The experience of a car purist after 2800 miles

Discussion in 'Tesla Experiences' started by GTV6, Jul 25, 2018.

  1. GTV6

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    #1 GTV6, Jul 25, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
    Please excuse any repetition as I have been off of the Forum during the 3 weeks since delivery of my RWD Model 3. (I've been driving instead!)

    Background: I grew up in a car family enamored with European cars: We had '56 VW convertible and the first Porsche '56 356A cabriolet in the US, one of the first 911's (when they were affordable) and one of the first BMW 2002's. . My brother and I have continued this obsession since (we are both in our 70's). I'm an enthusiastic street driver, have also had motorcycles and he has raced in semi-pro series. The Model 3 is the first new American car I've ever purchased. I'm so glad I've finally been able to support an American company. We are in agreement on the following observations:

    Overall, this is the best car I have ever owned.

    The bad are very minor:

    1. The interior door handles are a constant nuisance. I'm glad for the readily accessible emergency buttons but the constant reminder to passengers is obnoxious and ineffective. Even the most obsessive (including me) find ourselves hitting the wrong opener.

    2. Even after a 1300 mile interstate trip, i continue to reflexively jump every time I pass a slower vehicle and see in my peripheral vision the ghost image of the car i am passing on the screen. Since the screen image is approaching me, it looks as if the danger is approaching and imminent. Am I the only one?

    3. The screen in itself is NOT any more distracting than the typical set up. However, the vast quantity of information available increases the opportunities for distraction. Be careful out there!

    4. The ride on very poor pavement is challenging. I don't want to overstate that but if you live in a section of NYC, for instance, which has constant road construction, this may not be the car for you. I live in rural New England where the pavement deteriorates over the course of EVERY winter and I find the ride/handling compromises near perfect. (18" aeros at full inflation)

    5. Yes, I can't believe Tesla or anyone else uses that shiny black plastic anywhere you touch. Clear vinyl solves the problem mostly.

    6. Wish I could choose alternative routes on navigation. It is very stubborn on insisting on its selection but who wants to drive up the 95 corridor EVER when there are alternatives. I assume this is a beta situation and will be corrected. (Let me know if I am missing something here.)

    The great: Most everything else. I love this car as does my wife who appreciates good cars, but is not a car enthusiast. She prefers tractors and still longs for her VW Eurovan that could carry anything in comfort.

    1. Handling and ride: Is there another car on the road that combines this ease of driving with pleasure of driving? The ease of modulating speed with the GREAT speedo and speed limit icon and the instant acceleration and easy deceleration leads me to even drive closer to the limit on secondary roads than my usual 10 miles over. Feedback through the steering is very good. Probably not world-class but close enough that I just never find myself wishing for more. The steering wheel is as good as custom wheels i've purchased in the past. The turn-in on ramps and local roads actually takes some getting used to, it is so quick. The handling limits are so high even with the Michelin tires that if you know whether this car over or understeers you are probably taking too many chances. I don't feel I really understand the limits yet. Handling is my main criteria and this car excels. I will say the high speed handling (over 70) is slightly floaty and imprecise-feeling on sweeping corners but I attribute that to the tires and would rather have the range than replace the tires to avoid what is really mainly a sensation rather than a practical problem. It is minor and my race car brother had no complaints on that score.

    2. Comfort: The front seats are terrific and the driver profile feature is a beauty. Visibility out the back window is not an issue though it is a bit narrow. Mirror coverage is good enough I have not bothered installing the after market round mirrors I purchased. Easy to find a comfortable position even with my bad back and neck. I dislike leather but this material grips and provides the support that leather often doesn't. I don't tend to use cruise and even so had no discomfort in my legs after a full day driving solo. I did try the cruise and the controls are outstanding. Road noise is fine and the sound system quality (once I made on-screen adjustments) is great to my quite discriminating ears.

    I will add that my brother commented that putting the excellent performance aside, the interior features and lay-out immediately made obsolete every other vehicle he had driven.

