Exclusive: InsideEVs Tesla Model 3 Test Drive Review

2 months ago by Tom Moloughney 223

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

InsideEVs’ Tom Moloughney gives us an up-close first impression of the Tesla Model 3

It appears that Tesla is finally beginning to ramp up production of the elusive Model 3. In the first five months of availability, they have only delivered a little over 700 units, mostly all to Tesla employees. However, non-employees are now finally taking delivery of a car that they left a $1,000 deposit on, sight unseen, nearly 20 months ago.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 charging port (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

Because of this, Model 3s are finally becoming available for test drives and road test reviews. I was lucky enough to have a friend, who just picked up his Model 3 last week, let me take his car for an extended test drive.

First, I’d like to comment on the build quality, as there’s been a lot of chatter in the online forums and groups about misaligned exterior body panels. I have to say the car wasn’t perfect.

Some of the exterior panels weren’t as perfectly aligned as I’d like them to be. However, while there were some slight imperfections, overall it was more than acceptable in my opinion.

I probably wouldn’t have even brought it up if this wasn’t a topic that’s been so widely discussed. I did have to slam the driver’s door a little harder than I would like to in order for it to fully close though. I learned that because the first few times I tried to close it, the door remained partially ajar.

The Deep Blue Metallic looked so good in person that I’m now seriously considering it for my Model 3. The trunk space is larger than I imagined it would be, and with the rear seats folding nearly flat there’s enough room to haul quite a bit of cargo. The trunk also has a lower compartment to store items like a portable EVSE, tools, etc., and is accessed by lifting the removable floor panel.

The frunk didn’t appear as large as the Model S frunk, but it still provides a good amount of added cargo space. The rear seats are very comfortable, and there’s a lot of headroom in the rear seating area, no doubt aided by the fact that there’s no metal roof with a headliner, just a huge panel of glass above your head.

Tesla Model 3

The trunk offers ample cargo room. (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

Tesla Model 3

The frunk isn’t as large as the one in the Model S, but it still adds a good amount of additional cargo space. (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

The front seats were also very comfortable and supportive. I’d say they are better than the original Model S seats, but not quite as good as the Next Generation seats that come standard in the S now. I have to admit, I was a little underwhelmed with how the large center screen controls everything. Yes, I had read that was the case, so I knew it did going in. However, it’s different when you’re in the car and forced to use the touchscreen to perform simple tasks like opening the glove box or turning on the windshield wipers.

Tesla Model 3

The left side stalk can be used to activate a single-swipe of the wipers, as well as the washer. (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

I’m all for simplicity, but Tesla may have taken it a little too far. My first impression is that I won’t love everything being controlled by the center screen. Needing to look to my right for every bit of information, as well as to activate accessories while driving, just doesn’t seem all that safe.

Perhaps I’ll get used to it when I get my Model 3, but in my first impression, at the very least I’d prefer to have full windshield wiper activation available on the steering column and a small driver’s display or HUD for vital driving information. As it is, you can activate the wipers for a single-swipe to quickly clean the windshield with the left side stalk, but you need to go to the center display if you want them to remain on.

One thing that Tesla did do right with the wipers is that when you activate the single-swipe or washers, the wiper icon appears on the center screen to make it easier for you to activate them. Still, you need to look to your right to find the icon to tap, and this is while your visibility may already have been impaired by inclement weather.

There’s a stalk already on the column that activates the washer and wiper, why not allow that to have full control of the wiper function? Change, simply for the sake of change, isn’t the always the best decision.

Another complaint I have is that the view out of the rear window of the car really is not that good. I realized this when I couldn’t tell if there was a car behind me or not when stopped at a traffic light at night. The rear deck of the car is so high, you cannot see the headlights of cars standing behind you unless they leave a lot or room between the vehicles.

My friend whose car this is commented on this also, and said he’s turned on the rear-view camera a couple times already just to see if someone was behind him. I will say that he does have the rear window tinted, so that could contribute to reduced rear visibility, but it’s not a very dark tint. The fact is, the rear viewing area is short and narrow. The tint isn’t the real culprit; it’s the small area of glass that ends too high up on the rear deck to allow a good outward view.

Tesla Model 3

The rear window doesn’t continue down as far on the Tesla Model 3 as it does on most cars. This limits the driver’s rear view visibility. (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

Tesla Model 3

You can see how high the rear deck continues up the rear of the Tesla Model 3. The glass doesn’t begin until about halfway up. (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

On the road, the Model 3 doesn’t disappoint. It actually felt faster than Tesla’s claim of 5.1 seconds from 0-60, supporting Motor Trend’s recent instrument test which delivered a time of 4.8 seconds. I wonder if under-estimating the Model 3’s quickness is part of Tesla’s Model 3 anti-sell campaign?

Tesla Model 3

The split rear seats fold nearly flat and allow more cargo and longer items to fit. (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

The handling was also impressive. While I couldn’t really push the car too much, being it’s a friend’s car who was kind enough to loan it to me for a test drive and combined with the fact that I was on public roads, I was still able to enjoy some spirited driving to test out the car’s maneuverability.

The steering ratio is quick, and there’s practically zero body roll. I’d really love to get a Model 3 on a track. The turning radius isn’t as short as I’d expect for a car of this size, but it’s also not so wide that it’s a problem either.

The regenerative braking has two settings: Standard and Low. In Standard Mode the regenerative braking is most aggressive. However, even in Standard Mode, the regenerative braking wasn’t as aggressive as a BMW i3, or a Chevy Bolt.

I like my regen like my coffee – the stronger the better, and in this regard, the Model 3 comes up a little short as compared to some competitors. I’d prefer if they added one more setting that was stronger than Standard Mode, and let the customer decide which they prefer.

Personally, I think Chevrolet has the best regen system available today, allowing the driver to select various levels of strength as well as offering steering wheel paddles to instantly apply the full force of the regen system. I could drive a Bolt all day and never touch the friction brakes.

Tesla Model 3

Inside the Tesla Model 3 (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

The adaptive cruise control worked well. To activate it, you press the right steering column stalk down once. To activate Autopilot, you press the same stalk quickly down twice. Another nitpick I have about the need to interact with the center screen, is that you need to do so in order to increase or lower your speed when using the ACC.

