Video: How Does Tesla Fit & Finish Compare To A German Car?


Have nitpickers, shorters, and haters plagued Tesla with invalid claims when it comes to fit and finish?

We at InsideEVs agree that Tesla vehicle’s fit and finish was certainly problematic, especially early on. This comes as no surprise due to the automaker’s “newness” in comparison to most of the competition. For years, automotive reviewers called out Kia for similar issues. However, over time, the company corrected the problem. This seems true of Tesla as well. In addition, there are a barrage of short sellers, Tesla haters, and negative press alerting people and checking out Tesla fit and finish with a fine-tooth comb, while overlooking the same concerns on competing models.

We’ve talked to plenty of Tesla owners, read a multitude of articles, and watched our fair share of videos related to Tesla’s fit and finish. We’d be lying if we said there were never any negatives. However, we’d also be lying if we didn’t tell you that many others have proven that most rivals’ models show similar, minor panel gap discrepancies. The problem is, without a plethora of press about an automaker’s finishing concerns, people aren’t looking.

So, Trevor Page from Model 3 Owners Group took a deep dive into Tesla’s finish issues to paint a more realistic picture. He did so since negative press related to the issue irritated him. He compares his Tesla Model X to a loaner Mercedes CLA250 4MATIC.

As it turns out, just like any Tesla car, a quick look shows that there are really no obvious concerns. But, if you check out a German luxury vehicle with a fine-tooth comb, you’ll see that it’s teeming with fit and finish problems inside and out.

Wow! Tesla is not the only premium automaker with some small panel gap problems and marginally misaligned trim? Not to mention all the other issues. We can’t say we’re a bit surprised.

Check out the video and let us know your thoughts and concerns in the comment section below.

Video Description via Model 3 Owners Club on YouTube:

Is fit and finish on a German car better than Tesla?

I can’t stand how people online nitpick about Tesla’s fit and finish so let’s have a look at a German car to compare how it stacks up. The results may surprise you…

Categories: Mercedes, Tesla, Videos


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106 Comments on "Video: How Does Tesla Fit & Finish Compare To A German Car?"

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Mercedes shouldn’t have build this car at all.

Another Euro point of view

I agree, it looks quite outdated & too many buttons.

The new model was just introduced. This is the older version from 2013. Pretty much the oldest Mercedes you can buy today and the cheapest series as well… And again sample size is 1. Objective journalism again. Well done. Still many things of that old car are of higher quality than Teslas.

Name something that is higher quality, and specify why.

He says “It is a brand new car by the way”. When he switches it on it shows it has >20000km and it is a loaner, you know how people use these. Please tell me, what is the definition of brand new? This guy is just dishonest. The car might have been in accidents and have been repaired. That guy just doesnt know anything about it.

And doors lower over time, which leads to small alignment issues for every car. You can easily adjust these. Dont expect a car to be as perfect after years and a few ten thousand km as when it is brand new.
The deviations in gaps and alignment are small compared to any Tesla, the paint looks good. Keep in mind he compares a years old used car to new Teslas. The quality of the interior is waaaay better. The guy in the video searches for negative aspects, where there are none. The gap round the filler flap looks really good on video, he fails to show, what he claims. I had an MB A-class car in my last holiday and for the price that low end trim did cost quality really was good.

20,000 km is around 12,000 miles. A rental can see 30,000 to 40,000 miles per year so the car was likely 6 to 10 months old.

The gaps were no better than most Teslas I have seen. Which was the point of the video.

Clearly many disagree with you on the fit and trim of this German car.

That door had not sagged. The windows had the exact same clearance before sel-closing function. That chrome was never aligned even one day of it’s 6 month lifespan.

And do doors sag? Maybe via disuse and bending, but I’m under the impression that the latch is structural, considering it has to survive full-speed accidents.

