No car in recent years has been as highly anticipated as the Tesla Model 3. But does it live up to expectations? In most ways, yes. The exterior is sleek and aerodynamic; the Model 3 looks like it’s moving even at a standstill.
The cabin is snug and dominated by a 15-inch display that looks like a PC monitor. Most of the Model 3’s controls are in the big center display; the first few times you drive the car, it feels strange not to have gauges and instruments in front of you. Initially, drivers have to hunt around the screen to accomplish a task.
The Model 3’s electric powertrain—one 258-hp electric motor—is smooth and powerful. Acceleration is quick, with a 0–60 mph time of 5.4 seconds. The range for the Long Range version is 310 miles. Both RWD and AWD are available. Steering and handling are excellent and appropriate for a sports sedan. Ride quality is well controlled but a bit firm.
In sum, the Tesla Model 3 is not just a smaller version of the Model S, but stands on its own as an excellent midsize EV sports sedan.
Model years: 2018–2019
Vehicle layout: Midsize 4-door sedan, single electric motor (271 hp), single-speed automatic, RWD
MSRP: $35,000 (base), $56,000 (well equipped)
MPGe, city/hwy/combined: 136/123/130
Crash-test ratings: NHTSA: 5 stars overall.
Basic warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles
Spare tire: Tire-inflator kit
Final assembly: United States
Range: 310 miles