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It's been said that Tesla has a bit of a bad reputation concerning build quality



And on my car, Tesla's fitment and finish certainly left quite a bit to be desired.

I did bring a checklist, but I wouldn't have inspected the car as closely as I did if I hadn't almost immediately spotted a couple of mis-matched things.

The first thing I noticed was as I was getting in the first time. Apparently at some point, Tesla has decided to cut corners, and no longer paints inside/in front of the front doors where the hinges are on Model 3's. Besides that ridiculous lack of quality on a $59k car, there is also the issue that the passenger side is yellow in there and the driver's side is white. That means one of them has more and/or different coats of finish than the other. All of my cars from Nissan/Infiniti over the years cost half as much, yet were fully painted in there

Next, I noticed that the frunk/hood/bonnet opens too far, which allows the rear edge to push in/down on the passenger side wiper. I didn't spot an easily adjustment for that, but maybe I just missed it.

Third, I realized that the panel gaps between the A-pillar / Front Quarter Panel / Door on the driver's and passenger side are of visibly different width, with the driver's side being significantly larger/wider. I think both are probably out of spec, because you can see the primed/unpainted frame in the gaps. The driver's side looks pretty bad, since it's yellow in there, between the dark blue of the panels. I saw the driver's side issue first, and again, seeing that the opposite sides don't match made it clear that something is wrong. The driver's door and front quarter panel are not flush, with the door further in than the quarter panel. It isn't easy to see it, but is very easy to feel the misalignment.

After that, I started looking more closely. The front passenger side quarter panel is misaligned with the edge of the bumper cover, which further backs up that neither front quarter panels is aligned properly.
There are two light scratches in the clear coat, both about 4" long. One on the rear bumper cover, and the other on the rear passenger side quarter panel near the bottom. These probably can be buffed out.
Lastly, the rear quarter panels do not align with the window trim at the top of the trunk/boot. They are misaligned by the same amount, so at least they match, even if it isn't perfect.

The very first thing I saw turned out to not be as bad as I thought. The glass roof panel, at the very corner over the passenger side A-pillar, looked like it had a significant chip, about 6mm x 10mm. It looked really bad, but also a bit weird, like something was delaminating? I showed it to the person working with me on the trade-in paperwork, and asked if it looked like a chip, crack or maybe something else was going on? Turned out to be some kind of thick, green plastic film stuck there, which was probably part of a protective film that was missed earlier when the rest was removed.

Everything on the interior looks perfectly fine, the various driving modes all seem to work, charging worked with 110v and 240v AC through the included charger, with the ChargePoint charger I had installed last week, and also on the nearest 250 KWh DC Supercharger. On the Interstate, on the return trip from the Supercharger, the calibration completed, and I got to turn on the cruise control for the first time...
For about 1/2 mile before I hit a wall of stopped traffic 5 lanes wide. 🙄

So, I have 2 service appointments already. One Monday so that they can install the Homelink hardware that's been removed from the standard features, and the other on Tuesday to address the body issues.
 

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Doesn't sound too bad for a car built in a tent next to the freeway 😂

I kid. Hope they can get it in a better condition for you. Just sad the quality they pump out, but even sadder are the fanboys that can't honestly critique the quality.
 

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Well, the tech who installed my Homelink transmitter yesterday was great, but the service manager at the nearest Service Center? Hoo boy.

They are not going to do anything about the mis-matched paint/primer layers in the door hinge areas. The SA agreed with me, the service manager did not.

While showing the SA the issues I was asking be addressed, he spotted even more.

The SA agreed that the panel gaps at the driver's side A-pillar were unsatisfactory, the service manager was much less appreciative, saying "they'd check if the tolerances were within spec."
I'm sorry, but since when is it acceptable to be able to EASILY see unpainted frame between body panels?

The app said I'd get the car back today by 5pm, but when the Uber dropped me off at work, it had been updated to tomorrow by 10:45am.

...and don't even get me started on Tesla giving Uber vouchers instead of a loaner.

