Please improve the interior so I can buy a Model S.

Months after test-driving the Model S, I bought an Audi A7, sad to say. I post the following comments in hopes that Tesla will read them, heed them, make adjustments, and make the Model S more appealing to mainstream buyers like myself so that we can participate in the sustainable transport revolution.

I loved the concept, drive, look, and state-of-the-art technology of the Model S. It was different enough to get me excited about buying a car again. And it doesn't sacrifice range, power, or style as its EV predecessors do. Though it's more expensive and can't be justified by fuel savings (until gas goes north of $8/gallon), I could afford it as a second car and would really have fun owning one and participating in a revolution.

But I couldn't get past the interior.

Unfortunately, this is a very competitive class of cars and the Model S interior is far behind that of its rivals. The German automakers have evolved their cockpits to wrap around the driver just the right amount of tasteful appointments. I understand that the touchscreen eliminates the need for knobs and buttons and that's what's cool about the Model S. But it doesn't eliminate the need for door pockets, handles, hooks, armrests, and possibly even a more traditional shift lever just because many of us are used having these things.

Does the dash need to be pushed so far under the windshield just because there is no engine under the hood? Couldn't the touchscreen be a bit closer to the driver and angled that way to make the driver feel like the only one in the car (which they usually are)? Could the air vents be in better proportion to the large screen? Why can't there be something that fills in the space next to the driver's right leg, just because there is no transmission there? And how about a simple, familiar shift lever near my right hand to make me feel like I'm driving a car instead of a golf cart? Why can't the front seats be more substantial? Are these oversights all to save on the weight of the vehicle? Or was the interior simply an afterthought relative to the more substantial innovations of the Model S?

The Model S, as I configured it, was over $90K. And there's no pre-owned inventory. So I ultimately traded in my 15-year-old Lexus for a 2012 Audi A7 costing almost half as much and I love it. But I'm still burning gas and that's still in the back of my mind. So I'm hoping that Tesla will re-style the interior - they've solved many more difficult problems - and the next version of this car will win me over in the not-too-distant future.

Model S seats are pretty terrible. Elon admitted recently and Tesla will be offering an upgrade soon.

Model S is a family car. But it's very male oriented. Kids and women carry a lot of crap with them. Give them space to put their junk. can still make it look minimalist.

And yet if a free upgrade was offered me, an upgrade to what others consider "better" seats I would not take them. I have never felt more refreshed after a hours long drive as I am in the Model S. My other "luxury" automobile is an Audi A6. In my opinion the seats are uncomfortable.

As I consider a MS purchase I reach out to those with similar concerns hoping that others who have purchased the car can reassure that their experiences put to the rest the concerns I have. No one wants to experience buyers remorse and the idea of a 100k car (albeit a wonderful auto) leading to disappointment is nauseating

stephen.bennet said: "The German automakers have evolved their cockpits to wrap around the driver just the right amount of tasteful appointments."

For those who haven't seen the interior of an Audi A7...

Using the OP's words, does anyone see in the above photos a cockpit that wraps around the driver with just the right amount of tasteful appointments? What I see is closer to the aftermath of a Transformer throwing up on a Volkswagen interior. Am I being harsh?

Looks like they propped up an iPad on the sumptuous dash--I guess it might block the sun if it's low on the horizon--that and traffic, pedestrians, etc. Genius.

That A7 interior is a POS. Surprised, I thought Audi usually is pretty on the inside.

To the people replying that if you want more cup holders you should either A) buy a different car or B) add aftermarket upgrades... wow, take off your rose colored glasses for a second and realize that you aren't betraying your car by recognizing the occasional shortcoming.

I love the minimalist interior of the Model S, but this is a 4-door sedan that seats 5 people and it only comes with two cup holders that are eliminated if you want to use the armrest instead. I used to joke about how the Germans (BMW) never had good cup holders because they focus more on the driving aspect than Americans. But I would gladly trade the crappy cup holders in our BMW 5 series for the ones in the MS.

