I decided to lease a Tesla Model 3 Long Range (through my company) in June of 2021. After 6 months, I’ve decided that I absolutely hate the car. Here’s why:
* Autopilot isn’t nearly as good as I expected. It works will under one condition: you are on the freeway on a clearly marked lane with no lanes splitting or merging into your lane. The Tesla has SLAMMED on the brakes while going 70MPH on the freeway because the carpool lane split into two lanes and the Tesla didn’t know how to navigate it. Also it will brake if someone inches toward your lane and grazes the lane marker, even if they don’t merge. It also won’t see people obviously merging into your lane, and will brake late once the car is fully in the lane. If you attempt to change lanes to pass someone, adaptive cruise control will start braking as you are diagonally passing the car because it thinks you’re going to hit the car (even if you’re 3+ car lengths back) and attempting to pass. The system is overly cautious and is way worse than I expected.
* Using the screen to control everything is mind-bogglingly frustrating. Everything is *juust* out of reach while your back is against the seat, and the screen can’t pivot towards you. So you not only have to take your eyes off the road for way too long to find anything you also have to reach to tap it. And since the icons/buttons are relatively small, if you’re driving while trying to tap something, small bumps in the road will make it nearly impossible to tap the correct selection on the first try. You have to stabilize your hand on the edge of the screen. Contrasting with Apple Car Play, which has big, widely separated icons that are easy to tap/navigate, this is just bad.
* The Siri-like voice-activated controller is terrible. Especially when trying to call people, even someone on my favorites or someone I’ve called a million times. E.g. “Call Joe Shmoe” “…calling Shannon Example.” Again, now I have to take my eyes off the road for way to long to navigate, find, and call someone. Same problem happens with speech to text for texting someone.
* Navigation is not great. Everything is a shade of white/grey/black. So since everything is on the same screen, it’s hard to see where your next turn/direction is. Contrasting with Google Maps, where the next step/direction is outlined in a dark green (high contrast) box that makes it super easy to identify. Then, if you try to change your music, the location of the directions section on the screen also changes. And for some reason, the audio settings for the navigation almost always gets set to mute every time I drive, so I always have to manually adjust it back so I can hear where I need to go. (I made sure it was set to the correct volume in the menu, and it still goes to mute)
* The audio doesn’t/can’t always connect to Spotify or my phone, so sometimes I have to drive in silence. Happens about 25% of the time.
* Regenerative braking is applied when lifting off the throttle. You cannot coast. I knew this when getting the car and thought I would get used to it, which for the most part I did, but it really makes driving a lot more taxing. You always have to be in perfect control of the throttle if you want to just coast, otherwise you’re either accelerating or decelerating.
* There are no blind-spot monitors. Every car I know of has blind spot monitors. This doesn’t even so much as chime when you turn your blinker on while another car is in your blind spot. They used to highlight a surrounding car in red (on the center screen) if your blinker is on and they’re in your blind-spot, now they have the side camera activate when you turn on your blinker. But who checks the center screen when trying to change lanes to the left or right? That’s bad design.
* The AC/Heat controls are not great. Again, requiring too much attention off the road to control. Also, you can’t turn off the driver’s side vents and only have the passenger’s open. And the opposite is true as well: you can’t turn off the passenger’s vent’s and have the driver’s open.
**TL;DR:** Ultimately, the main reason I’m getting rid of the car is because of the screen. It’s a huge gimmick. It’s difficult to use/navigate, and requires too much attention off the road to get anything done. This is the right car for some people, but isn’t the right car for me. I’m going to miss the great, instant acceleration/torque. But I want something with regular knobs/buttons and apple car play.
**EDIT 1:** The cars I’m considering next are either a CT4-V (non-Blackwing) with SuperCruise, or a Genesis G70.
**EDIT 2:** THIS IS SUPER IMPORTANT AND I COMPLETELY FORGOT. Tesla no longer allows you to purchase OR sell your car at the end of your lease. They force you to return the car to them. This means that when the lease was over, I wouldn’t be able to sell the car to CarMax to make money on the car. I think this is super unethical because I see a lease as me purchasing a car with an agreement that the car company *can* take the car back at the end of the lease (emphasis on “can”). The purchaser should have the right to do what they want with the car, whether that means buy it out or sell it to a third party. This is specifically a problem because when I bought the car I specifically asked, “will I be able to sell the car to a third party dealership?” and the answer was “yes.” Three months after I had the car, they changed that rule all of a sudden and now forced to give your car back (or transfer the lease, which is what I’m doing). When leasing a car, the increased equity (due to the car shortage) belongs to the BUYER, not the manufacturer. Apparently more and more automakers are doing this, which I think is entirely messed up.
**EDIT 3:** I want to clarify something: I’m not frustrated that I couldn’t buy the car- that part was always clear. I’m frustrated that I couldn’t *sell* the car.
In the contract it specifically says that you cannot buy the car at the end of the lease. However, it didn’t specifically exclude third-party dealership buyouts. I also asked the salesman and Tesla financial *before* getting the lease if they would allow a buyout from a third-party dealership, and they both said “yes.”
The issue is that it seems unethical to change the terms of an agreement after the agreement was made. (This was not specifically stated in the contract, that it would allow third-party dealership buyouts. But it also wasn’t specifically prohibited. There was also a section in Tesla’s online account that allowed you to “Sell Car to Dealer” and request a buyout amount.)
When Tesla did that, I felt like they were taking something that, in my mind, I felt was mine:
1. The freedom to get out of the lease how and when I wanted to.
2. The money that would have been mine if I sold to a dealership.
From a strictly financial perspective, I understand that it was not a purchase, and that I never had equity. Those were the wrong words to use. My main point was that I had a certain idea of how leases work, and what my lease-end options would be. Ultimately, those options were limited to my disadvantage, and I felt frustrated about that.