Last year, when I decided to buy a Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus, the two biggest questions I had were whether to get the Full Self-Driving package and whether to get the white seats. One year and a couple months on from that, I thought I’d share how I feel about those decisions now.
First of all, note that I don’t yet have the updated Full Self-Driving beta that some owners are enjoying. Even without that, and even if it wasn’t on the horizon, I’m extremely happy with the decision to get the Full Self-Driving (FSD) package. I use the improved Autopilot functionality every time I drive. It enhances safety considerably. It makes driving more relaxing and enjoyable. It makes driving more fun.
It does come at a considerable cost. However, the cost to get this packed has gone up a few thousand (or more?) dollars since I got it. In theory, each time the cost of FSD goes up, the value of my car goes up. As new features are added, it will continue rising. So, while it wasn’t cheap, FSD quite likely appreciates in value on my car, rather than depreciating as the rest of an automobile always does.
That said, not every feature is a Beethoven symphony. I seldom use the autostopping feature — that is, I seldom let the car stop itself at a red light or stop sign — because it waits too long to start braking and then brakes too fast for my taste. I prefer to let the regen braking handle the braking more gradually and take the car to a full stop on its own. Also, the car can be a little jerky approaching a red light, especially if it’s right after a curve in the road, which seems to cause the car to see the red light is close enough to start braking, and then not, and then yes, and then … well, by then I’ve had enough and I’ve canceled Autopilot. What I do these days is I disengage Autopilot via the stalk on the steering wheel as I’m approaching a stop at the point where I think regen braking will handle the job.
I also never use Autopark, because it’s freaky. Perhaps if I used it a bit, I would like it, but it freaks me out.
The car’s ability to stay centered in the lane, change lanes smoothly, and watch out for dangerous obstacles is amazing, though. And I am especially eager to get the much improved FSD beta package, because it looks like it may be good enough to take me from parking space to parking space smoothly. I will be sure to update you (and much more) once I get the update.
The white faux leather seats are superb. They are one of my favorite things about the car. They are so soft, beautiful, especially looking into the car from outside, and give the car a little extra specialness that is uniquely Tesla.
They do show dirt, mud, sand, and food crumbs, of course. But that’s fine by me. In fact, I assume that I prefer it. If there’s stuff on the seat, I’d like to clean it off. Being visible helps me to do that. I don’t find that the seats are constantly needing cleaned (actually, I feel like I seldom need to wipe them down).
The one downside is they are prone to a bit of staining — especially if you have pants that bleed a bit (but we haven’t had any notable problems with that), or a car seat that was not ideally designed for such seats (we did have that problem). After more than a year, some portions of the seats are clearly not pristine white. Though, I haven’t done any serious cleaning yet — have only used baby wet wipes from time to time. So, once I finally get around to that, I’ll see how they turn out. The key point, though, is that even after 14 months or so, I haven’t felt a strong need to do any hardcore cleaning.
I will say that the black faux leather seats also seem nice, and they are decently soft. However, there is a notable difference in softness between the two. If you go into a Tesla store, you can touch the samples on the wall at the same time and notice that. Many people don’t realize it, but if you are going to be sitting in the car every day, I do presume this kind of thing makes a bit of a difference. I do personally appreciate it.
Appreciation, but Not Recommendation
So, all in all, I think two of the best choices I made when buying our Model 3 SR+ were the two I was most unsure about. I would not recommend these options to everyone across the board. People have very different tastes with regards to driver-assist features and seat color. Also, these options certainly come at an extra cost. But what I can say with certainty is that I’m happier that I got these options than I thought I’d be.
If you have any specific questions about these Model 3 options that I didn’t cover above, drop them in the comments below. If you have FSD or the white seats in a Tesla yourself and think there’s something to add, please do so as well. Also, if you happen to have some great tips for a deep cleaning of the white seats, I’m all ears. At some point, I should do more than give them a quick cleaning with some baby wipes.
See more pieces from my Tesla Model 3 long-term review.
Want to buy a Tesla Model 3 (or Model Y, Model S, or Model X)? Feel free to use my referral code to get some free Supercharging miles with your purchase: https://ts.la/zachary63404. You can also get a $100 discount on Tesla solar with that code. But no pressure.