In-depth reviews

Tesla Model 3 review

The Tesla Model 3 is one of the best electric cars on sale, delivering great real-world range, tidy dynamics and a tech-filled interior

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£40,000 - £59,000
Fuel Type:
Electric

Pros

  • Great performance and range
  • Classy, minimalist interior
  • Easy to live with

Cons

  • Others are more fun
  • Limited rear headroom
  • No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
ModelRangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
Standard Range Plus278 miles8hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)21mins (10-80%, 170kW)
Long Range360 miles11hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)34mins (10-80%, 190kW)
Performance352 miles12hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)23mins (10-80%, 200kW)

The Tesla Model 3, as the name might suggest, was the third of the brand's models to arrive in the UK and Europe. First came the pricey Model S – an impressively accomplished but expensive electric car. Tesla then launched the big-selling Model X, which satisfied those after a bit of extra space in a desirable SUV body. But the Model 3 is arguably its most important car yet – a more affordable electric-only model with much of the same technology as its flashier siblings in a cheaper and better-value body.

The Model 3 is priced from a smidge over £40,000 for the entry-level Standard Range Plus, with its official range of 278 miles and rear-wheel drive. The other options in the range are both four-wheel-drive cars. Updates across the range in late 2020 saw extra technology and a few styling upgrades – including satin black in place of chrome trim – although the majority of the hardware was unchanged.

The Long Range offers the best driving range, at an official 360 miles, while the Performance sacrifices a little of that for its mad-but-brilliant BMW M3-slaying pace. Yet it'll still cover 352 miles on a charge – notably better than other big-battery electric cars such as the Jaguar I-Pace or Audi e-tron.

Even in the entry-level car, the way this Model 3 fires up the road is addictive. You just can't help yourself when there's such instant response under your right foot. Chill mode helps to smooth things out, but it never stops you enjoying the build of power and fierce acceleration that puts more expensive machinery to shame. In fact, it makes you question why anyone would need the extra power offered on the Performance model, which has the ability to pin you back in your seat every time you hit the accelerator pedal.

Mind you, petrol alternatives like the BMW 3 Series handle with more finesse; the Model 3 never feels delicate or playful, but it grips stoically, turns in precisely and keeps body lean ruthlessly in check. Comfort will be no bother even for those planning high-mileage use or those spending a lot of time on rough city roads, however. With rivals like the Audi, Jaguar and Mercedes EQC lining up to take a slice of the executive electric class, Tesla has never faced so much competition.

However, with it's far lower list price, the Tesla Model 3 is near-enough in a class of one right now. The Model 3 still feels like a trailblazer; different, but in all the right ways. It offers something exciting and enticing – notably technology and performance – that you can’t yet get elsewhere in this price range. For a more detailed look at the Tesla Model 3, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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