Not built for women

Not built for women

My S85 is not very comfortable. Any other ladies (or short men) agree?
I am 5'5 which is fairly average height.

The seat belt does not adjust so it lays directly across my neck. I am sure to be decapitated if ever in an accident!
The arm rest is set too far back and also not useful for me.

Other than the discomfort I love Tesla, driving fast, and cutting off those self-righteous Prius drivers. Made it to Las Vegas with 2 miles left. Talk about range anxiety!!

85kw, Pearl White, tech package, delivery Oct 2014

renwo S alset | 22 februari 2015

You think the S is bad? Don't try golf.

sule | 22 februari 2015

Plenty of women here, guessing not all are short. Some very active here on forums...

Can't you raise the seat high enough? I can't tell.. not short...

portia | 22 februari 2015

mine is quite comfortable! 5'3"
every time I drive my other car, I found its seat belt to be uncomfortable, the S is great!
everybody is built differently, maybe go to the service center and see what they can do.

JackClark | 22 februari 2015
TheBear | 22 februari 2015

My mom is tiny like 5' 2" and she doesn't have this issue. I think you just have to keep adjusting the seat and steering wheel settings to get the right fit. If you're 5'5" i'm not sure what the issue is.

The car is friggin awesome, love it so much... and i consider our prius colleagues as friends :P

I promise you that you can not be decapitated by the seatbelt unless you chrome it...

@JackClark +9999 you had me rolling... im giving a presentation in a couple weeks and i might just insert this clip..hopefully i wont get in trouble for it...

sule | 23 februari 2015

One extra thought... if you sit that low you may not be able to see ahead of the car properly. Kind of makes sense that everyone's eyes are at a similar height/level and only the seat is adjusted to match. The only problem with this might be the ability to reach the pedals but that would be the case only in extreme cases...

@Jack: LOL, they still sell the bear, must be profitable. Past an 'interesting' name I've seen all sorts of things people put in their cars or themselves so I am not surprised at all.

PhillyGal | 23 februari 2015

I'm about the shortest a so-called "grown up" should be at 5'1" and I don't have any discomfort issues at all.
I can't actually see in my other car, which is a whole other problem. In the Tesla, my seat raises plenty to be able to see. Which tells me maybe it would benefit you to spend a little time playing with the seat height.

However - we know at least one woman agrees. Please navigate to the Tesla video of the last shareholder's meeting and find the open questions section. "Yum!"

AmpedRealtor | 23 februari 2015

Other than the discomfort I love Tesla, driving fast, and cutting off those self-righteous Prius drivers.

See, women are douche-bags too...

Grinnin'.VA | 23 februari 2015

@Smarti_Girl | February 22, 2015

I love Tesla, driving fast, and cutting off those self-righteous Prius drivers.

I hope I never get near you on the road.
Cutting off another car is reckless driving. It's dangerous.

BTW, how do you know that Prius drivers that you encounter on the road are "self-righteous"?

MileHighMotoring | 23 februari 2015

@JackClark What a great product. It's the breast solution I've found.

Bighorn | 23 februari 2015

We may need photos to help offer solutions for this one.

Neko | 23 februari 2015

And you guys wonder why women get driven off of forums like this (or maybe you don't).

Sorry, Smarti. Most of us are taking your question seriously.

EESROCK | 23 februari 2015

I was going to click on JackClark's link but then saw eco5280's comment. Maybe it would be prudent for me to hold off clicking on it while I'm at work.

I'm 5"2 and yes, the seat belt rests against my neck. I too have thought about what might happen to my neck in an accident. I don't normally put my elbow on arm rests in any of the cars I've driven, so the arm rest isn't an issue for me.

Bighorn | 23 februari 2015

Sorry Neko, but how are you taking this seriously? You offered no assistance anywhere that I can see. The title of the post is kind of ridiculous. How exactly is a car being gender discriminatory? Is it an issue of height? Based on other posters of similar heights, it may or may not be. It might be an issue of height above the waist, influencing how the seat belt crosses the body. None of this is gender specific. It would be nice if the seat belt could be made height adjustable--this is a known complaint.

Lots of women on the forum, all of whom I appreciate. I wasn't aware of a mass exodus, but you are mighty chivalrous. Kudos. | 23 februari 2015

My wife is 5'1" (on a good hair day, as she likes to say). She loves my MS, but her two complaints are the seatbelt hitting her neck and the sun visors not provide enough coverage. I picked up one of the seatbelt clips, which keeps her happy for now.

She has an Model X reservation. Elon had mentioned that it will be better proportioned for women and it better be otherwise it might be a deal killer.


MileHighMotoring | 23 februari 2015

For the record the accessory in question is unisex. Let's not argue, going tit for tat won't solve anything.

