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Tesla Test Drive Questions

I thought it would be interesting to get a list of questions that people are looking to get answered at the Test Drive Events. What kind of performance/course are people looking for? What delivery questions do people have? Are there still unanswered questions on the vehicle that people are looking to get answer?

So have at it, lets see what people have to ask!

Can't wait to drive this weekend

#S292

Here are a few for starters:

Driving characteristics:

- Is acceleration off the line impressive enough to be noticable?
- How does the car accelerate between 40 and 70 mph?
- How responsive is the steering? How stable is the steering?
- Does the car corner well?
- Does the front-end dive noticably under moderate breaking?
- How noticable is the regen when you remove your foot from the accelerator?

Interior:
- How 'polished' is the interior? To what car would you compare it?
- How well can seats, steering wheel, etc. be adjusted to your needs?
- How easy is it to interact with the display?
- How easy is it to use the steering column stalks?
- How good is visibility throughout 360 degrees?
- How easy is it to adjust mirrors?
- What is the sound level (with audio off) in the cabin at 30mph, 50mph, 70 mph?

Exterior:
- Is the fit and finish acceptable?

Other:
- Overall impressions?
- What didn't you expect and resulted in a smile?
- What made you frown?

This may seem strange, but where is the wiper fluid tank fill point? On the betas I've seen it was under the hydraulic arm in the boot... Making it very hard to fill.

Also interested in the smile and frown factors and especially how it was to interact with the display.

How wide is it, actually, including mirrors/with mirrors folded? Official numbers have been changing at least twice at this point. Would be interesting to get a first-hand measure from the real thing.

Is there any storage in the doors/behind the seats/under the armrests that was not in the Beta models?

Are the head rests up high enough to support the back of the head rather than the neck even for tall drivers?

What about rear seat headroom with and without pano roof?

I thought I saw in one of the frunk pictures in the raised area that surrounds the frunk in the corner closest to the driver a fill point for the washer fluid. Don't remember where I saw the photo though.

This seems like a slow strip tease. The roll out of the Model S has been a series of 'events' designed to elicit interest, but continue to have a gross lack of evaluative comment. Elon talked about "tens" of the Model S being delivered to customers in June, but delivered just a few Model S's to FOUNDERS today. Tesla didn't deliver to customers who would be objective about their cars, Tesla delivered to TELSA INSIDERS/FOUNDERS. Good grief . . , this is a bad tease with little or no ability to objectively evaluate the merits of the car. I've been on the reservation list for 2 1/2 years and have good reason to be frustrated that TM seems unwilling to allow an objective assessment of the merits of the car.

Mark29, do you realize they are doing 5000 test drives in 45 days, starting tomorrow? I understand that you're impatient, but there will be "objective evaluation", and very soon, and tons of it. Can't make the second step before the first.
http://www.teslamotors.com/own/testdrive

Mark29, I just read the articles mentioned in the other thread. Do these, in your opinion, count as "objective evaluation"?
http://www.motortrend.com/roadtests/alternative/1206_2012_tesla_model_s_...
http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-13746_7-57459125-48/tesla-model-s-first-dri...

Obviously, the press got to drive the cars this morning, before the "celebration", to make sure the articles are out as soon as the first cars are on the road. Great timing, hats off to Tesla.

What does the horn sound like?
Sounds petty but when I got my first Infiniti Q45 the horn sounded like it came off an old VDub. It was embarrassing to have such a wimpy sound coming from such a meaty car.

Will a valet parking attendant be challenged with the operation of the car?
Keep in mind that we as owners will have many chances to learn about this car; not so much for those folks. Will it be intuitive enough for them? In fact, we are supposed to arrive 30 minutes before our test drive for "an instructional video."

Will there be a hard copy owner's manual included?

Lord forbid, what if the car has to be towed? What mode do you set the car in?

Test driving July 1st in Los Angeles and I will try to post answers to previously unanswered questions.

The pull quotes from the articles @V.B references are impressive. If other reviews are similar, and more detailed reviews have the same thrust, TM has a winner on its hands. All smiles.

To tow the car, use NEUTRAL mode.

How 'polished' is the interior? To what car would you compare it? (Soflauthor)

"Tesla certainly succeeded at what it set out to do. The Model S is a car that can easily compete with the premium sedans of the world."
(from c|net article, link above)

For all the fellow Americans: There are cup holders in front, in the rear seat and even in the jump seats.

Also, there is a small shelf below the main display which seems to be slanted backwards a bit. A perfect spot for a plugged in phone, iPod or any other device.

Not sure if these (except for the front cup holders) were all new additions. I just noticed them in the first few review videos.

I'm a little disappointed that the rear seats do not match the interior if you went white. I may end up going Signature Red with black interior though so it will not matter to me as much. I can always tuck them away as well.

- How easy is it to use the steering column stalks?

These are from the Mercedes parts bin so if you think the Mercedes is easy to use the Tesla will be too.

Do the rear seats fold flat, as in, literally flat?

What I really want to know is how 19" wheels behave on a performance car. There are just too many pot holes in Portland for the 21" wheels.

@BYT

Please clarify. Do you mean the back seats do not match the "white", or are you referring to the optional rear jump seats that face backwards?

Since he "can always tuck them away" he's probably referring to the optional rear-facing jump seats. And to me at least it makes sense *not* to have your 5 to 10-year-old sitting in a white seat! (Chocolate, anyone?) Since the trim of the trunk is dark gray in any case, the seats actually do match their environment, even if the rest of the passenger cabin is white leather.

As you step on the "gas" do kids of different ages sitting in rear facing jump seats shout with mixed glee and fear, cry, or throw up? We might not have worry about mismatched seat colors ....

