What you give up for a tesla

What you give up for a tesla

Model S P85D MSRP: $137,986 delivered 4/2/15

After 4 months and 5200mi, I feel I have a pretty good education on my car. I'm not sure I would buy it again, at least not this fully loaded model. Here is a list of things you essentially give up to buy/lease a Model S, over say, a BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Audi, Chevy, Ford, Buick, with any sort of comfort upgrades:

1) A seat that moves backward and steering wheel that lifts/retracts, when you put car in park (I'm 6'3" and this was a great feature in my Suburban)
2) A GPS system that responds at least as fast as your iPhone and doesn't glitch out constantly
3) Ability to alter suspension softness (i.e., comfort vs sport)
4) A good bluetooth link to your iPhone to play will link, but no ability to scroll, select music, etc from car. Almost worthless
5) A decently intuitive radio button layout. you get 6 presets. Thats it. Then the steering wheel scroll button, only takes you to those 6 ability to scan to next channel. This is actually one of my biggest peeves as I channel hop on commercials and/or like to hear 4-5 seconds of a song or news station before selecting. You seek through touch screen, but that requires taking eyes off road, and again, being tall, means I'm already far back from the screen, so reaching to touch small buttons is actually moderately difficult
6) Hard buttons for about anything: even the button that opens your garage door is on the touch screen and if you accidentally hit the button below it, it takes you to a setting screen...annoying.
7) A well thought out touchscreen for things like the A/C, etc. There are touch buttons on the screen for my heated seats, which i will likely never use, but to get to frequently used settings like the A/C, i have to hit a button to take me to a new screen...

Overall, I love to DRIVE my car, and while I may sound nit picky about most of the above, for a $138k car, none of these things can't be fixed or added via software except maybe 2 & 3.

There is so much worry about "Range Anxiety" or whatever its called, that the only updates I ever get relate to the map and charging stations...

As is, I give my Tesla a 7 out of 10. With Each 1-3 improvements from my list above, it would go up one point...For this much $$ it could/should be a 10!

UnshodBob | 19 août 2015

For number 1, could you set up a driver profile called "exit" that has the seat moved back and the steering wheel raised, and choose that one before getting out of the car?

Mathew98 | 19 août 2015

I give my S60 a 9.5 out of 10. It lost half a star for not being equipped with a passenger eject seat!

And it only cost roughly half of what you paid for yours.

P85D | 19 août 2015

I gave up my Tesla, didn't feel it was worth the money I was paying for it. But now that the CPO program prices are somewhat more reasonable.

cpmarino | 19 août 2015

Oh, this thread isn't going to end well.

OP: Just out of curiosity, many of the items that you list are valid and known "things" about the Tesla. Five minutes on this site could have told you all of that, as would a test drive. Did you research the car, test drive the car, etc. before you bought it? It's one thing if you love everything else and consider those things worth the compromise, but it sounds as if you are disappointed or, worse, surprised by some of it. I can't see a $140k purchase without that level of pre-analysis.

EdwardG.NO2CO2 | 19 août 2015

Now make a list of what you give up to go back to an ICE vehicle. . Not for me I don't need it. Just sold my fully loaded 2013 Mercedes S which had less than 9,000 kilometers on it. Every day For the last two years I walked into the garage I chose the Tesla to drive that day! Finally realized the Mercedes was never going to be driven and was unnecessary as a backup.

I don't miss any of the things on your list. The driving experience, connectivity, and efficiency are unmatched by any other car!

Nantang | 19 août 2015

About the only thing of significance I felt I gave up was money--the Tesla Model S is the only car I'd get at a $130k price point. Ordinarily I'd have stayed around $70,000. But, a P85D is a dream car worth the extra stretch.

For a car so spacious, storage is a little sparse, but it's not a major issue for me, since I've never cluttered car interiors even in my Hyundai Elantra days back in medical school.

It takes a little extra work for the AC compared to my last car, a Lexus GS, and I gave up cooled/ventilated seats. But, having to run the AC at 6-7 rather than 3-4 for a few minutes is not a big deal.

It takes an extra step remembering to plug in the car when parking at work or in the garage. But, again, I've gotten rid of the steps of a start button (Lexus' counterpart for an ignition crank) and (using bullhorn) HAVING TO STOP FOR FRIGGING GAS!

Editot | 19 août 2015

I gave up smoking, other gadget purchases and long haul vacations for a couple of years.

Oh, and a 5 year old Honda!

So far so good. Collect the MS on Friday ;-)

Chunky Jr. | 19 août 2015

I gave up the hassle of having to go to gas stations. I also gave up pressing on the accelerator and waiting a bit for the engine to rev up before the car started accelerating. Not to mention I gave up the ability to pay $100 for DVD map upgrades. Plus there are a fraction of the number of cup holders.

