Tesla Model 3 interior & comfort
The Model 3 has one of the most minimalist interiors you’ll see. Slide into the front seats and you can see how brilliantly minimalism can work in a car. Even the vents are hidden in a single, slim crease that stretches across the Model 3 and looks like a design feature rather than a vent.
The dashboard is dominated by a screen, of course – in this case a slim, landscape-mounted 15-inch monitor. It controls absolutely everything, including the air-flow direction from those vents, the windscreen wipers and more.
It does take some getting used to, especially if you’re not familiar with the Tesla media system, but it’s easy enough to control all the functions, largely thanks to the rotary switches on the steering wheel. There’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, though.
Tesla Model 3 dashboard
This is minimalism taken to new extremes in car design, but it works really well. You may think that having everything on the screen could be problematic, and although Tesla has put the most important driver information as close to the driver as possible, you do have to look further away from the road to check your speed than you would usually.
A head-up display would be a welcome addition that’d go some way to solving this problem. Otherwise, it doesn’t take much time to become familiar with the screen’s menu layouts and how to use the two switches on the steering wheel, which is also a bit plasticky-feeling and too chunky for our tastes.
Elsewhere, the Model 3 feels impressively solid and classy. As good as Audi? No. But it isn't too far off, and it's a definite improvement on the occasionally patchy fit and finish you can find in the Model X and Model S.
The only niggling irritation is that the climate control is also all accessed through the touchscreen, which can be more of a faff than having straightforward buttons, although it is also quite a novelty and not difficult when you get used to swiping your finger over the screen to direct the vents.
Much has been mentioned about Tesla build quality, but we were impressed with the perceived solidity and material finish of our test car.
Equipment, options & accessories
The Model 3 comes with much of the equipment you’d want as standard, including a keyless entry system that can automatically recognise your phone as the key (or you get a credit card style key as backup and for valet parking etc). On top of that, you get a tinted glass roof, heated front seats with 12-way electric adjustability, a 15-inch touchscreen, four USB ports and docking for two smartphones.
Long Range and Performance models receive the Premium Interior package that includes satellite-view maps with live traffic visualisation and navigation, a 14-speaker premium audio system, in-car internet browsing and media streaming. Standard Range Plus and Long Range models get 18-inch wheels, while the Performance variant rides on 20-inch alloys. Pearl White paint is the standard exterior finish across the board, with four other colours to choose from at an extra cost.
While the Model 3 does get an impressive array of safety aids as standard and fared extremely well in Euro NCAP crash-tests, the semi-autonomous driving mode that Tesla is famous for is a £5,800 option. If you do add it, Tesla says an even more advanced city-driving autonomous system (which claims to read traffic signs and respond to them automatically) will be available soon.
Infotainment, apps & sat nav
It does take a bit of getting used to given how many functions there are, from opening the charging port or changing the air vents, through to the sat nav functions, internet browser and (of course) the trademark Tesla ‘Easter Eggs’: these include Atari games and all sorts of fun features hidden in the system.
The Model 3 will also update with new features and improved software via ‘over-the-air’ updates that Tesla has always championed, so the system is - as much as possible - future-proof.