3 Problems with interior - your thoughts?

3 Problems with interior - your thoughts?

Got a chance to sit in and test drive several Model S units last night, and came away generally impressed and excited, but concerned about a few things.

1. Getting in and out of the car, it's impossible to avoid jamming you leg into the trim on the B/C pillars. Every Model S we saw showed the trim wearing off those areas due to repeated rubbing. It's quite uncomfortable. Have others noted this, and is there some strategy for mitigating?

2. When the steering wheel is extended a good ways (for those who have long legs and move the driver's seat way back), you can't get in or out of the car. To get out, you must return the steering wheel all the way forward. Does anyone know if you set the seat memory whether the car will automatically retract the steering wheel when you're ready to get out, then extend when you get in? Or at least a fast way to return the steering wheel to the dash (doing it manually with power assist takes like 6-8 seconds and is annoying).

3. Every car we sat in had differing seat heights. One, my head hit the ceiling. A later one had better head clearance, but sat high enough that I felt like windshield visibility was cut off at top. The test drive car had the best clearance and clearly sat lower for better feel and visibility. Do the production cars generally sit low enough for someone 6'3" to have headroom and see out the front window?



petero | 30 agosto 2012

Interesting. Where were you able to test drive an "S?" How long were you able to drive it?

Michael23 | 30 agosto 2012

You need the pano roof if you are tall like me. You can adjust the seat height. I'm 6'8 and fit. A rep told me that the auto rise and lowering of steering wheel is coming in software update and I sure hope so to make it easier to get in and out. The windows are higher up than other cars I agree. It will take some getting used to.

Alex K | 30 agosto 2012

@teamdavis | AUGUST 30, 2012: Every car we sat in had differing seat heights

I thought the cars had electric seat hight adjustment?

teamdavis | 31 agosto 2012

Test drove the Model S at Santana Row store; was also able to make appointment to test drive at Menlo Park store. It was about a 10 minute drive on city streets and freeway. I drove a performance model.

Michael, I'm only about 6'3". In the first car I sat in, the only reason I fit was the pano head hit the liner if I leaned slightly left. In the car I test drove, the seat adjusted down to a point easily 3-4" lower than the first car, and my head cleared not only the pano roof, but also the liner on the side. I also sat in a non-pano car, and my head cleared the liner (assuming I put the seat all the way down).

I heard they "might" fix the steering wheel in software; I'd be very disappointed if they didn't.

The seats on all the cars had power adjustments, it's just a matter of how low you could make the seat go. Every car was different, with the test drive car going the lowest. I hope that's indicative of production cars.

Anyone noticed the wear on and bumping into the B post getting out of the car?

Volker.Berlin | 31 agosto 2012

teamdavis, I have a question I always ask in these kinds of discussions: Did you notice how the head rest relates to your head? Is it up high enough to safely match your head in case of a serious rear-ender? You can lower the entire seat (some more, some less), but there is no way to increase the height of the seat back/adjust the head rest, so we have to take that just as is.

Schlermie | 31 agosto 2012

I've been in and out of the Model S at least a dozen times but haven't noticed any wear on the B pillar. Even though I'm only 5'11" (long legs though with average build), I do need to wiggle myself free from the driver's seat. I can't recollect whether I get friendly with the B-pillar though. I'll try to make note of it this weekend. I may brace myself against it as I elevate to get out.

Michael23 | 31 agosto 2012

Yeah, the earlier cars did not lower down as much. It's a change for production cars to accommodate me better :)

cdonley | 31 agosto 2012


I'm 6'6". Test drove the black performance at the Palo Alto GetAMP.

Did bump the B-Pillar on the way out, but I think that's because my seat is a little lower than I normally have it in my 7-series (where the seat also extends behind the B-pillar a bit, but I have never bumped). Probably just a need to adjust the way you get in and out a bit.

The steering wheel was much more noticeable (mostly when getting out.

That said, I've not had any issues with actually fitting into the seats in either the test drive or in sitting in the betas that had been in Menlo Park or Santana Row. Haven't tried the test drive cars that are now at either location.


robwarnersc | 31 agosto 2012

Wondering if any of you have test driven an "S" had any concerns about how hard the drivers seat was. After my 15 minute test drive, my back felt the stiffness. Also noticed a similar notice in the latest review by Motor Trend. Any thoughts?

Electric Machete | 31 agosto 2012

I found the seat belt was uncomfortable on my right side. I thought that the height of the female portion of the buckle was different than other cars I have driven.

