In-depth reviews

Tesla Model 3 review - Reliability and safety

The Tesla Model 3 achieves full marks for safety, with initial quality issues hopefully now resolved

The Model 3 has been mechanically reliable, although owners have experienced some issues with paint and overall build quality - with unacceptably large panel gaps and loose trim on certain production models.

Tesla did not feature in our 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, but with increasing sales it will be interesting to see how customers view their Tesla experience next time around. We can say, however, that our test car felt solidly put together.

Euro NCAP crash-tested the Model 3 and awarded it five stars, along with the all-time highest rating of 94% in the safety assist category. Tesla’s ingenious 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. An optional ‘Full Self-Driving Capability’ pack can do just that (with active driver supervision) – the Model 3 can effectively drive automatically on the motorway, including changing lanes and overtaking. This system also includes automatic parking.

Warranty

A four-year, 50,000-mile warranty is standard on the Model 3. This beats key rivals on outright length but 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.

Servicing

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.

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