Tesla 3 interior noise

Car and Driver has posted “The perils of outsize expectations,” a review of the Tesla 3:

Although the Model 3 is a bit less involving than the best sports sedans on these roads, it lacks the refined isolation of its similarly priced rivals. The stout structure stifles harsh impacts, but you do hear what’s going on below as the tires persistently thwack and thrum over pavement imperfections. Our sound meter measured 69 decibels at 70 mph, louder than an A4. There were also some subtle yet annoying rattles and creaks in our test car, which had less than 2500 miles on the odometer.

This is a louder number than what I and Car and Driver measured in a 2018 Honda Odyssey.

The knob- and button-free dashboard sounds like a user interface disaster:

This aggressively minimalistic approach results in some strange and unsuccessful attempts to reinvent the automotive interior. The process required to move the mirrors and to manipulate the power-adjustable tilting and telescoping steering wheel incorporates both a menu within the touchscreen and the finicky steering-wheel scroll buttons. Changing the direction of airflow from the HVAC vent that stretches across the full width of the dash is, similarly, a multistep affair in which you must pinch and swipe a display within the climate-control menu that resembles a not very addictive smartphone game.

My old dream was adding navigation information to the speedometer right in front of the driver, instead of having it off to the side. Tesla has done the opposite. The nav information stays in the middle of the car and the speedometer and other critical data have been moved to join the navi screen. (See also Honda Clarity versus Accord test drive for how annoying it was to lose a volume control knob.)

Car and Driver didn’t like the seats, especially in the back, or the exterior build quality:

Inconsistent panel gaps around the doors and myriad ill-fitting trim pieces were among the worst we’ve seen in recent memory.

They got 200 miles of range (against a spec of 310 for the $56,000 car) in weather just below freezing.

Will Tesla 3 passengers who aren’t starstruck by Elon Musk say “I feel like I’m riding in a tin can mounted on top of a marine battery”?


9 thoughts on “Tesla 3 interior noise

  1. Presuming you have a garage, you never have to go to a godforsaken gas station and that’s my favorite thing about electric cars; you charge it like your phone. The autopilot in Teslas really makes sitting in traffic and longer road trips MUCH less tiring.

    A big part of your purchase price is currently offset by federal and state tax rebates and the reduced cost of power. There’s also a “cool factor” that’s a big deal for Tesla; for so many (especially younger people) Tesla is cooler than Lamborghini or Ferarri, and certainly beyond a Honda Odyssey.

    Part of your purchase price is also (basically) a donation to reducing carbon emissions, more long-term as your money goes into developing an electric car infrastructure. They’re certainly far from perfect right now, but we *have to* switch away from combustion engines at some point, and the earlier we do it, the less carbon drag out from inside the earth.

    But I don’t think any Tesla is going to compare well for Consumer Reports, at least not right now. It’s a young company hyping stuff up and hacking cars together.

    FWIW my Model S is 2.5 years old and it’s just fine. Never been serviced, never run out of power. Cold weather definitely wrecks the range (by 1/3 or more), but for daily driving it’s just fine for us.

  2. Cooler than a Honda Odyssey?!?! Those are fighting words!

    [Separately, does a Tesla actually reduce carbon emissions given all of the resources that go into making one? If I pay $56,000 for something, doesn’t that money end up in the hands of people who will do approximately $56,000 of damage to the Earth? Whereas if I pay $25,000 for a Honda Accord or Toyota Camry, the recipients are limited in their planet-trashing consumption to $25,000 worth. Mustn’t this offset any planet-saving that occurs from the use of the car?]

  3. I really do not understand why anyone would pay more than $10K for a car to get you from point-A to point-B when you are using it to get to work / home / shopping / etc.

    I’d much prefer to buy a used car, even a 10 years old one, which, btw, you can find a Mercedes S class or a Lexus RX for $10K. Use it for 10 years and then look for a replacement. Spending $30K or more on a car is a waist of money for what it is used for. Use the left over money for a quality vacation.

  4. Electric cars are still an evoliving technology with loads of evolving to do. The Tesla sounds much better than the early Nissan Leaf. A British car magazine had a nightmare test drive trying out a return trip from London to Birmingham and back, less than 250 miles. The limited capacity of the early Leaf batteries on a cold November day meant that they dare not even turn on the heater on the return leg and were forced to put blankets over their legs. Newer cars should get progressively better, especially if capacitor technology becomes practical.

  5. Teslas have a modern reputation for being no frills. The autopilot functionality has gone nowhere since his pledge 2 years ago of full autonomy by 2018. Don’t know why every gas car now looks like a Tesla but every other electric car looks like it’s made of recycled bottles.

  6. I’m assuming that the new all-electric Jaguar is going to eat up a lot of the market for electrics in this price range. (Sadly, it sounds like Jaguar levels of build quality are about the best Tesla seems to be able to do) Sure, it doesn’t have the computers to self-drive, but a smart cruise control can give you a lot of the useful functionality.

  7. “My old dream was adding navigation information to the speedometer right in front of the driver, instead of having it off to the side.”

    This is probably old news, but I recently saw the nav system on a non-HUD-equipped 2018 BMW 4-series and it displays driving guidance (countdown distance to next turn, next turn direction, lane guidance) on the instrument cluster between the speedo and tach. That’s in addition to the larger moving map display on the center console. +1 for us old fossils who still like to drive cars.

    It sounds like Tesla is bringing a programming geek’s (stereotypically nonexistent) sense of UX design to the world of autos. It might look a bit backward now, but hey, who needs navigation guidance — or any traditional “user interface”, for that matter — on their voice-commanded self-driving car?

  8. The reason a 10 year old Mercedes S class is only worth $10K is because future repair costs will eat you up. Unless you do your own work (increasingly impossible) you will never be able to afford to keep that beast on the road. If you have $10k to spend you are much better off buying a more recent vintage Camry if you are looking for cheap transportation.

    People don’t want an electric Jaguar – it’s a damaged brand.

    It’s very common for modern cars to have a mini nav display, displaying just turn arrows and other minimal info, directly in the center of the driver’s display (often this is multi-function – it can also display your tire pressure, radio station, distance until your tank is empty, etc.). Between the arrows and the voice navigation you rarely if ever have to look at the main map.

    In my car (a Genesis G80) it’s problematic in that the arrows work for the built in nav but they are not hooked into google maps and I use android auto more than I use the cars built in nav. If you just listen to the lady’s voice you don’t need them anyway.

    BTW, why are digital assistant’s voices always female? Back in the day of hand held GPS, you could pick a male voice. I sense discrimination somehow.

  9. I switched from an Audi S6 to a Model S 100D. The build quality of Audi is obviously better, as is the steering, and it even has better parking cameras. The acceleration of the Tesla is obviously better, as is not having to go to the gas station. I think the electric Audi and Porsche models will be a good point of comparison.

    Having the car display just be your phone screen seems obvious. The current set of applications from car makers seem like the apps provided by cell network providers or mobile hardware makers- vastly inferior to the vanilla Android applications.

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