Model 3 vs used Model S 85 loaner experience

Discussion in 'Tesla Experiences' started by ng0, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. ng0

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    There's certain youtubers out there that have raved about how it makes so much sense to buy a used model S instead of waiting it out to get a new Model 3. I really like their videos, but I feel like it's a bit self serving to make these claims and then get referral credit for them. To be honest, after an almost 2 year wait for my model 3, I found the idea of forgoing my reservation pretty compelling especially since there's been so much discussion about how the Model 3 will always be the "cheaper stripped down" version of the Model S.

    Like I said in one of my other threads, I went to a service center to get some fit/finish stuff taken care of on my Model 3 and my loaner is a Model S 85. This having been my first time driving a Model S, I was interested and excited about what it would be like. I'm going to preface this by saying the Model S is an older model (with the bubble front) which I'm really not a fan of in terms of style/design. It's green which I dislike, and the interior is tan which I'd be ok with if it didn't look like complete garbage after only 50k miles. Since this is a loaner car, I'm going to give it the benefit of the doubt that the car is uncharacteristically abused, so that's probably why the tan seats look like they've been dragged through mud. It also seems the car has some other issues like the brake pedal seems to squeak a little when being pressed down.

    A few other things... It seems this wasn't a base model since it does have what seems to be leather seats and air suspension, but there's no glass roof and no autopilot which I've come to love in my model 3. The other HUGE note is that loaners are unfortunately limited to a 80 mph max speed. I've gotten it to go up to 87 on a very big downhill slope, but having to worry about this limit really diminishes the fun of this car.

    I'm going to give my impressions in different categories and then give my final summary at the end.

    Range: My model 3 definitely beats out this used Model S 85. I sat at a supercharging station for over an hour to get the Model S up to almost 100% charge. As it topped off I got tired and annoyed and finally gave up, but at a charge of over 95% the car reported a range of 244 miles. My model 3 has an estimated range of 310 and at 90% estimates a range of around 280, so even if I don't charge my model 3 to 100% all the time, my range anxiety is minimized in my model 3. Sure the Model S gets free supercharging, but here in San Diego the one supercharging station is out of control crazy! I went there the other night and at 9pm there was still a line of cars waiting to get a spot to charge! People were also on edge about others jumping out in front of them in the line to take a spot. It's nice that it's free, but I would've happily paid a few bucks to not have to wait! Once I get my Nema 14-50 outlet installed, there's now way I'd even think about taking the car to a local supercharging station, even for free. For those of you out there that have had your $150,000 car for years, stop being so damn cheap and charge at home!

    Comfort: This shocked the heck out of me. Before I got my model 3, there were countless posts about how uncomfortable the model 3 with sport wheels will be in comparison to a Model S with air suspension. My experience is the exact opposite. Driving 30 minutes to work in my Model 3 is a breeze. Driving 30 minutes to work in the model S makes my back hurt. I'm not sure if the adjustments are weird, or what, but the way I sit in the model S just doesn't seem right. My wife was also commenting that she felt the Model 3 ride was a lot smoother as well. We drove to Disneyland and back this weekend and it wasn't great.

    Driving experience: My model 3 beats the model S by a mile!!! Driving the model S feels like a boat. I guess it would be similar to comparing a BMW 335 to a 7-series. The 7-series could have a ton of power, but it'll always feel more sluggish and less responsive. The steering wheel is larger and less comfortable to turn and I feel like even the turning radius (something that people were very concerned about in the 3) is actually better in the Model 3. Even though I know technically the Model S is supposed to accelerate faster, my Model 3 just seemed to have considerably more "pep".

    Tech: Well, this is pretty much a given... Model 3 wins again by a mile! Everything about the Model 3 feels more advanced, more responsive, more sleek, more fun. Obviously everyone knows the speed and responsiveness on the Model 3 screen will be better because of the processor, and some of the stuff like the cool new A/C vents/controls are way more impressive. On that note, I wanted to focus on some things people most like to complain about on the Model 3 in comparison to the S. 1) The binnacle/lack of HUD. I still don't get what all the fuss is about. I feel like looking down behind the steering wheel for the speed, nav, and other data is just as distracting if not more distracting than glancing over to the right. I like to have my steering wheel sit pretty low, and it blocks a huge portion of the binnacle screen. 2) Also, there were lots of complaints about lack of a keyfob. I think the model S keyfob is awkward and ridiculous. I love not having to carry around keys or a keyfob anymore, and this experience once again confirmed that thought. One issue I have with the Model 3 is that the phone doesn't seem to wake up the car when I walk up to it, so sometimes I need to open the app before I can unlock the doors. This is one issue I've addressed with the service center. I'm hoping they fix it! 3) One thing I thought I'd like a lot better on the Model S was the ridiculously huge screen. In theory, it gives a ton of space and I like how you can split screen between different functions like audio and nav. That being said, I feel that the entire bottom part of the split screen is near useless. Glancing down at the bottom portion of the screen is super dangerous and makes you take your eyes completely off the road. I'm really glad they opted for the horizontal screen on the model 3. I believe the model 3 UI needs more polishing in terms of where the step by step navigation data is displayed, but it's usable. 4) As far as media, it's nice that the Model S has Sirius XM and AM radio. I've come to like streaming radio more than SiriusXM and have mostly found replacements for the AM stations I generally listen to, but it would be nice if I didn't have to worry about these things.

    Fit and finish: I'll give this one to the Model S. Nearly every Model 3 that comes off the line seems to have issues with fit and finish. Tesla needs to work on this BIG TIME! Anyone that claims they got a "perfect" Model 3 is likely either oblivious or just doesn't care. The model S i got with 50K miles looks super used and abused, but I didn't see any major panel issues with it. I would hope not considering the car was probably $80K+ when it came out.

