Tesla and its lineup of uber-successful electric cars have taken the market by storm, selling more than 1 million vehicles since its first release in the early 2010s. While each model has thrived in its respective segments, consumers should pay special attention to its entry-level EV, the Tesla Model 3.
Released in 2017, the Tesla Model 3 has become the best-selling electric vehicle of all time, beating the Nissan LEAF and selling more than 1 million units. It’s not hard to see why the EV has become so successful. Tesla designed it with practicality at the forefront. Its sleek, teardrop shape maximizes aerodynamics, while its hatchback trunk ensures plenty of interior space. In typical Tesla fashion, the car eschews the fanciful frills found on other EVs, making it the perfect entry-level offering.
The vehicle is available in single-motor rear-wheel drive (RWD), dual-motor all-wheel drive (AWD), and mid-level Long Range or high-end performance models. In most market segments, Tesla is known as the king of battery range, and the Model 3 is no different. It tops out at 358 miles with its Long Range, setting the bar for its market segment, and it produces 272 miles even in its RWD. Along with the impressive battery range, the Tesla Supercharger network boasts quick speeds, restoring 80% charge in under 40 minutes in all three car versions.
In addition to excellent battery life, the Model 3 comes with plenty of quickness. The Long Range hits 0–60 in 3.5 seconds, which outpaces powerhouses like the BMW M3 Competition and the Porsche 911 Carrera S.
The other two Model 3 variants also clock commendable 0–60mph times, with the Long Range coming in at 4.1 seconds and the RWD at just under 6 seconds.
The Telsa Model 3’s interior is decorated sparsely. The dashboard is a clean slate, save for the monolith touchscreen mounted, which is a central touchpoint for every aspect of the car, including driving information, climate control, media, and phone calls. There is a bit of a hassle when trying to sift through the different app pages. The five-seat interior has ample legroom and an enormous trunk space due to the “skateboard” battery platform. With the typical five-seat arrangement, the trunk boasts a 19.8 cubic foot cargo space, even more when folding down the rear seats. In addition, the front trunk space adds another 3.1 cubic feet of storage.
The Model 3 is also incredibly safe. The “skateboard” battery platform gives the EV a low center of gravity, making it almost impervious to rollover situations. In addition, the vehicle comes with plenty of standard driver assistance features, including automatic emergency braking, collision warnings, blind spot monitoring, and adaptive cruise control.
The autopilot feature also comes standard with the vehicle, but Tesla offers more driver-assist features with Autopark, Summon, and Smart Summon. The automaker also offers “Full Self-Driving,” which includes a comprehensive set of features like traffic light recognition and limited off-highway self-driving; however, it is not an autonomous system despite the name.
The Tesla Model 3 offers top-of-the-line technology and high-performance engineering for a car that is supposed to be an entry-level vehicle. But, it isn’t priced like an entry-level offering, starting at $46,990 for the RWD. The level of engineering and details included in its lowest-tier model shows why Tesla has become a leader in the EV industry.