I've had the car all of 5 days, and not even 100 miles on the odometer.
 

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Well, the mechanics agreed with me on the gaps.
I picked up the car from service today, and the invoice describes the panel adjustments in terms of ‘light’, ‘moderate’ and ‘heavy’. Most of what I pointed out was labeled moderate or heavy, and the ones the SA added were light or moderate. Everything looks better, but I still think that the failure to do anything about the mis-matched layers in the door hinge areas is completely unsatisfactory.
White in the driver side:
Automotive lighting Automotive tire Motor vehicle Hood Wheel


Yellow in the Passenger side:
Automotive parking light Automotive lighting Hood Automotive tire Motor vehicle
 

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Received my Polestar a few days ago and now, owning both a Tesla M3 and a P2 I can share my perspective on the comparison:

First of all, I think these are totally different cars and don’t share much anyway, and I find it somewhat weird that everyone is comparing them just because they are both electric, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

Points go to Polestar
  • It is higher. Both convenient to get in and out as well as visibility and a little less blinding from headlights. I have a really hard time with our model 3 because of this and don’t enjoy being there.
  • Cargo area. So much more useful with a hatch and folded seats. Also, subjectively, I just don’t like sedans. They feel like a temporary place to be in, while Polestar feels more like a crossover/SUV where you just enjoy spending time.
  • Controls. Maybe things like mirror adjustment make sense to be in the touchscreen, but not having defrosters and wipers as direct controls makes me feel less in control. The steering wheel is much more pleasant to hold in Polestar. Turn signal levers in Model 3 are an absolute disaster and a torture to use. Every time I use them I have to be very conscious to not turn the high beams on by accident. Even minor things like rolling side windows feel just right in Polestar with a clear click distinction between light vs deep press and a non-linear roll speed that makes logical sense. And the lowlight of Model 3 - the ridiculous fact of having a pointless glovebox that can only be opened from the touchscreen which makes it practically useless.
  • Build quality: Polestar really feels like a luxury car. Frameless mirrors are amazing, very convenient and reassuring. Doors close with a nice thump and everything is pleasant to use. Because of the higher quality the cabin also feels less noisy.
  • Ride quality: while both cars are easy to control, model 3’s suspension feels like a horse carriage. Polestar feels like a proper car that compensates well for most bumps (even with my performance pack that most people consider as stiff). Plus acceleration and deceleration are more logical in Polestar - with Model 3 the acceleration overreacts and deceleration is inconsistent.


Points go to Tesla
  • Battery, efficiency and charging. Biggest disadvantage of Polestar for me. My Polestar seems to use almost twice the energy per mile than our Model 3 and it’s a big downside because it’s too slow to charge at home with the Tesla wall connector. Because Polestar is significantly less efficient than Tesla it also costs more to charge and will need a longer wait time for stops during long trips to charge. To be fair, I have to note that I’m comparing a dual motor Polestar with a single motor Tesla, but Tesla is also lighter so the acceleration is more comparable this way anyway. Also, Polestar’s charging cable was thicker than a hose for no reason when Tesla’s is so much thinner.
  • Proper tech/software. Polestar’s mobile app and the overall technology are half broken and not production ready. The app shows that the doors are unlocked when they are locked. It needs a restart every second time. You can’t control even basic things like change charge limit or stop charging. Trying to turn on climate control remotely takes 4 tries and a few minutes of wasted time. No proper UI/feedback on actions, it looks like someone’s bootcamp project. Within a few days of ownership I had to restart Polestar’s infotainment because turn signals lost their sound. Backup camera takes a while to load, on one occasion it got stuck for whole 10 seconds which is unacceptable. For Polestar’s defense though, Tesla’s self-park has been useless so far since it does hysterical movements and gives me a heart attack every time I use it.
  • Interior storage. The armrest has a big storage underneath and the front side has a nice “drawer” where the gear control was supposed to be. The drawer/pocket has a nice door that opens/closes automatically and has nice illumination inside. Convenient for holding things like napkins and sanitizers. Polestar lacks storage where you can hide things out of sight. And yes, as overstated as it can be - model 3 has two uncovered cupholders, side by side, as it makes sense to be.
 

