TMC is an independent, primarily volunteer organization that relies on ad revenue to cover its operating costs. Please consider whitelisting TMC on your ad blocker and becoming a Supporting Member. For more info: Support TMC

Random Internet Guy's 26 Hour Test Drive Impressions

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by lapolak, Apr 8, 2018.

  1. lapolak

    lapolak Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2018
    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Hello everyone! Random anonymous internet guy writing to you from the San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles, California!).

    My expected delivery date (May - July) is fast approaching (unless it gets pushed back again) so I rented a Midnight Silver Model 3 (manufactured in Mid December and delivered early January) from TURO to test it out for one day (26 hours), since Tesla does not currently offer test drives.

    I thought I would share my impressions and concerns just in case it may be worth something to someone. Opinions are subjective, so please take what I say with a grain of salt and with the understanding that what I expect of and desire in a brand new car may be different from you. Furthermore, I am also a non-owner that has always wanted a Tesla and has never driven one up until this weekend so I am coming at this with fresh eyes blinded by emotion and want rather than rational thinking.

    I will give each category a numerical score out of 100 and average out the grade at the end.

    The car rented:


    - Midnight Silver Model 3
    - Manufactured in early to mid December, delivered early January (VIN between 2600 and 2800).
    - Firmware 2018.4.17 (a bit behind)
    - Standard AERO tires.
    - Just over 4,500 miles on the odometer.

    About Me:

    - Male, mid to Late 20's, live in San Fernando Valley (Los Angeles, CA). I commute 53 miles (round trip) every day and like to go on road trips every month or so. Never owned nor driven a Tesla before.

    What I drive:

    Currently: 2004 BMW 645ci (fun car but TERRIBLE mpg)
    Used to own: 2007 Mercedes ML350, 2005 BMW X5, 2001 Mercedes S500, 2001 BMW 7 Series
    (I was raised in a family that preferred to own used Mercedes and BMW).


    The Model 3:

    Acceleration and Handling: 100/100

    Awesome handling, it really "hugs" the road. As the professional reviewers and many on TMC have previously stated, the Model 3 is truly a joy to drive. It feels much quicker than is advertised. The instant torque is wonderful; all the 12 people that drove with me in the car throughout these 26 hours were shocked at how fast the car was. I will say that the acceleration and handling is better than my 2004 BMW 646ci (if that even really means anything). I would characterize the suspension as "very firm." You can feel the road -- and every bump, hole, or crack. However, despite being "very firm" its still comfortable.

    Comfort: 80 / 100

    Visibility:

    The car's visibility is superb. It is likely the best feature of the car. Front visibility is wonderful, which is likely due to the Model 3's lack of a traditional dash. Side visibility is also great. Rear visibility is a bit hindered by the design of the back, but its still fine and the (very clear) back-up camera (which can be enabled during a regular drive) enables easy reversing.

    Seats:

    The front seat (driver and passenger) are comfortable and have many adjustment options. For those of you that will share the car, you are able to create profiles and save your desired specification as with most cars. The seats themselves are slightly plump and the lather is soft (which I liked very much, I am not a fan of the hardened diamond leather seats on newer German cars). There is adequate foot space for both the passenger and driver.

    However, the back seats are only comfortable for a short period of time. They are positioned too low so it puts some stress on your lower back. Furthermore, there is not a generous amount of leg room -- its adequate, but can easily become "cramped" if you are slightly above average in height. At first my passengers did not complain, but after driving with me for over 3 hours, they began asking for a break so that they could stretch their legs.

    While the car is technically a 5-seater (and the middle back seat has seat warmers, which is cool) there is not enough room for a typical adult. It really is more of a 4-seater.

    Climate Control:

    The single continuous vent is fantastic. Its my third favorite part of the car (behind the great visibility and autopilot). The ability to set the A/C to blow around your rather than on you is great. Since Southern California typically gets into the 100 F / 40 C degree weather, Iv always run my AC at nearly full blast. While this cooled down the car, it typically gave me a headache as the vents would blow on my face or slightly to the side of my head / arms. With the Model 3, you can adjust it to blow just to the side of you, below you, over you, or directly on you (and the GUI displays a "human" to help you adjust on the body or around it). Its honestly great.

