Tesla Model 3 – IT TAKES 3


Tesla’s all-electric Model 3 executive saloon takes the American brand into volume territory for the first time. Jonathan Crouch takes a look…

Ten Second Review
The Model 3 is the car that could make Tesla – or it might merely save the brand. It’ll be interesting to find out which. It’s all-electric of course – and much more accessible than the company’s previous models, with prices starting from under £40,000. Your next executive saloon? Middle managers who are early adopters of new technology should form an orderly queue.

The Model 3 is Tesla’s more significant car to date, mainly because it’s the company’s most affordable product and therefore the highest volume thing it makes. This is the company’s first saloon and it’s positioned somewhere between BMW’s 3 Series and 5 Series models if you’re looking for recognisable rivals.

It follows the brand’s pricier Model S and Model X cars and precedes a Model Y crossover. So, within a few years, the company’s product range will, in its own words, be completely about ‘S3XY’ models.

Driving Experience
Previously, we’ve reviewed Tesla’s products as Evs; it’s a measure of the importance of this one that we have to judge it by more conventional standards – as you would if considering it as an alternative to the BMW 3 Series, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 mid-sized executive saloons it wants to target. So what’ll you feel here? Superbly accurate steering, lacking only the final really feelsome element that’s integral to a good European rack. A very well-modulated set of brakes. Quite a lot of tyre and wind roar. And firm-ish damping that contributes to excellent body control through the turns, but doesn’t crash too much through potholes or over speed humps. You could actually enjoy yourself driving this car, a new experience for us in an EV and for anyone else familiar with this evolving market. The smooth linearity of the throttle helps -though it’s still prone to lurch the car forward like a startled rabbit if used without due care. If you were to mash it into the bulkhead of the top ‘Performance’-spec variant, you’d reach sixty mph in just 3.2s; Forget M3s and C63s – that’s Ferrari-fast.

Design and Build
The format here is similar to that Tesla has used before, so the batteries run along the floor and there’s a body made of a mixture of steel and aluminium. The suspension design uses double wishbones up-front and a multi-link set-up at the rear, with coil springs all-round. Breaking from the hatchback, 7-seat body configuration of other current Tesla cars, the Model 3 is a five-seat saloon that measures in a 4.7m long – fractionally more than a BMW 3 Series. It’s much more spacious inside than one of those; it would be of course. There aren’t as many mechanical bits to fit in, freeing up space for the passenger compartment and the boot.

Market and Model
There are three Model 3 options. Things kick off with the ‘Standard Range Plus’ version, which has a 258-mile range and costs around £39,000. Next, there’s the ‘Long Range AWD’ version, which offers a 348-mile range and costs around £48,000. And finally, there’s the ‘Model 3 Performance’ variant, which offers a 329-mile range and costs around £57,000. We won’t bother going through the full kit list because it includes all the main things you’d expect a decently specified executive saloon to be able to offer, including leather upholstery, powered steering adjustment, a rearview camera, etc, etc.

Cost of Ownership
Owning a Model 3 is of course very different from owning a conventionally powered executive saloon. There’s no fuel bill and service is minimal. The annual service fee covers an annual inspection, replacement parts like brake pads and windscreen wipers, 24-hour roadside assistance, system monitoring, remote diagnostics, software updates and new features sent through the touchscreen. It’s possible to charge the battery halfway in about 30 minutes using Tesla’s ‘supercharger’ but as with most elements of this car, it requires a change in your way of thinking.

47 Replies to “Tesla Model 3 – IT TAKES 3”

  1. Lew Rodd

    There is no getting away from the fact that the Tesla Model 3 is an extremely good electric vehicle, aesthetically however the cockpit consists solely of a steering wheel and a central 12.3 inch TV screen and is as welcoming as a motel room, it has everything you need but completely lacks any of the things humans love about driving, it's almost post war Russian in design, functional and efficient but completely lacking in character or style. Compare the Model 3 dash to the Kia E-Niro and you will see what I mean.

  2. Nybravest

    There are already videos showing just how the model 3 awd performance/non-performance compares to the similarly classed BMW M3/M4/3 series. The results are astonishingly in favor of Tesla's model 3. These tests cover braking, handling, (on and off the track), fuel consumption, pricing, and more. See for yourself!

  3. david jones

    The battery system needs to be much much larger to supply all the needed functions such as heating and cooling. Instead of using a bunch of little batteries it would be better to build a transformer size battery that would last for an X amount of years. The The vehicle could have one or two of these batteries installed. The traveling distance needs to be at least 500 miles before recharging. Speed would very with each vehicle according to motor and trans gearing specs. This part has to do with drag. When letting up on the throttle, it needs a coasting type drag release. This means that it will recharge batteries when it go's into the coasting mode recapturing electricity back into the battery! Also the vehicle needs to recognize when it is going down hill so it can collect a recharge on any downhill slope. It could do this by going into a slip-mode position to harvest a recharge by using downhill gravity to recharge. This could be done by camera, and or using a electric activated thermostat or a brain sensor that can detect when the vehicle is going downhill by using a wheel generator charging system to recharge battery. Also does it really need to be recharged all so often, no it would not need to be if it has another recharging system installed onto the vehicle. The vehicle needs to have a discreet water shatterproof solar panel system built into the body of the vehicle. It could be done by putting a solar strip on top above the front and back of the windshield and other places on the body of the vehicle. Not to many solar panels on the vehicle. It needs to be done in a stylish way that looks good. It could be set to charge while setting or driving. Charging rate would be debatable according to the unit.

