Tesla Model 3 ride review

We take one of the world’s first rides in the all-new Tesla Model 3 electric compact exec car

Following the launch of the new Tesla Model 3, we took the briefest of rides with Doug Field, Tesla's Vice President of Engineering, at the wheel. Doug was kind enough to floor the accelerator pedal during our quick jaunt, and the Model 3 leapt to an indicated 60mph in what felt like around four and a half seconds, with the torquey, jet-like acceleration typical of electric cars.

Doug told us we were riding in one of the dual-motor all-wheel-drive cars, which offers better traction and performance than the basic rear-drive car. An impromptu slalom showed that body lean was well controlled - no surprise with the battery and motor mounted so low - but until we get our own hands on the wheel, we'll have to reserve judgment on the Model 3’s handling.

Once our internal organs had returned themselves to their native positions, we took in the Model 3's interior, which is so simple as to be nearly stark. The cabin is dominated by a large touchscreen; it's mounted horizontally rather than vertically as in other Teslas, giving the appearance that someone has left a laptop on the dashboard.

• The rise of Tesla Motors

Speed and gear selection are displayed in the upper corner of the screen, with a strip of climate controls at the bottom and the rest of the video real estate split between the map display and stereo controls. Unlike other Tesla models, that's it for instrumentation—in fact, that's it for anything. Aside from a small squared-off steering wheel, the dash is nothing more than an unadorned strip of black and white, with a center console bisecting the front bucket seats. It's the kind of interior we expect to see in a concept car, but Doug told us we were looking at something very close to the production version.

Unlike the Model X, the Model 3's windscreen doesn't extend into the roofline; instead, they've saved that treatment for the rear window, which extends clear up to the car's B-pillars. A large sunroof over the front seats completes the illusion of a nearly-all-glass roof. The glass roof also improves rear-seat headroom, while the front seats have been pushed forward for more legroom. The six-footers riding behind us said that legroom was acceptable and headroom surprisingly generous.

Our quick test-drive left us eager for more, and we're looking forward to putting a Model 3 to the test when it arrives towards the end of 2017.

Get full details on the new Tesla Model 3 here...

Recommended

Tesla Model 3 review
Tesla Model 3 - front
Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 review

Significant new rivals are circling, but the technology-packed Tesla Model 3 is one of the best electric cars around.
13 Apr 2021
Ford Mustang Mach-E vs Tesla Model 3
Ford Mustang Mach-E vs Tesla Model 3 - main
Car group tests

Ford Mustang Mach-E vs Tesla Model 3

Can the new Ford Mustang Mach-E pull off a shock win against the Tesla Model 3?
13 Mar 2021
Tesla Model 3 line-up tweaked as new 400-mile Model S Long Range Plus arrives
Tesla Model 3 - front action
Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 line-up tweaked as new 400-mile Model S Long Range Plus arrives

Tesla Model 3 and Model S receive spec adjustment, with extra tech and updated software increasing range across the board
16 Oct 2020
Compact Executive Car of the Year 2020: Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3

Compact Executive Car of the Year 2020: Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 is the 2020 Auto Express Compact Executive Car of the Year, with the BMW 3 Series and Polestar 2 commended
13 Oct 2020

Most Popular

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox
Dacia Duster gear lever
News

Driving test update to preserve the manual gearbox

With more drivers learning in autos and electric cars, the DVSA is looking to update the driving test so people can still drive manuals in future
16 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review
Volkswagen ID.4 GTX
Volkswagen ID.4 SUV

New Volkswagen ID.4 GTX 2021 review

VW ID.4 EV gets another electric motor and four-wheel drive in hot GTX form
21 Jun 2021
New Mercedes C-Class 2021 review
Mercedes C-Class - front
Mercedes C-Class

New Mercedes C-Class 2021 review

The new Mercedes C-Class compact exec gets S-Class-inspired tech and new suspension to challenge the BMW 3 Series
21 Jun 2021
New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review
Volkswagen Caddy California MPV - front
Volkswagen Caddy

New Volkswagen Caddy California 2021 review

It’s a family hauler and weekend camper all rolled into one, but is the Volkswagen Caddy California any good?
21 Jun 2021
New 2021 Peugeot 308 SW estate arrives with more space
Peugeot 308 SW - front
News

New 2021 Peugeot 308 SW estate arrives with more space

The Peugeot 308 SW joins the hatchback in the range and arrives with two plug-in hybrid options
22 Jun 2021
New Dacia Duster facelift launched with fresh styling and more tech
Dacia Duster facelift - front
Dacia Duster

New Dacia Duster facelift launched with fresh styling and more tech

The budget-conscious Dacia Duster has been updated for 2021 with some subtle design tweaks and a new eight-inch infotainment screen
22 Jun 2021
‘The 2030 combustion engine ban is just around the corner – and we’re running out of time’
opinion: charging
Opinion

‘The 2030 combustion engine ban is just around the corner – and we’re running out of time’

Andy Palmer sees electric car uptake revving-up in the UK but says targeted investment is needed to prevent a stall…
22 Jun 2021
UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars
Electric car charging
News

UN report highlights ethical problems with electric cars

Analysis reveals lithium refining takes 65 per cent of Chilean region’s water, while 40,000 child miners dig for cobalt in DRC
14 Jun 2021
Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e
Fiat 500 vs Honda e vs MINI Electric
Car group tests

Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e

The new Fiat 500, MINI Electric and Honda e are three retro-inspired electric superminis - but which is best?
19 Jun 2021
New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review
Audi Q4 e-tron 2021  front
Audi Q4 e-tron

New Audi Q4 e-tron 2021 review

We get involved with the new all-electric Audi Q4 e-tron SUV on UK roads for the first time
17 Jun 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 Sportline - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and we've tested the full range on UK roads
10 Jun 2021
New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review
Nissan Qashqai 2021
Nissan Qashqai

New Nissan Qashqai 2021 review

We get behind the wheel of the larger, more comfortable and higher-tech Nissan Qashqai SUV in the UK
16 Jun 2021
Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review
Ineos Grenadier prototype
Ineos Grenadier 4x4

Ineos Grenadier prototype 2022 review

Can the Ineos Grenadier really fill the mud-splattered void left by the old Land Rover Defender? We take a first drive in a prototype to find out...
15 Jun 2021
New 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge EV on sale priced from £49,950
Volvo XC40 P8 Recharge - front
Volvo XC40

New 2021 Volvo XC40 Recharge EV on sale priced from £49,950

Volvo has revised the electric XC40’s pricing and trim-level structure, with a simplified three-tier system
22 Jun 2021