Once you set the speed, if you want to change it, you need to do that from the center screen, unless you deactivate the ACC, negotiate to your desired speed and re-activate the ACC. I’d prefer if I could increase or lower the set speed by lifting or lowering the stalk that activates it, instead of needing to tap the center screen. The Autopilot worked nicely but tended to bounce a little back and forth within the lane. It stayed within the lane but wasn’t really as steady as I’d like it to be.

Tesla Model 3

Inside the Tesla Model 3 (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

The two knobs on the steering wheel are used to adjust the side view mirrors and the steering column position. I couldn’t find any other use for them, but perhaps they do have another function that I couldn’t figure out in the limited time I had. Speaking of the side view mirrors, they are auto-dimming to reduce glare and can auto tilt for reversing, and auto fold when you park. Both of these features can be activated or disabled in the center screen control option.

Tesla Model 3

The steering wheel has two “wheel” buttons that are used to adjust the side mirrors and the steering column position. (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

The rearview camera has a strange fisheye effect, something that I’m really not used to seeing in a rearview camera. It distorts the field of view a little more than I am comfortable with. Perhaps it does this so the camera can show a wider field of view, but personally, I’d prefer it didn’t have this effect. It’s admittedly a nitpick, but it’s worth pointing out because I haven’t seen another rearview camera with this kind of view. Perhaps it’s something that will be corrected at some point in the future.

The Tesla Model 3’s aggressive front styling definitely has some Porsche design cues baked into it. (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

We stopped at the Supercharger location in San Clemente, California. There are 20 stalls and we were the only Tesla there. A quick stop added 25 kWh and it cost $5.00. We really didn’t need to stop, my friend just wanted to try out a Supercharger for the first time.

Tesla Model 3

We had the place to ourselves! (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 Supercharging (Image Credit: Tom Moloughney/InsideEVs)

Overall, I’m impressed with the Model 3, and after driving one I’m still very happy I’m a first-day reservation holder. Being a non-Tesla-owner on the East Coast, my delivery estimate is still four months away.

While my short time with the car did raise some concerns about how much you need to rely on the center screen to perform simple tasks while you are driving, I’m still very much looking forward to eventually taking delivery of my own Model 3.

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223 responses to "Exclusive: InsideEVs Tesla Model 3 Test Drive Review"

  1. Dan says:

    I’m not sure if the auto-wipers are activated yet, but once they are, the manual wiper control should be a non-issue. They should turn on automatically in the rain 99% of the time, and if its just a light random mist, you use the stalk for one wipe. It would be rare to need to manually turn the wipers on manually, as it currently is in the Model S.

    1. Mark.ca says:

      Agree, all my cars are on auto all the time. I touch the stalk maybe twice a year…but they need to make the auto available.

    2. Michael says:

      It would be nice to have stalks for redundancy. A close friend of mine works for Tesla, and his colleague’s Model 3 has had the screen go out temporarily. When that happens, you can’t change your cruise control speed, lock or unlock the doors, or adjust your wiper speed… things you can normally handle with physical buttons.

      1. eltosho says:

        How is this different from having a normal wiper stalk and having it break. (happened to me once).
        You basically just said “I want Tesla to make a car that will work even if it breaks” – which is idiotic!

        1. Hoobadooba says:

          well, if your wiper stalk breaks in a regular car, you can still control the climate and open the doors and operate cruise control – the screen being a single point of failure does suck in that regard.

    3. Dan says:

      Having almost all controls on the touch screen is dangerous and should not be allowed until the car is at least level 3 autonomous. This setup, like smart phone use will cause a lot of “accidents”.

  2. Alaa says:

    20 cents per kWh is not bad.

    1. SparkEV says:

      Considering it’s $0.21/kWh in San Diego, it’s cheaper to use supercharger than charge at home. I hope this doesn’t lead to cheapskates hanging out at superchargers instead of charging at home. Better would’ve been $0.25/kWh (or $0.22/kWh), at least in San Diego area.

      1. Josh Bryant says:

        The energy it takes to get to and from the SuperCharger would make up that difference in price.

        Not really the same as the free charging that you usually refer too.

        1. SparkEV says:

          San Diego Supercharger is located in Sorrento Valley area where all the tech companies (aka, Tesla drivers) are located. Cheapskates can easily sit at supercharger before heading to office, during lunch, before heading home just to save $0.01/kWh electricity. Considering some people drive 15 miles away to Costco gas and wait in long lines to save $0.01/gal gas, I fear the worst.

        2. Ari says:

          How is getting to a supercharger makes up for the savings over gas??? It costs 5 dollars to fill up a whole 300 miles for a tesla, and a gas car equivalent would cost 20-30 dollars in gas. So it costs another 3-5 fill ups for tesla (20-30 less 5 dollars = 15-25) at a range of 900-1500 (3×300 -5×300) miles to get to a supercharger?

          1. Jack says:

            I really don’t understand your numbers…

      2. Jorey says:

        Some people like myself do not have a choice. I simply cannot charge at home since I live at a condo and many others are in the same situation.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          If you can’t charge a PEV (Plug-in EV) either at home or at work, then a PEV doesn’t fit your lifestyle, and you shouldn’t buy one.

          You can move, you can try to talk your condo building owner or your workplace into installing a L2 charger… or you can wait to buy a PEV until the EV revolution progresses to the point that slow EV chargers are available almost everywhere people park their cars overnight.

        2. Ari says:

          Eventually more and more buildings and condos will get chargers. When gas stations first started appearing they were not everywhere. Depending on how many miles you drive you might only need to fill up once a week like with a gas car. So you go to a supercharger once a week and wait 30 min-1 hr and do some reading or paperwork while you are waiting. Maybe there is a store nearby you will use. You have to go to a gas station and wait 5 minutes anyway otherwise. Your money savings on fillup 5 dollars vs 20-30, plus no oil changes, little or no maintenance etc. In fact if you factor in the time lost with repairs, service on a gas car, it may equal the charging time. How often do you have to leave your car with a shop and get a ride, or have to wait for a couple of hours or longer. With the ev you will still have the bonus of saving money. People do not see the big picture. Cost of oil, filters and other repairs on gas cars will only go up and up over time. Electricity pricing is much more stable than gas and in many cases is staying the same or coming down as more sustainable generation appears.

