room sofa. There is no doubt that you have to slightly lower yourself in the Model 3 more so than a large traditional luxury sedan or SUV. It’s going to be more comparable to sitting in a BMW 3 series. The seats are very comfortable for long periods of time. The only issue we have with it is we have a tight garage and sometimes opening the door part way and then sliding into the seat can be slightly awkward. If we can open the door completely it’s never a problem.

    Have your wife try sitting in the seats and getting in and out several times in a showroom model to see how it feels. That’s going to be a personal call as to whether it’s comfortable enough to live with.
     
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  13. vickh

    vickh Active Member

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    you can do an overnight test drive. I did a couple of times b/t the different trims before I decided. You won't be disappointed
     
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  14. jonquiljo

    jonquiljo Supporting Member

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    Thanks. As a newcomer, I can say that you definitely have it right. I don't understand why they don't sell the car that way? Or perhaps I just got a bad sales person. I kept saying that I had trouble controlling acceleration/deceleration. All he wanted to do was show me all the bells and whistles and electronic features. Now those things are wonderful, But I could sense that the M3 was a new kind of vehicle even though I could not control it very well. If only the sales guy had told me to try and modulate the movement of the car (fast and slow) with the accelerator!

    I guess I am so new to this that I don't get it. The truth is that I've had lots of cars in the 50 years I have been driving. Too many cars. Never anything like the Tesla I drove yesterday. Frankly I definitely want the car, but will feel badly if my wife doesn't feel OK in it. I'm getting the impression from what you and other people have been saying that it will be fine.

    You have to lower yourself a bit in most new cars. They are lower to the ground than cars built 3-5 years ago. Regardless they are nothing like the roadster. Tesla as a company doesn't seem to have it's act together. What's the big deal if I take out the car for 1 1/2 hrs - especially since I am likely going to buy it.

    Are they in "end of Q3" craziness? They were talking about that when I was there. I guess their stock price is more important than selling that extra car. Perhaps in Q4 when selling is foremost on their mind - after Tuesday. Thanks again.
     
  15. OCR1

    OCR1 Active Member

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    If Tesla sales and support reps knew anything about the products Tesla sells we would probably reduce the number of posts here by at least 75%. You are doing the right thing by doing your homework on this forum and not wasting any more time talking to anyone at Tesla. They make great cars in spite of themselves but their sales and support team feels like a junior high school science project.
     
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  16. jonquiljo

    jonquiljo Supporting Member

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    You're right again. I think Tesla keeps all the high end staff in R&D and production. Definitely not in sales. They were letting potential sales go out the door - I could see it. No one understood even how to buy a car. I was waiting for my appointment (about 20 minutes late), and people were asking really basic questions, getting no answers and walking out the door.

    One thing I have noticed that people here are far more positive about Tesla's and M3's than the driver's forum (Tesla's own). It's kind of a bummer at that site.
     
  17. vickh

    vickh Active Member

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    Good observations most Tesla sales staff here in Arizona are "techie millennials" That's positive in some ways but negative in others especially when compared to other luxury cars. The product or car is wonderful and sells itself
     
  18. vickh

    vickh Active Member

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    Tesla.com forum is a joke compared to this one too
     
  19. jonquiljo

    jonquiljo Supporting Member

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    They're not all very techie around here and we're only about 65 miles from the factory. The product does sell itself, but the sales process is very complicated. It leaves people like me very confused at times.

    If it leaves me confused then think about how many Teslas they could sell if they really tried hard to sell them. Yes what I am looking at is only about $50K+ (LR dual motor), but short of the performance version, that's what I want.
     
  20. Proflig8tor

    Proflig8tor Member

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    Jonquillo,

    A couple of points. First, I have an E320 Wagon. Just measured the seat and the Model 3 and the E320 are the same height. Measured 21 inches in the Benz and 20 and 1/2 in the Model 3. That is easily within the range of adjustment.

    The W210 has an amazingly compliant suspension that the Model 3 does not have. My wagon just wafts down the road (has the hydraulic rear). However, the Mercedes seats are church pews or park benches compared to the extremely well-padded seats in the Model 3. Tesla is one of the very few (4 or so) manufacturers who actually build their own seats, as opposed to outsourcing the work.

    Both cars are very comfortable and have plenty of room. But they are comfortable in different ways. Autopilot use is relaxing for the driver and the Tesla seats are better than those in Gulfstream business jets.

    You can return the Tesla within 7 days, no questions, no excuses. I do not know anyone who has returned their cars. If you are on the North side of Atlanta GA just PM me and we can bring mine over to see what your wife thinks. I think she will love it.
     

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