    Noise:

    Road noise is another pet peeve of mine. I was actually surprised at how loud the cabin is. Its not as loud as a ICE car, but its definitely much louder than my best friend's bolt. You definitely get used to it, but its still loud. The front is quieter than the back, my passengers would point out that the road noise seemed worse when they sat in the back than in the front. I was actually disappointed with the road noise.

    Noteworthy:

    Its worth noting that since the Model 3 lacks a traditional dash, you are able to adjust the steering wheel without being restricted by the need to maintain speedometer visibility -- this enables many more options for steering comfort.

    As stated above, the car is definitely stiff. However, it does not really hinder comfort, the car does a good job of handling an uneven road and bumps.

    Technology: 90 / 100

    Autopilot:

    As someone that has never driven a AI enabled car nor a Tesla before, Autopilot was great. It came in handy during the abnormal Sunday afternoon 405 traffic (well... actually now traffic in LA has gotten so bad that standstills during Sunday afternoons is basically "normal"). It handled well and while I didn't trust it at first, I found myself turning it on quite frequently.

    The Screen:

    The quality of the screen itself is great. Its very sturdy and very responsive, on par with Apple's iPad.

    Honestly, I got used to the speedometer being to my right within the first view minutes. Its likely due to the fact that I often drive with Google Maps showing on my iPhone, which would be situated in a cup holder on the center hand rest / console (so the position of the screen was actually an improvement for me).

    The user interface was ok. It definitely can be streamlined and improved upon, and I was told by the owner that certain functions had already been moved around in a recent update. Certain features are easier to navigate than others. I was annoyed by how many taps (3) it took to bring up the audio source control and then select my iPhone (another 2) as the source so that I could play my own music. Sometimes I had to reach across the screen to tap on something (such as un-muting the navigation's voice... which is done by clicking a super small speaker icon on the upper right-hand corner) which was definitely a hassle and not necessarily safe while driving. However, the map was clear and easily navigated. Streamlining of the UI is definitely needed and it will be interesting to see how Tesla approaches it with limited screen real estate (I know Elon said voice will be used to control the car, which would be cool).

    Audio Quality:

    Audio quality is great, I read that its supposed to be "superb" because Elon is apparently an audiophile (idk if that's true). While it is definitely very good and much better than many cars that I have sat in, its not "superb". But this is subjective and unique to each person.

    Build Quality: 70 / 100

    This is going to be controversial. As I stated above, this is just my opinion. Also, the car I rented was produced in early December and delivered in early January, so I am hoping many of these issues were addressed. Here I go . . .

    The interior appears to have good quality upon first glance. The leather is stitched very well, I did not notice any creases and is comfortable. I did not notice any rattling sounds. I did not see any cracks anywhere. I was actually surprised and really enjoyed the interior.

    However, once I began examining the car a bit closely (and not nitpicking... just basically looking around more diligently) I noticed several things that were of concern:

    1) The lining is flexible and even loose. I am not sure if the lining is supposed to be so flexible when you touch it in places all around the car (especially around the glass roof). However, the lining on the A pillar on the driver's side was already loose and coming off from the bottom (closest to the windshield). I didn't even need to touch it to notice -- it was sticking out somewhat noticeably.

    2 ) Interior seals were poorly fitted. Both of the back doors had seals that were loose and sticking out when you opened the door.

    One seal is the very back triangle-like seal at the edge of the door. In the photo below I am pulling at it, but it was noticeably sticking out and was not glued down.

    IMG_5633.JPG


    Another seal was at the opposite edge of the same door. It was bent and hanging off. This occurred on all 4 doors.

    IMG_3744.JPG



    Another photo of the same door:


    IMG_0235.JPG

    3) Seals on the exterior of the car were cracking or coming loose. For example, there was a seal / cap near the wipe blades on both sides of the car. Both of them were loose, I did not touch them... I just noticed that they were coming off as I stood outside the car taking photos while it was at the Redondo Beach supercharger.


