In-depth reviews

Tesla Model 3 reliability & safety rating

The Tesla Model 3 sets the benchmark for active safety features and has earned the top five-star Euro NCAP crash safety rating

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Reliability & safety rating rating

4.5 out of 5

Price
£41,000 - £41,000
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 our 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 is clearly still not at the same level as rivals. Safety is hard to fault given that Tesla leads the industry for standard 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 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 out of 29 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 comes with 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 is an all-time record.

All versions 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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