You’re right that this is a sample of 1, but it’s a fair counterpoint to examine a vehicle in detail when that happens all the time for Tesla’s. Now if they had gone out to specifically find a Merc with quality issues that would be problematic, but if it was one they randomly had that’s fine. Would certainly be cool to do a review of a random sample of 20 vehicles per brand and compare fit and finish.

“…it was one they randomly had that’s fine.”

It’s not at all “fine”, because we have absolutely no way of knowing if this one picked randomly is a representative average or an outlier. And ditto for the Tesla car it’s being compared to. Picking one at random means what you get is a crap shoot.

When I look at the newest more expensive German cars, it’s like they are doing a retro thing with interior dash design. Lots of big repeating round shiny elements with lots of shiny switches as well. Very busy and old school. Which goes along with the ice ‘machine’ concept for a car compared with the high tech ev design of Tesla.

Which makes the attempt to just put a battery pack under a ice design look and feel so wrong and out of place. Like putting a typewriter on top of a lap top. Ice manufacturers must evolve their whole design, and not just the drivetrain. It seems they are stuck in their old ways of design and manufacturing because their identity as an automaker is tied to what’s no longer needed (engines, transmissions, mechanical switchgear, giant grilles). . .

(Inspired by the Terry Gilliam movie “Brazil” (1985))

Love that movie!

Sorry, but driving is complicated.
Most of those functions are needed and all of them must be immediately accessable, and not only after scrolling through multiple menus on a touch screen.
A touch screen is great when you can devote all your attention to it, but is has no place in a vehicle for anything that has to be done while driving.

As a big tesla fan who has been waiting 10 years for the model 3, I will unfortunately not be buying it for that reason: otherwise awesome car with horrible control ergonomics.

btw: anyone who likes everything controlled via touch screen, wait a few years until steering and braking are also carried out there 😉

If substandard quality is the norm there are many series Mercedes should not have done.

This car starts below 30k€ in Germany including 19% tax. You simply can’t build a Mercedes at this price. Well, you can but this is the result.

Consumer Report said that nobody should buy CLA because it isn’t really a Mercedes at all except for the logo. It doesn’t drive like a Mercedes, ride like one or have the build quality of a Mercedes.

So, buying the “cheapest Mercedes” does come with compromises.

Now, what is the excuse for comparing with the “most expensive” (starting base price which is Model X) Tesla?

He’s comparing it to the Model 3.

“It doesn’t drive like a Mercedes, ride like one or have the build quality of a Mercedes.”

Mercedes did in fact build this. Why does the brand get a mulligan?

Yeah. Except all the parts PSA made.
It is just another example of marketing people destroying a brand. No one needs a cheap Mercedes. It is totally pointless.

eject – It seems more than disingenuous to complain that “no one needs a cheap Mercedes” when in fact there are plenty of cheap Mercedes. If you don’t think the CLA should be built, than what about the B-class that is all over Europe? Mercedes even imported the B class to the U.S. for its overpriced EV.

The B class is already a whole class upwards of the A class. But I agree, it shouldn’t exist either.

Yeah, it’s not really a surprise. Nor is it going to change anything. Tesla’s critics have this thing as a hammer to hit Tesla with, and they’re not going to drop it in response to a counter argument.

Both sides of the Tesla debate have entrenched positions that are highly resistant to persuasion from the other side. You can see this if you look at the twitter discussions: Most of the time the two groups talk among themselves and indulge in self-reinforcement. Sometimes they’ll bait and mock each other, but that’s obviously never going to be productive. Occasionally they do try to genuinely talk to each other, but it never results in anyone changing their views.

With this good of a car I really don’t care that much, I get into even the best ICE cars now and I feel like Fred Flintstone! When I got mine I took it to a good local detailer and had it Nanoceramic coated, it looks great!

In recent years the fit and finish of Merc’s has declined quite considerably.
Other makes have improved.

Agreed. Compare it to a 2018 S Line Audi or an RS model if you want an accurate representation of where German manufacturing has gotten to in the last few years.