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Received my Polestar a few days ago and now, owning both a Tesla M3 and a P2 I can share my perspective on the comparison:

First of all, I think these are totally different cars and don’t share much anyway, and I find it somewhat weird that everyone is comparing them just because they are both electric, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

Points go to Polestar
  • It is higher. Both convenient to get in and out as well as visibility and a little less blinding from headlights. I have a really hard time with our model 3 because of this and don’t enjoy being there.
  • Cargo area. So much more useful with a hatch and folded seats. Also, subjectively, I just don’t like sedans. They feel like a temporary place to be in, while Polestar feels more like a crossover/SUV where you just enjoy spending time.
  • Controls. Maybe things like mirror adjustment make sense to be in the touchscreen, but not having defrosters and wipers as direct controls makes me feel less in control. The steering wheel is much more pleasant to hold in Polestar. Turn signal levers in Model 3 are an absolute disaster and a torture to use. Every time I use them I have to be very conscious to not turn the high beams on by accident. Even minor things like rolling side windows feel just right in Polestar with a clear click distinction between light vs deep press and a non-linear roll speed that makes logical sense. And the lowlight of Model 3 - the ridiculous fact of having a pointless glovebox that can only be opened from the touchscreen which makes it practically useless.
  • Build quality: Polestar really feels like a luxury car. Frameless mirrors are amazing, very convenient and reassuring. Doors close with a nice thump and everything is pleasant to use. Because of the higher quality the cabin also feels less noisy.
  • Ride quality: while both cars are easy to control, model 3’s suspension feels like a horse carriage. Polestar feels like a proper car that compensates well for most bumps (even with my performance pack that most people consider as stiff). Plus acceleration and deceleration are more logical in Polestar - with Model 3 the acceleration overreacts and deceleration is inconsistent.


Points go to Tesla
  • Battery, efficiency and charging. Biggest disadvantage of Polestar for me. My Polestar seems to use almost twice the energy per mile than our Model 3 and it’s a big downside because it’s too slow to charge at home with the Tesla wall connector. Because Polestar is significantly less efficient than Tesla it also costs more to charge and will need a longer wait time for stops during long trips to charge. To be fair, I have to note that I’m comparing a dual motor Polestar with a single motor Tesla, but Tesla is also lighter so the acceleration is more comparable this way anyway. Also, Polestar’s charging cable was thicker than a hose for no reason when Tesla’s is so much thinner.
  • Proper tech/software. Polestar’s mobile app and the overall technology are half broken and not production ready. The app shows that the doors are unlocked when they are locked. It needs a restart every second time. You can’t control even basic things like change charge limit or stop charging. Trying to turn on climate control remotely takes 4 tries and a few minutes of wasted time. No proper UI/feedback on actions, it looks like someone’s bootcamp project. Within a few days of ownership I had to restart Polestar’s infotainment because turn signals lost their sound. Backup camera takes a while to load, on one occasion it got stuck for whole 10 seconds which is unacceptable. For Polestar’s defense though, Tesla’s self-park has been useless so far since it does hysterical movements and gives me a heart attack every time I use it.
  • Interior storage. The armrest has a big storage underneath and the front side has a nice “drawer” where the gear control was supposed to be. The drawer/pocket has a nice door that opens/closes automatically and has nice illumination inside. Convenient for holding things like napkins and sanitizers. Polestar lacks storage where you can hide things out of sight. And yes, as overstated as it can be - model 3 has two uncovered cupholders, side by side, as it makes sense to be.
This is a particularly valuable comparison. Thank you.

Any comments on having the in-dash screen in front of the steering wheel?
 

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This is a particularly valuable comparison. Thank you.