    IMG_1826.JPG

    3) Software Issues:
    - Numerous software issues. The screen froze a few times and had to be reset while driving. The audio became staticy a few times and I had to change sources to reset it. These are easier to fix with OTA updates so I won't make a fuss out of them.

    4) Panel Gaps --- none that I could notice, I think this may be an overblown issue.

    Overall
    Overall, there were other issues but I don't want this to read like a hit-piece. Suffice it to say that most of my passengers and I felt that car was not truly finished -- at least it did not feel like it was. Yes, the car is supposed to be "$35,000" ... but in reality this model was $61,500 after taxes ($56,000 before taxes) so one would expect there be fewer issues with seals and caps (I at least do not expect loose seals and caps, but you may disagree).
     
    • Informative x 19
    • Like x 6
    • Helpful x 3
  2. lapolak

    lapolak Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2018
    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Accidentally pressed "create thread" when trying to upload a photo... so here is the remainder of the review.

    Final Thoughts:
    Score: 340 / 400 = 85% = B (if that really even means anything).

    Would I Buy This Car? YES!!!! I loved it.

    Will I Buy This Car? Maybe... most likely. Its more a question of price rather than quality... this car comes in at $61,500 after local taxes (Los Angeles), Autopilot, non-standard color, and Documentation & Delivery fees. At that price, you can get a very nice Audi or BMW. Alternatively, you can get a 2-3 year old CPO Audi or BMW for half the price. You can get a Bolt for half the price. However, none of these are Teslas and the Tesla experience is truly unique (for now). I will most likely go through with my reservation... but I am still debating the price. I may wait for the cheaper option.


    Things I would have liked:

    1) Nicer ambient lighting. The Model 3 is dark at night, a colorful LED strip somewhere under or ontop of the dash would have been wonderful.

    2) More leg room in the back.

    3) Raise the back seats a bit (the low position is noticeably uncomfortable after extended drives [roughly 3+ hours]). Maybe cut a little trunk space?

    4) Seals and caps that fit the car and were not already coming off at 4,500 miles.


    Let me know your thoughts!
     
    • Informative x 6
    • Helpful x 3
    • Like x 2
  3. insaneoctane

    insaneoctane Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2016
    Messages:
    3,151
    Location:
    Southern California
    Thanks for sharing. You do realize that the Model 3 gets significantly better mileage than the BMW or Benz, right
     
  4. lapolak

    lapolak Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2018
    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Yes, of course I do. I get 15 mpg right now, which is horrible.

    But, the thing is... a 2015 CPO Audi A6 gets 24 / 38 MPG (one of the alternates I am looking at) which is just "ok," but the CPO price is over 50% less than the Tesla Model 3 in its current package availability. I won't make up the difference in gas savings if I get Model 3 over the A6 unless I drove it for around 9-11 years. So while I do appreciate the efficiency and Eco-friendliness of the Tesla... at $61,500.00, I can "afford it" but I can't "justify" it by saying I'll save money on gas.

    However, you do get a brand new car with the newest tech by going with the Model 3, while my alternates are 2-3 year old CPOs.

    Of course, a brand new BMW or Audi with upgraded packages will approach, if not exceed, the same price as the Telsa... and you still have to add the gas prices on top of it.

    I am aware that comparing a new Teslda Model 3 to a used German car is not apples-to-apples, I'm just mentioning it because those are my alternate options that I am weighing against the Model 3.
     
    • Like x 5
    • Helpful x 3
    • Informative x 1
  5. xav-

    xav- Active Member

    Joined:
    May 26, 2016
    Messages:
    1,187
    Location:
    Orange County CA
    So I am confused. Are you getting the car or not?
     
  6. vinnie97

    vinnie97 #WalkAway

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2014
    Messages:
    1,109
    Location:
    southwest
    ^^Did you read the 2nd post? On the fence.
     