Back to OP's question, my wife is 5'3" and says the car fits her just fine. I am 5'8" and find the armrest to be too far back as well. I think TBH that I have short arms though, I had to buy handlebar extensions on my motorcycle to be comfortable (ahh, life before children).

I know women can find relief in those seatbelt accessories though, I am aware of a few people that use them. (Not the one in that commercial, ones sold at Target or whatever).

Captain_Zap | 23 februari 2015

I'm short. I never had an issue with the seatbelt and I have a short torso for my height too.

Sometimes your seat will rise higher if you lower it all the way and raise it again to set it for your height. I can't remember whether there is a trick about moving it forward or back first. I think the tilt might interfere with how far it rises, I'm not sure of the best time to tinker with that either. It has been a long time since I did it.

I did have an issue with the sun visors being too narrow and Tesla installed the new sun visors for me.

The steering wheel is a bit too big around for my hands and my grip can get tiring after a long time. It took quite a while to get used to it even though my last car had a relatively thick steering wheel.

bigd | 23 februari 2015

So PhillyGal "In the Tesla, my seat raises plenty to be able to see." You have moved the age old question to the car. Do you leave the seat up or down?

tmaz | 23 februari 2015

@bigd -hahahaha

trixiew | 23 februari 2015

Get a phone book.

5'9" pelvis designed for childbirth, comfy as can be in my Model S.

PhillyGal | 23 februari 2015

@bigd - depends who is watching...

@eco - was that a subtle pun with "tit for tat?"

Neech | 23 februari 2015

The car IS built for women. Shorties have more issues. I'm 5'5" and the seat belt rubs my neck too, but I tend to hold the seat belt pulled out a little with my right hand. Not a big deal, I've just become used to it now. I've tried raising the seat up but felt I look ridiculous sitting up so high.

I don't know if Prius drivers are self-righteous, but they are slow-pokes. I buzz by them all the time.

Neko | 23 februari 2015

@Bighorn, I was not commenting on the original post. This discussion is quite informative. My wife is small and I do want her to try the car.

1089 | 23 februari 2015

@PhillyGal That pun was not subtle. It was a groaner. A subtle pun is like a steak. It is a rare medium, well done.

@Neech I pass a lot more Teslas in my Prius than pass me. In a month or so, I will pass them in our Tesla.

Bighorn | 23 februari 2015

I passed a Prius driver in MT doing 107, so they're not all slow:) Our '07 Prius doesn't like triple digits though.

ssarker | 24 februari 2015

5' here. The seatbelt used to bother me soon after my 4/2013 delivery as well but I must have gotten used to it because I don't think about it any more. It took me a while to get the right seat position to be comfortable. So, @Smarti_Girl, keep working on it. You will find a comfortable position.

I have given up on arm rests. I always had it up in my last car as it was too high.

Haggy | 24 februari 2015

If Tesla had made the seat belt anchor adjustable, they also would have needed to redesign the visors. The only way it will work is to keep all drivers' heads at a standard height, move them closer to the pedals, and adjust the steering wheel accordingly. I can't say if this will work for everybody, but my wife is shorter than anybody who listed a height so far.

Ideally, the seat belt anchor should move and should be controlled by the driver profile, but no car I know of does that.

1BadNerd | 24 februari 2015

I have no comment on the seat belt, but regarding the arm rests...

(At the risk of getting flamed)

My wife and two daughters of driving age *in my strong, but ignored opinion* adjust their seat position to be way too close to the steering wheel. Despite my objections, they have their knees and elbows tightly bent and move around in their seats to look out either external mirror. I think it's dangerous and fatiguing. Of course, they think I'm old and cranky, which I am.

So, I'm wondering if the arm rests being too far back is actually a problem of the seat being moved too far forward.

For example:

Captain_Zap | 24 februari 2015

I don't like being close to the steering wheel either, but I like where the arm rests are. The location is good for me.

I agree that they need to move back and relax.

EVino | 24 februari 2015

May as well add to this parade. The fat steering wheel. A good ergonomic steering wheel is actually one that allows the palm to have an air gap so it doesn't fatigue the hand and wrist. Thicker than a golf club grip but not as full as a tennis racket. The Tesla steering wheel is probably the fattest of all production cars bar none.

1BadNerd | 24 februari 2015

@FinGas, I agree with you, but I thought the steering wheel came from Mercedes. Don't (some) Mercedes have the same wheel?

Joshua Burstyn | 24 februari 2015


LOL! Awesome. I hope when I die I come back as a TiddyBear.

PhillyGal | 25 februari 2015

@1badnerd - a lot of women tend to do this and I can't figure out why. The "proper" distance is if you sit back, stretch your arms and your wrists sit on the top of the wheel. Too close and you risk air bag injury if deployed.

