The Center Console (Or Lack Thereof) - 2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test
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2013 Tesla Model S Long-Term Road Test

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2013 Tesla Model S: The Center Console (Or Lack Thereof)

May 20, 2013

2013 Tesla Model S

I don't understand the Tesla Model S's center console, or rather its lack of one. There's just a carpeted strip on the floor with little walls on the side. It's basically a gutter. Is this appealing?

Now, I can certainly see some appeal, in theory. My mother is the proud owner of the previous-generation Honda CR-V and loves that the open space between its seats is a perfect place to store her purse. She also likes how nice and open it makes the cabin feel.

However, that CR-V still has a large bin to securely store items, especially those of value you'd rather not leave out in the open. The Tesla has only a small shelf under the giant screen and an average-sized glovebox. The armrest also doesn't have any storage. There are two cupholders and that's it. Essentially, common in-car items like sunglasses, garage access cards or your phone go on the floor.

I'm not sure how the gutter is favorable to some sort of clever bin system that would include more and/or better cupholders? At the very least, couldn't such an alternative be an option?

As it is, do owners actually like the gutter? I just don't get it.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 3,722 miles


Comments

  • motorstreet motorstreet Posts:

    This might be the biggest problem with the Tesla's interior. It feels like your sitting in a minivan, because of the dashboard layout. Between the creaky dashboard, minivan layout, and poorly designed rear seats, this is definitely not a luxury car's interior. Just because Tesla says it's a luxury car doesn't make it a luxury car.

  • zcalvert zcalvert Posts:

    I can understand how it would appeal to women as a place to put a bag, but mostly it just seems aesthetically bad to me.

  • but the big question is, can you fit the to-go box from in-n-out there?

  • I quite like it. Tesla (and some third party folks) are selling drop in consoles for folks that want one. Shrug. Creaky dashboard? Mine doesn't creak and I've never heard of one that does.

  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    I would prefer to have two reasonably sized cupholders and a few gadget bins in the lower center console. The positioning of the existing cupholders at the end of the armrest looks uncomfortable-- and dangerous. When I drive I want to rest my arm/elbow there and I don't want anything blocking my reach to the steering wheel. Placing cupholders further forward keeps them within easy reach but out of the way.

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    Hate it. From an aesthetic perspective it just comes off as unfinished. Having said that, I don't keep unnecessary crap in my car so storage has never been a problem in my Model S. Also, this should not be a deal breaker. It is just a stylistic quirk. All cars have them. As @stoneymonster said, there are accessories to fix the issue also. As for the creaky dashboard, I think that is improper terminology. My car has a number of rattles, but no squeaks or creaks.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    I like it. It looks like it would make the interior feel nice and open, and would be the perfect place to drop my phone and wallet that I don't like having in my pockets on longer drives. I don't really store anything in my car when I'm not driving anyway.

  • duck87 duck87 Posts:

    I'm fine with this layout for the most part, but I wish that the cupholders were placed where your phone is sitting (heck, use a sliding cover over it ala CR-V so you still have the flat "tray" when you're not using them), a deeper pocket bin underneath the shelf under the screen, and then actual armrest storage. That way you'd keep the simplicity but significantly improve functionality.

  • On the one hand I would miss the storage space since the armrest doesn't have any and it is nice to keep everything in one place so the meth addict can find it fast when they smash the window. On the other hand, as mentioned already, it does give it more of an open spacious feel. I think too many cars today try to wrap you up like a cockpit and it feels cramped, even in larger cars.

  • throwback throwback Posts:

    mercedesfan, have you taken your car to Tesla? What have they said about the rattling DB?

  • shepski shepski Posts:

    Although I totally see the benefit for purse-toting (i.e. female) drivers, that "gutter" must otherwise get pretty annoying when all your crap gets slammed backward under the Model S's prodigious acceleration.

  • zhangrenhou zhangrenhou Posts:

    "However, that CR-V still has a large bin to securely store items, especially those of value you'd rather not leave out in the open." The Tesla has one, too. It's the frunk.

  • tokyorush tokyorush Posts:

    I actually quite like it, although Tesla sells an alternative drop in center console: http://shop.teslamotors.com/products/drop-in-center-console

  • mercedesfan mercedesfan Posts:

    @throwback: As with most rattles they haven't really been able to diagnose it completely. They replaced the glove box assembly which eliminated one of the rattles, but there is still a pretty noticeable one coming from behind the infotainment screen. The

  • mmmm4 mmmm4 Posts:

    It's easy to see this is due to cost constraints and lack of interior design resources and expertise of a startup company. Having every control on a large touch pad saves them from having to design a separate HVAC, infotainmentsystem and other interior switches and controls. Having done that, why spend the money on making the interior more functional especially if you can upsell a drop in center console for more profit. They are obviously very cost conscious and right fully so given the high cost of the batteries and unknown nature of their long term viability. Can't wait to see what happens when the established automakers come out with their EV, Plug in Hybrid models later this year.

  • prh88 prh88 Posts:

    I've driven my Tesla Model S Performance for 6,000 miles so far. At first I thought I would want to add a center console. But I have come to enjoy not having the side of my right leg not leaning against anything. And my own system for managing where to put coins, trash, hand sanitizer, phone charger, etc. etc is working for me. At this point, I am not that interested in adding a center console.

  • tecnamtwin tecnamtwin Posts:

    It's a good place for a backpack or purse.

  • mayhemm mayhemm Posts:

    Personally, I don't care for it. Tesla says they were going for a "clean" aesthetic with the lack of buttons, cubbies, door pockets, etc, because people just throw junk in them. What do they think a giant "pit" in the middle of the car will collect over time? I may pick up the console insert, depending on the price. With a $250 parcel shelf, the CCI may be over a grand. If so, count me out.

  • serezhkin serezhkin Posts:

    Seems like the armrest function interferes with cup holder function (i.e. you can't rest your arm and have cups in the cup holder at the same time). Definitely an oversight.

  • When I test drove the Model S, the Tesla Product Specialist quickly pointed out that this was the perfect spot to store my oversized purse. Males should appreciate this feature as this keeps me from sheepishly asking you to store it at your feet (since stashing the Louis V in the back seat is definitely out of the question).

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