Interior Quality of Materials

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Rpgonzalez

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#1
I’ve been trying to think of an comparable car interior quality to the model 3, but I’m coming up short.

First, I want to throw out my opinion that the model 3 is not a “luxury car”. You can spin the vegan interior if you want, but high end cars still use leather. Also, my Jetta with “V-tex” (fake leather) had a very compelling leather alternative. I had a Toyota Tercel in college. The model 3 seat material is comparable.

Ok, the harsh part is over. The rest... I scratch my head. The rest seems very nice. After doing a full tear down while doing an audio upgrade, I am surprised at how easy it comes apart. I can’t tell if this is necessarily bad. My Audi’s were hard to take apart, but so was my Prius and my Chrysler Pacifica. The model 3 seems almost as if the extreme simplicity of removing panels is a gift. If fact, if you mess up and pull in the wrong place, the piece will not break. The panel clips and other trim pieces are so thin everything bends instead of breaks. A truly cheap car will just break all over the place.
But to the question: Is the interior generally like a ford, Toyota, Mercedes, Audi... any opinion counts. If you think it’s like rolls Royce, then please share.
Thanks ;)
 

slasher016

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#2
Really tricky proposition trying to clearly define a luxury car. People are mixed whether it's some are all of the below:

a) Quiet, smooth ride
b) Lots of included tech and features
c) Quality of interior
d) power, performance, handling

The model 3 kills everything but C. I think the interior materials are "so-so." I thought my Audi interior (especially the seats) were a lot better. But a, b, d are so much better in the Tesla. So to me, it's a luxury car with an interior materials that are notch below the higher end cars, but that doesn't take away from the value prop at all.
 

MelindaV

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#3
my last car was a low production niche GM product (Pontiac Solstice GXP roadster). when new in 2008 was around $30k, so not an inexpensive economy car.

it was made with terrible interior (and some exterior) materials. with very few miles things were constantly breaking. Like the exterior passenger door handle - that GM decided to make out of brittle plastic coated in a film that looked like chrome. a passenger side door handle, on a car that almost all of it's miles were with no passengers! all 4 of the dash air vent louver things broke at least once. two of them I had to replace 2x and again, this included ones on the passenger side that were very rarely touched. the fold out cup holder broke. the replacement fold out cupholder broke. the 12v outlet shorted out/melted the solder when a typical 12v socket was plugged into it, the convertible roof frame/linkage bent when stored in the trunk (a trunk with some other things already in it), the spot on the dash where I set my phone rubbed thru the outer 'silver' surface of the plastic to a darker grey plastic, etc. etc.
Most of the plastic things that broke (at least the 1st time) were when there were fewer than 30k miles on the car.

it did however have genuine leather seats, that still looked like new when the car had about 90k miles on it, and drove it into Tesla when my 3 was ready for pick up :).

but overall, I'd say the materials used on the 3 is significantly better than what GM used on that car. the things I think Tesla could have stepped it up on is having an actual leather option - and a decent real full grain leather - not a laminated leather or otherwise weirdly coated leather that many cars use. and the stock carpet floor mats were pretty lame (but added the all-weather mats, so not too worried about judging them on the mats). I would have paid extra for a CF interior option, but don't dislike the natural wood. it is a conversation piece with people who hadn't previously been in the car.
 

Frully

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#4
Previously I've had far too many cars;
in no order: model years are very approximate 96 colt, 98 lesabre, 95? contour, 00 325i, 00 windstar van, 95 caravan, 06 mx-5, 06 outlander, 00 sunfire, 00 mustang, several others I've forgotten for being uninteresting.*
In the family we've had several other higher end vehicles - Jaguar, mercedes, bmw, corvette, porsche...

The only vehicles that remotely held a candle to the model 3 was the bmw 325i and the mazda miata. The cut corners in the miata made sense as it was for weight savings. The family vehicles I would say had similar quality interiors.


*My dad was addicted to buying cars from the states on Ebay, importing and restoring/repairing them, and because there is a sale time restriction after import I would end up with a hand-me-down for 9 months at a time as we swapped through all the cars.
 

Long Ranger

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#5
First, I want to throw out my opinion that the model 3 is not a “luxury car”. You can spin the vegan interior if you want, but high end cars still use leather. Also, my Jetta with “V-tex” (fake leather) had a very compelling leather alternative. I had a Toyota Tercel in college. The model 3 seat material is comparable.
Personally, I really like the seat material in the Model 3, and I much prefer it over the V-tex leatherette we had in our Jetta. So far, I even prefer the 3 material over the leather in our older Audi, but we’ll see how it holds up over time. Also, I think lots of luxury cars use non-leather materials these days. I believe the standard material in many Mercedes models is MB Tex.
 

Jason@FreshStartDetail

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#8
After doing a full tear down while doing an audio upgrade, I am surprised at how easy it comes apart. I can’t tell if this is necessarily bad. My Audi’s were hard to take apart, but so was my Prius and my Chrysler Pacifica. The model 3 seems almost as if the extreme simplicity of removing panels is a gift. If fact, if you mess up and pull in the wrong place, the piece will not break. The panel clips and other trim pieces are so thin everything bends instead of breaks. A truly cheap car will just break all over the place.
In my line of work I regularly have to remove interior components, carpeting mostly. So I absolutely hear what you're saying about the quality of the trim pieces not breaking upon removal. It's always frustrating as hell when you remove a trim panel and the tabs break off, even on a newer model car. There there's cars like VW and Audi that insist on mounting their center consoles with such ridiculous over-engineering that it adds a huge amount to the labor cost of removal.
 