The panel gap meme was successfully pushed by the detractors to the point people take measuring devices to the gaps to find gap variances nobody would even have noticed and that happen in other cars as well.

Doesn’t mean there weren’t real issues with early series. Tesla’s problem is that it unleashes rather flawed early series on the public in order to (nominally) deliver on deadlines that subsequently go on to harm its quality reputation, no matter how hard Tesla tries to fix (under warranty of course)every defect to the consumer’s satisfaction.

99% of early series of Model 3 had fit&finish issues. Now it’s just about 60% based on my delivery experience.

LOL…so you took delivery of how many to claim 60%?


Unless your job is prepping Model 3’s for delivery, then your personal “delivery experience” must be pretty limited!

While I appreciate someone taking the time and trouble to do a side-by-side comparison, this is amounts to mere anecdotal evidence. A meaningful comparison would involve comparing a statistically significant number of cars, not just one apiece.

* * * * *

“…many others have proven that most rivals’ models show similar, minor panel gap discrepancies. The problem is, without a plethora of press about an automaker’s finishing concerns, people aren’t looking.”

I haven’t seen any articles about doing an objective measurement of panel gaps in non-Tesla cars. I would be nice to see a few of these published at IEVs!

However, it has become obvious that the serial Tesla bashers have, unfortunately, succeeded in putting a bias in the minds of reviewers that Tesla has an ongoing problem with exterior fit-and-finish, including panel gap irregularities. In fact, we have seen multiple articles published at IEVs where the reviewer has said quite explicitly that they wouldn’t have mentioned or even noticed quite minor issues if they hadn’t been specifically looking for them due to the controversy.

Sad to see that the serial Tesla bashers have succeeded in their campaign of damaging Tesla’s good name and public image, at least to this extent. 🙁

Thank you for pointing out the obvious fact that still needs highlighting over and over again in so many online discussions: Anecdotes are not statistically meaningful, and if we treat them as such we’re setting ourselves up to make some horrendously bad decisions.

For example: I know of a local man who bought a Tesla S. We’re hundreds of miles from the nearest Tesla facility. When they delivered his car it had a deep scratch on one side that ran the length of the car. He refused delivery, which, IMO, he should have. Should we leap to all sorts of negative conclusions about Tesla’s quality control or delivery process because of this one incident? Of course not. Tesla sent him a different car and he’s delighted with it. Yet people will read about that one customer’s experience and reach broad conclusions about Tesla — both bad (damaged car was delivered to a customer) and good (they remedied the situation the customer’s satisfaction) — that a single anecdote doesn’t support.

Then let’s do the same for other makes. The Tesla flaws were not done statistically either.

This is the very same argument I used when John Voelcker of Green Car Reports took ONE Model 3 from a reader and lambasted the quality. I said that I expected more from a journalist and told him he had no business reviewing a Model 3 as if it was supposed to represent all of the cars coming off the assembly line. That’s when I decided to retire my participation in comments on GCR. I felt that using anecdotal evidence to indict the entire Model 3 quality in an article read by thousands was unfair and represented poor journalism.

The CLA is substantially less expensive than a Model X.

He was comparing the CLA to a Model 3.

Very bad video… Shame that it is even promoted on sites like this. The guy doesn’t even try to be at least a little bit objective. You already know the outcome the second it starts.
He doesn’t even know what this video is about… is it about build quality as the title says, design preferences or bragging about autopilot?

He compares the 2012 entry level Mercedes CLA for 32k $ (43000 Canadian Dollar) with an over >50k $ 2018 Model 3… (and even complains that a 6 year old car has no autopilot).
Come on at least TRY to make it fair and get an current 2018 Mercedes Model for around 50k. Than its this what you are comparing your Model3 quality to:

I totally agree with you. Unfortunately many times I find articles pandering to the Tesla fanboys, similar to I find it’s really a crapshoot here whether it will be a reasonably unbiased article versus some drivel aimed at getting more fanboys to frequent the site. I could site specific examples, but I think it’s pretty obvious to anyone with an open mind.