    • Like x 2
    • Funny x 1
  7. Henry82

    Henry82 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2018
    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    I have the exact same considerations as you do... down to being disappointed by the noise and seals and considering a 2-3 year old CPO German car... I was nodding in agreement pretty much the entire time I was reading your post. For the same cost, we can get a 2016 Mercedes CLS 400 4MATIC or a 2017 A7 Competition Prestige... both have the driver assistance package with adaptive cruise control and steering assist (I know they are not the same as EAP)... heck, a 2015 Mercedes S550 can be had for under $60k. The level of refinement you would get with those cars is just far and above... it's just too hard to ignore... which is why I have yet to place my order.

    That said, I think I'm close to pulling the trigger. For what it's worth, I think the Model 3 is an ideal daily driver... fuel and maintenance savings, autopilot, and that amazing instant torque... all make daily commuting easier to bear and more fun. With the car being so darn new (none with significant mileage yet)... we can only hope that the build quality is good enough to prevent rattles and seals from breaking down.

    So... are you going to pull the trigger on your reservation? ;)
     
    • Like x 3
  8. Sunlight

    Sunlight Member

    Joined:
    May 7, 2014
    Messages:
    328
    Location:
    South Africa
    As a Tesla lurker, (small) shareholder and M3 Reservation holder, I find (constructive) reviews like this useful and interesting.

    And essentially reassuring as the basics with the M3 seem really good and they are the difficult ones to rectify!

    As the Turo car was an early build how do people find the later cars? Does the Turo car have the revised suspension or is this still and issue in the newer cars?

    With OTA upgrades I hope that many (most?) of the complaints about the UI/software can be addressed fairly easily.

    Do the same issues with regards to door seals and general interior/exterior fit and finish still persist or have they been adequately sorted out in later cars?

    Seems as if a constant improvement in build quality and UI will remove most of the criticisms except perhaps the rear seats which may need a redesign or upgrade. This seems to be a general criticism. (I see the new Leaf gets similar comments)

    Can the road noise can addressed easily - sound damping/tyres/suspension tuning or is it more 'built-in' and requiring some more fundamental revisions?

    It is disappointing and irksome that some such basic issues were allowed to slip out in production cars - maybe Tesla would have been better off if it had pushed the timeline back 6 months and offered a more developed product. Why dig yourself unnecessarily into a hole?!
     
    • Like x 3
    • Helpful x 1
    • Love x 1
  9. Barklikeadog

    Barklikeadog Active Member

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2016
    Messages:
    1,737
    Location:
    PA
    Even 3 months would have made a significant difference. I dont want to think about the quality of cars over he last two weeks where they were throwing them together as quickly as possible just to reach '2000'
     
    • Like x 2
    • Funny x 1
  10. tm01

    tm01 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2018
    Messages:
    2
    Location:
    CA
    This is pretty much the reason i've just registered for TMC. :)
    I drove a loaner M3 over the weekend and road noise was the single most distracting issue on the car. In the back seat it's not possible to talk to each other at 60mph. According to VIN# the car was manufactured back in December. Are there any known advancements in acoustics?
     
    • Helpful x 1
    • Like x 1
  11. seattlite2004

    seattlite2004 Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2016
    Messages:
    1,183
    Location:
    Puget Sound
    Its really great for Tesla that LOTS of folks are still taking delivery and having their service centers rework these cars. Sales numbers are gonna be good...but it certainly can't be inexpensive to rework QC/production/design issues.
     
  12. SageBrush

    SageBrush 2020: Drain the Sewer

    Joined:
    May 7, 2015
    Messages:
    10,856
    Location:
    New Mexico
    Thanks for the review, very informative.
    I'm not worried about seals -- they should improve at the factory quickly and cannot be hard to fix if needed.

    As for noise -- that makes me want to test drive the car.
     
  13. dwharrison

    dwharrison Member

    Joined:
    Mar 1, 2018
    Messages:
    172
    Location:
    Ajax ON
    I've been on the fence about whether the Model 3 is worth the price *to me* given my driving patterns and nature. However, I'm fairly deaf (my hearing tests read "profoundly deaf" and I use powerful hearing aids), but my audio quality has been worsening. One of the things I liked about getting an EV would be a quieter road environment making it easier for me to participate in conversations with my kids in the rear seat on trips.

