Are Tesla Model S and X Buyers Ready for the Model 3's Minimalist Interior?

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
are tesla model s and x buyers ready for the model 3s minimalist interior

Tesla Motors’ refresh for the Model S and and Model X has been in the works for quite some time, with efforts focused on the vehicles’ interior above everything else. While we’re not about to call the present-day cockpit of either vehicle dated, they’ve been operating mostly unchanged for quite some time.

However, the update will surely rub some customers the wrong way. That’s because the new interior design is expected to be heavily influenced by the minimalist cabin of the Model 3. Scheduled for the second half of 2019, both of Tesla’s larger models will see their own adaptation of “less is more,” with a full exterior refresh to follow in 2021. Both are big deals for the company, which typically introduces small changes to its vehicles every so often rather than expansive alterations.

All of Tesla’s vehicles offer clean lines inside and out, but the 2019 interior refresh is said to transform the brand’s more expensive models. According to Electrek, which somehow managed to take possession of concept images, the cockpits of the Model S and X will do away with a full-sized instrument cluster and adopt the Model 3’s all-purpose horizontal center touchscreen.

That said, the current designs do include a very small digital speedometer tucked away behind the steering wheel. Above it is the same single-vent air conditioning system that runs along the entire dash of the Model 3. According to internal documents, the design is geared toward autonomy — which could indicate Tesla has made some progress on the self-driving front (or is just hedging its bets). But it does look like the automaker dumbed down the interior to create a cohesive look between models, while at the same time cutting costs.

In fact, Tesla listed saving some dough as one of the primary goals of this design refresh. Whether this will ultimately result in a higher profit margin and/or lower entry price is anyone’s guess, though. We’d lean toward the former and hope for the latter if pressed to speculate.

That doesn’t mean it’s inelegant, just incredibly simple. It also shouldn’t alter how you interact with the vehicle all that much. Tablet controls have always been the brand’s mainstay and phone integration isn’t going anywhere. However, if you’re the sort of person that doesn’t want to use drop-down menus to adjust the steering wheel, then these aren’t the models for you.

We’re curious to see what the final execution looks like, but you can take a gander at any Model 3 and walk away with a pretty good idea. Tesla also said saving money and freeing up space on the dashboard could lead to superior materials, nicer cushions, rear seats with second-row console, wireless device charging, and improved front storage. Even if you hate the look, those are all mighty fine inclusions.

[Images: Tesla Motors]

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  • NoID NoID on Aug 03, 2018

    Having spent a little bit of time in a Model, I can tell you that the simplicity is actually somewhat unnerving. I felt out of place without all those buttons, dials, and gauges. I'm sure I could get used to it, maybe even appreciate it. But in the moment I felt isolated and cold.

  • TS020 TS020 on Aug 04, 2018

    Can't wait for the next cost-cutting update where they replace the steering wheel and pedals with an Xbox controller. At least you'll be able to have the aircon go colder or hotter by simply pressing LB and RB instead of digging through submenus

  • Jeff S We have had so many article about gas wars. A lighter subject on gas wars might be the scene from Blazing Saddles where the cowboys were around the campfire and how their gas contributed to global warming or was it just natural gas.
  • Jeff S We all have issues some big and most not so big. Better to be alive and face the issues than to be dead and not have the opportunity to face them.
  • NJRide Now more than ever, the US needs a brand selling cheaper cars. I know the old adage that a "good used car" is the best affordable transportation, but there has to be someone willing to challenge the $45k average gas crossover or $60k electric one that has priced out many working and middle class people from the market. So I think Mitsu actually may be onto something. Call me crazy but I think if they came up with a decent sedan in the Civic space but maybe for $19-20k as opposed to $25 they might get some traction there's still some people who prefer a sedan.However, I just compared a Trailblazer on Edmunds to an Outlander Sport. Virtually same size, the Trailblazer has heated seats, keyless ignition and satellite radio and better fuel economy for almost same price as the Mitsu. Plus a fresher body and a normal dealer network. This has always been the challenge off brands have had. Mitsu probably would have to come in $2-3k less than the Chevy unless they can finance more readily to the subprime crowd.
  • MaintenanceCosts At least on the US West Coast, Waze is perfectly happy to send cut-through drivers down residential streets or to disregard peak-hour turn or travel restrictions. I hope if it's going to be standard equipment the company starts taking a more responsible approach.
  • MaintenanceCosts I'm more curious about the effect (if any) on battery lifetime than range. Drawing current faster creates more heat and if that heat is not promptly drawn away it could affect life of the cells.I agree this sort of thing can make sense as a one-time option but is consumer-hostile as a subscription.