Rear facing seats : Our not-so-positive experience

Picked up my car this week and we went on this 120 mile road trip to Sacramento from the SF bay area. Had my two boys in the rear facing seats. A few minutes into this trip, the kids started complaining that it was too hot outside. It was a sunny day, and we turned the temperature down to the coldest possible. Within half an hour, it was so unbearable for them still that we had to pull over and buy them hats to protect them from the sun.. and below is what we learned the hard way..

- There is no A/C ducts in the truck area, even if we ordered the rear facing seats
- The fans doesn't reach the rear facing seats at all
- The sun would be shining on the kids without any obstruction
- There is no sun film installed, when the car is delivered.
- The seats are not comfortable for long trips
- In the night the headlights of the cars behind ours would shine on the kids faces. Try telling them to sleep..

Please dont count on using the rear facing seats unless the weather is not warm and its a short trip.

Having said that, my sons love to be in these seats, particular on their short trips to school and jump out of the trunk, when the rest of alight through the regular doors.. That's cool !! Add to it their excitement of opening the frunk in front of other kids to retrieve their school bags.

first time reading a real life experience on those, good to know how they perform, too bad tesla hasn't been communicating this shortcomings on the website to let owners know what they are best used for

Very helpful indeed! I am considering these for my two boys (3&6). Mostly for short trips, max 45 minutes, and for the occasional soccer/hockey team or birthday party when having 6 kids to transport. Good to know that I will have to keep my old forward facing child seats for the longer trips. Does anyone know if the Model S has isofix to attach the child and booster seats to?

I have yet to get my seats. Car was delivered without them in January and am still waiting for them to be delivered/installed. Did yours come installed or were they retrofitted after the car was delivered?

Frankly, I highly recommend installing third party window tinting for all cars and especially if you have a third row seat. I have it done to all my cars and there is a huge difference in terms of heat rejection.

@mtom I'm surprised and sorry to hear about your experience. I've had the rear facing seats for about 6 weeks now. My kids ride in them to school every day (short trip), and we've taken a couple longer trips (~20 miles) in moderate weather. We haven't had any complaints, and the kids still fight over which 2 get to ride in the back - while the one in the middle row usually asks me to turn on the HD back-up camera so at least they can see the view from the back :). I'll be anxious to see how it goes once the weather heats up in the summer...

Do you have panoramic roof ? As I can see it supposed to blocks 81%heat and 98% visible light and it cover all the roof from the windshield to the trunk. (See the "All glass Panoramic roof" section with photo in the middle of the page)

Should be an important option to get for those who want rear facing seats.

@sethvandermeer : I will check and report back this evening.. You would definitely need to keep those child seats.

@tonysled : Mine came with the rear facing seats installed. I picked up the car last tuesday at the factory.

@shop : I'm going to do just that.. It wasn't on my highest priority list until last weekend :-(

@Jamon : Its been like summer here in Northern California last weekend.. Generally my 3 boys also fight for those seats. After the last trip, my youngest one isnt getting the option of rear facing seats, so no fights now :-)

@ hanstremblay : Yes, I have the panoramic roof.. Very happy about its performance. It does block the heat as promised, but it doesnt extend to the truck as shown in the picture. At least the tinted area doesn't go all the way.. I will call a product specialist about this..

@hanstramblay - good catch, but I think that graphic is simply wrong and Tesla should correct that piece of marketing. I do believe the heavily tinted roof only covers the roof and not the back window.

Do you have a place you trust to have film applied?

Have had the rear facing seats for a month and had the same issue as mtom007 and
window film tinting made a huge difference.
Kids loving them


according to tesla staff at the test drive in Copenhagen the Model S has 3 isofix mounts in the back(middle) row.

@muller: Thanks!

Muller and sethvandermeer: I think that the seats are set up as LATCH, which is the same as isofix, but it also includes the tether mount on the back of the rear seat back to hold the upper end of a forward facing seat. Some say the exact mount points (specifically the depth of the mount points) may vary between isofix and LATCH, they appear to be largely compatible (except that some cars with isofix don't include the tether mount point.

I can confirm that there are tether points under the carpet (there is a slit in the carpet) behind the second row, and there are lower attachment points on each side as well as the middle seat.

I've had my rear facing seats for about 6 weeks. The grandkids love them. I had the car tinted and that definitely makes a difference. Also make sure the back seat vents are open and pointing up as far as they will go. It sends enough cool air to the rear to make it comfortable. We here in Florida have yet to get the summer heat to effectively test the comfort back there but it has gotten into the 80's several times with no complaints.

@kisspg10 : where did you do the window tinting? Are you in the SF bay area?