I am also interested if test drivers find the steering feedback adequate.

LOL, yes, was referring to the rear jump seats and they will get dirty regardless but aesthetics, you know? :)

I'm wondering if there will be a software enabled, pass code protected "valet mode" to prevent joyriding?

There is in the Roadster. I can't see them leaving it out of the Model S. However, does anyone even use a valet anymore? I recall using one in the late 1960s but I haven't used one since.

We still do in terrible parking conditions like San Francisco or events.

Re: valet mode -- I interviewed for a job recently where they had valet's park the cars in the lot for the building I was going to work in. You had no choice; if you wanted to take advantage of the on site parking, you handed your keys to the valet.

Given the other parking choices, I was ok with the valet option and frankly would've just had one of the valets set up with a memory setting for the seat/mirrors/etc and that would be the default valet for it.

Wasn't a high-power, high-pay job either. It was just how parking was done for that building.

Okay, I took these questions with me to the event so I’d be sure to try something like them. I drove and have ordered the Red Sig Perf. Here goes:

Driving characteristics:
- Is acceleration off the line impressive enough to be noticable?
- How does the car accelerate between 40 and 70 mph?
- How responsive is the steering? How stable is the steering?
- Does the car corner well?
- Does the front-end dive noticably under moderate breaking?
- How noticable is the regen when you remove your foot from the accelerator?

Acceleration is exhilaration. You push the go pedal down and the car just zooms. No shifting, no power curve dead spots. 40-70 is no problem. 0-60 is no problem. 0-100 is no problem. 100 to 0 is no problem. Really an amazing car.
Took a longer sweeping corner rated for 35 at 85. Took a 90 degree corner at 60 (or so - wasn’t staring at the speedometer) and got a little slide but it was sooo well controlled. I might’ve just thought it slid, because it was so smooth.
My wife who usually grabs the door handle (what I like to call the OMG-bar) when I take corners reported not having to do that at all while riding in the back seat. The body just doesn’t sway at all. Same thing re: front-end dive – what front-end dive?
Regen was not really noticeable to me, but I’m ok with clutch or downshift braking. Again the car was just so intuitive and well behaved that I can’t recall any unexpected sensations.

to be continued...

Interior:
- How 'polished' is the interior? To what car would you compare it?
Interior still seems bare without a hulking center console. But I’m ok with that because I’ll just put my backpack in between the front seats. The cubby under the screen is a nice new item.

- How well can seats, steering wheel, etc. be adjusted to your needs?
I adjusted the seat after getting started. Tons of little adjustment, I very quickly got comfortable. The steering wheel was fine and the mirrors were fine when I got in. The previous driver must have been about my size.

- How easy is it to interact with the display?
The steering wheel roller button handles most things. I played with a beta for a little while, but didn’t really go into depth on it. It seems fine by me, I’m not picky about that stuff.

- How easy is it to use the steering column stalks?
I confused the cruise control stalk with the turn signal at first. The turn signal seems a little low compared to what I’m used to, but when I found it the signals worked just like I expected – nudge and get 3 blinks, nudge and set to let it blink until turn completed.

- How good is visibility throughout 360 degrees?
The rear view through the mirror is pretty limited. But the camera is operable while moving. The side mirrors seem HUGE. I really liked the visibility through the side mirrors and basically forgot about the rear view mirror. I may have used the camera a bit, but was mostly concerned with side mirrors for the test drive.

- How easy is it to adjust mirrors?
It is a little adjuster on the left hand. Seems like it would be simple.

- What is the sound level (with audio off) in the cabin at 30mph, 50mph, 70 mph?
Really really quiet. But I kept rolling down the windows because the day was so nice. The windows have the automatic up/down behavior I expect.

to be continued...

Exterior:
- Is the fit and finish acceptable?
Gorgeous. Here’s my pictures:
https://plus.google.com/photos/114054546415991709511/albums/575743285465...

Other:
- Overall impressions?
Drives like a dream. The fit and finish is great. I highly recommend the performance model.

- What didn't you expect and resulted in a smile?
The side mirrors and just how unshakeable the ride is. I’d no idea what “low center of gravity” and the rest of it really meant and now it seems like a racecar.

- What made you frown?
I couldn’t get another test drive! I couldn't try every other thing, just not enough time. Oh well, get to try it all out in 3 months or so when I finally get it.

- Where is the wiper fluid tank fill point? Also interested in the smile and frown factors and especially how it was to interact with the display.
Fluid tank is right is an awkward place near the strut. I’ve got a photo or two of it.
The display is configurable. And pretty easily. The center was very quick and the speedo could be changed via the steering wheel buttons. We tried to change the speedo accessory displays while driving but it seems that was locked out… which makes perfect sense. Didn’t bother while stopped, it was just a question I’d asked the sales associate while on the drive and he tried to show me.

- How wide is it, actually, including mirrors/with mirrors folded? Official numbers have been changing at least twice at this point. Would be interesting to get a first-hand measure from the real thing.
I did bring a tape measure, but chickened out. I’d go with the official measurements right now. The side mirror do seem fairly large.

- Is there any storage in the doors/behind the seats/under the armrests that was not in the Beta models?
Some console prototypes were on display. In addition the performance seats on display had a little pocket in front (can see in my pictures).

- What does the horn sound like?
Not bad. Yes, I actually tried it. It is a good beefy sound, nothing unusual. Businesslike?

- Do the rear seats fold flat, as in, literally flat?
I didn’t get a chance to try that. Saw a picture of some and it looked pretty flat, but maybe a couple hinges poking up.

(fin)


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