Tesla Model 3 2020 - A Premium Electric Executive Saloon Car
The Tesla Model 3 is a mid-sized all-electric executive/family saloon at an affordable price. It finally arrived in the UK during 2019 and is becoming increasingly popular thanks to its gorgeous styling, futuristic feel and impressive range between charges.
For many years we have heard about Tesla cars, and many of us were put off not only by a lack of knowledge regarding all-electric vehicles but also the cost. Now with the introduction of the Tesla Model 3, which happens to be the smallest Tesla to date, with its larger and more expensive siblings being the Tesla Model S and the Model X (SUV), a broader market can be reached. The starting price of the Model 3 is £38,500, rising to £52,000 for the Performance model, making it a great alternative for company car drivers as well as the family.
The Model 3 is of similar size to the BMW 3 Series and will no doubt be trying to convince the BMW, Audi and Mercedes followers to jump ship and become Tesla followers. The reality is that all cars will need to be more eco-friendly, in a world increasingly concerned with climate control and global warming. Therefore, changing to the electric-powered car sooner rather than later would be the best solution and Tesla are by far the best currently, at producing quality all-electric cars of the future, today.
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Engine, Power and Performance
The Tesla Model 3 is powered by electric motors using a 2170 cell battery pack and gives instant power and torque.
The entry-level Standard Range Plus trimmed Model 3 has one electric motor and is rear-wheel-drive. It is capable of hitting 0-60mph in 5.3secs and will go on to a top speed of 140mph. Even this entry-level Model 3 is faster than most hot-hatchbacks currently on the market, such as the Ford Focus ST which achieves the feat in 5.5secs. The Standard Range Plus Model 3 has a WLTP range of 254miles between charges, allowing it again to compete admirably with equivalent petrol or diesel cars.
The next trim up is the Long Range Model 3, which gets two electric motors and all-wheel-drive. Tesla's AWD system uses two independent electric motors which control the levels of power and torque sent to the front and rear wheel to maximize the levels of traction and stability. Having two electric motors and AWD make the Tesla even faster, and the Long Range Model 3 will hit 0-60mph in just 4.4secs and climb to a top speed of 145mph. With this being a Long Range version, the WLTP range jumps up to a staggering 348miles between charges.
Finally, there is the top of the range Performance Model 3, which again uses two electric motors to power Tesla's advanced AWD system. It is capable of hitting 0-60mph in a supercar beating 3.2secs!! It will top out at 162mph, seriously impressive figures for a car 100% powered by electric. It also has a WLTP range of 329miles although driving at quick, aggressive speed will soon have that figure tumbling down. It is an electric car, which is quicker off the line than Porsche 911 GT3 (manual), which completes 0-60mph in 3.5secs.
Interior Quality and Technology
The interior of the Tesla Model 3 is very intriguing and at first a little shocking due to the lack of controls and buttons. To enter the Tesla, you need to use either a small credit card-sized RFID card or your smartphone using the designated Tesla app; there are no keys.
Tesla has made the interior of the Model 3 as minimalist as humanly possible, at first glance all you see is the steering wheel and large centre touchscreen. When you look a little closer, you will find the odd button and lever, but the majority of functions are controlled through the 15-inch colour touchscreen, supporting the infotainment system. Even the speedometer is located on the large touchscreen; there is no digital or analogue instrument display panel, it takes a little getting used to. The large touchscreen is mounted in landscape rather than portrait as found in the Model S and X and is very bright, clear and responsive.
The Model 3 does come with a decent amount of equipment as standard, such as sat-nav, front and rear parking sensors along with a rear-view camera and Bluetooth connectivity. It is worth noting that you do not get Apple CarPlay or Android Auto smartphone mirroring with any of the Model 3 trim levels. Some potential buyers may not like the minimalist approach and lack of controls and buttons. Still, I would urge you to persevere it is actually an excellent system once you get your head around it. However, I would have liked the windscreen wipers to have a lever rather than accessing the touchscreen or using the small control buttons on the steering wheel.
The build quality and finish of the Model 3 is superior to that found in the other members of the Tesla family but is still not entirely up to the premium standards of its German rivals such as BMW or Audi. The Model 3 also comes with a panoramic glass roof as standard making the cabin feel light and airy at all times.
Space, Practicality and Safety
The Tesla Model 3 is extremely spacious in the front; in fact, it is arguably one of, if not the, most spacious car in its class as far as front room space goes. There is ample legroom and headroom to fit any size adults in; even basketball players should find a good amount of space. When you climb into the back, again you find a decent amount of space and a couple of adults should have no problem getting comfy. The centre seat offers a generous amount of foot and legroom thanks to the lack of a transmission tunnel. The Model 3 is capable of having three adults sitting on the rear bench in relative comfort, something which cannot be said of some of its rivals.
There are various storage cubbies throughout the cabin, such as large door pockets and a spacious centre armrest console.
The Tesla Model 3 comes with two boot areas, the standard boot at the rear and a small one at the front where you would usually find an engine. The combined capacity of these is 425-litres, still somewhat short of the equivalent Audi or BMW, but not bad by any means.
The Model 3 achieved a top 5-star rating from the Euro NCAP safety tests thanks to its cutting-edge safety assists and programmes such as AutoPilot, Blindspot Monitoring and Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB). In fact, its overall scores were some of the best, with its Safety Assist score getting the highest ever in this category.
Overall the Tesla Model 3 is a fantastic car and a true pioneer. A step forward for the mid-sized saloon. Not only do you get supercar performance at a fraction of the cost, but also a futuristic car and without doubt, a sign of the direction cars will need to follow. If you're thinking of buying an electric vehicle, you cannot go far wrong with this little gem.