I just posted on the forums about those seats- my son complained that it was too to back there and we got home after 20 mile drive, he was red and sweaty and about to have a heat stroke. That was actually scary. We will definitely be putting something on the back window. Don't really need to see through it, thanks to the rear camera. Will also try turning the vents up as Klaus suggested

Sorry, the sentence should have read : "My son complained it was too hot back there..."

@hills, yes I do have a guy I've used in the San Diego region. He is a mobile tinter, comes to your work or home and does it there. Very good work.

and to mention that its hard to communicate with them. Have to turn down the music and ask "how is it going back there?"
Car should have come with a rear camera to check up on the kids. I will get those airplane neck holders for the kids to crash since the seats don't have the side protectors for them to sleep against.

I live in Maryland, had the rear-facing seats finally installed about a month ago. It's getting warmer here, had a couple of days in the 90s, and have found that the rear-facing seat is too hot for my son. I do have tint on the rear window and pano roof as well as elsewhere, although to remain legal I had to go with the lightest shade. Tried pointing the 2nd row vents up as suggested by another user, as well as 1st row vents pointing up (and fan setting on high), but to no avail. Anyone else experiencing this problem? My son loves riding back there but it's just too hot now.

My family - wife and 5 year old son, 2 year old daughter took a trip on a mild 75 degree day. After about 20 minutes of driving with the AC on about noon, my son complained about being hot. We thought it was just a typical 5 year old exaggeration. We stopped for lunch and opened the back - both kids were dripping sweat, hair soaked, bright red faces and we felt horrible.

Since that day, we grabbed a self cling window tint for now, and while it's better with the tint - the lack of any kind of heating or AC makes any longer drive just impractical. It irks me that for my kids's comfort, that we'll have to put car seats in the back seats on the untouched seats because there was no thought put into the functional use of the rear facing seats. They have a horrible attempt at a cup holder between the seats, but nowhere to have my kids place a juice box, a stuffed animal or much of anything else. And it would have been a great functional use to have a camera back there or some mirror to see the kids.

Anyway - no matter what we do with the vents, unless we crack the rear windows during any warm weather driving - it's unbearable for them.

Both kids love the seats despite the extra steps to make them comfortable. And, there was a comment about headlights shining directly at them - it doesn't affect my kids at these ages as their can't see out, only up. If I tell my son there something 'cool' behind us like a Ferrari, he can't see it. So - maybe the headlight issue will matter more as they are a couple years older, but that doesn't impact them right now.

I would love to figure out a way to retrofit some sort of vent or fan and it would be perfect.

We had same issue. Here's what we did:

Limo tint full black out on the rear window and put ac on highest setting, close front vents and let all of it go to rear. Aim the rear vents up so it flows to the back. That worked like a charm.

To get them to fall asleep buy neck pillows (like the one for airplanes).

In Maryland also and have the same issue. I had the windows tinted with ceramic series tint and it did not help one bit. I will hate to do this but some flex duct and duck tape might be my only option. I just don't understand the pano is great at blocking the heat but that rear glass is so bad???

That's too bad about the seats. Good to hear some of you have made some amendments to the standard setup but I'm glad I didn't get the seats in my ride.

Hopefully Tesla will make the required adjustments with some standard tinting and extra A/C vents in the rear for the next model year.

Have the same problem with my kids. Anything above 45minutes is difficult because:

a) can't get to them unless I remove my security belt
b) high temperature
c) they can't see anything (they are 2 and 4)
d) at night, lights of cars are intense

Overall the best answer / tip I got is to:

a) put very dark / limo style glass
b) shutdown vent in the front / align the one in back to hit the trunk
c) buy neck pillows
d) make sure they get trained on how to use a DVD player ;)

My end goal is that I can use the car without adding kids seats on the 2nd row unless I do 200km+ trips.

Had the same issue this week end in VA. 94 degree day. Pano roof and had the windows tinted at 35%. I am wondering if I would get a 12V fan to help shoot the air in that 3rd row...

I would suggest limo-black tint for your rear windows, and maybe a battery operated fan to help cool the little ones down.

From the day I saw the rear third-row child seat option, I said to my self... "Nice gimmick, but not very practical".

Either way, all the more reason to buy a Model X!!!! :-)

appjd: wondering the same thing. Our kids prefer the windows open becase of the improved airflow. I've been hunting around the internet and there are some tube shaped fans out there that work off a CLA. Anyone put a fan or two back there yet?

I'm having more jump seat problems with moms than kids. Some overprotective Westside moms simply will not let their kids sit in the jump seats, citing unspecified safety concerns. It's completely undermined my plan to drive everyone to "two couples with kids" outings. Tesla, I need a safety handout for the Santa Mommyicas. Bummer.

Safest seats in the safest car on the road.