Ron R. and Chris you do have choices. One of those choices is to elect not to read this article or even not to frequent this site. Don’t confuse site with cite

Another Euro point of view

Electrek improved quite a bit on this aspect in the last 12 months IMO.

Am I a fanboy because I bought a Tesla? I feel like I’m still objective. To compare is human. I’ve complained about a few features of my car. Tesla has actually continually addressed most by OTA updates. There are so many positives, its hard not to sound a bit fanboyish. This piece is about fit and finish. I think its valid to compare. We do stray into gushing at times. After all, the main thing is, that car is entirely motivated by a completely old fashioned powertrain. The two cars could’nt be more different. A Tesla owner just can’t UNWRAP his/her head around the fact that, even if this car was put together as finely as a Swiss Watch, modern quartz watches are far more reliable and accurate. Hey, I fuel my car at home from water (hydropower), it gets better weekly by OTA updates without a service visit or having to buy or lease a newer model and compare 30 MPG with 130 MPGe! My car is quicker, by a lot, and will force the Germans to follow or get out of the way. I was raised by a father who worked in the industry and believed Mercedes was… Read more »

Don’t let the Big Lies repeated by the Tesla haters get to you.

One of their favorite, most often repeated Big Lies is that “Tesla fanboys only think Tesla cars are so great because they are members of a cult”, when it’s pretty much the exact opposite: We have become Tesla fanboys precisely because Tesla cars are so great!

They’re trying to reverse causality; they’ve got the tail wagging the dog. But even though you can see that Big Lie implicit in some of the Tesla basher comments in this very thread, I don’t think they have had much success in convincing people that Tesla cars aren’t really all that great. Anyone who has ever taken a Tesla test drive can immediately see what a Big Lie that is!

Except that a simple design language by Tesla is confused with a lack of luxury.

Luxury is not defined as chrome, knobs, buttons, pop up screens and flashing LEDS, strapped-on iPads, poo brown interior and lots of dead animal on the seats.

No, the word for that is crass (also see “Bentley”).

I wouldn’t go that far, but I would say the concept of luxury varies, especially across generations, my uncle would be fine with a knob radio but demand only the finest leather under his bottom.

But my cousin would be looking at the most advanced tech features instead, which would clash with the concept of multiple tiny chips from a dozen third parties trying to work together under the hood to provide a disconnected experience behind a mess of knobs. That, he would say, is ghetto.

To each his own, but better tech got us past horses, it’ll get us past dino sludge next.

Mercedes A-Class that you get for 28K + salestax here in Germany …its an better VW Golf .

A model 3 with similar range and much slower travelspeed is 60K !!

Sure a question of taste but the minimalistic Tesla cockpit and the model 3 front are pretty ugly

Model 3 starts at $44k before incentives and gas savings.

I agree that the “shark’s nose” of the Model 3 can, without bias, be described as “ugly”. Contrariwise, the interior of the Model 3 has gotten responses ranging from “bare and sparse” to “elegant simplicity”, so obviously that’s a matter of personal taste. Yours is literally the first comment I’ve seen that calls the Model 3 interior “ugly”.

Everyone is of course entitled to his/her own opinion, but I think it’s safe to say your opinion of the esthetics of the Model 3 interior is an outlier.

I see what you mean this does look a bit dated by comparison. Mercedes is only just starting to clean up the clutter of knobs and dials by replacing them with more modern touchscreen interfaces while Tesla is already there. Doesn’t have any bearing on quality though.

That depends on how you define “quality”. A lot of people certainly think the iPhone’s elegant simplicity gives it a much higher quality than a Blackberry with its dozens upon dozens of tiny buttons.

