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QUALITY | 6 out of 10
Bucket seats hold you tightly in place
The Detroit News
Yoga moves needed to get in and out of a Tesla
Car and Driver
Interior finish is now pretty convincing
The 2010 Tesla Roadster is commendably well built, according to reviews read by TheCarConnection.com, but driver comfort seems to be sorely lacking.
The Tesla Roadster has two seats in its cramped cabin, and tricky maneuvering is needed to enter and exit the car gracefully. Those who own other small sportscars will be used to this, but Car and Driver says that "yoga moves [are] needed to get in and out of a Tesla" for the uninitiated. Cars.com reports that the 2010 Tesla Roadster's buckets are "standard heated leather seats, but cloth seats are also available." Once inside, The Detroit News observes that "the bucket seats hold you tightly in place."
Tesla has responding to criticism of early models for their rough ride, including comments by Car and Driver reviewers that they could travel "only about 160 miles before total failure. Not of the battery pack but of our lower backs," suggesting that the Tesla Roadster's "seats seem to consist of little more than black paint on the fire wall." For 2010, the seats have been redesigned with thicker upholstery, and the suspension has been recalibrated to be more forgiving over rough surfaces while maintaining the same level of roadholding.
Overall, Road & Track feels that the Tesla Roadster's cabin "is rather more habitable than an Elise's," but that may be little comfort, for it's still far from spacious. And cargo space is almost non-existent. You'll find no door pockets, cup holders, cubbies, or bins for all the things you carry into a car. A tiny compartment in front of the passenger is the sole small-item storage. Otherwise, Car and Driver says you'll find a "five-cubic-foot, carbon-fiber bucket that serves as a trunk," located behind the engine. That's it.
The first Tesla Roadsters got low marks for a somewhat unfinished interior look. But once production got rolling, Tesla's single-speed 2010 Roadsters get much better reviews. Bloomberg lauds the "five glowing buttons -- park, drive, reverse, neutral and traction control" on the console. Road & Track reviewers proclaim that the "fit and finish of our Tesla [Roadster] were exemplary, seemingly rather more tightly assembled than the last Elise" they drove in. Motor Trend points out the "naked structural aluminum" used in parts of the Tesla Roadster's interior "feels good to the touch," and the "full, high-quality carpet" that covers the floor is a nice touch. Certain interior elements highlight the car's price, according to Road & Track, which contends "the leather trim [contributes] an upmarket feel appropriate for a car of this price range."
Electric drive is quieter than an internal combustion engine, but it's hardly silent. For the 2010 Tesla Roadster, Car and Driver says that the motor itself makes a low whir, "especially while hurtling BMW M3-like to 60 mph in 4.1 seconds." It also questioned the quality of the Tesla 2010 Roadster's targa top, calling it "a roll-up canvas hankie that holds back wind noise about as well as a beach towel." For 2010, Tesla has improved the sound insulation, claiming that the interior is significantly quieter than the previous year's model.
The Tesla Roadster is tight for passengers and far worse for cargo space, but the interior materials got good reviews and Tesla has further refined the car for 2010.