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In-depth reviews

Tesla Model 3 review: Elon's electric saloon evolved

A recent facelift has cemented the Model 3’s position at the top of its class, with the baby Tesla offering everything you could possibly need from an electric family car

Tesla Model 3 - front tracking
Overall rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
£39,990 - £49,990
Fuel Type:
Electric

Pros

  • Superb performance and range
  • Brimming with tech
  • Superb value-for-money

Cons

  • Rivals more fun to drive
  • Interior a case of form over function
  • Model Y more practical

Range

Wallbox charge time

Rapid charge

318-421 miles

9-12hrs (0-100%, 7.4kW)

25-27mins (10-80%, 170-250kW)

Tesla Model 3 verdict

It’s hard to deny the Tesla Model 3’s place as one of the most accomplished and desirable electric cars you can buy. Whether you’re looking to cross the country on a single charge or scorch a supercar on the dragstrip, there’s a Model 3 to suit you. With this in mind, it’s impressive how much the new facelifted model improves on the already well-rounded Model 3; more tech, a longer range and an overall much more refined driving experience – both in terms of interior quality and ride comfort – makes choosing the Tesla over the competition a real no-brainer. The only real drawback is the existence of the much more practical Model Y, which is only a few grand more expensive – or even less on monthly finance payments.

Range details, specs and alternatives

Founded by eccentric billionaire and entrepreneur Elon Musk, Tesla has become synonymous with electric cars and this success can be attributed to the brand’s first-ever mass market model, the Tesla Model 3 saloon.

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It may be a little more expensive than it once was – at launch, the Model 3 started from just $35,000 in the US – but futuristic technology and a comprehensive recent facelift has helped the baby Tesla keep pace with newer rivals such as the Hyundai Ioniq 6, BMW i4 and Polestar 2

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There are now only two versions of the Model 3 to choose from here in the UK; the ludicrously fast Tesla Model 3 Performance is nowhere to be seen since the facelift, putting that variant’s future into doubt. That being said, even base versions of the Model 3 go like the proverbial clappers; a 242bhp rear-mounted electric motor, mounted alongside a 58kWh battery pack gets the Model 3 RWD from 0-60mph in a hot hatch-rivalling 5.8 seconds and provides a range of up to 344 miles.

The Tesla Model 3 Long Range costs around £10k more than the base car, but adds an additional electric motor on the front axle to provide four-wheel-drive traction, an increased output of 346bhp and a 0-60mph time of just 4.2 seconds. Key to this version’s ‘Long Range’ designation is its larger 70kWh battery pack, which is sufficient for a range of up to 390 miles. Stick with the standard 18-inch wheels (19-inch alloys are available) and Tesla says the Model 3 Long Range is capable of up to 421 miles on a charge, almost 100 miles more than the aforementioned Hyundai Ioniq 6.

No matter which Model 3 you choose, all can charge from 10-80% in around 25 minutes at one of Tesla’s many Superchargers across the nation. While the smaller-battery Model 3 tops out at 170kW, dual-motor versions get a faster maximum DC rapid charging speed of 250kW, allowing them to charge in around the same time.

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Beyond choosing a powertrain, there isn’t much scope for customising your Model 3; there’s two interior shades – black or white – plus changing the colour of your car from the basic white can cost anything from £1,300 to £2,000. Tesla has begun to offer a wrapping service for new Model 3s in the USA, but this is yet to be available in the UK.

Tesla does offer several tiers of its patented ‘Autopilot’ driver assistance tech. Do note that while the American maker bills the near-£7,000 top-of-the-range package as ‘Full Self-Driving’, this isn’t exactly true – you still need to keep your hands on the wheel and provide occasional inputs.

We don’t see much need to upgrade, though, as even the base car gets adaptive cruise control and lane-keep assist. Other standard kit includes a giant 15.4-inch centre touchscreen – more on that in the interior segment of our review – another eight-inch touchscreen for those sitting in the back, heated seats front and rear, wireless phone charging, a glass roof and a reversing camera.

Click here to see why you can trust DrivingElectric reviews, or for a more detailed look at the Tesla Model 3, read on for the rest of our in-depth review...

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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