Any comments on having the in-dash screen in front of the steering wheel?
Oh yes I totally missed that - the point definitely goes to Polestar for that one and is very convenient to use. The design of the black map looks cool and you don’t have to worry if someone is switching songs on the main screen while you’re looking at the map. One disadvantage though is that sometimes the steering wheel can cover your speed or the gear especially if you’re switching between drive/reverse while making a turn and in these cases I have to just trust that the gear actually switched. Could easily get into an accident if you didn’t push the gear stick hard enough as there’s no any other feedback.

Also, unrelated to the dash screen, but to add more, I’ve already had more issues with the android automotive. For example, it keeps the old route/destination all the time, even when you exit and come back to the car the next day and doesn’t even automatically end it once you arrive. In one occasion it accepted the new route, but kept the directions to the old route and I realized only after 10 minutes of driving being confused of why it’s taking me through the city instead of the highway (fortunately happened to be in the same direction).

On another occasion I started having issues with the google assistant who wouldn’t recognize any commands and got stuck in summon mode - had to restart the infotainment again to fix.

One time the car didn’t even turn on the reverse camera so I had to do it manually. And when you switch back to drive, it still keeps the reverse view for some time which is very confusing and makes it feel like you’re still in reverse.

I know many people were happy with Android Automotive, but so far it sounds like it’s also not quite ready to be used in a production car. I really hope that these things would get fixed soon.
 

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I've noticed that I often have to cancel navigation when I return to the car. I've gotten used to it, so it's not a bother to me.

Every once in a while, I have to reset the infotainment system, but it's pretty unusual for me.

Again, every once in a while the cameras don't work properly, but, to me, it's so rare that it's not an issue.

I'm reassured that other cars are using Android Automotive... I may be wrong, but I'm guessing that means our cars will get better and that the software won't be abandoned.

Again, thanks for your perspective. Reviewers compare the two cars, but they usually haven't lived with both for a more objective evaluation.
 
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I've noticed that I often have to cancel navigation when I return to the car. I've gotten used to it, so it's not a bother to me.

Every once in a while, I have to reset the infotainment system, but it's pretty unusual for me.

Again, every once in a while the cameras don't work properly, but, to me, it's so rare that it's not an issue.

I'm reassured that other cars are using Android Automotive... I may be wrong, but I'm guessing that means our cars will get better and that the software won't be abandoned.

Again, thanks for your perspective. Reviewers compare the two cars, but they usually haven't lived with both for a more objective evaluation.
I've found the persistent navigation bug happening more often recently. I see it in both my cars, one on 1.9 and one on 2.0, and didn't notice it so much before. So I don't think it's an AAOS-specific thing, but suspect that Google is doing some things to the Maps app that's perhaps inducing the behavior.

I have noticed the rear camera bugginess increasing with v2.0 though - that may be on the new AAOS itself then.

"Hey Google" now works in both cars after I turned off then on Assisant's permissions. But I still can't control Spotify using it.... but my wife can through her profile/Spotify login so maybe that's on Spotify's side?

Else, I've reconnected each car to the app and am able to relatively easily switch between cars using one phone, which is more reliability than I ever expected. And I've incidentally tested PAK a few times for my usual car and it's worked each time - though I still don't plan on using it for anything but a few miles errand.

long story short, AAOS is still clearly a work in progress. But, to the original subject, I'd still take it and its implementation in Polestars over Tesla.
 

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As the weather got hotter I've discovered a new surprising benefit where P2 crushes Model 3 - the glass roof. Before I bought my P2 the guy at the space told me that the P2 glass roof does well under sun but I didn't believe it. Well, yesterday we did two drives to the downtown, first in our Model 3 and then in P2.

Initially Model 3 was parked in the garage and it was all good, but when we took a short stop for maybe 10-15 minutes it became baking hot in there. We had the same issue with it last summer as well - the glass roof gets extremely hot and starts radiating heat to the point that your head can't be within the top few inches in the cabin otherwise it would literally get baked regardless of the cabin temperature. And of course the radiating heat from the roof makes it much harder for AC to fight heat, so even 5 minute stops turn the car into an oven and if your AC is not fully directed towards the roof it becomes impossible to be in the cabin.