And yeah, the photo Chris posted upstream of that modern Mercedes interior does look incredibly cluttered when compared to any and every Tesla car.

Tesla is showing us the cars of the future. Mercedes? Not so much.

It look cluttered when I compare it to my present gas car! This is not what I call luxury.

Woah – what a mess. If that’s what a modern mercedes interior looks like… ugh.

Yeah, sort of like the inside of a pinball game.

Still looks antiquated…All those buttons, same seat control on doors, same basic design….a bit more silver bling for $50,000….

I’m a convert. To each their own, but when I get out of my Model 3 and into a car like this, it’s like going back in time. Months ago, we heard a lot of complaining about the M3’s center screen. Not so, anymore. All those buttons and switches in a Mercedes or Audi…Confusing, redundant and unnecessary.

I’m newly motivated to go to a Mercedes dealer and look at panel gaps. Thanks for sharing the video!

And the picture you supply supports the fact that this car has a preponderance of buttons. Far too many.

That Mercedes looks positively medieval in comparison to the Model 3.

I’m not sure the photo you posted really helps settle the debate!

Poo brown under tones with chrome liner? Doors festooned with buttons? 6 manual air vents? Knobs all over the steering wheel? Knobs on the wing mirrors? A joystick between the driver and passenger?

What happens when another function is added – do we get more buttons and knobs?

I’m sure it has to do with taste. I would have opted for a black interior myself. As for the looks, I like the look of this – and the buttons have a function, that gives a tactile feeling. Can do the changes/settings without taking the eyes of the road. I can only judge Model 3 from photos, and so far I’m not a fan. I like the exterior a lot (apart from the flat front in the “bumper” area. Interior wice, I think it looks cheap. I prefer Model S better (the way the screen is integrated), even though is looks a bit dated – compared to Model 3. As for panel gaps, We had two model S at work, that they had to adjust. Not a real problem, since it was free and all, and we got a loaner. On the Model X, there were no problems (but that was almost 5 years newer). I just found it strange that they allowed those gaps to pass through quality control. I’ve not heard of anybody I know with a Model S and X that has bought a new car the last two years that have had any problems. I… Read more »

The Audi interiors are better, particularly the 2018 A6 and the A3.

That is garish.

It is the kind of driver’s cockpit that leads to people hiring professional drivers.

I am sorry, I don’t have a Tesla yet and I still find this a picture of a cluttered interface.

Maybe it is my computer background, or maybe it is even my present gas car does not have that mess of controls, but that does not look like a well design human interface to me.

to what? a photoshopped image?

The interior shot is all distorted. According to the photo, occupants would need to be about five feet wide in order to sit in the seats.

That is one UGLY interior. It was photographed with an enormously wide angle lens and than distorted to arrive at what appears to be a cross between a spreadeagled F-150 and a crushed Mercedes.

Another Euro point of view

Being a Bit of a Tesla skeptic I nevertheless do not thing Tesla fit and finish is still a real issue, at least in the price braket of Model 3. Too many buttons is not a sign of good fit and finish and as Tesla is going up as regards fit and finish, Mercedes is on a slight descending slope since the 80’s.

Competitors poor quality is no excuse to be bad as well.

Hear, hear.

His point was that no car is perfect.

“In addition, there are a barrage of short sellers, Tesla haters, and negative press alerting people and checking out Tesla fit and finish with a fine-tooth comb, while overlooking the same concerns on competing models.”

Likely outnumbered by the Tesla can do no wrong fans. We saw that recently where someone posted about how “reliable” a Model 3 is even though that person’s car was disabled three times and in the shop once for that 12,000 mile first year, something that would get a car labeled “Unacceptable” by Consumer Reports. The Tesla owner was blind to the problems.

We had other Tesla owners posting about scratches and debris in the paint, panels not color matching, the gaps in panels, etc. It’s better for Tesla if owners were honest about the problems otherwise Tesla is less likely to fix them.

