Crow Eating Time

Crow Eating Time

I posted a negative review (Where the Model S Fails) of the Model S interior about a week ago based on seeing a car in the Bellevue, WA showroom and having my test drive in Portland, OR last week. One of my primary complaints was the dashboard stitching, which in the cars I saw appeared to be made into standard cushioned dashboard material, and this looked totally out of place to me. I also commented on the trim materials, as they all looked fake and cheap to me. I also opined that there needed to be a no-touch way to reveal the door handles, as the test drive vehicle I saw had obvious finger smudges that the Tesla guys cleaned after every drive. I was told at my test drive that the Tech Package was needed to have the no-touch reveal option, and I wasn't sure I was going to spring for that.

However, today I saw a Model S in the Bellevue showroom. The dashboard (both above and below the accent trim line) looked like it was wrapped with real leather, and the stitching looked fine in that context. I was told by the salesperson that the leather dash and door inserts were part of the $1500 Napa Leather option.

Additionally, there seems to have been some changes made to the accent trim choices, as the material samples I saw today looked pretty good. Not BMW good maybe, but much better than I remembered. Gone was the Bananna stuff and it was replaced with something that looked fairly real, and the Lacewood even looked more refined.

Finally, the salesman today assurred me with 100% certainty that even without the Tech Package, a double-click of the key fob would unlock and reveal all the door handles.

So I'm guilty of forming an opinion based on prototype vehicles, pre-production material samples and untrained salespeople. Although I still think the touchscreen is way too big, and there's too much chrome and brushed metal trim, the Model S interior I saw today was pretty good. Not as slick as the exterior, but significantly better than my first introductions to the vehicle, and good enough for this BMW driver to feel comfortable switching from his life-long brand.

So can anyone confirm what I've stated above? Do you get real leather on the dashboard and door inserts when you get the Napa Leather option on a base Model S? Can the key fob be used to reveal the door handles without touching them if you don't have the Tech Package?

Thanks, and I apologize to Tesla for my snarky review. It was mostly based on outdated and incorrect information (as best I can tell). I still think the Model X dash design shown on the Tesla website is a big improvement and should be incorporated into the Model S in the future (please).

Teoatawki | 29 July, 2012

Yes, the key fob will reveal the handles without touching them. The tech package lets this happen automatically when you approach the car with the fob in your pocket, like it's happy to see you.

Timo | 30 July, 2012

Gone was the Bananna stuff

Elon mentioned that in the call, IIRC something like looking good outside of the car, but big disappointment in it, so it was dropped from selection. That was concrete proof that Tesla does pay attention to interior quality and they fix it when they find something wrong in it.

steven.maes | 30 July, 2012

Thx for the update RickS_8756. It is good to hear that Tesla is really working on the interieur (like Elon also mentioned).

nickjhowe | 30 July, 2012

+1 RickS_8756. Nicely done sir.

Larry Chanin | 30 July, 2012

Hi Rick,

Thanks for the update. However, you should know that your initial posting made it into the on-line press. In this article Priuses Are for Losers the author states:

So far, though, the defects catalogued by the car’s few detractors have been reassuringly picayune. One early buyer was frustrated that the car doesn’t creep forward when it’s in idle, as does a gas-powered car—which actually seems like an improvement to me. A post called “Where the Model S Fails” on one of Tesla’s customer forums points out that, in the version without retractable door handles, the chrome gets all smudgy when you touch it. My own most irksome finding was that the cruise-control stalk was where I expected the blinker to be, so that I failed to signal any of my turns until I was halfway through them.

So apparently he has lumped your remarks about smudgy chrome along with other picayune remarks.

His article has provisions for comments so you have the option of disputing why smudges aren't picayune, or remarking about your revised point of view. ;-)


Jason S | 30 July, 2012

Actually I thought the leather on dash and door inserts was a Signature perk and the 'regular' gets faux materials.

Could be wrong. Could be Sig perks are nonexistent.

Mark22 | 31 July, 2012

Kudos Rick for stepping up to the plate and revisiting your earlier criticisms!

William13 | 1 August, 2012

BTW the smudging may or may not accur on production cars as the chrome for the door handles was specifically mentioned in the investor call as changing due to " pitting issues.". I do think that all shiny surfaces smudge however.

Brian H | 1 August, 2012

is it true that a few hours after a meal of crow, you start to feel raven-ous?


jerry3 | 1 August, 2012

As long as you don't get owl-y.

Volker.Berlin | 6 August, 2012

RickS_8756, thank you very much for getting back and updating/refining your view and opinion!

For the record, the original post was here: