Tesla Model 3 review
|Car type||Driving range||Wallbox charge time||Rapid charge time|
|Electric||254-348 miles||8hrs-11hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)||22mins (10-80%, 250kW)|
Tesla arrived in Europe with the pricey Model S; an impressively accomplished but expensive electric car. It then launched the big-selling Model X, which satisfied those after a bit of extra space in a desirable SUV body. Its third and arguably most important car is this: the Model 3 – 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 under £40,000 for the entry-level Standard Range Plus, with its official range of 254 miles and rear-wheel-drive setup. The other options in the range are both four-wheel-drive cars.
The Long Range AWD offers the best range at an official 348 miles, while the Performance sacrifices a little of that for its mad-but-brilliant BMW M3-slaying pace. Yet it'll still cover 329 miles – notably better than other big-battery electric cars such as the Jaguar I-Pace or Audi e-tron.
Even in the mid-range 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 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.