Though Tesla Model 3 was introduced in 2017, I’m reviewing this car after years. Why? Now here’s the thing. I love car reviews, but the problem with them is that most reviewers have only spent a couple of hours or days with the car before they review it. And everyone knows that car ownership goes a lot deeper than that.
I’ve been driving the Tesla Model 3 four-door sedan for about a year. I’ve got a lot of great experiences with it. I’ve had some not-so-great experiences, and I want to talk about it.
It’s pretty difficult to review a car without talking about the design language of the vehicle. And while the ultra-minimalist interior of the model 3 has been pretty controversial, the exterior is more objectively beautiful. Tesla designer Franz von Holzhausen worked really hard on making this car look sporty and aggressive
without being too overbearing or impractical.
You have the nice curved design on the front, which is a little Porsche esque. Then you get the really firm sharp lines that continue up through the length of the vehicle and really matches the rest of Tesla’s lineup.
Thorough Review of Tesla model 3
Tesla Model 3 had a lot of problems like paint issues, panel misalignment, enormous body gaps, general quality control problems, etc. The 2018 version and newer vehicles have improved in this department, but they are still not at the level of a traditional automaker.My first two doors they’re not equally aligned. I can see paint on the inside on the driver’s side but not on the passenger side. You see, they use different materials in the construction of the body panels to save weight. Aluminum, which is the most abundant and also one of the lightest, is a problem because it dents with such ease it would blow your mind.
I dropped a folding chair onto the body panel. I didn’t think anything of it. Ah! That’s fine. Actually no, it dented. And aluminum is very difficult to repair. That’s not the only problem. The paint, which covers the metals and plastics, of course, is total garbage, a very expensive paint job which is not free.
This is one of the worst paint jobs I’ve ever seen on any car ever. Even the cheapest, most economical cars have a better paint job than this. It’s uneven, the clear coat is bad, and it’s thin.
As there’s no engine or traditional transmission in this car, there’s a lot more space in the model 3 than you might expect. If there’s not enough room for your backpack in the very spacious trunk, You may certainly fold the seats down to secure more bodies inside. Probably even fit a couple of legs or two.
If you need even more space, there’s always the Franck. That’s right, front trunk again, no engine, only a motor about the size of a melon leaves you a lot of space up here. To open the front trunk, you have to use the app. That’s the reason why I don’t use it that much, unlike the back where there’s a button like every car ever made. There’s no button of any sort. Here you have to use the app or use the in-car display, which is very slow and inconvenient.
Interior of the car
The Tesla Model 3’s most distinct feature is its interior. And this is one of the two most common criticisms from people who clearly don’t own the car. They say it’s not built of good materials and it is hyper minimalistic to being Spartan and dysfunctional.
However, it’s true that there are a lot of buttons that are not in this car. There is, in fact, almost no buttons. Almost everything is removed and moved on to the screen display, and for some things, that can be at times a little annoying. But if you think about it, your car has tons of buttons all over that you almost never touched; this gets rid of that.
In exchange for the dumb little buttons you never use, there is a ton of space. Not just from a field-of-view standpoint, but because there’s no dashboard, you can see the almost entire landscape.
I have an entire garbage can in my center console, and it’s because there’s no buttons and no transmission. In a way, it’s excellent, and the build quality of the materials is really good as well.
I think this synthetic leather (aka not leather) is some of the nicest synthetic leather I’ve ever felt in a car. And the front seats feel incredible. It almost reminds me of the 70s when cars were really unsafe. Because they’re just super streamlined, it feels like you’re on a couch. I can sit in these things for hours. When you’re in the front, you have a lot of headroom. Thanks to the glass roof.
And in the back, it really just depends on your height. I’m nearly 6 foot 4 inches, and my head doesn’t touch this sloped roof, which is really nice. As the seats are so low to the floor, it almost feels like my knees are in my chest. It’s fine for around town commutes. But for long-distance travel, I’d get pretty uncomfortable. It’s mostly suited for kids.
Speaking of kids, they are going to love the panoramic sunroof. But the driver will not because there’s the big massive A-pillar. And actually, when you’re driving the car, forget it’s even there. I really wish Tesla would have offered something like the panoramic roof on the Model X.
Now that sparked an interior really manifests itself when you’re in the infotainment system. This was a change that was really difficult for me because where you have the tactility of buttons in a normal car, you basically have to look at the display on the model 3 which at first feels a little dangerous. But once you learn the general areas in which items are located on the touchscreen, it really doesn’t feel that much different from a button.
A lot of the things that I liked having in front of me on a heads-up display are moved into the left column of the display, like your speedometer, the speed limit, your battery status, and more. At first, I really didn’t like it. It was off-center, and it was a weird adjustment. But I’ve actually come to prefer it. Yeah, it is a little bit off to the right, but it’s higher up on the horizon level, and because of that, I actually find me looking down less than I would in a normal car. Thus, it makes my driving actually a little safer.
Where model 3 really excels is performance. And all electric cars, specifically Tesla’s are well known for their rapid acceleration. This Model 3 performance is no different. It does 0 to 60 in 3.42 seconds, which is truly unique to electric cars.
I’m a big fan of internal combustion engine cars, but no matter how fast the IC II car, there’s always a little bit of acceleration or input delay. Whether that be from the turbo spooling up, or the need to downshift, even just a slight delay from pushing the pedal to making the engine go, fortunately, that doesn’t exist in a Tesla. In an electric vehicle, the millisecond you push the pedal, you are instantly getting accelerated feedback, and it is truly unique and super fun.
Any WoW Racer will tell you that there is a lot more to driving dynamics than simple acceleration. And that’s been a valid criticism against Tesla for a number of years. Because the Model S and the Model X handled like absolute boats, those are heavy cars, but they had bad air suspension. The steering was vague.
Now the model 3 changes this formula. It’s still a heavy car at 4100 pounds that’s as much as a Ford f-150 pickup truck, but what it does right is it comes with steel spring suspension instead of air suspension.
Thankfully I’ve yet to be in such a situation where I’ve arrived at a supercharger, and then all of them are full. However, I have been in a situation where I’ve arrived at a supercharger and then taken the last spots. And then someone else shows up a few minutes later and just has to twiddle their thumbs for 10 to 20 minutes waiting for something to open up. Now, of course, Tesla does tell you how many available stalls are open at their supercharger before you arrive, but on a long trip, you don’t have any other choice other than to stop and charge up.
Let’s talk briefly about battery and range anxiety. This is the phenomenon when we worry about running out of charge while driving. We all worry about whether or not we’ll have enough electricity to make it to our destination and back. I never thought that I would have to deal with something like this until I took the car. On long road trips, I’ve had this happening three times in the last year, where I was nearly convinced that I was not going to make it.
The first was when I went to the mountains in Las Vegas on a fairly full charge. But in really cold weather with the heater on full blast, the battery drains way faster than you would ever imagine. So, it’s really important to realize that in cold weather with the heater running on full blast, the battery may only last you about 50% of what you think it will if you aren’t careful.
Besides that, I had another close call experience driving up to big bear California. Even though I had a full charge driving up, the lack of chargers in the area combined with the cold weather, and again running the heater, my battery lasted way less than what I expected. Not to mention, there were a few other trips that I had not been able to go on just because there are not any available chargers in the area.
Long-range Tesla Model 3
Now, this would have all been entirely avoidable how they just opted to buy the long-range Tesla Model 3 instead, which by the way, gives you 322 miles of range instead of 250. So, if you expect that you’re going to be driving long distances fairly often then just take the long-range Tesla Model 3. It’s entirely worth it.