Tesla owners have an email address to send to with these concerns. I somewhat remember the story you are referencing. Isn’t it amazing how much Tesla owners still enjoy their cars? I remember a Porsche SUV owner complaining once that his oil change was $2100. I expect there was more to it and he was naive, but I quietly thought to myself “what’s an oil change for?”

This white vinyl or whatever could be coated with scotch-guard I expect. That still wears off, but I have a feeling it will be updated at some point with a less absorbent material.

“Tesla owners have an email address to send to with these concerns.”

Would hope the Tesla owners had their problems fixed and Tesla knows all about the problems it fixed. It’s about the public pressure and how Tesla or any mfg. responds. We know that mfgs will know they have problems and fix them for owners who complain but never fix the problem until it becomes public and sales are threatened.

You quite clearly have a strong anti-Tesla bias.

Tesla, much more than other auto makers, responds quickly to problems they discover, before anyone complains about them. Tesla has issued recalls for even potential problems for which they have received zero customer complaints. They have done that multiple times, not just once.

Years ago, the Tesla Motors Club forum was filled with reports that when they took their car in for a quarterly checkup, the techs would swarm over the car, poking into nooks and crannies, using testing equipment everywhere; and they would often find something that they would fix even though the owner had never noticed anything wrong. Often the fixes were proactive, to ensure that something or other wouldn’t go bad or wrong, rather than in reaction to an actual problem.

So don’t try to sell me your load of B.S. that Tesla only responds to problems when they get a lot of public pressure. I know better. I know a lot better.

At the ~$50k price point for a family sedan, aesthetics and quality manufacturing matters. Consumers will broadly respond to a product that is better in every way and costs less. For market share, Tesla is up against BMW and Mercedes which do not have good long term reliability records (like Toyota, for example) so the question really isn’t long term reliability. Tesla has the gold star for innovation, might stay that way for a long time. Improvement is needed in quality, cost, serviceability, durability, drivability, compatibility, professionalism, long term corporate stability, etc… There are no OTA updates for poor build quality. Sugar coating the truth does not help!

For the record, I give zero forks about carmaker stock prices. These are the actual reasons that I am currently “learning to love” the appearance of my new BMW i3s over a TM 3. I didn’t buy the Tesla, even though I really wanted to. The adult in me had to put a pin in that idea and check back in a few years.

As an i3 owner, I’d say Tesla has already handily beat the i3 on cost, serviceability, durability, and drivability.

I like my i3 REx, but ironically it has thrown a “check engine soon” light this week and my last one had an iDrive knob that was broken straight off the showroom floor. Ever time it has a mandatory update it’s an overnight affair in the shop.

I still think it’s a great car, but my point is the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, despite the age and experience of the company.

That’s very strange, my i3 Rex has had zero issues so far in the 8 months I’ve had it, and my mother’s model 3 was in the shop for 2 weeks due to wheezing noises at >40mph speeds. It was quite weird! Point is, things can go wrong on new cars, let’s not jump to conclusions.

Oh and for what it’s worth, if I had to buy a new car today I’d still pick the i3, except get a pure bev. I drove the model 3 a fair bit and it’s just not something I’d consider with its current interior design and infotainment.

Tesla battery 12 Volt replacement with Lithium Phosphate 12 Volt:

Interesting that we are finally starting to see some people replacing their lead-acid 12v “starter” battery with a li-ion version.

I expected that to happen years ago!

Every review in the world has said that Mercedes CLA doesn’t deserve Mercedes name as it is NOT up to typical Mercedes standard and it is the cheapest car Mercedes sells in the US.

It starts at $33K.

So, this guy is obviously not a car guy. Not surprising for a typical Model X owner.

Comparing a $80K+ car with a $33K rental car is really smart, isn’t it?

He’s comparing it to a Model 3, which starts at $44k before incentives and gas savings.

Gas saving is applicable to compare build quality?

