Tesla Model 3 review: one of the best EVs money can buy
Despite many talented EV rivals, the technology-packed Tesla Model 3 remains one of the very best electric cars around
The Tesla Model 3 is one of the best electric cars around: practical, high-tech and boasting great performance and range, all for a relatively low price. The all-electric saloon’s recent facelift only sweetened the deal, improving build quality and refinement, giving it a slightly snazzier look and boosting the already excellent range to over 400 miles.
It’s big enough for four adults to travel in comfort and is a relaxed car in which to spend time, plus access to the Tesla Supercharger network helps when tackling long journeys. It's fast too, even in its most basic rear-wheel drive form, while the all-wheel drive Model 3 Long Range will show plenty of sports cars a clean set to heels away from the traffic lights. As long as you’re not intimidated by the cutting-edge technology or the minimalist interior, the Tesla Model 3 is a great option.
About the Tesla Model 3
Sitting in the Tesla range below the Model X large SUV, the Model S saloon and the Model Y mid-size SUV, the Tesla Model 3 is the smallest, most affordable model to date from the pioneering electric carmaker. The compact all-electric saloon first went on sale in the UK in 2019, winning the title of Auto Express Car of The Year that same year, and has gone on to become one of the best-selling EVs in the world.
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Used car tests
While Tesla was one of the leaders of the electric car revolution, mainstream manufacturers have been quickly catching up, as is clear by the number of talented rivals the Model 3 now has to go head-to-head with. There’s the engaging and exceptionally well finished BMW i4, the space-age Hyundai Ioniq 6 and effortlessly stylish Polestar 2 to start with. You also have traditional combustion-powered models like the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class that still demand respect in the compact saloon space.
To keep the Model 3 in fighting shape, Tesla gave its entry-level car a mid-life facelift, but the improvements weren’t isolated to a new bumper and a fresh set of headlights. The Model 3 added even more tech, improved build quality and refinement, as well as increased the range. The base Rear-Wheel Drive Model 3 can now cover up to 344 miles on a single charge (up from 305 miles), while the dual-motor Model 3 Long Range boasts a 421-mile range (up from 374 miles in the pre-facelift models).
The Model 3’s understated styling hides a sophisticated electric drivetrain and an ultra-modern, incredibly minimalist interior. That cabin is dominated by a huge, super-slick 15.4-inch touchscreen that’s used to control virtually all of the car’s features and systems. Some may not appreciate Tesla’s decision to remove the indicator stalks, replacing them with buttons on the steering wheel which can be problematic to operate in certain situations, as we discovered for ourselves on test.
Equipment is generous on every Model 3, with standard kit including 18-inch alloy wheels, 12-way power adjustable heated and ventilated front seats, a glass roof, wireless charging pads for two smartphones, ambient lighting, a basic version of Tesla’s Autopilot driver-assistance system, that massive central display and a smaller touchscreen for back-seat passengers to control the rear cabin temperature, or stream videos and music. There’s no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto though, so you best get used to Tesla’s own infotainment system.
For an alternative review of the Tesla Model 3, visit our sister site drivingelectric.com...
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingDespite many talented EV rivals, the technology-packed Tesla Model 3 remains one of the very best electric cars around
- 2Electric motor, drive and performanceThe Tesla Model 3 is spectacularly fast and now even more refined. It’s just not particularly fun to drive
- 3Range, charging & running costsImpressive range, fast charging times and zero emissions all bode well, however insurance won’t be cheap
- 4Interior, design and technologyAn inoffensive exterior is contrasted by a show-stopping interior, packed with tech
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceWith lots of room for passengers and two luggage areas, the Model 3 a practical proposition
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe Tesla Model 3 achieves full marks for safety, with strong customer feedback in our Driver Power survey