To me, it seems like a fair tradeoff for what I got (the best car I have ever driven).

evsisson | 19 août 2015

As @cpmarino pointed out, there are many comments on the forum about the "warts" of the Model S. I particularly liked the thread asking why owners bought one. I was pleased to read that MANY owners took the plunge as a way to exercise their civic duty. I bought my S85D because it was all electric and I believed in Elon Musk's mission. I decided to buy it primarily for those reasons alone, and I would not let any "warts" bother me. The economics of it was very low priority. I merely decided that's the way it is going to be and that I would maintain that attitude without complaint.

I understand your disappointment, and I believe most other owners do also. However, I think owning a Tesla of any variety is far more than getting a good buy. It requires an attitude.

sbeggs | 19 août 2015

How did you come up with your forum name?

Roamer@AZ USA | 19 août 2015

I would never give up my ability to run the AC anytime for any length without burning up a gas engine to do it.

I also would never give up the ability to instantly accelerate when needed.

Or the ability to recapture energy when I slow down.

I don't miss standing next to my car and baby sitting a gas nozzle. I have been spoiled by a car that fuels itself.

I don't miss a thousand tiny buttons I can't read with out my reading glasses that clutter the interior and make wiping things down miserable.

Tiny useless maps on postage stamp size screens are not missed either

I can no longer stand to back up cars with pitifully small screens and tiny camera views.

I like be able to store emergency items out of the way where the wasted engine space used to be.

I like having real time always updated maps rather than a map CD that is out of date before I drive the car off the lot and never updates.

Someday maybe those other brands will be able to do the things I like about my Tesla.

I do agree with item one. How hard can it be to add a feature to raise the steering wheel when the drivers door handle is pulled. The other items listed are not an issue for me at all.

Editot | 19 août 2015

Honestly, it was a typo. And I stuck with it.

Tesra5115 | 19 août 2015

Overall, I agree with the points OP has mentioned, but no way I would choose another car in the same price point (any model) over the MS. I wouldn't call it things I would give up, rather things Tesla can improve on.

Nantang | 19 août 2015

I did give up parking close, because I'd rather park further out and not have someone door-ding the Tesla. Since my last car was a Lexus GS 450h, I was already conditioned to parking further out, but it's even more an issue in a P85D.

renwo S alset | 19 août 2015

I thought I would have to give up hauling concrete and plywood, but no! My junk hauling business is thriving!

Roamer@AZ USA | 19 août 2015

@Editot, Forum name change is an easy fix. Go to my Tesla then select my profie and next to the picture box type in anything you want to be called.

All your previous posts will update to the new name.

kepstein | 19 août 2015

I've only had my 70D for 10 weeks. Every vehicle I looked prior to purchasing the Telsa required some kind of compromise, which means that by my accounting there is no perfect 10. Consequently, the rating system has to be comparative and subjective based on personal requirements. I agree with all of HankP's observations, but for me they're significantly outweighed by the pluses that you can't get from any other vehicle at comparable prices. So while the Tesla loses a few points for HankP's observed faults and my own list (e.g., cup-holder location, lack of storage, back seat roof height, spare tire), it gains back most of those points for attributes that are not available on other vehicles (e.g., EV with extended range, over-the-air software updates, instant acceleration, supercharger system, large backup camera view, GPS-synchronized Air Suspension, interactive live mapping). I can't say that the Tesla is a 10, but I can say that it is the only car I have ever owned that is still exciting to own 10 weeks after delivery. I'm still looking for excuses to go out and drive it (there are 4 quarts of milk in the fridge right now), and every morning my wife and I negotiate over who is going to drive the Tesla and who is going to have to take the Mercedes. If I have to assign a number, I'd say it is a 9 of 10. Room for improvement, certainly, but what I have is more than enough to make me happy.


Made in CA | 19 août 2015

I give the MS a 9.99 out of 10. My only real gripe is not being able to change audio sources and Slacker channels without taking my eyes off the road.

But all of these gripes are trivial compared to way this car drives and performs. I am sorry you do not recognize it's advantages.

We even carried a small refrigerator in it last weekend. It's an amazing machine.

teslcls | 19 août 2015

rdevillers - where did you carry the fridge and where did you plug it in?

We routinely took a 12 v fridge in the back of our GX470 between Monterey and Tahoe but haven't figured out a convenient way to do that in the MS yet.

Mathew98 | 19 août 2015

@teslcls - Get a 12V extension cord and pull a line to the back seat or the trunk!

AmpedRealtor | 19 août 2015

I give my classic P85 a 9 out of 10...

1) not an issue for me - I fit just fine
2) my iPhone GPS is much slower than my Model S, no issues with Model S navigation speed
3) not sure how you can fault the car and de-rate it for a feature it never had or promised
4) agree
5) I have no issues with the layout of the radio app, it works perfectly well for me
6) Tesla doesn't like hard buttons, that's why we have a 17" touch screen (duh)
7) This can be easily changed with a software update. Wait for version 7.

jlasker999 | 19 août 2015

I have only 3 nits -

1) why can't the frunk have an auto-close like the back trunk (I hate putting hand prints on the car every time I close it)
2) Really could use a safe place to put my Maui Jim sunglasses without having to worry about scratches from them flying around.
3) Wish the top of the seatbelt was adjustable. It's too high and rubs the side of my neck.

Other than that, this is the most fun I've have driving in all of my 60 years!

Tropopause | 19 août 2015


I'm sorry your P85D is so irritating to you. Please pass the P85D this way and I'll be happy take it off of your hands and relieve you of all those disappointments. :P

EVRider | 19 août 2015

I don't own a Tesla yet, but I'm seriously considering one when my current ICE lease ends in May. One thing I'll be giving up is driving a convertible, which I've been doing for the last 23 years -- I would not consider doing that for any ICE car.

We've had a BMW i3 for almost 6 months now (my wife's car), and there were some trade-offs there, but I did my homework so I knew exactly what to expect. Now that we've lived with an EV, we're sold, and we want to go completely ICE free. At this point, the MS is the only car that will let us do that -- we need more than 80 miles of electric range, even if only occasionally.

I would never spend as much on an ICE car as I will have to spend on the MS, and it makes no financial sense for me to spend that much, especially since I don't commute. But I believe in BEVs, and I believe in Tesla and Elon Musk's vision, so I'm willing to make some sacrifices. And if seeing my wife and I drive BEVs inspires other people to do the same, so much the better.

P85inAZ | 19 août 2015

To the OP.
I definitely understand your pain with some of these. As a software delivery manager, I actually think most can be resolved with software updates:
#1: Simply provide a SW update that moves the seat back and away when put into park.
#2: Improve GPS responsiveness or, even better IMO, display phone GPS on the display
#3: SW updates suspension (this one may require some hardware...not sure)
#4: Bluetooth updates for better interface - this one shouldn't be hard
#5: 6 presets (my pet peeve too) is lame. I should be able to scorll through ALL my favorites. This should be an EASY fix with software.
#6: Hard buttons - on this, I disagree genrally and think that it will only increase costs etc. Instead, I think software could employ some nice fixes. For example, for the garage door, why not have it pop up with GIANT (i.e. 2" by 8") buttons to open the garage so it's easy to 'not miss' (i've done the same with my fat fingers).
#7: hmm...I adjust my ac with the roller button on my steering wheel (up/down for setting temp) and it works great.

You bring out some good points and I think TM can do A LOT with some good software updates. For example, why not have a 'favorites' screen that allows your own custom set of features you like to commonly use.

Mike83 | 19 août 2015

I gave up gas stations, muffler shops, expensive catalytic converter replacements, smog checks, oil and gas smells, engine tuning, oil changes, and replacing brake pads and overheating with radiators.
Oh and driving slow vehicles. | 19 août 2015

@jll9: I do 't know how big Maui Jims are. I put my sunglasses in the storage slot under the big touchscreen.

P85inAZ | 19 août 2015

Oh - I failed to mention. LOVE my p85 but here are some wish list items:
1. Allow me to mirror my phone on the screen and play movies while in park
2. doors need a pocket of some sort for trash or other items
3. An 'advanced' screen that essentially is the geek version showing nav, energy, radio, etc. all on one screen. Would be great to show all the nerdy details that are possible such as exact PSI in the tires, horsepower/torque curves, etc.
4. Forward camera (ok I guess parking sensors work too but I don't have them :-(
5. "Wife lock mode" - require passcode so wife can't steal car while I'm not looking. :-)

Mike83 | 19 août 2015

Forgot to add we gave up feeling unsafe as the Tesla is very secure and gasoline explosions and fires.

Linus | 19 août 2015

@ P85inAZ
>>> 5. "Wife lock mode" - require passcode so wife can't steal car while I'm not looking. :-)

I have an easy fix for that one: Keep the FOB on you at all times and hide the spare. :-)

P85inAZ | 19 août 2015

@Chess2 - she has that app that allows her to remote start the car! And I made the mistake of giving her a FOB originally and she guards it.

I may have to just break down and buy another Tesla lol!

Mike83 | 19 août 2015


jlasker999 | 19 août 2015 - The glasses themselves fit in that slot, but I occasionally have other things in there (office keys etc) that can scratch the glass. They don't fit in there with the case. Perhaps I can fashion a divider so they have their own little area.