      3. Dave R says:

        Actually, it’s $0.22 / kWh now at a minimum in SDG&E territory, at least on the EV-TOU and DR-SES rates and only goes up from there, so I agree – SDG&E territory should probably have slightly higher rates to encourage people to charge at home instead of at the Supercharger.

    2. HN says:

      Model 3 extended range can do 90 miles for 25 kWh, the similar priced car such as BMW 340i need about 3 gallons premium to go the same distance. At $3.25/gal premium in California it costs $10 to drive BMW 340i 90 miles, about twice at much as Model 3.

      1. HH says:

        That is true – but you also have to take the cost of the extended range into account – $9000. For that kind of money, you can drive the 90 mile distance (at a fuel cost of $10) about 900 times, or a total of $81000. From this point of view, it basically doesn’t matter anymore if electricity is cheap or even free.

        This has always been the problem for EVs at the moment. With the cost of batteries still high, the incremental cost for additional range is high – here the $9000 for the additional Model 3 range. Yet – when you think about how often you actually need this, it quickly becomes completely a question of pure convenience, not cost effectiveness. Let’s say during the life of the car, you are taking 90 trips that are 200 miles or longer (so that the extended range makes sense). Then you pay on average $100 per trip – just for the cost of the extended range. And 90 trips of that distance is already a decent number.

        bottom line – a cost comparison isn’t that simple. EVs are great in certain circumstances for sure however

        1. Mac says:

          Agee. With Superchargers 100 miles apart it makes no economic sense to pay $9k for the bigger battery unless you qualify for the $7.5k tax credit.

        2. C Grier says:

          Another reason the Volt and i3 REx approach makes more sense when discussing optimum battery size.

    3. StalePhish says:

      Electricity is 9 cents per kWh over on the east coast so 20 cents is definitely expensive to my ears!

      1. Jack says:

        Yes but they save on heating cost during winter!

  3. bro1999 (Improved version) says:

    Great car! I want one!

    1. Another Euro point of view (improved version) says:

      Me too!

      1. Nix(Improved Version) says:

        The more I read actual and honest reviews about this car the more I dislike it…

        1. Get Real(Improved Version) says:

          Me too. I think I’ll just get a used Fiat and be done with it.

          1. terminaltrip421 says:

            these made me smile. maybe I should start looking into a used fiat again as I’m thinking I may quit the commute I had been doing.

        2. HN says:

          It depends on how you use your cars. If you are a person who likes to tinker with every control in the car while driving then Model 3is not for you. If you are a car guy who likes performance/handling above all else then Model 3 is the one to own.

        3. Nix says:

          someone posting under Nix(Improved Version) said: “The more I read actual and honest reviews about this car the more I dislike it…”

          Real version of Nix here.

          I thought Tom did a good job with the review. There is no such thing as a perfect car that suites every single person’s needs, and Tom covered a whole range of topics. It was definitely an honest and neutral review, no doubt.

          Dislike it based on this review? Not at all. Nothing I read was a deal breaker for a 220+ mile EV that will come with AWD.

          Door striker needs adjustment? I’ve done engine top end rebuilds and transmission swaps, a striker adjustment is easy peasy.

          Vision out the rear window isn’t perfect? I’ve spent plenty of time towing with no rear window at all. No worries.

          Interior is spartan? Our tow vehicle has roll down windows and rubber wash-out floors. Not a problem.

          etc…

          I’m old school, what matters is the drivetrain to me. Supercharging, 300 miles range, the future AWD option, that’s what matters to me. All the stuff about things like that all sounded very encouraging, plus comfortable seats and fold down rear seats! These are the things that matter to me.

          Frankly, I think folks who obsess over the silly stuff like panel gaps and dither over a foot or so of turning radius have lost the plot (NOT Tom). A decade ago when I got into green cars, people were willing to do stuff like drive a 3-wheeled blob (Aptera) as long as they could drive electric. Most of the early adopters put up with ~75 mile range compliance EV’s. It was all about replacing miles driven on gas with miles driven on electricity (preferably solar or wind generated) I just don’t think some folks really get it anymore.

          1. William Kuhn says:

            I’m “Old School,” too – or just plain old! The electric motor drive train makes more sense to me because it doesn’t require a transmission & regular oil/oil filter changes. And Tesla – and even the Bolt – have great 0-60 times. These new cars look to be fun to drive and maintain. And with the Trump tax cut, I may actually be able to afford one!

    2. bro1999 says:

      I wouldn’t be opposed to buying one used from a disappointed early adopter for super cheap if my ’12 Volt ever craps out. 🙂

      Based on how my Volt is going though, the Model 6 may be out by the time that happens. 🙂

      1. s says:

        I love my Volt too, and I’m happy that you like yours. I wouldn’t hold my breath for a cheap used Model 3 from a disappointed early adopter though.

        Sounds like you want the Model 3 to disappoint. That’s fine, as long as you are prepared to be disappointed when Model 3 outsells the rest of the non-Tesla EV market combined next year.

        1. Aaron says:

          Well, he is a GM apologist…

      2. scott franco says:

        I’m sorry, was that NOT supposed to be funny????

      3. Recoil says:

        Hey Bro they you could always just go buy another Bolt as they can’t seem to give them away even with $5,000 off the sticker there are plenty sitting on dealers lots. Just make sure you pay the extra $750 for the fast charging. You may also want to pick up some padding for those seats as a lot of people complain at how uncomfortable and narrow they are. Also don’t forget to run to Home Depot and pick up a garage door opener since the Bolt doesn’t come with one. Maybe once they discontinue the Bolt you could really pick one up for cheap just don’t try and pick up a girl as most won’t want to be seen in something as aesthetically challenged as the bolt.

        1. jim stack says:

          The Bolt is sold out in Arizona. Part of it is they only get a few allocated since we are no longer a clean car State. We also can’t get the plugin or electric vet=sion of the Hyundai IONIQ or many other electrics.

          We have to get them in or from California.

    3. Sans-Ice says:

      Me too -looks great -and would look even better than my Ford Focus Electric parked next to my S! Ha Ha

  4. eltosho says:

    w no video 🙁 hate reading long posts …

    1. John in AA says:

      And for my part, I can’t be bothered watching videos. Good thing there’s something for everyone.

      1. Lawrence says:

        Agreed. I read far faster than someone can talk.

        1. Nix says:

          I have to increase the replay speed on most videos on youtube to 1.25X or 1.5X to make them tolerable.