Now me, I'm a straight gangsta and sit with the butt part of the seat close (I'm short) but the seat upright pretty far back. At which point I hold the steering wheel underneath with one hand. You know, so I can throw up my gang signs with the free hand.

Brian H | 26 februari 2015


sbeggs | 26 februari 2015



Are you saying that you like a little recline in the seat back whilst driving?

Bighorn | 26 februari 2015

Thanks for the mental pic--I figured you more for a ghost rider. I'll be lookin for you ridin dirty through the Plateau:)--triple beam lyrical dream and whatnot.

1BadNerd | 26 februari 2015

@PhillyGal, do you have the air suspension? Do you pop it up and down, too, to the beat of Eminem?

Bighorn | 26 februari 2015

Can't you just hear her singing along:"

"And if I hit the switch, I can make the azz drop!"?

PhillyGal | 26 februari 2015

@sbeggs - why yes I am!

@Brian - I'll see if the hubs will take one while I have my seat set to me.

@Bighorn - again with the WINNINGEST hip hop references!

@1badnerd - no air, but I rock the coils hard! And I sort of almost started a riot in 1999 at my Philly public school when I claimed this new rapper Eminem was better than Canibus. (If you mentally said "who?" - I rest my case...)

Haggy | 26 februari 2015

The MS adjusts airbag deployment strength based on distance from steering wheel. I don't remember where I read that, but it was on the Internet so it must be true.

Brian H | 27 februari 2015

My theory is that feminism & PC caused rap in reaction. The filthier and more abusive, the more it was admired. Bitches.

bobrobert | 27 februari 2015

Listen to the ladies – some adjustments to the seat position and your posture are as necessary for comfort & control of a car as they are for horseback riding; just as a horse can sense a tense rider & become uncooperative, so sitting too close to the steering wheel with elbows up & nervous grip can be exhausting & counter to the intent of controlling the car.

Some fellow firefighters thought I wasn't made for women, either, when learning of my avocation in ballet. One was visibly uncomfortable around me, so I made a point of following him whenever he went to the station restroom (bet he has prostate trouble to this day.) But the opposite was true for me – not much of a soloist, but the choreographer wanted me as partner for his dancers, and they generally needed more instruction in the pas de deux than did I (being predisposed to the art as an act of worship.)

My blissful role was to highlight the ballerina's beauty; on the rare occasion focus needed to be on me the choreographer generally had me strike a commanding pose, suggesting that I could flex the pecs or glutes. Part of displaying a dancer's loveliness is to make her appear almost weightless – not so insubstantial as a sprite but as delicate perhaps as a firefly. I could tote them about and place them where I thought they should be, but if doing so brought sweat to my brow or trembles to the shoulders – well, the darlings were highly motivated to learn what they must contribute to the partnership. We do want to be pretty.

For example, when performing a brute lift of a dancer in arabesque one hand goes to her leg and my other to her ribcage, and she must actively push her chest against my hand – if she collapses her ribs she'll wad up and the pain may cause her to cry out, all of which takes something of the magic out of the moment. Likewise, in movements such as the classic turns in attitude of the Rose Pas de Deux her partner must be as firm as the studio barre as he walks around her, while she takes just a little support for the turn & for balance with a light touch on his arm.

Like proper posture & gentle grip on the reins is essential in horseback riding (or dancing with a Sagittarian) one needs make a little adjustment to the car. The MS is powerful & elegant, and is as much designed for a lady as am I. And you will be lovely.

Iowa92x | 27 februari 2015

Cars are built for humans, not men or women specifically.

ssarker | 27 februari 2015

How far the seat can be pushed back is determined by the ability to reach the pedals. That length varies depending on the height of the footwear.

1BadNerd | 27 februari 2015

@ssarker, apparently ballet shoes are not very high. Oh, wait...I'm still dazed by a previous comment.

Captain_Zap | 27 februari 2015


I read Phillygal's post and I had the exact same thoughts. I drive a car like I ride a horse. I become a part of it. I lean into the corners and work to get the momentum just right through corners. At least the Model S doesn't try to shake me off or rub me off on a tree when it wants to go back to the barn.
Maybe PhillyGal could be a FillyGal.

ssarker | 27 februari 2015

I would think ballet dancers would be especially good at getting around on really high heels.

bobrobert | 27 februari 2015

Their shoes are only tall if they're dancing on pointe, 1BadNerd. But the toe is encased in a wooden box, and in fouette turns the foot is, um, not quite waist high -- for your children's sake, give em room:

CapZap, from your self-description, I now imagine you as an engineer who is mostly legs. Equestrian are you - I imagine you can control your MS when the car next to you breaks into a racing trot :-)

rxlawdude | 31 maart 2019

Begone, asshat spammer with dangerous links and no mastery of English.