This is a preview from our weekly newsletter. Each week I go ‘Beyond the News’ and handcraft a special edition that includes my thoughts on the biggest stories, why it matters, and how it could impact the future.
Tesla vehicle reviews are probably one of the most worthless things to read, in my own opinion, especially if they’re coming from a large group or entity with interests that anyone can trace through the money. Earlier this week, Edmunds put up a scathing review of the Model S Plaid, calling it “a waste of money” and saying it was nothing more than a marketing tool to make an aging vehicle relevant once again. Despite these words, which caught the attention of many readers within the first 48 hours, the Edmunds driver couldn’t wipe the large, shining smile from his face as he felt the instant torque of the vehicle take off like a rollercoaster.
For something that is such a waste, it sure provided a lot of enjoyment to the Edmunds staff. Of course, vehicle performance is not necessarily a baseline for whether an automobile is “good” or not. If a car is fast, people will like it because fast cars are just fun to be in, whether you’re a driver or a passenger. However, reviews on electric cars, Teslas in specific, do not get a fair shake, and it’s not necessarily anyone’s fault, per se. Instead, I see it as an opportunity for people to put their opinions out there without speaking in generalities or thinking their point of view is a fact. Of course, you could say the same about this newsletter.
For me, the comprehension of electric cars, Teslas in specific, needs to be examined by someone seasoned and completely understanding what is going on under the hood (I use that term loosely, now) because without the basic comprehension of what you’re driving, you really are not qualified to speak on it. Additionally, whether something is a “waste of money” really comes down to the consumer. If you’re buying a Model S Plaid for the performance statistics, you’re getting the fastest car in the world for millions of dollars less than its competitors. Sure, if you’re buying it for range and a daily driver, it could be considered a “waste” as the Long Range variant is likely a better option. However, some people realize they won’t have their money forever, and the additional $40,000 cost is simply arbitrary in their point of view.
For me, there are just too many factors as to why reviews are pointless when it comes to certain cars, especially with fast ones. I will discuss a few of them here, and I look forward to hearing your point of view with the others.
Tesla fans are quick to point out when a product gets a negative review or any sort of pushback. Many of them claim inside interests without really doing their own due diligence, claiming that some entities have their pockets lined with oil money or anything else the mind can grasp. Sometimes, however, they’re not far off. CarMax purchased Edmunds back in April, which means that the company is no longer independent and is owned by a large company with ties with Chrysler, Mitsubishi, Toyota, and Nissan.
It is always important to see what interests some entities have when they speak about a car or any product, for that matter. Simply enough, people with the ability to put their name on an article or a video and put it out there for millions of people to digest have a responsibility to remain partial. It doesn’t always work that way.
Opinionated Points on Features
This is one of my biggest points. Edmunds was quick to dismiss the usefulness of the Yoke, claiming that “the Yoke was a Joke.” Yes, they really wrote that on Twitter.
The thing is, I have monitored the Yoke since it was going to be included in the Model S, and while I have spoken to numerous government agencies and Tesla employees about the Yoke, the wheel is really personal preference. The car is obviously built for performance, and performance vehicles, especially open-wheeled cars, like F1 series vehicles, use a Yoke for complete control at high speeds. It is likely Tesla didn’t go with the Yoke for this reason, but it may have included it as a hint toward a steering wheel-less cockpit in the future. That’s my idea, anyway, especially as the company surges toward autonomy.
I have NEVER come across a single person who has disliked driving the Yoke for what it’s worth.
Of course, a review does include some personal preference, and that’s expected. However, to slash a vehicle in this way that is likely the most advanced car on the market in terms of software, performance, and technology in this way smells of too much opinion, for me. Stick to the facts, is it a good car? Is it functional? Does it do what the automaker said it would do?
Cars are made to be tested individually
The most logical way to know if a car is for you is to drive it yourself. You should never go off of someone else’s opinion completely. It makes no sense to do this. If cars were meant to be bought off of the basis of someone else’s experience, nobody would drive PT Cruisers (they’re horribly ugly), and everyone would drive what someone else wanted them to drive. Let’s not forget: Cars, while a meaningful portion of life because they get us to work, events, and anywhere we need to go, are supposed to be enjoyable and fun. Not one person on this Earth wants to drive a car they hate if they don’t have to. Hell, when my Dad bought me a 2003 Taurus in college because my Jetta died, I hated it. It was like driving a boat. I was embarrassed by the putrid blue color. I hated the seats, the stereo, and in the winter, I had to keep one hand on the driver’s door because the latch wouldn’t work, and the part was on backorder. There is nothing like driving on the interstate to get to class on time and holding the door shut for dear life, hoping you don’t roll out. I had no other choice, I was a broke college kid, and it was a car that got me from Point A to Point B. But I will never again drive a car I hate.
The thing is, someone I went to high school with loved their 2003 Taurus. They talked about its powerful V6 engine and its fine leather interior. It was a car they enjoyed. I am sure it was a nice car, I didn’t like it.
This goes to my point: Just because someone else hates it and thinks it is a pile of junk doesn’t mean it actually is. It’s just an opinion. Do you want to know if a car is good or not? Drive it yourself and tell your friends what you thought of it. Your opinion of the car won’t change theirs.
I will say this: It is important to have these pieces of literature to show us the negative portions of a car. Like if the software isn’t great, or the touchscreen is not very responsive, or if the center console doesn’t move properly. Those are understandable pieces of criticism, but none of them are opinionated. If the software isn’t great, people will see that. It might keep them from buying a car prematurely.
With all of that being said, there is plenty of evidence to suggest the Plaid Model S is a great vehicle, and there is other evidence that suggests Tesla has things to work on. Whichever side of the ball you’re on, believe in your opinion, but be open to other’s points as well. Additionally, make the final decision about a car on your own time, don’t go off of someone else’s words. That’s how you end up with something that you really do not enjoy driving.
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