  4. phillip bateman

    Great reveiw, except for the constant whine (long high pitched complaining cry with an English accent) which tried to destroy this amazing vehicle. In a few short years Tesla has produced something that we couldn't have believed possible. Im sure he would have been happy driving home in his Austin Allegro without a hint of a complaint.

  5. russell UK

    You say there is a tax saving but what about the luxury car tax? I heard that since the 3500 rebate from the government makes the list price over 40K for even the basic model you still have to pay the luxury car tax of 400 pounds per year – is this right??

  6. Gert Adam

    OSV are too close to traditional car manufacturers. This video is an example of lazy journalism that permeates the traditional media.
    If OSV had wanted to say the truth about EVs there are so many sources in the UK, that would have told them the truth and supplied them with documentation.
    We need to be clear in our communication on the difference between EVs, hybrids and ICE cars. If you want to compare cars – you are no longer able just to look at the upfront cost from the dealer, you have to look at the cost of driving a car over the entire lifetime. The cost of petrol, repairs, insurance are orders of magnitude bigger on an ICE car. This is true all ICE cars when they are compared to any of the available EVs.

    OSV should be ashamed of themselves.
    As the world is now – we need real journalism not more lazyness.

  7. Tag Makers Pet Tags

    Clearly NOT a business man, this reviewer. The key thing companies consider is COST and the effect to the bottom line.
    The Model-3 is an excellent choice for companies that provide executives with quality cars, and will save not only the company many thousands over the years, but the driver too. In April, UK BIK (benefit in kind) is zero-rated for electric vehicles.

  8. Ronald Garrison

    1:05:20 Huh? That's not generally from the "green lobby." That's what you'll hear from fossil fuel shills. Greens will often say it's better if you can avoid driving at all, but I don't know of any of them who would prefer ICE to electric.

  9. Zoltán Kárpát

    Nissan Leaf doesn't have good acceleration nor battery thermal management, which shortens the life of those low quality batteries.
    Hyundai and Kia EVs are sold with a loss, and are made in very low volume, I wouldn't consider that competition.
    EV batteries are NOT EXPLOSIVE and are NEVER buried in landfills!!! Recycling companies have existed for a long time and guarantee they'll recover at least 80% of the materials, some guarantee 95%. Laptop and smartphone batteries on the other hand are almost all "given back to the Earth", because it's really costly to sort them according to chemical composition, to determine which recycling process is appropriate, which is not an issue with a 500kg EV battery pack, it's all the same composition.

  10. Adam Selene


    "The Tesla Model S is an all-electric five-door liftback sedan, produced by Tesla, Inc., and introduced on June 22, 2012.[10] As of April 23, 2019, the Model S Long Range has an EPA range of 373 miles (600 km), which is higher than any other battery electric car.[11][12]"

  11. Adam Selene

    Model 3 handles better than anything Tesla made before? Tesla Roadster came before the Model 3, and you are saying the Roadster did not handle better? Also the Roadster was a sports car, released in 2008, sold until 2012, so it is false to say there were no EV sports cars.

  12. Adam Selene

    So many of the statements in here are false. Also this review seems like it should have been made a year or two ago, back when the Model 3 was new, not now when the Model Y is about to be released. Right off the bat: Model S and X were and are 4-door, they were not the "initial" Tesla offerings – Tesla Roadster was, Model S is a 4-door saloon, there were plenty of EVs with long range before model 3, EV SUVs are relatively new – came out about the same time as Model 3 – except for Model X, Tesla did not ever "struggle with bankruptcy", how can the Model 3 have torque steer when they are all either rear-wheel-drive or AWD, etc….

  13. Jay Bee

    actually, im using two of the 24v modules. my hybrid inverter does a pretty good job of managing the modules and i rigged an electric coolant pump w/reservoir that uses the existing coolant channels of the modules. both modules are cased in a hardi-backer concrete box in case of a fire. buddy of mine is setting me up with a printed circuit that monitors and logs the condition of individual cells, like the car's bms did. he's only charging me $300

  14. Dieter Zerressen

    We love the stark interior. Now when I look into a BMW or Mercedes I ask myself what the hell are all those buttons and dials for? We bought our Model 3 ten months ago. Since that time we gotten two performance increases AND we plunked down some extra bucks to shave off an additional 1/2 of a second in 0-60 time – it is now close to 3.7 seconds!! What other car brand has EVER done that – ever? Stop looking at Tesla videos and go out and just drive one – it's a life changer, seriously.

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