    I'm gonna have to think about this...

    Thanks to the OP and others for their observations on this.
     
    • Like x 1
  14. lapolak

    lapolak Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2018
    Messages:
    107
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    I'm still on the fence. I'm leaning towards getting it, but for me personally its now a Cost-Benefit Analysis (I'm nerdy and tend to over analyze).

    Sorry for being indecisive, but if spending $61,500 (before incentives) was less of a concern, I would totally buy it without question. But while I can budget for it, I can't necessarily "afford it" (if afford it means I have enough money just to buy it without worrying about how it will impact me financially in the future), it is for me a significant financial decision and expense.

    I saved up enough over 2 years to put down a decent down-payment which will significantly lower the monthly payment, but it is for me a luxury purchase. I would not consider buying a brand new German car for such money as it would depreciate instantly and the added gas cost would fast propel it over my already excessive budget.

    If this model was around $50,000 after taxes, I would totally buy it.


    Yes, if you are more budget oriented (as I am) you definitely need to sit down and determine what your expectations are. Are ok with potentially having average to slightly below average build quality relative to the competition at similar price points (at least for now)? Do you prefer the Tesla technology and simple design over the competition?

    The thing about the Germans is that build quality for them can also be quite iffy (my dad's 1.5 year old X5 had a transmission failure in the middle of Ventura Blvd -- a super busy street in the San Fernando Valley). However, they would not allow for obvious things like seals and caps to be coming apart at 4,500 miles. Additionally, since they are all on a dealer model, getting quick service shouldn't be much of a hassle (even if its off warranty, you can choose to cheap out and go for [still costly] repairs at an independent mechanic). I have no experience with the Tesla Service Centers, but I have read and heard mixed reviews -- some are happy with the service while others complain about long waits and staff that don't understand the issue.

    My hope is that this car was simply rushed and that quality has improved since then. I would very much like to ear from people who recently got the car.



    Will I pull the trigger on my reservation?
    Last night, right after posting this and heading to bed, I said "YES, I want it." Today, now that I've had some time to cool down my emotions... I am still undecided and definitely leaning towards it but keeping my eye on an 2015 Audi A6 Premium Plus, 2015 Audi Q5 Premium Plus, or a BMW 3 Series all CPO. Yes, they all have "ok" to "below average" MPG but they're 30 to 60% of the price, and you won't ever make up that much money in gas savings with the Tesla.

    However, I do agree with you that the Tesla is a wonderful daily driver. It's a blast to drive! If money was not a factor, I would not hesitate (but that can be said for most things haha).


    Actually, you bring up a good point. I did not consider that view point and I agree with that statement. The basics of the car are awesome!

    It's A BLAST to drive and its comfortable. Its just that... for the price point, the ICE competition pays better attention to detail, and that bugs me but its not necessarily a deal killer.

    I have no idea if the car has the revised suspension. I will try to reach out to the owner to ask.

    I would also like to hear from more recent owners if they have the issues that I noticed.

    I totally agree. I understand they had investor expectations but waiting a bit longer may have prevented some of these issues and offered better initial reviews.

    But obviously we have no idea what kind of pressure they were under, what expectations they had for the production capability, and what decisions had to be made.

    Yes, I sure hope that 4 months (the car was built in December) will have brought improvements, especially since they shut down for a week in February.

    If its a possibility in your area, I would encourage you to rent it via Turo. It was expensive ($170 per day, plus $20 Turo fee, plus $65 Insurance [I splurged for the premium insurance, you can get cheaper insurance or use your own... but I wanted to be safe]) but its worth test driving it before buying it for sure.

    Your circumstances are unique. I would highly encourage you to rent it on Turo if its a possibility in your area. Its expensive, but if it helps you make a decision on a $60,000 car, its worth it.

    The noise is definitely louder than I expected. However, its still quieter than most ICE cars. I am comparing it to my experience driving and riding in my friend's Chevy Bolt, which is quieter than the Model 3.
     