The Germans appear to be really good at taking this new technology and propping it up on the dash as if they didn't know what else to do with it. I can just see the discussion at Audi... "hey, there is this Tesla thing that has a beautiful 17" screen... we need a screen! Look, here's a space, I think we can stick it here..." This is basically the dashboard equivalent of a hybrid car. Combine the worst of each technology and put this horrible mashup on display for all to see.

BMW did the same thing with the i3. Nasty!

Wow, can't say I have seen that dash. We have a three page thread going on over that?

And here's the real kick... it's not even a touch screen! You have to use this knobby control to fly a cursor around the screen, like on the BMW i3. It's already obsolete before it arrives in your driveway.

So I wonder how much more folks who prefer the Audi type interior would be willing to pony up for the same type interior in a MS? If you have ever got into industrial design, a lot of money is involved. For example, in Hi Fi amplifiers, the exterior used to cost more than the guts processing the sound signal. I do not have experience with auto interiors, but would folks be willing to spend $5k more? How about $10K more? And don't give me this naive argument that it doesn't cost any more.

Sin Gas

Among all European marques, I tend to prefer AUDI and VOLVO interiors. They seem to be the most ergonomic, useful, and comfortable. They manage the feat without being at once stodgy, pretentious, or utilitarian.

That said, I prefer the interior of the Tesla Model S by a wide margin. I got to explore the benefits of grab handles, lighted vanity mirrors, brightwork, knobs, dials, switches, and map pockets more than three decades ago in my Granddad's Buick Limited. I got to see those same functions executed properly in a Rolls-Royce some years later. I don't need that stuff in a modern car that looks forward to the future.

Just think, the future could have been like this instead:

Tesla Wins the Match

Come on Red Sage, we all know that's a Cimarron... lol!

Many people complain about the front end of the tesla. The front end of the A7 doesn't go with the sleek lines of the rear part of the car at all. Only the Buick front end is worse.

Hi Stephen,

Refreshing to see this post. I posted a similar thought a while back and mostly got crucified for it. You're not alone though. The interior is not up to snuff when compared to similarly priced luxury cars - which it rightfully should be. Elon himself continually says the car is way too expensive than he'd like.

My Post:


Bad Justification:
The prolific and emphatic Red Sage made a comment that stuck with me for a few days, and my desire for the car was so strong that I nearly fell for the logic. He said that Tesla's are not a luxury car but an "expensive performance economy car". This was of course coming from him and not the company or Elon Musk. This is saying that the performance and technology rocks but we all need to accept a Honda Civic interior because it's just different and that's the way it's intended to be. How about, bullshit Red Sage. The interior will be improved as soon as the other costs go down - and your economy car justification will go out the window. For whatever reason the company didn't or couldn't make a sick interior while keeping the thing somewhat affordable', so that's the way it is right now. Still an incredible, world-changing head-turning car all around, just not on the inside yet. But is in INTENDED to be an expensive economy car? No. That's nonsense. This is the mental justification that some people who spent $100k on a car that doesn't yet have a $100k interior have to make, instead of just being realistic about it and saying - "Yeah, I spent a lot of money on a breakthrough vehicle. The interior isn't quite there yet, but that will come in time. No biggie, I still love it."

That's respectable.

Good thing Elon has the smarts and the balls to chase negative feedback, because if the forum regulars were making the hard decisions, Tesla's would be stuck in 1.0 forever.


The forum ring-wraiths will offer you the following 5 types of unhelpful responses for your words of betrayal:

1) "It's not a Luxury car. Tesla never said Luxury. They said Premium. Therefore, the interior doesn't have to be plush and incredible. Even though you're paying 90K." // Doesn't matter what Tesla calls themselves. Open your eyes people. Every time "Tesla" is mentioned in the media it is preceded by the phrase "The Luxury Electric Car Maker". The illusion of branding is that it's in a company's control; it's not. People make the brand - and they have deemed Tesla a Luxury brand, like it or not.

2) "This IS Luxury. Redefined." // Oh, please. Go sit in an S Class, drive home and wash off your Elon Musk pillowcase. You're dreaming.

3) "I've owned 47 luxury cars and I think Tesla's interior is better than all of them." // This person is delusional and probably not being honest. Or, they just don't have any taste. Or they are in denial. It's one thing to own a nice car, it's another to actually have the capacity to understand what awesome craftsmanship actually looks and feels like. These type of responses are worthless.

4) "I don't mind the interior. It's minimalistic." // This is a fair response, although it avoids addressing the fact of the quality being a bit lower than it's price-range competitors.

5) "Didn't you drive the thing! And no gasoline! You obviously are dumb, superficial, and don't have a soul because if you really "got it" then you'd realize that a Tesla isn't about FLASH, man. You just don't get it, man. It's about the future, Marty." // This is the worst and saddest type of response. Basically, the poor owner is so hurt from the cold truth in your comments that they explode in a rage of "Ahhh! You just don't get the car!"


I will offer a helpful response.

6) Thanks for posting, Stephen. Don't buy the car until they improve the interior and you are totally satisfied. I say, make as much noise as possible so Tesla hears it and they make the car even better than it is. Don't settle. By doing this, you are helping the company. You are helping the world by demanding more awesomeness from an already awesome brand - and they will make it happen. People vote with their wallets. The people who are really enjoying their cars (and there are many) are out there enjoying it. I question the ones who spend all their time on here defending stuff like the interior though. They all seem to have some inner turmoil. You're not a bad person for expecting a $90k luxury car to look and feel like one.

The interior of my 2012 BMW 550 was not as nice as my Tesla. Same for my 2006 Audi A6. I was in a friend's 2013 Porsche Turbo S on Saturday, even worse and talk about cramped. Gave me bad flashbacks of the time I owned a Cayman S. I like the open feel of the Tesla interior. Some people like to wrapped tight on all sides like in a cockpit, not me.

The interior could be improved. But, the OP's comments later in his comments were off base if he thinks they are important for success. Having driven this car for 8 months, I definitely would not want one of the interiors he is asking for. I get into my Infiniti M and feel absolutely smothered. The multitude of buttons, huge console in the middle and 'wrap around cockpit' seem a bit overwhelming.

The freshness and openness of my Tesla are so much more comfortable. Yes, I think the seats - and the headrests - could be improved. And there are some tweaks that could be made to visors and the center console. Maybe a heated steering wheel option and improvements for rear seat passengers.

But, don't ever recreate that ungodly interior shown in the Audi photos. There may be some who want that. But I'm sure there would be a whole lot of people that don't want that 'me too' interior.

You can't satisfy everyone.

We don't miss driving our BMW's to Costco every week for gas. Don't miss the feeling we got when we took them in for service either! Now we can leave our wallets at home!

Called on My [BRAVO SIERRA]...

richardthomas stated, "The interior will be improved as soon as the other costs go down - and your economy car justification will go out the window."

As I told you previously, the concept of 'improved' depends entirely upon one's point of view. I said before that there might be an addition of certain creature comforts once a higher capacity battery pack was available for the Tesla Model S. Not before. I also said that you should not be surprised if any but the most functional of 'improvements' never appear on the car, because Tesla looks to the future of vehicles. Not the past, which sprang literally from covered wagons, stagecoaches, and horse & buggy configurations to become horseless carriages.

Sure, less expensive EVs have things like lighted vanity mirrors, center storage bins, cup holders, grab handles... That much is true. Tell me, what is their range?

Yes, a Tesla Model S, filled to the brim with all the wondrous goodies found in the Cadillac ELR, Fisker Karma, Panamera S E-Hybrid, or Mercedes-Benz CLS63 AMG might be a bit more impressive to those who are entrenched within the everlasting throes of so-called 'luxury' trappings and whatnot... But it would also have a stupendous cruising range of a whopping 125 miles using the 85 kWh battery pack... Unless Tesla also opted to detune the vehicle to the glacial performance figures of the aforementioned Cadillac and Fisker products in order to hope for a 150-200 mile EPA rated range, and it would have cost $35,000 more. Somehow, I'm rather certain that wouldn't have garnered top honors from Motor Trend, Automobile, or Consumer Reports.

