Tesla Model 3 Review 2024

Tesla Model 3 At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Great electric car backed up by a superb charging network.

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

-Build quality lacking compared to mainstream rivals.

New prices start from £41,000

In this Tesla Model 3 review, you'll read the American firm's BMW 3 Series rival has the range, performance and charging network needed to make it one of the best electric saloons currently on sale amongst rivals such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5, BMW i4 and Ford Mustang Mach-E.

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, making it one of the fastest electric cars around, 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.

Ask Honest John

Should I buy a Cat S Tesla?

"I'm considering buying a CAT S Tesla Model 3 and I'm aware that insurance may cost more but I have a number of other questions that I'm hoping you might help with: - does the Tesla warranty continue to transfer (I'm guessing not)? - does the Tesla app still work / would software updates continue? - would supercharger access continue? Plus are there any other concerns about buying a CAT S car?"
The terms and conditions of the Tesla warranty would dictate whether or not the warranty would still apply in the event of the vehicle being written off, so you would need to check this in the vehicle documentation, but most warranties require the vehicle to be serviced in accordance with the maintenance schedule at a main dealer, and if substantial repair work has been carried out by an independent garage then it is likely that the warranty would no longer be honoured. As for the Tesla app and software updates, these should continue to work as long as the vehicle is fully functioning and is registered with the Tesla network, but there may be an issue if the fact that the car was critically damaged was automatically uploaded to the Tesla network. As for using the Supercharger network, Teslas ordered after January 2017 have to pay to use this network - whether your car will be able to use them will again depend on the vehicle's status on the Tesla network.
Answered by David Ross

Can I have heated seats on permanently in an electric car?

"I am thinking of buying an electric car. My wife and I are both in our seventies and we both have on our electric heated seats all the time as we both have bad backs, hips and buttock problems so we need them on permanently whether we are on a short journey or a long journey like to our son who lives a 600-mile round trip from where we live. We own a BMW X1 S Line Automatic Diesel which copes very well with the above and I can get there and back on a full tank of diesel. My question is how would an electric car cope, say a small Tesla or Kia, with both electric heated seats on permanently and how many miles would I manage before it would need to be recharged (for example, to my son's house and back)?"
There are no EVs that would currently get to your son’s and back on a single charge, but there are some that will do the trip one-way between top ups. The Tesla Model 3 Long Range, for example, has a 374-mile range. Be wary, though, electric cars chew through their battery quickly as cruising speeds because they don’t get the regenerative effects of their brakes when there’s no stop start traffic. At a steady 70mph, getting to your son’s may be tight. On the upside, Tesla’s Supercharger network is excellent – giving you a quick, easy and reliable way to charge the car. It’s head and shoulders above the open networks used by other EVs which are often over subscribed, broken and require you to sign up to a myriad of different apps and subscriptions just to use them, although the Government has recently announced plans to address these issues. Putting your heated seats on is one of the most efficient ways of staying warm in an electric car – much more efficient than using the heater. I would have thought it would lower your range by no more than say 30 miles, but that's an educated guess. It is hard to say exactly what effect heated seats would have on range because there are so many other factors to consider like the ambient temperature, tyre pressures, whether you're driving in the day or night, the speed you're driving at and more.
Answered by Russell Campbell

What electric vehicle should I buy for £60,000?

"I drive a Tesla Model 3 Long Range and am looking for an electric vehicle for retirement. I am seeking good quality build, comfortable seats and a decent range (300-plus miles). The boot (preferably hatchback) needs to be big enough for golf clubs and trolley. My budget is £60,000. What can you recommend?"
I'd be tempted to tell you to stick with your Tesla because of its excellent powertrain and access to the Supercharger network. On your budget, there aren't many EVs that fit your needs but the car I would recommend is the BMW i4 which has a range of nearly 375 miles. You'll find the BMW's interior takes a big step in quality next to your Tesla and it's also more engaging to drive. That said, it isn't quick unless you got for the M50 model which has a 320-mile range and costs a little over £60,000. The BMW's fastback style boot lid should make it easy to load your clubs.
Answered by Russell Campbell

Will an electric car maintain its quoted range if it's driven at high speeds?

"How do quoted economy figures for battery-electric cars hold up if the car is driven continuously at motorway speeds? My daughter lives 170 miles away and all but 2 miles is on a dual carriageway or motorway."
Not great. Electric cars are at their best driven around town – at low speeds, with lots of regenerative braking capturing energy and giving the remaining range a boost. In our experience, electric vehicles start to lose range quite rapidly above 60mph. A longer-range electric car like the Volkswagen ID.3 Tour or Tesla Model 3 Long Range should be able to do that journey quite comfortably, though.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Tesla Model 3 cost?