    Look/Size: This is completely a personal opinion. I find that I like the size and style of the Model 3 better. Sure if I were to put my daughter's car seat in the model 3 and use it as our daily driver on weekends I may think otherwise, but I believe the Model 3 has plenty of space for my uses and I like the look way better.

    Overall: Obviously I love the Model 3 and I may be a bit biased considering I own one. In the end, the question is, would I have preferred getting a used Model S with 30k+ miles and not all available features or would I prefer a model 3 fully loaded for around the same price. To some it may come down to their wait time being way too long, but to me, based on my new experience, I'd say I'd take the Model 3 regardless of budget and wait time.
     
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  2. garsh

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    Note that Tesla does not give out referral credits for buying CPO vehicles - only for purchasing new vehicles.

    https://www.tesla.com/support/referral-program
     
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  3. ng0

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  4. Rhaekar

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    Let me know when you bring back that Tesla loaner!

    They've had my car since Wednesday and I don't think they even started working on it yet. I'm stuck in a Chrysler. I was hoping people would bring back some loaners on Saturday since it's pick up only but no luck.
     
  5. ng0

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    hah, I'll definitely let you know! They told me it'd be at least a few weeks just for the body shop work, so I don't anticipate I'll be getting my car back any time soon. I don't know where the body shop is, but the app still shows that my car is at the Tesla service center and it doesn't seem like it's moved at all.
     
  6. Charlie W

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    Like many of you, I've been cheering for the Model 3 even before Elon walked on the stage on 3/31/16, and I plunked down $1,000 for a car sight unseen. Like you, I come to this forum 2-3-4 (or more?) times a day and have just about worn the "F5" print off the key. I excitedly read new owner's reviews, adventures & helpful tips. (Thanks!) I enjoy driving my Model 3 vicariously thru you. (Thanks for letting me be a passenger!) But the thing that makes me the most nervous; the thing that I worry about at 3 A.M. is paying $55,000+ for my dream-car (since I was 10 years old. I'm not 10 anymore!), plus driving 2+ hours to pick it up (I know, some of you travel much further), meeting my Delivery Specialist, and finding a problem with "fit & finish", panel gaps, distorted glass, dents, dings, or broken whatevers. I'm not worried about the phone key, the key card, working the wipers, or how hot I can cook bacon on the back seats (lol). Maybe not for you, but to me, $55k+ is a LOT of money for a car. (My first, a '63 Pontiac was $550.) Like many of you, I am SO HOPING the person at Quality Control is paying 100% of their attention to the build quality of my car ... and your car. You bet, I'm super excited! I'm also ... a little scared. (End of rant. Sorry about that.)

    ~Charlie
     
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  7. John A Bailey

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    Here's my take...I did everything in reverse

    I rented a 3 week old model 3 yesterday through Turo. I have a 2015 S85D with almost 100K miles on it and was holding out for the performance 3. I wanted to be able to compare a model S with the model 3 prior to committing.


    Things I like more about the 3...better range, crisper graphics interface (my S is an 2015). However my S has dramatically faster acceleration...it throws me back in the seat hard and everything in the cubbyhole ends up displaced.The performance 3 should be faster than my S, but the one motor doesn't compare with even the non-performance S.

    I felt the cabin interior was fairly equal in size...but storage was much different. I keep a Onewheel in my frunk of my S. It would not fit in the 3 frunk, and the rear hatch in the S makes it virtually an SUV in size with the rear seats down.

    The S center screen is a thing of colorful beauty as is the binnacle. The 3 was extremely plain without all the colorful displays and the white background...especially on the left side of the screen. The S binnacle provides "play by play" direction illustrations that I love. I can use the model 3 interface but really missed the colorful binnacle display that complements the center screen display of the S.

    The S is much more plush and expensive looking with the leather / alcantera. My S seats are much better. Mine has the piano black dashboard center console. It looks high quality whereas the Model 3 piano black looks like plastic. I did like the design of the model 3 center console compared to the S...cupholders in the right place and also in the doors. The 3 also had the fold down center console in the back which was great.

    The ride of the s, in addition to being faster, was much quieter and smoother. The 3 felt more sporty with slightly tighter steering and shorter turning radius. The steering wheel of the 3 felt much cheaper than the one on the S. I loved the glass roof of the 3 especially when sitting in the back. My S has the panoramic glass roof which is great but slightly less great than the 3, but it opens which is not a big deal to me but may be to others.

    I like the card and the iphone "keys"

    My S has racks for surfboards/ kayaks. The 3 needs this. It's buyers will often be a younger more active demographic From my reading there is hope for it in the future.

    I cant imagine paying for supercharging, but I know that I already did up front.

    All in all I liked the 3 but it is definitely more budget feeling on the inside and much less performance feeling in terms of acceleration and not as smooth and quiet. It is much more plain in terms of colorful displays. It is definitely a different car than the S and will find a much bigger market with the less expensive cost.

    However, there is definitely always going to be a big market for the model S for those who want the extra room, smoother ride, acceleration and colorful and useful displays.

    I think anyone going from an ice to any tesla is going to be blown away no matter what. However, I came away with a deep appreciation for my S. Even though it has almost 100k miles it feels and drives like new, and I much prefer it to the new model 3 overall. I think the S is worth the extra expense if you are financially able, but all who drive the 3 will love it. I think both the S and the 3 are priced accurately.

    A model 3 with a colorful HUD, more luxurious interior, roof rack attachments, pay up front lifetime "free" supercharging with a hatchback option in a performance version would have totally won me over, but until I see these things I am going to stick with the model 3's bigger brother
     
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