Lack of backseat headroom will be a market problem throughout Europe

Lack of backseat headroom will be a market problem throughout Europe

The model S backseat's headroom is too low for Europeans. My wife is 5'10" and her head when she sits behind the driver or passenger seat hits the side roof and top back beam. I am 6'2" and I can not sit comfortably in the backseat. I must hunch my upper back so that my lower back is in a terrible unsupported position and my knees are more in my face then normal.

We are now on vacation in France (live in Norway) and everyone uses and has adults in their backseats. The backseat is used by adults, not just for kids. The attitude that "the backseat is where my kids sit" does not apply in European cultures. Adults actually sit back there, all the time.

It is the only negative I see with the Model S in the European market. Specifically, Dutch people are very tall people (most over 6'). The Model S backseat will be a turnoff to the Dutch most of all. Spain, Italy, Portugal, and other southern European countires are not tall people but have adults in the backseat all the time...constatntly. This car is so perfect but must have more headroom in the back.

Will Tesla do something about those large beams on the ceiling in the backseat reclaiming a few inches so that they can be more appealing to the European market?

tobi_ger | July 28, 2013

Hah, funny! GMaps showed me Cinderally in "Gjerstad 4993" as a result. Is that it? :)

carlk | July 28, 2013

@tobi_ger Sure not everyone drives a Porsche but Tesla doesn't need everyone in Europe to buy an MS either. That was my point. There will be enough people who feel MS is just right for them same as those who bought it in the US which is not full of short people or small families. Op is the one who's stereotyping.

Paul Koning | July 28, 2013

Curious. I'm 6'2" (and Dutch, for that matter) and I fit fine in the back seat (standard metal roof).

Brian H | July 28, 2013

You gave me a picture of carpools of drunk Norwegians (with 'designated drivers who are soberer?) with the back seat full of slouching tall guys singing dirty songs, badly.

Norway is obviously a swinging place!

Brian H | July 28, 2013

errata: drivers'
back seats

Notre | July 28, 2013

@ tobi_ger

Seems to be it, yes. One of two SC's connecting Oslo and Stavanger.

All locations:

HenryT2 | July 28, 2013

@Paul Koning
If you have an MS, go sit in the back seat and lean your head back. Yes, if you're sitting straight up, it's fine. But if you want to relax or take a nap, the roof will push your head forward. Not sure what kind of safety issue this is, but it's certainly not comfortable.

I'm fairly certain that taller people who have sat in the back seat and said they have no problem are the types who sit for hours upright the whole time, or just don't sit in back seats long enough to want to put their heads back.

TikiMan | July 28, 2013

I am 6'1" and fit in the rear seat of my P85 w/o the pano roof with no problems. Now, i don't consider myself super-tall, however, if most of your rear passengers are typically 6'3"+, I would suggest getting the MS with the pano roof (which will add at least another 4" of headroom).

If beehive and or tall pompadour hairdos are your thing, well... maybe it's time for a new hairstyle ;-)

ev4life | July 28, 2013

How well does the Audi A7 do in the EU? The backseat for that seems very similar in headroom proportions to the Model S

Bubba2000 | July 28, 2013

I think the back seat could re-engineered to be lower by a few centimeters. The keep the knees from being excessively flexed, the seat back cushion could be reduced by a few centimeters to increase leg room and extend the knees. Sure, the seat surfaces will be a less cushy, but a different choice of materials can help.

Tesla can also re-engineer the roof beams. Use stronger materials like Titanium, etc, but that would increase costs.

Remember this is Version 1.0 and it will get better with time.

negarholger | July 28, 2013

Brian H - you realize that Norway is comparable with the northern part of Canada and Alaska. I spent some years in St Petersburg and in winter the sun breaks the horizon at 11:50 am and sets at 12:10 pm. There are two seasons - winter when there almost no sun and you tend to be depressed, summer when the sun hardly sets... I still remember the first time the switch from winter to summer happened - from one day to the next the whole city went from grumpy to summer breeze.

RanjitC | July 28, 2013

@tikiman 1+,
I also am 6'1" and have sat in the back seat from L.A. to Las Vegas while my children enjoyed the touch screen in the front seats. No Pano roof in my P85. People can complain about anything if they want to.

jkirkebo | July 29, 2013

TikiMan: Thanks for the link. My wife seems to be taller than the average man everywhere at her 6'1" height ;)

Brian H | July 29, 2013

If your rear passengers are 6'3" you will have to wait for the ragtop.

liviu | July 29, 2013

I suggest to re-engineer the back seats with middle console and adjustable head rest. This could be set like a optional for the car and all the problem is solve.
If the back seats can accommodate a person with a high of 6 or even 6feet and 3" is enough for more than 80% cases in Europe. With the adjustable head rest and middle console option will be the perfect car for the back people too.

All the cars in Europe has the adjustable headrest for all the seats, even in the back. My first car, from 2003 model, has this by default (its a Renault Laguna, large family french car)

My suggestion to resolve the problem.
We should make only "good" critics, like Elon says to do.

tobi_ger | July 29, 2013

Not quite: e.g. Volvo' S80 model (but probably other vendors' models, too) has only fixed head restraints in front and back (unmovable even by brute force, I tried).

liviu | July 29, 2013

This one is the perfect evidence that the design is present but not implemented.
Maybe because is cheaper the fix model.
In Europe will implement the adjustable one ... I hope!

ChristianG | July 29, 2013

@liviu the last video of the euro options showed that there will be no adjustable headrest.

I'm 6'4 and I could sit in the rear straight with the pano roof, but when leaning a bit back I did touch that roof fast. While my friends are not as tall as I am, they are quiet tall. And without being able to sit in a non pano roof model in europe I did order the pano roof because I was afraid the headroom would be not enough.

while many of my friends drive smaller cars the headroom in them is often superior to the MS. But as many stated, this is a sport sedan. And while practical in many ways it does have some drawbacks in usability for that fact.

AmpedRealtor | July 29, 2013

My Prius has a ton of headroom in the back. That's because the vehicle has a rather tall profile which causes it to be tossed around like a rag doll when passed by a semi or hit by even a moderate gust at freeway speeds. Pick your battles.

ChristianG | July 29, 2013

Drive a prius since 8 years never had a problem with being tossed around by wind, being passed or passing any vehicle. And I live in a valley where winds with around 100 km/h are quiet frequent.

Sure the MS wil behave better in that regard but does that really matter? In a short search there were studies that there are less traffic accidents than usual when this particular wind is blowing (called Föhn) so I seriously doubt that sidewind behavior is a lager problem than the unusual one pedal driving of the MS, and I agree that that is no problem at all.

Brian H | July 29, 2013

Women have 10cm longer legs and shorter torsos than a man of the same height.

Brian H | July 29, 2013

you've posted those old 2012 Get Amped pictures multiple times. Enough.

tes-s | July 29, 2013

If your assumption is correct, then there will be very few Model S sold in Europe - they will simply wait until the X comes out, assuming there is more headroom.

Asia, on the other hand, will be a hot market.