As with most adventures, this chapter began unexpectedly. As life would have it the aging family car was totaled an accident that didn’t even see the airbags deploy. Nobody was hurt, so good enough. I did like that old 2009 Murano. It was a comfortable car for our travels even when loaded to the roof with far more stuff than anyone ever would need. The seats were perfect all the way around. Climate controls worked well and after nearly thirteen years and 140,000 plus miles every system on the car still worked perfectly. The NAV system maps were hopelessly out of date as was any interface to smart phones beyond phone bluetooth/handsfree operations for audio. The voice commands were always comical and led to great fun on road trips when we would all join in trying to get the car to recognize any word any of us said. All of that and we had to begin looking at replacements.
A replacement would provide greater economy without too much of a volume and comfort sacrifice. I have a knee that doesn’t do well in sedan seating and certainly not in sports car seating. That aims me at cross-overs and SUV’s. And so the search was on. I’d rejected the Prius and RAV4 as I’d ridden and driven them. Nice cars, just not for my knee. That led to looking at cars like the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, that once fitted out like I wanted were really expensive and not that efficient. And we really felt that five seats are enough. That old 2009 Murano was out baseline and anything similar as far as size and seating was really what I was looking for. The Subaru Outback “Touring” fits the bill nicely. Cargo space is a bit better and the tech is upgraded as with any new car in this class. Not too expensive either and rated for 33 mpg on the freeway. All gas and all wheel drive. We don’t need all wheel drive at all for what we do. But, gas would be nice to avoid. It cost $71 to fill the rental car the other day. I recall finding out that in Mesa Arizona the maximum a station would dispense at one time was $100 when we filled the tank of a Suburban we had rented. Filled with five adults and a toddler and way too much stuff, we averaged 35 mpg over the 800 miles we drove. With all that and the internet I set about spending roughly two days wearing the paint of the keys on my Mac. My search initially narrowed to the Highlander Hybrid and Outback Touring. Then I looked at the Tesla Model Y.
The Highlander Hybrid was eliminated because of the seating layout which is 2x2x3 and the economy numbers. I liked The size pretty well, though definitely larger than the Murano, baseline. That really left only the Outback and the Model Y. To get the color Outback we want in the Touring trim, we would have to order it and that is a six to eight week wait. Waiting isn’t a big concern and once we started seriously considering the Model Y two months doesn’t seem all that long. With out oldest daughter living with us, being retired and a rental agency only a short walk, having a car quickly is not a concern. Now, I’d be willing to try and skip the whole car ownership thing altogether, but that isn’t really workable long term.
We looked at the Subaru Forester as well, as we could get a trim level we liked, but the one car the dealer had in the color we wanted is a 2021, while the latest Outback or any ordered model would be a 2022. There was not much price difference between eh forester and the Outback once we were at the dealership and could sit in the cars and we did drive the Outback. Both cars have the same drivetrain and engine. In fact in this case both cars wee similar trim, but the Forester has a much smaller display screen that really is only a media and nav screen where the Outback has more functionality on the screen. We liked the test drive in the Outback. The Eyesight safety slowed the car from adaptive cruise control as traffic slowed as I was moving my foot to brake, the car had already reacted. I was very impressed with this bit of safety tech. The seating, reach and adjustments all were familiar from the Murano. The cargo area is more square than the Murano thanks to the roofline this is true to an even greater extent for the Forester which has a much higher roofline so the cargo capacity though front to back, shorter than the Outback is very close to the same total volume. I think if they had, had the color Outback we were looking for, our decision may have been made that day.
But, we had an appointment for both of us to drive the Tesla Model Y. We drove back to the Mall where the Tesla store fronts all seem to be for our appointed time to drive. We met with very helpful staff and were soon shown around the car out in the parking garage. Off we went for our test drive. The very first sensation is information overload or rather the huge learning curve to be climbed because of the location of all information on the central screen. This is an absolutely huge screen that dominates the dash from the middle. Basically all the controls for everything are there on the touch screen. The very next thing is how the accelerator and brakes work. This is the single pedal driving thanks to regenerative braking. This is immediately apparent in the first few inches of movement out of the tight parking space we were in. Sight lines out of the car are very good, and the low speed parking asset cameras are nearly smartphone quality on the large display. I would say the physical sight lines are only slightly less than the Outback which I would rate top. The Murano was horrible at the back corners, the pillars at the back corners creating a huge blind spot along either side. Back to the Model Y, the first several feet of forward movement up the aisle of the parking garage were very much beginner driver style slight surge-stop in nature. By the time I’d traveled the couple of hundred feet from the parking space to the exit, I had a pretty good feel for the pedal and how much the regenerative braking slows the car.