Which brings us back to my original point. The Tesla Model S is an economy car -- because it doesn't use any gas. The Tesla Model S is a performance car -- because it is fun to drive. The Tesla Model S is an expensive car -- because that's what it costs to be an early adopter. By comparison, an early adopter of an ICE would be getting the Bugatti Veyron if the technology had just been introduced.

You wanna know what's going to happen? I'll tell you the future... When a higher capacity battery pack becomes available, with increased range, Tesla will offer a new Performance model. That will likely have All Wheel Drive. It still won't have a center console. It still won't have more than two cupholders. It still won't have map pockets. You might get lighted vanity mirrors and grab handles (with coat hooks!). But the car will remain open, clear, light, airy, and PERFORMANCE oriented -- NOT Luxury minded.

You are never going to see a Tesla Model S arrive in the United States of America that caters to the market segment you claim to be part of... N-E-V-E-R. Never. If you want one, you'll have to customize it to your liking. West Coast Customs is waiting.

There have been rumors of a stretched wheelbase Model S, planned for sales in China. Meh. I think it more likely that an entirely new MODEL L would be released as a high end luxury limousine class vehicle, sometime after the release of Generation III.

The Tesla Model S is NOT a LUXURY car. The Tesla Model S is NOT meant to be a LUXURY car. With luck, the Tesla Model S will NEVER BE a LUXURY car. THERE ARE PLENTY OF LUXURY CARS ON THE MARKET ALREADY. If you want a luxury car, go buy one.

Red Sage+1,

Surprised you answered so nice. Pretty sure richardthomas is just like web surfer, another " I love Tesla, but". And, "tesla interior is junk, but I want one". Good grief, go buy another car if you don't like the one we did.

Have you people that don't like the interior ever thought about how many of us would not buy the car if it was "disco balled" out? Didn't think so.

As said time and time again, a LOT of us love the way it looks right now.

My daily driver before the Model S was a Bentley Continental GT, which everyone will concede epitomizes luxury. Believe me, the Model S is not only an upgrade, it is THE upgrade.

I was one of those who said, last year, before I bought the Model S that "it's an interior that's ultimately cheap, but wants to pretend it's not"

After owning one for more than 16 months, you would not catch me saying anything bad about the interior. It's spartan, yes, but it's elegant in it's simplicity. It's open, not claustrophobic. It's different, in the same way the iPhone was different.

Sorry, all ICE car interiors seem cramped to me now. Yes, the materials are plusher, but somehow that does not seem very important anymore. The plethora of buttons is very Motorola Razr vs the iPhone, eh? The seats are very comfortable, the drive is beyond comparison. Serene, powerful, reasonably sporty. You can have all the plush and it won't make up for the pluses the Model S offers.

Oh, BTW @Red Sage

I should sue you for posting that Buick interior photo. It's not just hideous, it's traumatizing. GACK!

I think Tesla Model S at some point will have more of the features some consider luxury. I think they will be optional. I also think they will come at a price.

I don't think however Tesla should make it priority over other things they have at their plate.

There is plenty of money waiting for Tesla in SUV segment. Much more than in the niche for model S with optional luxury interior. Same true for the number of superchargers available.

Let's be fair. Any other luxury car has a major drawback. They are ICE cars. And they need to look into every corner to still justify the cost being over 100 k. How much of that luxury really matters? Look at resale value. Most of those luxury features go out of the window. The formula is not much different from one applied to Toyota Corolla.

Ford Model T has remained unchanged for quite a while. There was a reason for that. What do those optional features do to your supply chain?

The revolution of model T was not luxury interior. It was making car a mass market product.

Are those cupholder suggestions a service to Tesla? Maybe. Should Tesla spend time on those? Maybe. But if It means Tesla team may shift focus away from model X, the answer is no. If it means Tesla needs to hire more people working on model S design, the answer is no again.

This might be an item on the list, but not top of it, rather the bottom. And if the require compromise on car performance or safety, than rather forget it.

