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
- Great performance and range
- Classy, minimalist interior
- Easy to live with
- Others are more fun
- Limited rear headroom
- No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto
|Model||Range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|Standard Range||305 miles||8hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)||21mins (10-80%, 170kW)|
|Long Range||374 miles||11hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||34mins (10-80%, 190kW)|
|Performance||340 miles||12hrs 15mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||23mins (10-80%, 200kW)|
The Tesla Model 3 was the US manufacturer's first affordable model, arriving after the pricey Model S saloon and Model X SUV showed the world what the fledgling electric-car brand could do. It shares much of the technology, design and outlandish performance of its bigger siblings, but with a smaller size and the goal of selling in far greater numbers, although its starting price is still nearly £50,000 at the time of writing.
As standard, you get a rear-wheel-drive four-door executive saloon, capable of just over 300 miles on a single charge. There are also two four-wheel-drive options with a larger battery pack and more performance. In late 2020, the Model 3 was updated inside and out, with subtle trim alterations and technology upgrades making it better to live with. This was well timed, considering the Model 3 now faces a host of rivals such as the Polestar 2, BMW i4, Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Ford Mustang Mach-E.
The Long Range offers the best driving range, at an official 374 miles, while the Performance sacrifices a little of that for its mad-but-brilliant BMW M3-slaying pace. Yet at a more sedate pace it'll still cover 340 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 acceleration a toe-flex away. 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 Polestar 2, Hyundai Ioniq 5, Kia EV6 and Ford Mustang Mach-E all now available, Tesla has never faced so much competition.
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's still hard to match 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...
In This Review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Tesla Model 3 is one of the best electric cars on sale, delivering great real-world range, tidy dynamics and a tech-filled interior
- 2Range, battery & chargingAs the name suggests, the Tesla Model 3 Long Range boasts one of the longest driving ranges on a single charge of any electric car currently on sale
- 3Running costs & insuranceThe Tesla Model 3 looks expensive to buy, but it's cheaper to own than most combustion-engined alternatives once you factor in fuel and tax costs
- 4Performance, motor & driveThe Tesla Model 3 is anything but slow, even in entry-level form – although it doesn't really handle like a sports car in corners
- 5Interior, dashboard & comfortThe Tesla Model 3 has one of the most minimalist interiors going, complete with class-leading touchscreen technology and hidden air vents
- 6Boot space, seating & practicalityThe Tesla Model 3 isn't the roomiest of cars in its class, particularly for rear-seat passengers, but it should be adequate for small families
- 7Reliability & safety ratingThe Tesla Model 3 sets the benchmark for active safety features and has earned the top five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating