Tesla Model 3 (2019) Review

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Tesla Model 3 (2019) At A Glance

5/5

+Spacious, minimalist interior. Relatively affordable. Range of up to 348 miles. Fun to drive.

-Build quality lacking compared to mainstream rivals.

Tesla describes its Model 3 as “the world’s first mass-market electric vehicle”. While Nissan will have something to say about that - the Leaf’s been on sale since 2011 - you don’t have to be an eager early-adopter to consider the Model 3. It’s a genuinely usable electric car with a relatively affordable price tag, generous range and minimalist cabin.

The Model 3 is available in three guises: the Standard Range Plus, the Long Range model and the range-topping Performance. The cheapest is the Standard Range Plus, which will make the most sense for the majority of buyers. It makes do with a single electric motor powering the wheels, providing impressive acceleration (0-60mph in 5.3 seconds) and an official WLTP range of 254 miles between charges.

While the Standard Range Plus is powered by an electric motor powering the rear axle, the Long Range and Performance versions have an extra electric motor driving the front wheels, making them both all-wheel drive. As their names suggest, the Long Range focuses on range, capable of covering 348 miles between charges (and accelerating to 60mph in 4.4 seconds), while the Performance is all about chasing supercars. This will reach 0-62mph in 3.2 seconds and cover 329 miles between charges.

Driving the Model 3 takes a little acclimatisation compared to other cars. Pretty much everything is operated through the large, tablet-like infotainment display that's situated at the centre of the dashboard. This seems excessive at first, but the truth is that the majority of features you’ll access when parked up, at which points it’s simple and intuitive to use. Once on the move, anything you do need is easy to access and no more confusing than infotainment systems used in rival vehicles.

There are a few quirks - the flashing indicator lights on the central screen, for example, and the lack of conventional dials above the steering wheel (again, information such as your current speed are shown on the infotainment display). 

Once you’ve got your head around these features, the Model 3 is a wonderfully easy car to drive. Just the two pedals, obviously, and probably the best all-around visibility of any car on sale. Acceleration is instant thanks to its electric drive, and even the most affordable model feels ultra quick.

Is it entertaining? Yes. Even if you’re used to a BMW 3 Series - traditionally the driver’s car of this price point - you’ll enjoy driving the Model 3. Probably more so. The steering is direct and, with the electric motor driving the rear wheels on the standard model, you can feel the Model 3 being pushed rather than pulled through the bends.

One advantage of a Tesla over other electric cars is access to the firm's Supercharger network. This is a network of rapid chargers located at convenient locations across the country (usually motorway services) and only open to Teslas. Unlike other models, this isn't free to use with the Model 3 - but you're looking at about £15 to fully charge a Standard Range Plus.

Whether you're a Tesla fan or not, the Model 3 is objectively a very convincing electric car. It's priced right to make it a competitive alternative to other EVs, as well as mainstream petrol and diesel models. Not only will it travel far enough before charging to quash any range anxiety concerns, it's also fun to drive and has a trendy, minimalist cabin.

Looking for a Tesla Model 3 (2019 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now.

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Ask Honest John

Can you recommend an electric car with good real-world range?
"I'm interested in buying or leasing a new electric car. Please advise on models that are currently or imminently available that have a good range (real-world 180 miles plus) and are capable of comfortable cross country journeys, but will fit within a house garage (2300 mm wide). Needless to say, allowance must be made for nearside clearance and being able to open the car door widely enough to exit! It appears that most SUVs that are so popular nowadays do not qualify. "
We'd recommend a Volkswagen ID.3. The mid-range model has a 263-mile range, which should be sufficient for your needs, and it's around 1.8m wide so should fit in your garage. Take a look at the Tesla Model 3, too.
Answered by Andrew Brady
Which electric vehicle should I buy?
"Would you go for the Tesla Model 3, Kia Soul EV or Hyundai Kona Electric? Thanks. "
All good options. If you plan on covering a lot of long journeys, the Tesla's tempting solely for access to the brilliant Supercharger network. Otherwise, we'd opt for the Soul or Kona - both come with long warranties and a strong dealer network. The Soul is a bit more practical.
Answered by Andrew Brady
The options for EV chargers, the grant and installers are confusing - do you have any advice?
"I've ordered a Tesla Model 3. I want to use the grant to get a wall charger for my driveway. The options for the chargers are a little confusing, as well as the independent installers. Do you have any guidance on the best types of wall chargers to go for and recommended specialists?"
BP Chargemaster and Pod Point are two of the biggest suppliers of home charge points. They will both send out qualified engineers to install your home charger, as well as guide you with the OLEV grant.
Answered by Andrew Brady
I travel 250 miles a week - will an EV work for me?
"I travel 250 miles a week for work, then weekend driving too. Most of my driving is stop start infuriating M6 traffic, hardly ever breaking the 40mph level. Is it worth me getting say a Tesla Model 3 as diesel in my ix35 is costing me £60 a week."
Yes, probably. Can you charge an electric car at home? That makes a huge difference - if you can charge overnight, you'll rarely have to worry about using public chargers. I've recently spent quite a bit of time with the Model 3 and was really impressed. It will be very well suited to stop/start traffic on the M6. Tesla's Supercharger network is very good if you do need a quick charge, too. Do some sums and work out whether the increased purchase price (or lease/finance) will save you money when you take fuel savings into the equation.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What does a Tesla Model 3 (2019) cost?