Tesla Model 3 reliability & safety rating

The Tesla Model 3 earned the maximum five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating and still leads the pack when it comes to active safety features

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Reliability & safety rating rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
£42,990 - £57,990
Fuel Type:
Electric
Euro NCAPAdult protectionChild protectionSafety assist
5 stars (2019)96%86%94%

It’s hard to comment on long-term reliability just yet, as the Tesla Model 3 is still relatively new, but the signs aren’t all that promising. The Model 3 didn’t post a good result for reliability and build quality in the 2022 Driver Power survey of new car drivers.

Electric models have far fewer components that can go wrong than a petrol or diesel car, so it’s a surprise to see the Tesla post a poor result in this area. Build quality in the Model 3 is not on the same level as rivals like the BMW i4 or Hyundai Ioniq 6, however Tesla still leads the industry when it comes to semi-autonomous driver aids.

Tesla Model 3 reliability & problems

Some American owners have reported worrying issues with the car accelerating independently when cruise control is active, but otherwise there are no other significant recurring issues with the Model 3. 

There’s a lot to like about the Model 3, according to drivers; it came ninth out of the top 75 models in the most recent Driver Power survey, with high scores in a number of areas. Owners were impressed with various aspects about the car – it came top for its performance and running costs and high up the rankings for safety, handling, infotainment and practicality – to make up for its poor build quality. 

As a brand, Tesla came second in Driver Power's list of the 29 best car manufacturers, which is an impressive showing for a young brand competing with the likes of Ford and Mercedes. However, a first-year fault percentage of 44% was the highest of any carmaker listed; nearly half of respondents have had issues, but that shows owners are prepared to put up with some teething issues, thanks to their love for the brand. 

Safety

The Tesla Model 3 boasts the maximum five-star safety rating from Euro NCAP. The company leads the industry for semi-autonomous driving systems, so it's no surprise that its score of 94% in the Safety Assist category was an all-time record at the time. It's since been surpassed by Tesla's own Model Y SUV which scored 98% in the same category.

All Model 3s come with lane-keeping assistance, parking aids, traffic-sign recognition and a full suite of airbags, but the semi-autonomous mode that will see the car change lane for you and even leave a slip road off a motorway (and more) is a £6,800 option. 

An update rolled out in 2019 added semi-autonomous city driving, including responding automatically to traffic signs. All of these systems are semi-autonomous, not fully autonomous, meaning that the driver must still be actively paying attention and in control. Sadly, there’s no spare wheel – not even a space-saver.

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