Dr. J

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#9
In the beginning, I thought the unoptional "premium interior" option package was an overpriced bag of hot gas, so I was going to hold out for the promised cloth seats. I would still prefer cloth--the pleather makes my back sweat like a boiling monkey--but in general this is the nicest interior in a car I've owned (which were nothing fancy, no Audi, Mercedes or BMW). Added seat covers, and all is well. Glad I didn't wait for cloth seats, 'cause that ain't going to happen.
 

Rpgonzalez

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#10
In my line of work I regularly have to remove interior components, carpeting mostly. So I absolutely hear what you're saying about the quality of the trim pieces not breaking upon removal. It's always frustrating as hell when you remove a trim panel and the tabs break off, even on a newer model car. There there's cars like VW and Audi that insist on mounting their center consoles with such ridiculous over-engineering that it adds a huge amount to the labor cost of removal.
Ive been driving VW and Audi for a long time now and guess I have grown accustomed to the over-engineering. Maybe after 10-15 years when the rest of the car industry manages to catch up with their EV's Ill go back to owning an Audi again.
 

Needsdecaf

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#11
IMO, it's somewhere around Honda / Nissan level of interior panel materials. I've been taking cars apart since my '99 Grand Cherokee doing phone installs, radar detectors, etc. The Model 3 is above that Jeep, but only on par with the Nissan Pathfinder that replaced it. Probably a little below the Acura MDX that replaced the Nissan. Door cards seem to be pretty thin and hollow, and the sides of the center console are a real low point. Seats are alo barely at the Honda / Nissan level, and closer to my Grand Cherokee in their robustness. I suspect if I removed them and weighed them they would be equal or less in weight than the partial electric (backrest recline, otherwise manual slide, height and lumbar) seats which were in my VW GTI .

Overall quality of construction of interior materials is not on the higher end. Compared to my 2004 Volvo or any modern German car I've owned they are quite far below. They are below even my 2017 GTI which the Model 3 replaced. What does save it is that Tesla uses a pretty nice soft-touch material to cover everything. That makes it feel much better than hard touch plastics as found in the lower portions of the VW (and Jeep) that I have experienced. The VW had hard plastics on the bottom of the door panels, the sides of the center console, in and around the cupholders, the lower center stack, etc. It had soft touch only on the upper door panels and dash, and around the gauges. The Tesla has a similar material but spreads it out over a much broader area. But the weight and quality of the material that the actual panels are built from is pretty far down the ladder. If you take a piece of the center console off, it is light and flimsy.
 

Rpgonzalez

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#12
IMO, it's somewhere around Honda / Nissan level of interior panel materials.
Ive since gone to look at some Hondas and I agree. Ive now acclimated coming from Audi and I think the interior is pretty nice (as long as you dont refer to it as a $60k luxury car lol)
 

tencate

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#13
I must say, I do like the Alcantara interior trim, it's remarkable how much a difference it makes in the "look and feel" of the car and I really notice it when I get into a newer model (which seems to be of somewhat lesser quality inside than mine). Wonder if they'll ever bring Alcantara back? Was it too expensive or what?
 

StromTrooperM3

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#14
Coming from a bunch of Nissan and Infiniti products driven over the 100k mile mark...I'd be absolutely shocked to see the Model 3 interior hold up to the same without developing all kinds of creaks and rattles over time. There are already countless videos on YT to fix these rattles on brand new deliveries.

I respect the simplicity of the design, however I don't feel the quality of the materials are anywhere close to Infiniti, Audi or Mercedes offerings.

I'm going to look at the Etron again next week. The ipace I just drove was 77k and didn't have power seats! All EV offerings seem to be cutting corners somewhere
 

tencate

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#15
I'm going to look at the Etron again next week.
Too small for my tastes. I was surprised at its size when I saw one in person finally at the charger at work. Hoping the person who owns it will call me back so I can get a ride and hear his/her impressions of the car. :)
 

StromTrooperM3

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#16
Too small for my tastes
It's significantly larger than our M3. And I really need the hatch for my dog. If you think that's small so look at am ipace it's a joke.

And not to get off topic but I've looked at the Q5 and Q7 and literally they have no usable interior storage, or door bins or anything. Audi kills the interior quality game but day to day utility definitely falls short of my QX60
 

tencate

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#17
And not to get off topic but I've looked at the Q5 and Q7 and literally they have no usable interior storage, or door bins or anything. Audi kills the interior quality game but day to day utility definitely falls short of my QX60
I'm a big Audi fan (or perhaps was is a better choice of words) but I was amazed when I packed up 500+ pounds of FRC Robotics gear in the back of Max and headed to Houston. I seriously doubt I could get that much stuff in the eTron I looked at. Yeah, the lack of a real hatch on the M3 is a bit of a pain (I have cats not dogs) but wow did that car keep swallowing up gear. And I do occasionally "car camp" in it and I'm not sure that'd be possible with eTron or iPace (which I have yet to see in person)...
 

Needsdecaf

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#18
Coming from a bunch of Nissan and Infiniti products driven over the 100k mile mark...I'd be absolutely shocked to see the Model 3 interior hold up to the same without developing all kinds of creaks and rattles over time. There are already countless videos on YT to fix these rattles on brand new deliveries.

I respect the simplicity of the design, however I don't feel the quality of the materials are anywhere close to Infiniti, Audi or Mercedes offerings.

I'm going to look at the Etron again next week. The ipace I just drove was 77k and didn't have power seats! All EV offerings seem to be cutting corners somewhere
ETron feels very premium, very quality, and very, very SLOW compared to a Model 3. Like shockingly lethargic.
 

garsh

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#19
ETron feels very premium, very quality, and very, very SLOW compared to a Model 3. Like shockingly lethargic.
Very much agree. I really liked the interior of the etron when I test drove one. It's a very nice SUV.