Don’t get me wrong, it is worthy comparison. But the entire point is that CLA is a POS Mercedes and not represent of the so called German quality. Consumer Report and all the reviews from various sites have made that distinction already. So, does he really need to “cherry pick” that example to illustrate his point? Isn’t that a bit desperate?

I’d say it’s serial Tesla bashers like you who are lately starting to look more than just a bit desperate. It’s finally starting to sink in for you that Tesla is leading the way to the future of automobiles, isn’t it?

Good video. This 6 years old entry level Mercedes is definitely assembled better then my 2 month old mid range Model 2.
I asked during delivery what is “within spec” and the answer was – less then 1.5 mm in variation of gap width is OK 🙂

I’d say that anything up to 2 mm of variation in panel gaps is okay for most cars. There may be some high-end cars like a Rolls-Royce or a Lamborghini; semi-hand-built cars where you’d expect more care during assembly.

But up to 2 mm of variation is what you’ll see if you wander thru any parking lot full of random cars, and look carefully at each one that you pass. That’s perfectly normal — contrary to the insistent Big Lies from serial Tesla bashers.

Those is, as mentioned by many a completely unfair comparison.
Take a look at the new Class A from 2018.

And this is the cheapest Mercedes to date.

Every car has manufacturing defects to be discovered.

Guy tells you “car is actually brand new”. Odometer tells you “20426”.

Trust that guy?

Hard to blame him for that. After all there are no free roadsters 😉
I saw a video about a month ago the same guy was bragging he will get a free roadster from Tesla.

20k kilometers (12k miles) on a rental is not much.

Plenty of youtube videos about Teslas (mostly from owners and/or enthusiasts) can’t avoid often to mention both quality and reliability problems. As well as, Consumer Reports does.
So, it is safe to say that the bad reputation is fully deserved, and for haters and losers it is like shooting fish in a barrel on this topic

Speaking of haters and losers and serial Tesla bashers in general… I recognize your screen name.

and so …?
BTW, for the records I am a rational supporter of EVs (including tesla) and “green” energy and all those snowflakes’ things. That’s why I follow these websites. Just, annoyed by and love to mock/troll, cults and religions and their messiahs, like tesla/musk has become

Dipthroat, is there a current overall rating on the Model 3 as of late by CR?

Hardly an even comparison: comparing one of the CHEAPEST models near the bottom of the rung (even lower than the C class), made by Mercedes for sale in North America, which is full of plastic and manufactured in Hungary, with a Model X, S, or 3 (all of which are more expensive). A CLA (first generation – 2013 – 2018) starts at $29,950 while a Model 3 starts at $46,000. There is Mercedes’ second-generation CLA revealed at CES last week. This looks better and has MBUX system. Not only can you use voice commands to control various interior features, but you can also use your hands. MBUX incorporates what Mercedes calls the “Interior Assistant”, that can interpret hand and arm movements. As a teaser for CES 2019, we saw how that worked in practice, with the driver switching on the dome lights:

Tesla gave me an ICE loaner once, it was a Buick Encore, now I joke about it every time I see one, “ look, a top of the line Tesla!”. Terrible video by the way, sure complain about one of Mercedes-Benz’s cheapest cars which happens to be based on the sub-compact A-Class. At least try to do a balanced comparison, rather then pick on your cheap loaner, I didn’t even think about the quality of the Buick I got. The only thing I do prefer in a loaner is, I’d at least like a car from the same brand that I own, so at least the controls are relatively the same.

Did you hate the seat from Encore?

Did I hate the seat, or seats? No, it was uncomfortable driving home on the highway, only because of the noisy, sluggish little turbo four cylinder engine, but other wise it was a nice small SUV.

I’m happy to have buttons and knobs to adjust things in a car until I can adjust things by telling the car to do so. Not everyone wants to go through submenus to adjust the seat and then back to get information back on the screen. I wouldn’t mind if the buttons are digital. All on one display however is not what I like. Look at airplane cockpits. The trend there is to go digital as well – not with just one screen and hundreds of submenus but with many screens and still some physical buttons.

