Safety is the most important part of the overall Model 3 design. The metal structure is a combination of aluminum and steel, for maximum strength in every area. In a roof-crush test, Model 3 resisted four times its own mass, even with an all-glass roof: that’s the same weight as two full-grown African elephants.
Tesla All-Wheel Drive has two independent motors. Unlike traditional all-wheel drive systems, these two motors digitally control torque to the front and rear wheels—for far better handling and traction control. Your car can drive on either motor, so you never need to worry about getting stuck on the road. If one motor stops working, you can safely continue to your destination with the second.
The latest model to join Tesla’s portfolio is the Model 3 sedan, positioned as the most affordable car in the line. The Model 3 with the 60-kWh battery promises an EPA-rated 215-mile range, swift acceleration, and a full suite of standard advanced safety features. There is also a higher-performance 75-kWh version with dual motors. All Model 3s come equipped with the Autopilot suite of advanced driver-assistance features that can be enabled with an over-the-air software upgrade.
The Model 3 Long Range is rated at 330 miles of driving range. It takes 12 hours to charge on a 32-amp 240-volt connector. Acceleration is swift, and its handling is remarkably agile. The interior is uncluttered and nicely finished, and the front seats are comfortable.
The Model 3 feels sporty and engaging thanks to strong off-the-line performance, intuitive and responsive steering, and coordinated and nimble handling. The straight-line thrust we admired in the early long-range models can still be found in the new entry-level Standard Plus trim, reaching 60 mph in under 5.5 seconds.
The standard 18-inch all-season tires aren’t the grippiest, but they offer sufficient stick to satisfy most of the spirited driving you’ll be doing on the street. This Tesla is a compact luxury sport sedan that just happens to be an EV.
We found the Model 3 to be a pleasant place to sit, and that feeling held up for hours at a time. Our one gripe is the non-perforated leather seats; they don’t breathe all that well if you’re in a warmer climate. Otherwise, the seats are cushy and provide nice support.
The innovative climate controls are adjusted via the touchscreen, and they allow both driver and front passenger to direct the vents on either side of the cabin. Other manufacturers have since replicated this system. The cabin is quiet and keeps wind, electric propulsion and most road noise at bay. Ride comfort is agreeable most of the time, but it can sometimes feel overly busy if the road surface is broken or uneven.
The Model 3’s controversial interior design looks modern and cutting-edge. The driving position is highly adjustable and feels great, and the cabin is surprisingly roomy thanks to its minimalistic approach and all-glass roof. Forward visibility is also fantastic thanks to the lack of an engine and the corresponding low hoodline.
The large 15-inch touchscreen is the central control center for everything. While it doesn’t block your view, it commands a lot of your attention for too many routine tasks — such as adjusting the mirrors or cruise control speed — that should be doable without looking.
The Model 3’s trunk can hold far more than you’d expect thanks to a broad pass-through and SUV-like fold-flat rear seats. The trunk’s stated capacity (15 cubic feet) isn’t that impressive compared to what you get from other luxury compact sedans, but we were able to fit an extra-large mountain bike with ease.
Inside, cabin storage is pretty decent, which is something we can’t say about the other Tesla models. However, the front cupholders lack anti-tip tabs, so cups and bottles aren’t likely to fit snugly. The car seat anchors are tucked tightly between the seat cushions, so you must take care to avoid scratching the leather as you hook up. Once in, even rear-facing car seats will fit behind an average-size driver.
The Model 3 navigation display is impressive because of its size, and it’s one of the few that pulls Google Maps data in real time. That sometimes means spotty information in areas with poor reception, but otherwise the interface is easy to use.
The Model 3’s lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto puts it at a disadvantage to many competitors. Bluetooth is still the only way to bring your smartphone into the audio environment, which is not always as stable as being connected via USB. You can, however, stream content such as Hulu, Netflix, Spotify and YouTube directly to the infotainment system. A wireless charger accessory is available from Tesla as an option.
Model 3 is fully electric, so you never need to visit a gas station again. If you charge overnight at home, you can wake up to a full battery every morning. And when you’re on the road, it’s easy to plug in along the way—at any public station or with the Tesla charging network.
Autopilot advanced safety and convenience features are designed to assist you with the most burdensome parts of driving.
The inside of Model 3 is unlike any other car. You can use your smartphone as a key, and access all driver controls in the central 15-inch touchscreen. The all-glass roof extends from front to back, creating a sense of openness from every seat. (Order Now)
Research to Action © 2018 Time Network (Canada)