Michael37 | 31 agosto 2012

Volker.Berlin: I checked last time I sat in the car. I'm 6'1", and the top of the seat was absolutely fine for my height. Definitely would be good in a rear-ender. I can't speak for the taller crowd, as I'm not sure how much higher my head could have been and still felt well protected.

robwarnersc: One thing I noticed is that the lumbar support is really uncomfortable for me. I got in a car at Santana Row and thought, "Oh, no. I'm going to have to cancel my reservation this seat is so terrible." Then I tried moving the lumbar support back, and immediately the seat was fine. Granted, I have not sat in one for hours, but I did sit in a car for probably 20 minutes while fiddling with the touch screen and I didn't notice discomfort.

Schlermie | 1 settembre 2012

I sat in a Model S today and confirmed the B-pillar is clearly worn in two spots on both sides of the car at the height which abuts to the arm rest of the door. I also noticed I'm inclined to brush up against that same worn spot as I get out of the car, but with some effort, I can get out of the car without brushing against it. When the driver's seat is adjusted how I like it, the B-pillar is in line with my left shoulder, if not slightly forward of my left shoulder.

Robert22 | 1 settembre 2012

It sounds like they need some type of wear prevention material in that location. I would prefer not to have to contort my body to avoid touching the car on the way out, but I also know what persistent rubbing on any material can do. Please address this Tesla. It will be an even larger issue for bigger people.

m67tesla | 3 settembre 2012

1: I always got in the car without rubbing

2: I got in and out with the steering wheel in the same position

3: Seat is height adjustable

Robert22 | 3 settembre 2012


Are you over 6' 5"?

Brian H | 3 settembre 2012

Only statistical freaks are over 6'5". Not economically significant.

Crow | 3 settembre 2012

I'm 6'4. I have sat in several Betas and went to the Amped tour. No problem for me getting in and out of the car. Instead of Tesla changing the car at this point and delaying my delivery, I think they should give a free yoga mat to anyone who thinks this is an issue.

Robert22 | 3 settembre 2012

The test drive cars should be examined more closely. Anecdotal evidence suggests that there was noticeable wear from entry and exit on the B-pillar. This is now the third report I've heard since the test drive events and that's with an average cross-section of driver height and weight.

@Brian H-
Statistically, each inch above average translates into $789.00/ year in added discretionary income (to spend on a car). Tesla may find that economically significant.

(Journal of Applied Psychology when controlled for age and gender, original work plus meta-analysis of 45 prior studies)

Dmetcalf | 3 settembre 2012

Way to dis MJ Brian H. Classy.

Timo | 3 settembre 2012

6'5" is well within normal range here. 6'7" start to be "tall" and over that are basket ball players.

In my interrail trip in Germany I remember seeing one really huge person. I was in a local train and leaned to my backpack (so not sitting, but not quite standing straight up either) and something huge walked past me with his trousers button at the same level as my eyes. I looked up and noticed that "hey there is parcel shelf up there" in a corridor where I barely reached with my hands straight up. This person had his head at the same level with that shelf. He had to duck to fit thru train doors. Looked normal otherwise.

Must have been over 6'20". Guinness material. Statistically he must have been a billionaire.

Jason S | 3 settembre 2012

@Brian H - I lol'd. But maybe I've got a statistically insignificant sense of humor...

Since those below 6'5" shouldn't comment on this issue, I'll refrain from comment.

Volker.Berlin | 3 settembre 2012

For the record: I am a statistical freak by Brian's definition. Thank you very much.

Robert22 | 3 settembre 2012

@ Timo-

You mean Hans? Yeah, he likes to ride trains.

Timo | 3 settembre 2012


Hans who?

Robert22 | 3 settembre 2012

Just another failed attempt at humor Timo.

Timo | 3 settembre 2012

Ah, you mean your buddy Hans? :-) (seriously, that person was huge enough that it could have been someone famous, so I thought you were giving me actual reference to some real person).

Docszc1 | 3 settembre 2012

What is the difference between the same tripped out s model and the performance model, aside from about 8 grand?

Brian H | 3 settembre 2012

A statistical freak is an outlier. Timo, I think if you look up pop'n data, you will discover 6'5" is uncommon.

Timo | 3 settembre 2012

Depends of your definition of "uncommon". About one out of twenty full grown man is not uncommon IMO. Average man is over 6 feet here.

Older generation is quite a bit shorter for some reason, not just because of old age, I'm taller than any of my ancestors that I know of and I'm about as average as Finnish men come (pretty much exactly 6 feet tall). I suspect some food-related thing.

mdennick | 3 settembre 2012

I'm 6'5" (from Calif). Rubbing against the piller on entry and exit was something I noticed early on with Model S. I'd hit it hard enough it would hurt in fact. I just figured I'd have to be more carful. I'm hoping it will be a minor behaveral adjustment.

Brian H | 3 settembre 2012

Def'nitely be more car-ful. More careful, too!

mdennick | 4 settembre 2012

You only get hurt once. ;-)  Edit would be nice too but you get the point. 

PenguinOpus | 4 settembre 2012

6'4" owner, 1100 miles. No problems getting in and out.