          1. Lawrence says:

            Thanks for the tip!

          2. ffbj says:

            I just listen while browsing in another tab.

      2. terminaltrip421 says:

        same here, it’s videos that I skip.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      eltosho said:

      “w no video 🙁 hate reading long posts …”

      Contrariwise, I was relieved to see this is not a video review.

      I can read ~7 times as fast as the average person talks. I certainly don’t enjoy wasting my time listening to a video when I can get the same info from a print review without wasting so much time!

      Thanks again to Tom Moloughney for this extended review which didn’t force me to watch a video.

      1. Ziv says:

        I think that people that like videos over text have no idea of how much slower the information flow is from videos. Nor do they realize how easy it is to speed read and skip info you are not interested in and get to the meat of the matter when you are reading.

        1. MikeM says:

          Amen to that.
          Now, don’t get me going on techy/auto related podcasts!

  5. terminaltrip421 says:

    interestingly I don’t find the dash as off-putting in your photo as I found it all the ones prior. I don’t care for the rear of the car though and I believe that goes for the model s as well. reminds me of those futuristic hotwheels cars from 50 years ago. that and I like wagons / suvs so short and broad is more my style.

    1. terminaltrip421 says:

      oh and the frunk storage looks way small based on the photo (not really paid attention to a model s’) maybe having some items in it for scale would help.

      nice, very thorough write-up though, thanks for sharing!

  6. Kbm3 says:

    Tom. How could you stop at a Supercharger and not record the charge rate? I

  7. darth says:

    Seems like many things that are currently on the touchscreen could be moved to the stalks / trackballs easily enough. Like adjusting speed during ACC, that could be wired to one of the trackballs.

    Wipers could just be a longer hold on the stalk. No doubt these things will improve over time.

    1. Quebec 100% EV says:

      Darth – That’s exactly what I was thinking for cruise control speed adjustment and wiper activation/speed.

      Hope Tesla is able to do that since it seems to be the only major gripe that I keep coming across in the reviews, other than the issue with the rear window view which is news to me but not too worrying.

    2. Jason says:

      Glad someone already posted this, I was thinking “just hold the wiper stalk for a second or two and that turns it on. Press again to turn off. Auto wipers even better”, and very surprised the scroll wheels haven’t been activated for much yet, that seems very strange and you would think a very easy win to program a few options as user defined:
      1) ACC, scroll up/down to change speed, press to coast/resume, left/right could increase by 5 or 10 units (mi or Km).
      2) Audio controls, scroll to change volume, track, source. Press to mute/unmute, left/right to change function.
      3) General purpose like Model S (and assume X) where you scroll to select a function and press to activate that function, eg: opening and closing the sun roof or setting climate controls.

      It could even be an instantaneous feature where you select the option, make the adjustment, and then a few seconds later it reverts to the default that was set. I hope they really get on and activate these in an intelligent way that is better than just wing mirror and steering wheel adjustments.

    3. scott franco says:

      These things are ALL software controlled. They can add these features in an update.

    4. Roy_H says:

      I wonder if there is some room to mount the inside rear-view mirror higher on the windshield to give better rear visibility.

    5. Dr Diplom Ingineur says:

      Imo, lack of extraneous controls was done as a cost cutting measure first, secondly as a reliability feature, which also reduces warranty costs. Every extra part deleted saves in material, labor, and other costs. I’m an engineer with experience in design and manufacturing, and this is the most logical reason. The center console also enables easy setup changes between right and left hand drive while reducing parts inventory.

      1. DrAGG says:

        Anything that forces me to take my eyes off the road while driving is dangerous! Placing wiper controls on the console is counterintuitive, dangerous, and stupid! Same for the cruise control. Musk is not stupid – not sure of the reasoning behind this.

        I fully expect government regulators at some point come out with restrictions on what can be placed on the console.

        1. Jeff Songster says:

          And as others have already pointed out… these are the early models… the stalk can be pulled twice to turn on wipers… and the context sensitive screen changes so you can adjust speeds.
          It is also clear that updates will implement changes in the steering physical controls to allow users to map the controls they want to these. that should help. These cars evolve. No need to have government stifle the innovation of the worlds first software malleable, field upgradable car.

  8. georgeS says:

    Good write up Tom M. Those are some pretty big negatives you bring up about the center screen, cruise control reset, AP wandering and rear visibility.

    However your trunk observation (ie plenty good and large access) has quelled some of my concerns about losing my big hatch on the Model S.

    I’m waiting for the AWD model though. Going to hang on to the RWD Model S for another year and then get another CPO Model S or a Model 3.

    1. SparkEV says:

      Agreed, probably the best review so far. I think this is the very first review discussing turning radius compared to others and paid supercharging.

      While paid supercharging is a huge plus, turning radius makes me apprehensive (they call me the u-turn king). Gawd, I am going to miss SparkEV…

      1. Tom Moloughney says:

        I should have noted that I drove the Model 3 right after attending the smart electric drive cabrio press drive. I just drove the smart about 50 miles in and around San Diego making about a dozen U-turns on small streets. So ANYTHING after that might have seemed like it had a large turning radius!

        1. bro1999 says:

          The Model S has a shorter turning radius that the Model 3. How is that even possible?? Why would Tesla limit the turning radius on the 3?

          1. floydboy says:

            They didn’t.

            1. bro1999 says:

              So just lazy engineering then. Gotcha.

              I looked it up, and a Model 3 has a longer turning radius than the ever-sporty Honda Odyssey. Wow.

              1. Nix says:

                At 38.8 feet, the Model 3 is right around the same as the Honda Accord (38.1 feet for sedan, 39.6 ft for touring). Both have a wider turning diameter than the Honda Oddity.

                It looks like the Model 3 steering is configured with AWD in mind. AWD cars typically have wider turning diameters, like the Model 3’s target competitors:

                2017 BMW 340i xDrive: 38.4 feet
                2017 AUDI A4 Quattro: 38 feet

                The turning radius doesn’t seem out of line with it’s direct competitors. I’m not sure what the Honda Oddity has to do with it.

              2. Get Real says:

                What a surprise, more biased spin/misdirection/fake news from Trump, er MadBro–NOT.

                As Nix CORRECTLY points out, Model 3 was designed for its upcoming AWD variant so its turning radius reflects that.

