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Panel Gap Study

Tesla's criticized gaps measured smaller than average

Tesla has received lots of criticism over panel gap issues with the Model Y being the hot topic right now. I believe the early 3's were worse and now the 3's are better, so we can expect improvement. I have not followed the S or X progress. I came across a study in a recent car magazine and I'll recap some of their findings here. They specified that they tested for tight, even panel gaps and that certain parts of cars have higher averages than others. The only other Luxury brand listed is Porsche, no mention of Mercedes or BMW, Lexus and Acura might be lumped into Toyota and Honda. I think most people are expecting a luxury car experience with Tesla and expect no panel gaps. It looks like Tesla owners are maybe just more critical or vocal. I had no issues on a Feb'19 Model 3 but expect some issues on a hopefully soon 2021 Model Y.

Smallest Overall Average Gap: Porsche 911 Carrera 4s - 3.1mm
Tied for 2nd: Chevrolet Equinox & Toyota Camry Hybrid: 3.4mm
Tied for 4th: Porsche Boxster, Toyota Camry & 2019 Model 3 - 3.5mm

Best Automaker: Volkswagen: 3.7mm
Tied for 2nd: Kia & Tesla: 4.0mm
Tied for 4th: GM & Toyota: 4.1mm
Overall Average Gap - 4.2mm
6th: Nissan: 4.3mm
Tied for 7th: Fiat Chrysler, Ford & Honda: 4.5mm


  • Lol very important noot
  • I'll also add the study appears to be a small random sampling of around 60 different cars so maybe the few Teslas they had to test were above average.
  • "expect no panel gaps"

    Gaps are required. Uniformity and consistency of gap are more important than the average gap dimension.
  • 3.0mm to 5.0mm is the industry standard.

    Looks like everyone is within tolerance.
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