It is good news some people still prefer Audi. It means those who prefer model S will have them on time and at an agreed price. I'd rather have Tesla offering a car at a lower price and less cupholders than higher price.

stephen.bennett thank you so much. This gives me a chance to air my gripes too. Almost every day I have to refold the comics so I can read Luann, otherwise the top of their words are cut off. Whew, I feel so much better.

@richardthomas - people have different taste and needs. I hope some day you will find a car company that builds you an expensive EV that fits your taste. I don't think it will be Tesla anytime soon.

Elon put his money on the table to build this car... and guess what the designers respected his taste and needs. Rear facing seats are an odd option for me, but he has 5 boys, he doesn't like grab handles and he doesn't need coat hangers so the as has none. The S was designed into an empty customer space, some of the feedback has already gone into production, some we'll see in the X and more in the S V1.5. But don't expect an antique shop interior.

And by the way does Audi consult with @richardthomas for a new model? I don't think so... they come up with their version and if you don't like it - too bad, off you go check BMW or MB.

Please don't forget to add the cost of gasoline for X number of years to the purchase price of any ICE vehicle. It is a hidden cost that needs to be factored into any comparison. Audi + 8 yrs of gas = Model S.

I think Tesla will eventually offer an upgrade option for a really impressive interior. Who knows when, but it would make sense. I don't buy all the folks on here claiming to know what Tesla is all about and what they stand for - you're speculating just like I am. Your defense of the interior quality doesn't matter, since you've already purchased. What matters is that there are more than few people who are vocal about NOT buying the car simply on the interior quality! Think of all the people who AREN'T vocal. This is lost opportunity - don't discount that. While people on here I'm assuming are tech savvy and interested in the broader implications of owning this vehicle, there is a growing segment of prospective owners who just want a luxury car as a status symbol. These people don't want to associate themselves with the word 'cheap' and the interior of the Tesla is getting that reputation. If you don't believe that, at least acknowledge that it's not getting good stars for the interior.

And why does it matter? Because Tesla is a company and they need to sell cars. Think about it - if Model S isn't really for 'superficial' luxury buyers as many of you assert, and the Gen III comes out with mass appeal to the middle tier buyer, who the hell is going to spend more on the Model S? Wouldn't everyone just buy the Gen III car? They'd lose an entire segment of the market. I think a great many early buyers on here probably would've felt much more financially comfortable buying the gen III car instead of the S, but it wasn't an option. When it is an option, why would you want to spend all that extra cash? What do you really get for $90k over the $30k? Do you think the buyer who spends $90k wants one of their friends to say, Hey this car's nice - but the interior of my $30k version is exactly the same. Hellooooo.

Elon has expressed shame over the seats. Do you honestly think that a company that worked so hard to become the best would settle for a black mark like that on their record? No way. They still have a lot to prove and I think you will see it first in the Model X. The interior will be a step up from the Model S, guaranteed. Instead of retooling machinery to fix up Model S they are getting those learnings while setting up and pushing forward with the X.

The Model S is not and will never be the mass market 30k car. It's supposed to be more expensive; don't confuse the company mission. If Model S at 90k has the same interior as the Model Whatever at $30k, don't you think people would be a little upset? Yes. Unless Tesla plans on making the interior even MORE spartan for the mass market car, I think it's safe to assume they are going to eventually bump the quality up a bit in the S to appeal to the more typical luxury car buyer.

The type of buyer who spends $90k on a car that doesn't have typical old school luxury is a fleeting anomaly brought on by 1) a breakthrough must-have product and 2) the lack of a more affordable option. This is a unique situation in the car industry right now. Don't think that the Model S is changing the buyer paradigm here. We're in a transition phase and there are no cheaper options. This is breakthrough tech; people want it and are willing to pay more for it. When a company only sells 30k cars per year, you all are early adopters still.

In time and with Gen III, the situation will return to normal and people who spend $90k on a Tesla will be buying it for the same reasons they always have purchased $90k cars; not necessarily for the same reasons you folks have purchased. They will expect it to have the same interior that cars have always had at that price. The Model S will either step up it's game or be known as the luxury car with the so-so interior.

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