                MadBro is so used to his Bolt which has NO AWD version and NO long range version (and I drive a Bolt too) that he can’t see the forest for the trees as usual with his GM fanboy/employee blinders on.

                1. Aaron says:

                  Whoa, whoa, whoa, you mean you can own a Bolt and NOT join the Cult of Bro?

                  I’m flabbergasted, I guess his antagonistic comments everywhere made it seem that membership to some creepy Tesla hate society was required upon taking delivery.

                2. bro1999 says:

                  The Model S wasn’t designed with AWD in mind? Yet they still managed to put AWD in one….and still have a shorter turning radius than a Model 3.

                  Then again, maybe this is yet another way of Tesla making the Model 3 inferior to the S: larger turning radius! Lol

                  1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                    Wow, you must not be merely afraid of Tesla, you must be absolutely terrified of how much Tesla is going to cut into GM’s market in the coming years.

                    If you were not so terrified, you wouldn’t have this compulsion to spew out dozens of Tesla hater posts every day here on InsideEVs.

                    Personally, I think there is room in this world for lots of different PEVs from several different auto makers. More choices is a win-win for EV enthusiasts. Too bad, Bro, that you see this as a zero-sum game; that absolutely guarantees that you’re gonna see yourself as a loser!

                  2. Recoil says:

                    Hey Bro why are you worried about turning radius. You own a bolt and it is tiny so can’t you just get out and pick it up and point it in any direction you want?

              3. Mint says:

                Sporty cars often have a larger turning circle. For example:
                http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/honda/civic/100594/honda-civic-type-r-vs-ford-focus-rs

                12.2m and 12.6m for the Focus RS and Civic Type R, which is much larger than that of the base models. Model 3 is 11.6m. Big difference between Lancer and Lancer Evo, too.

                I’m guessing the suspension parts chosen for the Model 3’s world class handling is the culprit. The Model S has good but not exceptional handling.

                In any case, 11.6m is just 5% more than typical. You guys are overblowing this.

                1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                  I think it’s actually pretty funny that Tesla hating klowns like Br🤡1999 are reduced to whining about the car’s turning radius.

                  If that’s the most important thing they can find to whine about, then the Tesla Model 3 must be a great car! 😀

                  1. bro1999 says:

                    Too bad you’ll never drive one, TSLA zealot.

        2. scott franco says:

          “I just drove the smart about 50 miles in and around San Diego making about a dozen U-turns on small streets. So ANYTHING after that might have seemed like it had a large turning radius!”

          We had the Smart EV for a year (got rid of it because too small). When I drove it to my house, I did doughnuts in front of the house (normal street, not at the end, etc).

          Then my wife started to yell at me and hit me in the shoulder… sigh…

        3. Richard J. Lawrence says:

          Were you in Altadena last week? I saw a blue one with black temporary plates like the one you drove.. Unfortunately I was headed to my campus in the opposite direction so I couldn’t wave. 🙂

      2. HN says:

        @SparkEV, free access to supercharger and only pay per use is a great news for Model3 owners. I was afraid that to get access to supercharger Model 3 owners must sign up and pay a fee.

    2. Dan says:

      The reason the regen is less than ideally strong is because it is a rear drive car. Front drive and even more AWD allow stronger regen braking.

      1. RPadTV says:

        The i3 is rear-wheel drive and has some of the strongest regen available.

  9. Bill Howland says:

    My question on the touch screen is that it does not seem to be facing the driver – which is the most important person to see whats happening. Is the touch screen fixed or can you swivel it a bit toward you to make it easier to see and control?

    1. floydboy says:

      The centralized positioning of the touchscreen eases manufacturing(left or right hand drive is same screen) and reduces cost. It’s also placed high up to help mitigate its ‘straight on’ positioning and to allow(in ride sharing situations) the left and right front passengers equal access to the screen.

      1. pjwood1 says:

        I don’t think the center screen reduces cost. IHS is the most commonly cited study, suggesting it’s quite expensive:
        https://www.recode.net/2014/10/14/11631856/whats-inside-the-tesla-model-s-dashboard

        1. floydboy says:

          Not its expense as an individual item(Tesla’s likely to get bulk discounts anyway). I’m referring to the cost associated with having and installing more than one type of screen.

        2. Gasbag says:

          That report is over 3 years old when Tesla had to design custom electronics to support what was then a whopping 17 inch touch screen. The low volume custom electronics were a significant portion of the cost. Today 15 inch touch screens are commodities with many fully integrated options that retail quantity one for under 200 USD. today that 15 inch touch screen IS a cost saver not only in component costs but also in labor. You can bet Tesla’s price is only in double digits.

          1. pjwood1 says:

            An “MCU” still runs over $5,000, through Tesla service. Of course, that’s more than the screen, but part of the nightmare of that center unit is when things go wrong, it’s a “package deal”.

            On TMC, it doesn’t appear a common problem, but as we’re addressing center-screen cost, this is what those suffering from bubbles on the screen’s edges, or wandering nav gyros, are frequently quoted.

            1. Gasbag says:

              Firstly you’re conflating the model S with the model 3. The model S was designed back ibeffire 2912 when touch screens were still a novelty and 17 inch touch screens were unheard of in consumer products. The link you provided even cites the need for Tesla to custom design electronics for it. Custom designs for small volumes can be expensive but when you’re trailblazing you haven’t many options. Also Tesla ‘s design focus wasn’t reliability or serviceability with the model S. In 2012 their engineers can be forgiven for this but in 2016 they had plenty of COTS options and should be publicly flogged if they went the same route and have the same flaws with respect to serviceability.

              Secondly you’re confusing what Tesla is charging for a subsystem swap with their costs. 12 volt batteries are commodity items that manufacturers generally pay less then 20 dollars per. If I wat to replace that it costs me 60 dollars and if I want the dealer to replace they willl charge me upwards of 200 USD. What the dealer charges may have little relation to what their costs are and this is particularly true For highly customized components for which there are no third party options.

              I’d be surprised if Tesla makes you replace the MCU for a faulty screen in the M3 and while it wouldn’t shock me if they charged 1,000 USD To replace the 15 inch touch screen in the M3 it would surprise me if their parts cost is a significant portion of that.

              I could be wrong but I suspect your tear down experts will confirm I’m right in their report of the M3.

