In-depth reviews

Tesla Model 3 review - Interior, design and technology

An inoffensive exterior is contrasted by a show-stopping interior, packed with tech

Externally, the Tesla Model 3 looks much like a shrunken Model S thanks to simple, unfussy lines, curvy bodywork and a grille-free front end. It’s a design that manages to look upmarket without appearing overly flashy. In fact, those who don’t know cars probably won’t take a second look.

The car features a short bonnet that’s facilitated by its ‘skateboard’ chassis – the drivetrain and its batteries are mounted as low as possible, creating more interior space and decent storage areas both front and rear. Tesla introduced some minor cosmetic tweaks for the 3 model in 2020, replacing external chrome accents with satin black trim and gloss black materials in the cabin changed to a matte black finish.

The refresh also included new wheel designs and more efficient tyres. However, the most notable change is the introduction of the Model Y heat pump HVAC system to the latest Model 3 - helping increase efficiency, particularly in colder weather.

Step inside and the Model 3’s conservative exterior is brought into sharp contrast by a futuristically minimalist interior. It’s almost entirely dominated by a central 15-inch infotainment screen that controls all major (and minor) functions, while even the air vents are tucked away neatly behind an otherwise plain dashboard. The only physical buttons are those for the windows and on the steering wheel, with the latter two being used to control much of the functions displayed on-screen.

Limited trim options keep things simple in what seems to be a well built interior filled with decent-quality materials. Its simplicity also bodes well for longevity too – squeaks and rattles shouldn’t be an issue. 

Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment

Tesla often has the feel of a tech firm first and a car company second, and the Model 3’s infotainment set-up is at the cutting edge of what you’ll find in any modern car. 

The 15-inch touchscreen has the processing power to match its hi-res graphics. Loading times when plotting a route are rapid, and there’s minimal latency when responding to touches, pinches and swipes. Its precision with those inputs is impressive, too.

Roughly a third of the screen is reserved for driving information. Some will prefer to have a read-out in front of them on a separate screen, but the numbers are large, so they’re not that hard to spot out of the corner of your eye.

Keeping the physical controls to a bare minimum has its irritations. The glovebox can only be opened via the touchscreen, and there aren’t any physical controls for the heated rear seats – those in the back will have to ask someone up front to adjust them through the display.

There's no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto support, with Tesla preferring to use its own method of smartphone integration, although an app should be available soon that is able to link up with Android smartphones. We had no problems with Tesla's on-board system, however, while the sat-nav system is particularly impressive.

Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    Standard Plus 4dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £41,000

Most Economical

  • Name
    Long Range AWD 4dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £49,000

Fastest

  • Name
    Long Range AWD 4dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Auto
  • Price
    £49,000

Most Popular

New electric MG Cyberster roadster to take brand back to its roots
MG roadster exclusive image - front
News

New electric MG Cyberster roadster to take brand back to its roots

The all-electric two-seat MG sports car is poised to follow the likes of the MG TF and MGB, and our exclusive images preview how it could look
23 Jun 2022
‘New Jaguar will be “a copy of nothing” – in every way’
Opinion - Jaguar
Jaguar

‘New Jaguar will be “a copy of nothing” – in every way’

Editor-in-chief Steve Fowler thinks Jaguar's rebirth is a risk worth taking
15 Jun 2022
New Alfa Romeo Tonale Quadrifoglio production to be decided by customer demand
Alfa Romeo Tonale Quadrifoglio
News

New Alfa Romeo Tonale Quadrifoglio production to be decided by customer demand

Customer interest will be a key factor in whether a proposed hot Alfa Romeo Tonale Quadrifoglio will reach showrooms
24 Jun 2022