Tesla Model 3 Review: The Affordable, High-Tech Electric Sedan
The Tesla Model 3 is an electric compact executive sedan that combines brisk performance, cutting-edge technology, and relative affordability. Launched in 2017, it quickly became Tesla’s best-selling vehicle. This Tesla Model 3 review covers the key features, performance, pricing, and ownership experience.
Model 3 Overview and Trims
The Tesla Model 3 seats 5 adults and comes in three trims:
Standard Range Plus
The Standard Range Plus has an EPA range of 263 miles. With rear-wheel drive and a top speed of 140 mph, 0-60 mph comes in 5.3 seconds. The interior features a 15” center touchscreen, cloth seats, automatic climate control, and a partial premium interior.
The Long Range model increases range to 358 miles. With a more powerful dual motor all-wheel drive system, it reaches 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds. Additional features include premium audio, heated front and rear seats, satellite maps, navigation, and streaming media.
The Performance version has a 315 mile EPA range and low 3.1 second 0-60 mph time thanks to a high performance powertrain. The suspension is lowered for better handling. It also comes with performance brakes, 20” wheels, aluminum alloy pedals, and a carbon fiber rear spoiler.
Design and Interior
The Model 3 has a minimalist, modern exterior design. The streamlined shape with flush door handles and frameless windows improve aerodynamics. Inside, the focus is on the 15” touchscreen which controls most vehicle functions. The cabin uses premium materials like open pore wood décor and leatherette upholstery. Seats are comfortable with good back support. At 15 cubic feet, the trunk is spacious.
Some reviewers knock the lack of dashboard behind the steering wheel. The thin center console provides open storage but no covered console box. There is no gauge cluster – speed, range, etc. are displayed on the center screen. The touchscreen takes some learning but provides great functionality. Menus are easy to navigate with accurate voice commands. The premium audio system delivers excellent sound quality.
The electric motors provide strong acceleration and the low center of gravity delivers responsive handling. The Model 3 feels planted around corners with minimal body lean. The low seating position enhances the sporty feel. The ride is very comfortable, soaking up bumps smoothly. Cabin noise is low at highway speeds. Regenerative braking maximizes range. Autopilot offers semi-autonomous driving aid on highways.
The Model 3 has tight steering and precisely weighted brake pedal. Acceleration is effortlessly quick. Handling inspires confidence. Some may prefer a softer suspension and more steering feedback, but the dynamics suit most drivers. Range and performance depend on trim, driving style, weather, wheel size, and additional options.
Charging and Tech
The Model 3 supports Level 2 AC charging at home and DC fast charging on road trips. With a 240V home charger, it can add over 30 miles of range per hour. At Supercharger stations, a 15-20 minute charge provides enough range to continue long distance drives.
The cabin tech is first-rate. Over-the air software updates continuously expand capabilities. The smart mobile app enables remote control of climate, charging, honking the horn, and more. Active safety features include collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, and lane departure warning.
Pricing and Buying Process
The Model 3 starts around $46,000, significantly less than the Model S and X. Additional options like paint color, upgraded wheels, tow hitch, and “Full Self-Driving” add to the price. Incentives can reduce the cost by up to $10,000 in some states. Tesla sells the Model 3 online directly to consumers rather than through dealers. Home delivery or picking up at a Tesla store are the options after ordering.
Tesla’s vast Supercharger network makes long distance travel feasible. Service needs are minimized with the electric powertrain and OTA updates. Tesla’s mobile service can even come to you. Energy use for charging varies widely based on electricity rates. Cost per mile is far lower than gasoline. Insurance rates are impacted by the higher upfront cost. Even with projected depreciation, 5-year ownership costs are competitive.
Early production issues did lead to some quality problems, but Tesla’s build quality has steadily improved. The Tesla community provides great support. Overall owner satisfaction is very high – 96% in a recent Bloomberg survey. The Model 3 offers impressive EV technology in an affordable package.
Verdict: The Best Electric Car for Most Buyers
The Tesla Model 3 earns its reputation as the EV that made electrics mainstream. While not as fast or luxurious as the Model S, it retains Tesla’s tech leadership. TheModel 3 sets the benchmark for electric vehicles combining performance, quality, features, range, and value. It remains a top choice among EVs on the market today. For an affordable EV with smart tech and exhilarating driving, the Tesla Model 3 is hard to beat.