        3. scott franco says:

          Because everyone knows that the Model S and the model 3 are identical inside…

    2. wavelet says:

      Unless I missed it, but I don’t recall any of the reviews mentioning an adjustable screen, so I expect it’s fixed.

      I consider that to be a big failing. It would also compensate for drivers’ varying heights, seat adjustment prefs, glare/reflection issues etc., not to mention allow the front passenger to use it more comfortably to operate non-driving controlthings like Nav, HVAC, Infotainment etc.
      Since even many mid-grade cameras have an adjustable (swivel+tilt) rear viewscreen, it can’t be very expensive. I seriously doubt it would add >$5 to the BOM.

      1. scott franco says:

        It is fixed. See several of the reviews.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        “Unless I missed it, but I don’t recall any of the reviews mentioning an adjustable screen, so I expect it’s fixed.”

        A photo of the mounting post for the screen looks like it’s fixed solidly in place, with no ability to swivel or tilt, unlike the rather spindly mount seen in the prototypes.

        Unfortunately I can’t find that photo online at the moment.

  10. floydboy says:

    Tom, the Model 3 is meant to also(one day) double as an autonomous taxi. It’s why so many basic functions are moved to the touchscreen. To essentially prevent fiddling with the controls. Simply automate settings to the rider’s taste. The downside being, it makes setting things a little more involved for the driver.

    1. Tom Moloughney says:

      Yes, I understand that. But for me, I’m just concerned about getting mine in a couple months and driving it for a few years before it can legally drive itself!

      It’s not a deal-breaker, but I know it’s going to take some getting used to.

      1. Russell says:

        Tom,

        Do you own a Model S?
        If you did, you would be used to how the large center screen controls everything and the view out the rear window.

        “I did have to slam the driver’s door a little harder than I would like to in order for it to fully close though.”

        Isn’t that normal for somebody driving a friend’s new car?

  11. James says:

    Damn that car looks cheap from inside. Wood and glossy make it look even cheaper

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Another Tesla hater kl🤡wn komment from “James”.

      Dude, it will look a lot better if you turn down the gain on your Tesla hater reality distortion goggles!
      😀 😀 😀

  12. SparkEV says:

    I’m hoping for voice activated wiper control. For that matter, I’m hoping for most non-critical controls to be voice activated.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      Agreed spark. I thought simple stuff like “wipers on ” would be voice activated.

      Hey tom did you try Voice?

      1. Tom Moloughney says:

        No George, I didn’t.

      2. pjwood1 says:

        But be pragmatic. Right now, Tesla’s voice commands control only destination setting, phone and internet music (not on board USB/flash drives). Adding voice control isn’t a list they’re “burning through”.

        1. pjwood1 says:

          (I’m talking about Model S)

          1. GibsonRS says:

            I have a Range Rover (2 years old) and I don’t know where half the buttons or touch screen commands are – I speak command almost all actions in the car, (except wipers) I’m sure the Model 3 will be the same, voice recognition is coming on in leaps and bounds.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          I’m hoping for gesture control. The BMW 7-Series gesture control looks pretty promising. The TM3 does have an interior camera, so hopefully that’s something Tesla can add with a future software upgrade.

          Gesture control, from what I’ve been able to see and read, seems to be far more reliable and less prone to interference than voice control. Plus, it’s a universal language; no need to program differently for English, Spanish, French, or Esperanto voice control. 😉

  13. F150 Brian says:

    This car should be a hatch like the Model S.

    The trunk/rear window treatment is ugly, not as practical and to boot (<– pun intended), it restricts rearward view too much.

    1. kubel says:

      Agreed. The only appeal this car has to me is performance and access to the SuperCharger network. The “don’t worry about it, the car will drive itself” approach to driver controls is a turn off for me, as is the lack of cargo capacity.

      Not being a liftback significantly reduces practicality for me as a single-car household. 200-mile EVs were supposed to eliminate the need of a second car, and they chose a sedan format.

      I’m seriously considering dropping my reservation and getting the 2019 LEAF. The 2018 LEAF uses legacy NEC/AESC batteries, and 2019 is rumored to have liquid cooled NCM811’s from LG Chem- which should give it M3-like range and life.

      With the LEAF, I’m gaining more value and practicality at the expense of performance (0-60MPH 7.7s, I can live with that) and quick charge convenience (CHAdeMO vs SC).

      1. B Barnes says:

        Did you realize that Teslas can also use the CHAdeMO chargers with an adapter?

  14. kimmi says:

    A neutral Model 3 review. Finally!

      1. ffbj says:

        The implication being that gushing reviews to this point are fatuous, and if you have nothing negative to say, then, well, that can’t be right.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Well said!

      Motor Trend’s “First Drive” review was no doubt great for Tesla investors and cheerleaders, but even as a strong Tesla fan, I found it to be embarrassingly gushing. Plus, all the guy wanted to do was drive it like a sports car and talk about that.

      So-called “reviews” from EV haters like Top Gear are also too biased and too staged to be worth reading or viewing.

      I think it’s safe to say most of us want more balanced and more comprehensive reviews, like the one published here.

      I also found the extensive “Everyday Driver” video review of the Tesla Model X to be quite informative, with the two reviewers discussing and and debating the pros and cons of the car. I hope they’ll do the same for the Model 3!

      * * * * *

      Not a review of the Model 3: “Everyday Driver” video review of the Tesla Model X:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYLJxzDoGmc

  15. Shaun says:

    Regen will probably be stronger on the dual motor AWD version.

    1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

      I shure hope so.
      I’m sure an OTA could change it.

  16. bro1999 says:

    “Personally, I think Chevrolet has the best regen system available today, allowing the driver to select various levels of strength as well as offering steering wheel paddles to instantly apply the full force of the regen system. I could drive a Bolt all day and never touch the friction brakes.”

    That line will fire up the TSLA fanbois. Lol

    Tom, no comments about the rear seats? A few reviews out there mention they are too low. Did you find that as well?

    Nice review overall. Good to see reviews from people that arne’t Tesla-Red koolaid-slurpers. 🙂

    1. Tom Moloughney says:

      I did comment about the rear seats, just not the height of them. They are low, but it didn’t bother me. I’m only 5′ 8″, though, so perhaps a taller person might find it uncomfortable on long drives.