Fortunately they compared this car to lately lousy BMW and Mercedes. Both have had reliability problems so it doesn’t surprise me some also have had fit and finish problems….

Fit and finish is apparently one thing GM can do RIGHT. All my cars from GM have been flawless as to both.

But asking $2500 for a blistered RED paint job Model 3 – along with 2 separate videos on IEVs indicating DIRT under the clear coat is too much of an insult to the buyer.

If I ever buy a new model 3, it will be BLACK in color since, besides being Jay Cole’s favorite, they simply CANNOT do any worse for the no-extra-cost paint color.

My own personal experience was the fit and finish of my Lotus/Tesla Roadster was quite good, other than the troublesome trunk latches and actuator.

Before I retired, all of the employees were wandering around the parking lot measuring ‘fit and finish.’


Gotta love all those buttons, switches and lights.



Thanks! One of my favorite parodies. 🙂

My 2011 Audi Q7 was far from perfect. The rubber in the boot was not tight in place, the rubber on doors came off too easily when leaving the car (it comes of if you rub your leg on it while getting out). It was really bad. And the steering was also a problem. No one managed to get it perfectly right, ever. Reliability on my Audi was a huge issue. I had all sorts of problems including the engine leaking oil when the car was just 3 years old and 50k km. It took Audi three months to repair it. They had to take the engine out and reassemble the whole thing. The problem was with faulty screws, I was told. I also had problems with software – the air suspension stopped working – problems with the catalysers, with the parking sensors… it was a great car to drive but… I glad I got rid of it.

On the other hand, I owned a BMW 325i from 2006. Best car ever. Only one problem in the first 10 years: boot lock Jamed. Great finish. I loved it.

Raul, a couple of questions if you don’t mind.
Was that Q7 a new or used vehicle purchase?
If these issues were found on a Corolla or Civic, would you be bothered by them in the same way?
What I can say is that all cars will have problems.
I recently watched an episode of CP24’s Auto Shop (City Pulse news auto show here in Toronto) where a caller claims her brand new 2018 Lexus needed the engine replaced within the 1st month of owning it.
For the past 3 years I’ve been driving an A3 E-Tron and accumulated over 60,000 km with no issues. The car is solid, quiet and has been very reliable – (knock on wood) – so far. They say everything happens after the warranty, so I’ll just have to wait and see.
In the ’90s I bought a used Audi 4000 which was fun but problematic.

A CLA is NOT a $80K car!!!

Compared to a CLA? You might as well compare it to the 90’s KIA. The KIA will have better fit and finish than that POS CLA.

It’s utter crap. And that’s why it “only” costs $32k, which is the cheapest MB you can get. It was designed to get millennials into the brand as a cheap starter car in hopes later in life they could afford a better model.

My sister got one as a loaner when she took her fully loaded E-Class in for service. She gave them an earful when she returned it. Her advisor apologized big time and said, yeah, people who buy the CLA are better off buying a Camry.

Regardless, if Tesla wants to feel they’re equal to a CLA then by all means go ahead. Sounds about right to me. I mean, Tesla’s already got the cheap turn signals and other parts from the outgoing A-Class in the Model X.. sure, why not. If Tesla wants to use parts from a car designed to compete with a Ford Focus…

I’m now also loooking at the panel gaps and paint jobs these days and things are not perfect in other cars either. My wife’s Kia’s panel gaps are actually quite bad, but I’d never noticed them in 7 years. My Toyota is very good despite some hard driving on very rough Lesotho roads but not perfect. Some small misalignments here and there so I suppose that’s what Tesla should be aiming for. Saw orange peel on a 5 series Beamer the other day, so these things happen on the “good ones” too. Can’t wait for Tesla to come to my neck of the woods.