    3. Aesthetics: I am a long time white-car guy yet the red is spectacular. We made the right choice for us. This is a very good looking car and the front (even with the license plate) is better than expected and even attractive. The aeros are just fine. I had planned to do something to correct their color assuming they would be just too dark with the red but i'm fine with them in person.
    My wife is a visual artist with a keen sense of color. When we approached the car at delivery her immediate reaction is: "That interior is grey not black" and she is correct. It is a dark grey. Sounds terrible, but is just fine. We both would have preferred a lighter interior (the white is beautiful but actually shocking in brilliance in person, at least on the X's I have seen) but the car is so great to drive I just don't notice. BTW the roof glass is so darkly tinted as to just not be an issue even in Virginia summer heat. I do wish as a driver that i could have some sense of the glass roof but it is out of sight when driving.
    I've noticed NO glare on my screen or on the windshield.

    4. Quality (VIN 26,XXX delivered 7.2): On delivery the only glitch were some slight scratches on the rear fender which the deliver guy discovered. I had requested 'no detailing' and i turned down the offer for an on-the spot fix (though in fact the detailers were all gone late in the day). A non-issue once my detailer worked on the car. He (Daniel Wendell, my nephew, at Automotive Aesthetics in Charlottesville, VA) is a nationally-recognized expert who works on high-end and show cars mainly. He's a bit of a skeptic about Tesla quality and noted some of the contamination in the paint, especially compared to the Porsches nearby. But he also noted how the $80k Ford Raptor in the other bay was much worse. And that vehicle was spectacular. (BTW, We provided a test ride to one of his older European car collector clients who immediately decided to order a Model 3 on the spot after the drive).

    Over-all, I am fine with the paint and all else. As I said I am a purist accustomed to Audi levels of fit and finish and the panel gaps are just fine. The only obvious shortcoming compared to the Europeans is the appearance of the rubber gaskets around doors etc. But again, just not an issue unless your OCD is kicking in.
    The only real quality glitch so far is that the plastic triangle above the right exterior mirror is pulling away slightly. Probably a 5 minute fix when and if I have to go in for something else.

    5. Charging and range: As advertised. Great. On my trip I quickly discovered that the range of the car outlasts my bladder. Driving Interstate Routes 91/84/287/81 on the East Coast was effortless in terms of finding superchargers when needed either for a break or of necessity. The only glitch was one stop in NYState on 84 where the amenities were closed and had to cool my heels while charging. A total non-issue in my part of the woods. Granted this was not winter at below zero temperatures and a headwind with a fully loaded car but I am not concerned based on experience thus far.

    6. Tesla customer satisfaction experience: 'A' from start to finish.

    If only the 3 were a hatchback or station wagon: Sigh. And if only it had satellite radio as I don't have cell coverage near my home and office. Even then, it would not be totally reliable, but better.

    In conclusion, I am a total Elon and Tesla fan boy, even more so now that I have the car. I might see myself buying a VW EV Retro bus if and when they ever come out, but if Tesla made an equivalent van I'd be all over that instead. Hope my observations are helpful to all of you out there obsessing while you await delivery.
     
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  2. Trail Runner

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    Excellent write up and observations. Makes the wait more bearable reading this. Will you/did you do any aftermarket changes (ppf, ceramic, etc..)?
     
  3. GTV6

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    Thanks.
    I did a partial clear vinyl (front, mirrors, back bumper ledge under trunk opening) plus a protective finish over all because New England winters are brutal on cars. I may do a paraffin undercoating each year given the impossibility of keeping salt off the car. I love weather tech mat quality but think their most protective mats are unattractive. I ordered the Maxpiders and am temporarily using the trunk mat from a VW Sportwagen which actually fits fairly well. I'd love to have some great-looking wheels but i'm committed to the range rather than the aesthetics and, as I noted, I'm happy enough with the handling of the Michelin Primacy's and the distinctive aero look. I will definitely be mounting Nokian snows on the aero wheels. So far, can't think of anything else I would add short of a custom color (the red is great but even Subaru has some better color variety than Tesla) and a custom color interior. Not worth the money. After all, this is just a car, as much as I love cars. I'd sooner add more capacity to my home solar panels. Maybe i'd order an extra cable to leave in the car permanently. Oh, I did order a brighter LED for the trunk but haven't yet installed. I neglected to note above that I miss not having a grab handle over the door. Wonder if that will ever be an aftermarket offering at a reasonable price. Probably not.
     

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