      1. David Schurig says:

        This is completely crazy! Are there really EVs that don’t max out regen, when you press the brake pedal, before activating the friction brakes?

        In my Spark EV, when I press the brake pedal, I can easily max out the regen (up to around 60kW) regardless of how I have the “coasting” regen set (D or L). There is no “friction brake pedal” in my Spark, so probably not in the Bolt either. It is a pretty simple controls problem to make this happen. I would be shocked if every EV did not do this.

        1. Aaron says:

          Yes, Tesla takes regen off the brake pedal in order to give you better brake feel. The Bolt, for instance, is criticised for having “spongy brake feel” specifically due to the interaction with the regen.

          I feel my Model X regen is plenty strong, but I guess it’d be nice to be able to choose more if I wanted.

          1. David Schurig says:

            Doesn’t Tesla use the Bosch iBooster? I thought this was designed to coordinate friction and regen braking to maximize regen.

            http://www.bosch.co.jp/en/press/group-1306-13.asp

        2. Jason says:

          For some reason Leaf doesn’t use max regen either. At various battery SoC, temperatures and other unknown factors (driving down hill seems to result in less regen than on the flats) mine will use between 10kW and >30kW. It is a 2012 model, so maybe newer models are better, and also shows Nissan total lack of any real firmware updates. If it can regen at >30kW sometimes, that shows it can do that sort of rate and for the very short durations regen is actually happening, it would be great if it could do that rate any time, all the time.

        3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “This is completely crazy! Are there really EVs that don’t max out regen, when you press the brake pedal, before activating the friction brakes?”

          I don’t know how Tesla has engineered the Model 3, but the Model S uses the same mechanical brake system used in gasmobiles. That is, if you push the brake pedal, it mechanically activates the friction brakes; there’s no electronic hand-off between regenerative braking and the friction brakes. In the Model S, if my understanding is correct, regen is activated by letting up on the accelerator pedal; pushing the brake pedal does not control regen at all.

          I agree it does seem strange (and arguably wrong) that Tesla does not take full advantage of regen, but perhaps Tesla prefers the safety of using normal brakes which have been thoroughly tested over the years, and have been proven to be very reliable.

          This is one area where Tesla’s EV tech has room for improvement.

          1. Nix says:

            I think when the vehicle does 0-60 in less than 3 or 4 seconds, you have to have equally performance minded brakes.

            All the ICE tuner sites I ever used to frequent always talked about upgrading brakes before doing engine performance upgrades. The common wisdom is that the more engine power, the more braking power that is needed.

            I have a feeling that they prioritized sheer braking power for that reason. There are always trade-offs in different designs

    2. floydboy says:

      I think you do people an astounding disservice by impugning people’s integrity in this fashion. You, who would probably scream bloody murder at criticisms of the Bolt. No, I’m going to say Doug Demuro’s review of the Model 3 slurped NO koolaid.

    3. Aaron says:

      I like the lines where he continually talks about getting a Model 3, and not a Bolt.

      You’ll need to get used to that sentiment. But, hey, that just means you’ll be driving around in a rarer vehicle!

      1. bro1999 says:

        Which lines? The one I posted about picking up a used Model 3 down the road? If the price is cheap enough, I’d drive around an electric donkey! 😉

        If I ever did get a Model 3, that would truly “blast the brains out of the skulls” of you TSLA zealots. Lol

        1. Aaron says:

          The author, Bro. Not your trollish GM apologist oriented comments.

          I find it humours how hypocritical you are commenting on the zealotry of Tesla enthusiasts, when you serially post on every Tesla article.

          You should get a Model 3, then you won’t have to write so many blog posts about hypermiling to the next CCS station. Should really help out.

          1. Get Real says:

            Don’t hold your breath on GM fanboy/employee MadBro “getting” a Model 3 or any Tesla for that matter. It wouldn’t look good for him at GM.

            In this regard he is no better then serial anti-Tesla troll/shorter 4E and his imaginary Model X.

            The only difference is that MadBro has taken over the place of the mentally ill, former poster sven’s carpet bombing his negative FUD all over the Tesla threads.

            1. ffbj says:

              Yes, the mantle been transferred from
              See-Through, down to Sven, and bestowed upon bro1999. More’s the pity. A natural leader:

              It’s 5E, these days.

              1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                “It’s 5E, these days.”

                It used to be 3E. But he can keep adding more imaginary EVs ad infinitum; it costs him nothing and they take up no room in his garage! 😀

          2. ffbj says:

            A serial poster? Like Tony the Tiger,
            Chevy Bolts: They’re Great!

            1. bro1999 says:

              Bolt EVs are great. And you can get one today, just like a box of Frosted Flakes. And unlike a Model 3.

              1. Aaron says:

                Some people can get them today, sure. It’s unfortunate that the Model 3 is so popular that they have to get through a ~400k backlog of vehicles before any new orders would be delivered.

                What a problem to have.

                1. bro1999 says:

                  They could have had a “backlog” of 40,000, and they’d still be behind schedule due to inept management of the production lines.

                  1. Aaron says:

                    That’s the criticism you came up with?

                    Man, I’m really interested in what you come up with over the next several months when Model 3 and LEAF sales completely eclipse Bolt sales.

                    Should be rather humorous.

                    1. bro1999 says:

                      Considering Tesla’s future hinges on the Model 3, I certainly hope for your sake the 3 starts selling the Bolt next year! Or else some Chinese investor with tons of spare money will buy the remnants of Tesla like what happened with Fisker.

              2. CdnE90 says:

                Actually, I live in Canada and I can’t get a Bolt. There’s a 4 months waiting list.

              3. Jason says:

                I know the US is the be all and end all of everything, but I’m in RHD country, and GM basically told us “so sad, too bad, no RHD Bolt”. So, sorry, but I can’t get a Bolt any time soon.
                But Tesla already committed to whole world, as do Nissan, so in that regard they are better.
                And I hear reports that Bolt is hard to get, especially if you are in non-CARB states, and GM had a goal of about 30k units annually, so they are controlling it pretty closely. Are those reports false?
                And every new vehicle has a period where it slowly increases in sales, where manufacturing constrained or they are slow releasing across their markets, so really nothing to surprising with Model 3.
                Leaf will have it’s problems as well, and I bet that will mostly be the dealership lack of incentive to sell them.
                Nothing’s perfect in this world.

