Tesla Model 3 - Reliability and safety
The Tesla Model 3 achieves full marks for safety, with strong customer feedback in our Driver Power survey
The Tesla Model 3 has proven to be mechanically reliable, although some owners have experienced issues with paint and overall build quality, including unacceptably large panel gaps and loose trim. Overall, however, owners seem pleased with their Model 3s, as the electric saloon managed to finish 22nd in our most recent list of the best cars to own, which is based on the results of the Driver Power owner satisfaction survey.
In fact, the Model 3 was the sixth-best electric car on the list, with owners praising the car’s safety systems, low running costs and infotainment system. Meanwhile Tesla as a brand finished third (out of 32) in our best car manufacturer rankings, beaten only by Polestar and Porsche.
Crash safety experts Euro NCAP put the Tesla Model 3 through its paces in 2019 and awarded it the maximum five-star rating, along with very impressive 96 and 84 per cent scores in the adult and child occupant protection categories respectively.
The Model 3 also received a rating of 94 per cent in the safety assist category. Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot technology did not contribute to this rating, but the system incorporates autonomous emergency braking and sophisticated adaptive cruise control, amongst other systems.
Car group tests
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Used car tests
Every Model 3 features a basic version of Autopilot, but buyers can upgrade to either ‘Enhanced Autopilot’ or ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’. The former allows the car to maintain lane position with steering, acceleration and braking, and it can also change lanes. It includes auto parking tech and a ‘Summon’ feature, which can drive the car out of a tight space. Full Self-Driving builds on this by recognising and reacting to traffic lights.
The Model 3 comes with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty. This beats the industry standard three-year warranty, and should provide plenty of cover for those planning to lease a Model 3, however, it can’t match the mileage allowances of other premium manufacturers. The car’s batteries are subject to a separate eight-year, 100,000-mile warranty on the base rear-wheel drive Model 3, while the Long Range variant gets an increased mileage allowance of 120,000 miles.
There are no set servicing intervals for the Tesla Model 3, with the car itself alerting the driver as and when a service is required. Over-the-air updates and remote diagnostics help make some smaller maintenance jobs more convenient, as do Tesla’s Mobile Service technicians. Fixed-price Tesla Maintenance Plans are available and can be transferred from owner to owner when required.
In this review
- 1Tesla Model 3 reviewDespite 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 Safety - currently readingThe Tesla Model 3 achieves full marks for safety, with strong customer feedback in our Driver Power survey