Before the 2nd trip, P2 was initially parked outside under sun for hours and even after that the roof wasn't as hot as Model 3's. It would still burn your fingers if you touch it (I mean from the inside) but I haven't had it radiate heat yet under any circumstances, so unless you touch it really just feels like the same as a regular roof. I was shocked by how much difference there was between the two given that they both look the same in terms of how much light they let through. It almost feels like P2 glass roof has this magic layer that prevents it from radiating heat into the cabin.
 

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Received my Polestar a few days ago and now, owning both a Tesla M3 and a P2 I can share my perspective on the comparison:

First of all, I think these are totally different cars and don’t share much anyway, and I find it somewhat weird that everyone is comparing them just because they are both electric, but I’ll give it a shot anyway.

Points go to Polestar
  • It is higher. Both convenient to get in and out as well as visibility and a little less blinding from headlights. I have a really hard time with our model 3 because of this and don’t enjoy being there.
  • Cargo area. So much more useful with a hatch and folded seats. Also, subjectively, I just don’t like sedans. They feel like a temporary place to be in, while Polestar feels more like a crossover/SUV where you just enjoy spending time.
  • Controls. Maybe things like mirror adjustment make sense to be in the touchscreen, but not having defrosters and wipers as direct controls makes me feel less in control. The steering wheel is much more pleasant to hold in Polestar. Turn signal levers in Model 3 are an absolute disaster and a torture to use. Every time I use them I have to be very conscious to not turn the high beams on by accident. Even minor things like rolling side windows feel just right in Polestar with a clear click distinction between light vs deep press and a non-linear roll speed that makes logical sense. And the lowlight of Model 3 - the ridiculous fact of having a pointless glovebox that can only be opened from the touchscreen which makes it practically useless.
  • Build quality: Polestar really feels like a luxury car. Frameless mirrors are amazing, very convenient and reassuring. Doors close with a nice thump and everything is pleasant to use. Because of the higher quality the cabin also feels less noisy.
  • Ride quality: while both cars are easy to control, model 3’s suspension feels like a horse carriage. Polestar feels like a proper car that compensates well for most bumps (even with my performance pack that most people consider as stiff). Plus acceleration and deceleration are more logical in Polestar - with Model 3 the acceleration overreacts and deceleration is inconsistent.


Points go to Tesla
  • Battery, efficiency and charging. Biggest disadvantage of Polestar for me. My Polestar seems to use almost twice the energy per mile than our Model 3 and it’s a big downside because it’s too slow to charge at home with the Tesla wall connector. Because Polestar is significantly less efficient than Tesla it also costs more to charge and will need a longer wait time for stops during long trips to charge. To be fair, I have to note that I’m comparing a dual motor Polestar with a single motor Tesla, but Tesla is also lighter so the acceleration is more comparable this way anyway. Also, Polestar’s charging cable was thicker than a hose for no reason when Tesla’s is so much thinner.
  • Proper tech/software. Polestar’s mobile app and the overall technology are half broken and not production ready. The app shows that the doors are unlocked when they are locked. It needs a restart every second time. You can’t control even basic things like change charge limit or stop charging. Trying to turn on climate control remotely takes 4 tries and a few minutes of wasted time. No proper UI/feedback on actions, it looks like someone’s bootcamp project. Within a few days of ownership I had to restart Polestar’s infotainment because turn signals lost their sound. Backup camera takes a while to load, on one occasion it got stuck for whole 10 seconds which is unacceptable. For Polestar’s defense though, Tesla’s self-park has been useless so far since it does hysterical movements and gives me a heart attack every time I use it.
  • Interior storage. The armrest has a big storage underneath and the front side has a nice “drawer” where the gear control was supposed to be. The drawer/pocket has a nice door that opens/closes automatically and has nice illumination inside. Convenient for holding things like napkins and sanitizers. Polestar lacks storage where you can hide things out of sight. And yes, as overstated as it can be - model 3 has two uncovered cupholders, side by side, as it makes sense to be.
Great review! I agree with you on just about all of those points. Enjoy both of them.
 
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