I've only had the car two weeks, and spent 1/2 that time away on vacation without it. Now I'll start tweeking it.

j | 19 août 2015

Been driving my Model S nearly 1 month. I can say Model S is not a perfect car....but it's an AMAZING car! The driving experience is second to none. I am finding it very easy to adapt to the things it doesn't offer because it offers so much.

Tropopause | 19 août 2015

Well said, j. +1

UnshodBob | 19 août 2015

P85inAZ, would my suggestion work for the steering wheel and seat? Create a driver profile with seat moved back and steering wheel raised, call it "exit", and choose that profile when you put it into park and are about to get out? Or call it "*park*" or whatever and have the software guys use that profile if it exists when park is chosen on the gearshift lever.

PhillyGal | 19 août 2015

We had a 4-door Wrangler, so the ability to off road (literally never did it), drive in deep snow, and guzzle gas like a champ!

And I'd do it all over again.

Rocky_H | 19 août 2015

@hankp, For number (6), by the way, there is a workaround I found from someone here on the forum to help. Program your garage door again with a different name. Then, you will have Garage and Garage2 for an effectively double height button. Aim for the middle, and you'll hit one of them. Or program it a third time for a really big target!

If you already have two or three things programmed, though, you may not have room to do this trick, because it does have a limit of three.

P85inAZ | 19 août 2015

@unshodbob - yes, I think your fix is a decent workaround. But ultimately TMC should just program this into the car such that putting the car in park automatically moves the seat back. It should be a very easy fix.

AoneOne | 19 août 2015

Near perfection only makes the blemishes that much more obvious. That's fine with me.

UnshodBob | 19 août 2015

@P85inAZ - thanks. That's my plan then for my P90D when I get it if I have any trouble getting in and out. Don't remember any trouble in the store, though. It feels really right to me, like my 2010 Mustang GT. It feels like it was made for me. Both cars do. :)

Panoz | 27 août 2015

@Mike85: best reason(s) to buy a Tesla yet!

Panoz | 27 août 2015


mjt.private | 27 août 2015

I gave up gear changes: manual, auto, or dual-clutch. Had'em all. Do you remember those annoying, clunky, 20th century things?

And pressing the brake pedal.

OP doesn't seem to have had the car long. Remember the missing reversing lines? Or the inability to open the charge hatch from the key? Or pre-TACC?

And my GPS doesn't glitch out at all. Trip-planning is a different story of course.

Grinnin'.VA | 27 août 2015

@ P85inAZ | August 19, 2015

<<< But ultimately TMC should just program this into the car such that putting the car in park automatically moves the seat back. >>>

^^^ I'd guess that some MS owners would not want Tesla to do this.

Possibly they sometimes have a rear-seat passenger behind the driver with long legs, making the rear-seat knee room a bit tight. Don't want to have the car shove the driver's seat back into his knees.

tes-s | 27 août 2015

I didn't give up a single thing. I came from a Prius. :)

ca-blessed | 27 août 2015

+1 @tes-s

but I really really do want auto open and auto close side doors.
Opening and closing doors manually is so 20th century:-)

this feature would continue to set Tesla apart as a "intergalactic spaceboat of life and wonder" - quote source: The Oatmeal
It would also be an excellent accessibility feature.

perhaps by Gen V or VI?

Leeo | 27 août 2015

I'm on my second Tesla. I would never consider any other car brand .

JeffreyR | 27 août 2015


Possibly they sometimes have a rear-seat passenger behind the driver with long legs, making the rear-seat knee room a bit tight. Don't want to have the car shove the driver's seat back into his knees.

I'm pleased to relate that when you have the seat as far back as it will go that there is still lots of room behind you. My 6-foot dad was easily able to get in and out of the car w/ my driver's seat pushed all the way back. As you probably remember from my previous posts, I am fairly tall, 6'4" or 195 for our metric friends (and fairly broad too). I would actually set my exit to pull forward a few inches to avoid hitting my hip on the sharp-ish elbow rest in the B-pillar. I'd likely move the steering wheel up and away too.

bentzma | 27 août 2015

After owning my S for one month I can say that I agree with all of the positives expressed, and share some of the faults, but the there is no way I could go back to ICE. One extra positive that is huge for me is the purchase experience. I'm a big on-line shopper so being able to bypass the car dealer nightmare was awesome. Also not having a dealer try to give me the business is something that is a huge bonus. If you don't know of what I speak watch the movie Used Cars and pretend the cars are new. Frank McRae trying to sell a car or punching that guy through the windshield - priceless. I actually felt like the staff at the service center enjoyed what they were doing and made me feel welcome. I never had this at a traditional dealer at any level of $ I was spending.