The driving experience feels to me more like a large European touring car like our old Audi 5000’s and A8’s, big BMW’s and Medium sized Mercedes than a mid-level priced EV. Very comfortable seating for little lower seat to floor position than the typical SUV. More cross-over like than sedan. Getting back into the rental car we were driving was an eye-opener. The rental sedan felt sports car low to the ground, cramped and underpowered. The rental is a Nissan Sentra. We of course did not have time to mess with the climate controls in the Tesla more than just setting the temperatures. The sound system was fine, given I’m hearing impaired and my hearing aid batteries died on the way to Tesla with no easy to find shop to buy more. I’d gone off with a different jacket I had not put spares in a pocket of. I could still hear that it was very nice. The car is larger than the Murano and wider by a bit it seems too so seating is roomier for the three across the back seat. This is important with a toddler child safety seat back there. still leaving room for two full sized adults. The rear seats set such that my lower legs can be vertical, maximizing legroom to the drivers seat. I’d adjusted the seat back to a position at the far end of my comfortable reach to the controls.
After our test drives we talked with the representative for about an hour or more. She answered all our questions and was very helpful. In fact both the representatives at Tesla and the Subaru dealer were very helpful, never pushy and not rushing us in any way. A very comfortable experience. We made our way back to our house in the rental car talking along the was as much as my unaided hearing would allow. Once home I remedied that and we sat down to talk.
The bottom line is the entry fee for the Tesla is very significant. Around $56,000 or so a good chunk more than we paid for our first house. The Subaru comes in about $45,000. That isn’t a huge difference in the grand scheme of things. Though these two cars are apples and oranges in terms of technology and future worthiness. I’ll not say future-proof. Though with over the air software, or firmware updates the Tesla is hands down the winner in that bit. We did some thumbnail calculations and reviewed some presentations on comparisons of Tesla Model Y to a Toyota Camry ICE. I’d think comparing to a hybrid would be close to the mark. but, what that showed me was that roughly $10K hit up front was a wash five years down the line. Five years from now I know I’ll be paying significantly more for gasoline than I am now. Yes, electricity is likely to increase given the way things go, but from what I’ve seen from Iowa Tesla Guy on YouTube,
Here we are in December. Our delivery window has drifted all over the place. Right now that window has settled to open in about a week and narrowed to just two. Since this latest is the fourth or fifth time there has been a change, we have taken the position of we’ll believe the delivery is happening, when it happens.
We have two different alternative plugs in house now for charging from either the three or four prong dryer outlet. We also have an outdoor car cover as this is the beach and parking in the driveway is under trees. The plan is to get the paint protection wrap done after we take delivery at a third party shop as well as probably some tinting and finish treatment.
This morning I opened the app on my phone to check for messages and found the delivery window had shifted once again to the right. 12/31/2021 – 01/28/2022. A friend in the auto industry, who should know such things, told me back when we first ordered the car in August it would likely take until March 2022. I wouldn’t bet against that at this point.
Every two months the financial stuff expires, so now we are good at filing out and submitting our data. Tesla don’t notify you through email or anything normal like that. Nope. I have to randomly check the account online to find out that status. The app is nearly useless prior to delivery. All that changes is the delivery window.
And just like that the delivery window slips to the right a week. 01/06/2022 – 02/03/2022.
Upon opening the app on my phone this morning I find the new delivery window of 01/13/2022 – 1/27/2022.
On Saturday, the day before the next new delivery window was to happen, I received a text from Tesla with a VIN and instructions to use the app to set up my insurance. I did that then the next morning a text arrived directing me to confirm my delivery appointment. We did that, then had to scramble to get word to money management to move funds to where we could use them. We got a total of two days notice prior to the first of three possible days for delivery. Things should work out so by Thursday noon, we’ll have our new Tesla.
Well, that didn’t last long. This morning I got a text from Tesla delaying our delivery appointment to Sunday the 23rd. Interesting. But, on the good side of that we should have a less hectic time than Tomorrow was looking to be. Making the financial arrangements over a holiday weekend and under a very short schedule was only maybe going to work. Now at least we have made the payment easily using the app on my phone prior to the delivery appointment and got verification. The next bump in the road, adding my wife on the insurance was a relatively short wait on the phone of less than ten minutes. There was no apparent online facility for accomplishing this. The staff are cheerful and helpful at every turn. That has certainly helped to smooth over this long wait of delivery slips and delays.
Still waiting. We’ve made our payment, paid the insurance and assume the insurance card will be delivered with the card keys and car come Sunday. We have been watching orientation videos and rewatching review videos of FSD from @IowaTeslaGuy on YouTube. And planning our first day with the car. I plan to drive the large back way home from the Tesla Delivery Center in Irvine. Once home, we’ll finish customizing our driver settings, and maybe do some more driving. Sunday’s on the back roads are relatively quiet as will be Monday after the morning rush and before the afternoon rush begins.
Delivery day has finally arrived. We’re up early, like two kids at Christmas. We took delivery while standing outside the facility. Pretty simple actually. Everything looks good enough.
A short drive home, the long way to get the auto pilot calibrated and we’re good enough to go for a while. I’ve requested the FSD, we’ve paid for. Next is to find a place to install the paint protection wrap. I like the feel of the car. The tint on the windows is good enough. A walk around and check of alignments was straightforward. The hitch we ordered is concealed behind a small panel. We’ve not bothered to uncover that yet. The car is home and backed up to the house and plugged in with a schedule set to begin charging after midnight. I’ll check that come morning then after some exercise, my wife and I will go driving and grocery shopping. We have a road trip to plan and prepare for.