Tesla Model 3 Long Range is great but not quite perfect
What you're looking at is the most anticipated car of all time.
With more than a half million pre-orders on the books, the Tesla Model 3 has piqued the interest of more people around the world than any car in history.
Riding to market on a wave of hype unlike anything I've seen since the glory days of bombastic iPhone launches.
That alone is big news, but the anticipation around Tesla's most affordable car yet is really just the beginning.
This you see isn't just a car.
This marks the turning point for tesla as it.
Moves from niche to mass market.
The company's already captured the hearts and minds of millions, but now it needs to capture their wallets too.
So join me as I find out if the fabled $35,000 electric car that Elon Musk has been promising us for so long lives up to all its potential.
But there's one caveat I need to get out of the way first.
This car Cost $57,000.
Yes the base Model 3 starts at just $35,000, but if you were up early enough to get one of the first pre orders and can order your car now, you'll have to step up a bit.
Only the $44,000 long range car is available now, rated for 310 miles on a charge.
The base car does a still healthy 220.
Then add in the 5000 premium package for things like heated seats and tinted glass, which you'll want.
Add another 5000 for auto pilot, 1500 for the wheels, 1000 for the red paint.
And a final 1000 dollars destination charge and you get the final price of our test car 57500 dollars.
The good news is all those prices are before state and federal EV incentives which should see you saving at least $7500.
At least in two of those disappear.
So instead of Chevy bought EV money, we're actually talking close to the BMW five series money or very nicely equip 330 E-hybrid.
That's important context to keep in mind as we talk about what makes this car special It is very special.
Starting with how you unlock it.
This is not an AMX Centurion Black card.
Roadshow doesn't pay that well.
This is the key.
Tap it here like so.
The car unlocks.
Now using this does mean no proper QS entry but the car can also pair to your phone over bluetooth.
So as you approach the car automatically unlocks itself And giving you access to this interior, which is also unique.
To call this space spartan would be an ironic understatement.
The Model 3 interior has been reduced to its bare essentials, though whether in the name of design, purity, or cost cutting depends on whether you're a Tesla optimist or a pessimist.
Regardless, the resulting simplicity creates an amazingly open, Zen-like atmosphere.
I half expect to smell incense whenever I sit down.
The glass roof magnifies that feeling.
And while I do worry about very sunny days, the Model X tinting does a fair job of keeping things cool.
And I expect it should do the same here.
The glass also adds head room and while cargo capacity is down quite a bit over the bigger sedan, 15 cubic feet versus the Model S's 30, there is two more cubic feet than in a BMW 3 Series.
Thank you [INAUDIBLE].
Put the seats down for acres of space and while I wish it were a proper hatchback, The curious trunk opening is big enough to accommodate most bits of cargo without trouble.
But to really experience the most controversial part, we need to look closer at that dashboard.
When the Model S hit the market, its 17 inch vertically oriented display was a revolution, but that's nothing compared to the complete reinvention that we have here in the Model 3. Now we have this 15 inch landscape oriented display And basically nothing else.
I don't even have a gauge cluster behind the steering wheel.
Everything is on this display including the speedometer, which shows in the upper left.
Now, the model three isn't the first car with this central mounted speedo.
In fact the mini had one about 60 years ago.
Typically they're protected by some kind of shroud, instead here we have this high reflectivity display that can be a little bit hard to read in direct sunlight.
But the bigger issue is how often you have to be digging through all these menus.
I want to adjust the speed of the wipers for example I have to do it here.
Let me give you an example though if you want to change the follow distance of the adaptive cruise control you tap into vehicle settings, go into autopilot and then hit plus or minus her in the display.
On the model S or the model X there's a dedicated stock on the lower left so it's really easy to change.
That, I think, is a big step backwards.
But there's so much to talk about here, we've actually filmed a separate video with a deep dive of all the model 3's interface.
You'll want to check that out.
Once you're in motion, the left side of the display becomes dominated by the autopilot feedback with a speedometer positioned way up at the top.
As close to your line of sight as possible and it isn't really that far of a glance away from the road.
You'll quickly get used to it, but constantly having to reach over to adjust things like cruise control gets very annoying very quickly.
While the ride quality may not be quite up to BMW levels, that addictive torque and throttle response make the The model three [UNKNOWN] car that you will just want to drive and drive.
And with 310 miles of range on tap, you could go pretty far.
Don't use too much of that torque, and you'll burn through that charge pretty quickly.
Drive sensibly, though, and you shouldn't have Don't have to spend too much time waiting around at Superchargers, which by the way, now need to pay for.
Charging doesn't come free with a Model 3, but with a full tank of electrons costing somewhere around 10 bucks, it's a hell of a lot cheaper than gas.
And what about Tesla's fabled auto pilots?
The Model 3 has eight cameras plus radar and ultrasonic sensors.
And they give it bulletproof adaptive cruise and one of the best lane centering systems on the market.
On the highway, at least, where it'll even change lanes for you.
On back roads like these, though, the auto steer system continues to be unreliable at best.
With all the talk about the interior and the displays out of the way we can finally move on to the best part of the Model 3 and that is how it drives.
This car is really, really fun.
With a 0 to 60 time in the 5 second range, it is really, really fast off the line and very, very engaging.
But the more interesting is the handling.
This being a lighter car than the Model S. It's definitely more responsive and we've got a smaller steering wheel with sharper steering too, which makes you feel very responsive rounding the corners.
It's not a pure driver's car, not a sports car exactly.
And if I have to pick any nit is that it's ultimately not quite the same ride quality as a BMW 3 Series, but overall This is just a lot of fun.
I feel like I could go on for days talking about the Model 3, and I think that's part of the charm of this car.
It just feels so different than any other sedan out there on the market, even the Model S. And while different is sometimes good, and different is sometimes not so good, if you can deal with the occasionally clunky interface, if you can keep your phone charged, and if you don't have to stray too far from the super charger network, the Model 3 really is worth the wait.