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Tesla Model 3 Review

Learn about the features, benefits and drawbacks of the Tesla Model 3.

Tesla Model 3 review

Specs and pricing

There are three Tesla 3 variants in Canada: Rear-Wheel Drive, Long Range AWD and Performance.

Rear-Wheel DriveLong Range AWDPerformance
Acceleration
0-100 km/h
3.3s4.4s6.1s
Range507 km576 km438 km
Top Speed261233225
Wheels20″ Überturbine Wheels
18″ Aero Wheels
19″ Sport Wheels
18″ Aero Wheels
19″ Sport Wheels

The $59,990 Rear-Wheel Drive is the lowest-priced Tesla Model 3 in Canada. The $66,990 Long Range Model 3 has two motors, making it an AWD, though you can drive in FWD and RWD as desired. For the Performance model, you’ll have to pay $76,990. It doesn’t have the legs of the Long Range, but it does have various performance extras.

Overview

The Model 3 is a more affordable Tesla that delivers practicality, range and performance all in one neat bundle. Despite being a relative (the company was founded in 2003) newbie in the car market, Tesla is a leading innovator when it comes to making mainstream electric cars. There’s a Model 3 suited to almost everyone, with longer range capable variants for those who travel long distances or a performance model for drivers who want a genuinely potent car, that happens to be battery powered.

ProsCons
  • Blistering acceleration
  • High-level interior
  • Stellar build quality
  • 250kW DC charging capabilities
  • Powerful drivetrain
  • Range
  • Servicing costs
  • Practical cabin and storage
  • Range
  • Safety
  • Handling composure
  • Touch-screen implementation
  • No evident quality qualms
  • Stability of Tesla’s bank sheet
  • Firm ride with 20-inch alloys
  • Rear-seat design
  • Subdued interior
  • Build quality
  • Mass
  • Rear tow and knee room
  • Concerns over quality control
  • Can’t match claimed economy in real-world driving
  • No spare

Car reviewers’ impressions of the Tesla Model 3 engine and transmission line-up

Though it isn’t the fastest Tesla on sale (the Model S boasts that accolade, with a bonkers 0–100 of 2.6 seconds), the Model 3 isn’t exactly slow either, even in standard form. In fact, reviewers said the acceleration was immediate and kicked you back into your seat. Fortunately, Tesla provides a “Chill” mode, for those who don’t need or want blistering pace from the off. Motoring experts found the Tesla worked on all roads, from crawling, traffic-peppered urban streets to fast country roads and highways.

Interior and equipment

The Model 3 specification is more or less on par with its rivals. However, you do get a few neat things that an electric car’s unique layout allows for. First, there’s the “frunk” or front trunk. You access the void under the front bonnet. Second, with no conventional transmission or prop shafts to house, there’s no hump in the rear.

The air vents work uniquely, all controlled via the central touchscreen. Here you can choose the direction of air travel. One super neat addition, especially considering how all controls are on the tablet-like display, is a screen cleaning mode that allows you to wipe the monitor without accidentally pressing all the buttons. One of the most commonly cited concerns was the omission of a spare wheel or flat tyre repair kit. Instead, there’s an underfloor well that serves as a storage place for the charging cables.

Essentially, it’s a minimal design, maybe the most pared-down passenger cabin on the market.

Underlining Tesla’s radical departure from established car manufacturing norms, the Model 3 has a series of easter eggs. These include things like a video game arcade (a controller may be required), sketchpad (lets you doodle when you’re parked and bored), Romance Mode blows hot air out of the vents while displaying a video of a roaring fireplace and Emissions Testing Mode turns each seat into a whoopee cushion. Yes, you read that correctly.

For the Long Range and Performance variants the Premium Interior is included. The Rear-Wheel Drive has the partial premium interior included.

Partial Premium InteriorPremium Interior
  • Power adjustable front seats
  • Power adjustable front seats
  • Heated front and rear seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Premium seat material and trim
  • Upgraded audio – immersive sound
  • Premium Connectivity (30 days included)
  • Tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection
  • Power folding, heated side mirrors
  • Music and media over Bluetooth®
  • Custom driver profiles
  • Center console with storage, 4 USB ports and wireless charging for 2 smartphones
  • Power adjustable front seats
  • Heated front and rear seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Premium audio – 13 speakers, 1 subwoofer, 2 amps and immersive sound
  • Premium Connectivity (30 days included)
  • LED fog lamps
  • Interior floor mats
  • Tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection
  • Power folding, heated side mirrors
  • Music and media over Bluetooth®
  • Custom driver profiles
  • Center console with storage, 4 USB ports and wireless charging for 2 smartphones

Tesla Autopilot, full self-driving option

All of the Tesla Model 3s come with Autopilot. The system is reportedly made up of rear, side and forward-facing cameras for 360-degree coverage. Forward-facing radar has a reach of 160 metres. There are also 12 ultrasonic sensors dotted around the car. In standard form, Autopilot allows the car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically within its own lane.

Tesla offers a full self-driving pack for the Model 3. This enables:

  • Autopilot navigation – From the entry slip lane to the exit slip lane, as well as interchanges and overtaking
  • Auto Lane Change – Automatic lane changing while motorway driving
  • Auto Parking – Parallel and perpendicular parking
  • Car summoning – Call your car in a car park and it comes to you

    Verdict

    It’s fair to say Tesla is the best-known EV carmaker and even those who aren’t really interested in cars have heard of it. It’s refreshing to see a relatively new company trying to shake things up and include some genuinely pioneering ideas in the automotive industry. The Model 3 received heaps of praise from motoring experts, who could find very little wrong with the press cars they drove.

    Verified owners seem to confirm the findings that it is one of the most practical electric cars on the market. Everything about the car appears to be either in line with high-end European car rivals or perhaps even better. It may not be the cheapest EV, but it is one of the most polished offerings on the market. If you’re looking to buy a medium-size electric sedan, then you owe it to yourself to at least request a test drive of the Model 3.

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