    • Informative x 1
  15. novox77

    novox77 1.21 Gigawatts

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2017
    Messages:
    1,546
    Location:
    NH, MA
    I'm a data point of one. My 3 was manufactured in February, and after reading this, I went to check the seals on my car. They all seem pretty solid.

    As for road noise, I considered the cabin quiet overall. I can easily have a convo (and frequently do) at freeway speeds. At those speeds, wind noise seems higher than road noise, and even then, it's not bad. On local roads, where max speed might be 50, I consider the cabin to be very quiet, more so than my S. Exactly how an EV should be. Maybe this is all quite subjective and based on the past cars we've driven.

    It would make sense though that subpar seals could be a major contributor to wind noise (not road noise) at high speeds.

    I did a fairly extensive writeup on my observations a few weeks ago, for those of you who are still on the fence about committing to the 3:
    Model 3 - 1st impressions (for real this time)
    Model 3 impressions continued....

    I think quality is definitely improving, so I would put more stock into reviews of newer cars.
     
    • Informative x 2
  16. Henry82

    Henry82 Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2018
    Messages:
    91
    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Here is my observation in regards to road and wind noise in the Model 3: Seeking ideas for dampening wind noise
     
  17. SilverGS

    SilverGS Active Member

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2016
    Messages:
    1,122
    Location:
    Ontario
    Excellent observations and feedback lapolak!

    I'm on the fence for exactly the same reasons as you. If I could splurge $60k, I would have configured mine already.

    I can't get over the fact that for example, I can pick up a brand new 2018 Accord for about $40K CAD and it has the majority of safety features for driver assistance and safety and does not feel like a budget/econobox anymore and also supports Android Auto and Apple Car play (yes, its not a luxury BMW, Audi, Benz or Lexus, however Honda have vastly improved the materials and general feel of the car to the point that it feels so much more high end - almost luxury, than all the previous generations). The icing on the cake is that its fuel economy is pretty insane for such a big car - its definitely bigger than the M3 (I've sat in both).

    At the same time, I really wanted to get the M3, but I may be forced to wait for the low range model to justify the CAD$45K + price.

    The instant torque, all-glass roof, almost no maintenance is kinda hard to ignore, but as someone else pointed out, you can pick up a 2015 S-Class or CLS550 for the same coin and those cars are light years ahead in terms of luxury, fit and finish.
     
  18. Carotene

    Carotene Member

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2018
    Messages:
    103
    Location:
    MD
    I think the folks in this thread (including me) are representative of a significant chunk of the reservation holders. This is a big purchase for most people. Fit and finish at all ICE price points has continuously improved over the last 20 years. For example, look at what Mazda has done with their latest CX-5.

    I second the suggestion to rent one via Turo if you can. For $200 you get to spend a day to assess all aspects of ownership. I came away from the experience convinced the TM3 is an AWESOME car. It truly is. BUT... there are lot's of good options out there at this price point.

    I'd probably go for a LR / no PUP / no EAP / 18" wheels if that were an option. Still on the fence on how to proceed.
     
    • Like x 1
  19. ChrisH

    ChrisH Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2013
    Messages:
    2,263
    Location:
    Milton, wa
    Are you guys that adamantly opposed to the $9000 cheaper SR model? I’m waiting for the $46,000 vehicle which seems like the sweet spot to me. I drive about 500 miles a month and road trip 1-2 times a year. Honestly no need for the LR battery. Even with a 50+ mile daily commute, one can charge nightly so the 220 SR battery is still sufficient is it not? Obviously the LR batteries will have better resale but I hope to have this car for at least 10 years.
     
    • Like x 3
  20. Darren Donovan

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2013
    Messages:
    563
    Location:
    Key West, FL
    In theory only, not so much in reality.

    The Model 3 would be a more convincing case if it was available at $35,000, even with the common issues typical of Tesla build quality or lack thereof. At $50,000+, it's very hard to accept.
     
    • Like x 1

Share This Page

  • About Us

    Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.
  • Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.


    SUPPORT TMC