              4. Recoil says:

                Bro you understand why you can get one today is because nobody wants them. They can give them away even with $5000 incentives there are thousands sitting on dealers lots. Ad the fact that they are not very good looking, they don’t have any option for four wheel drive, no autopilot, no Automatic Cruise Control, no sunroofs, you have to pay extra to charge fast, the seats are uncomfortable and narrow, there is no garage door opener, no performance option and you don’t have to wonder why people are waiting for a much better car like the Model 3.

    4. ffbj says:

      I think that is one area where the Bolt does a better job. Why not give the driver more options?

      1. stimpy says:

        I like that the Bolt has stronger regen, but *completely despise* the unnecessary controls they overlaid onto it:

        1. You have to shift into drive then low EVERY SINGLE TIME YOU GET IN THE CAR. Why isn’t this a simply UI option like in the Tesla?!

        2. The steering wheel paddle is redundant. We already have “gas”/brake pedals, why complicate it?

    5. scott franco says:

      “That line will fire up the TSLA fanbois. Lol”

      PS. if you are trying to be cute with a Frenchlish take on fanboy, note that “bois” is french for “wood”, and probably not where you were trying to go.

      1. bro1999 says:

        Definition – What does Fanboi mean?
        A fanboi is someone who is unusually attracted or devoted to a particular technology or tech company. The word is a slightly altered form of the idiomatic “fanboy,” which is generally used for anyone who is a dedicated fan of anything.

        Free this time. Next time I start charging fanboi rates.

        https://www.techopedia.com/definition/28754/fanboi

        1. scott franco says:

          I believe in that case that the French Academy will send out the language police and put a quick stop to this…

  17. Josh Bryant says:

    Thanks for the review Tom.

    I had not been aware of how high the rear window was before your review. How was backing up in it?

    I live on a street full of kids, so my head is always on a swivel backing up.

    I previously had an S2000 which was like driving a submarine with the top up (and no backup cam), so I am sure I will be able to adjust. Maybe it will keep my wife from stealing it from me as much.

    I have similar concerns about the current controls setup, but I feel like future software versions will ease access to the driving functions. Wipers, as mentioned above, moving to auto activation on rain sensing, TACC velocity tied to the scroll wheel, etc.

    The driving performance (acceleration and handling) is my primary motivation, and enough room for two car seats (starting April) and cram a stroller in the trunk.

  18. Tom Moloughney says:

    Josh: You’ll definitely need to look at the rearview camera because you can’t see small children behind you at all. The view out the back is pretty poor, as you can see in the pictures because the glass ends so high up on the rear deck.

    1. philip d says:

      I looks very similar to the gen 2 Volt. I definitely have to use the backup camera with mirrors with the Volt.

      Have you driven a Gen 2 Volt and if you have does rear visibility seem better or worse in the M3 compared to the Volt?

      1. Yes I have and I’d say it’s close, but the Model 3 may be slightly worse.

  19. George B says:

    The zero bodyroll observation definitely resonates. To me, the 3 is the ghost of the ActiveE resurrected. It could be a little more compact and have stronger regen, but those are small downsides.

  20. BillT says:

    Thanks for posting a non-fanboi-ish review. A used Model 3 is still the leading contender to replace my Volt in the early 2020s. It seems like they could address the rear visibility issue by just dedicating some of the screen real estate to a continuous live feed of the rear camera. As for the fisheye distortion of the rear camera that could be corrected in software.

    1. Aaron says:

      Seeing as how you can do this in the Model S/X, yes. I leave the rear-view feed up all the time on the MX because visibility affected by the 3rd row, and still not great with it down.

      Works great.

  21. pjwood1 says:

    The interior is either creative demand destruction, to preserve Model S sales, or it may have a tough slog as Level 5 full-autonomy is further away than when Model 3 was conceived. But I think like a driver.

    I’m sure loads of people will buy it. What’s sad to me is how many of them will do so agreeing with Tom’s miss-givings. Collectively, this tolerance gets interpreted as a “want”.

    1. stimpy says:

      I understand your point, but the same could be said about ever car. I’ve never owned a car that didn’t have things I didn’t like about it.

      1. pjwood1 says:

        Yeah, but criticisms of other cars are generally about over-sights and deficiencies, not things which were deliberately designed to annoy, distract and generally make driving more of a chore. I’m convinced this is Tesla’s push.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          This is rather far from an objective opinion. You’re only showing your own anti-Tesla bias, which appears to be growing stronger as time passes.

          Stimpy is absolutely right: The same thing can be said about literally every car. I don’t think there is a single car buyer in the world who doesn’t dislike something about the car he wound up buying.

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      pjwood1 said:

      “The interior is either creative demand destruction, to preserve Model S sales, or it may have a tough slog as Level 5 full-autonomy is further away than when Model 3 was conceived. But I think like a driver.”

      My initial reaction to the “Everything controlled by the central touchscreen” was the same as yours; a negative reaction, and an impression that the Model 3 was designed for full autonomy when that’s still years away.

      But the more I think about it, the more I think this is the direction vehicle interior design is going to go, even if we never see full self-driving cars. Gesture control and voice control are going to make accessing often-used controls much easier and faster, and all auto makers are going to like the cost savings and simplicity of using a computerized central system to control everything, rather than having to install different hardware buttons and knobs each with only a single function.

      I know I’m sticking my neck out here, but I predict that within a few years, we’ll start to see a trend toward Tesla being praised as forward-thinking for eliminating nearly all the buttons and knobs in the Model 3. I think this is the start of a trend.

  22. Another Euro point of view says:

    I have no problem with windshield wiper activation using a center screen as long as car is equipped with a very robust collision avoidance feature that for example would detect a 4 year old running across a street, I hope model 3 is equipped with such an equipment FROM STANDARD version otherwise such under performing activation would be a very very bad idea (if not plain murderous).

  23. Five Electrics says:

    Is this an $850 a month car? That’s the question for now. In six months we can ask if it’s a $650 a month car, and then when leasing is available, if it’s a $450 a month car.

  24. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    “Another nitpick I have about the need to interact with the center screen, is that you need to do so in order to increase or lower your speed when using the ACC”

    and…

    “Once you set the speed, if you want to change it, you need to do that from the center screen”

    That’s a pretty sh1tty setup…….IMHO

  25. Murrysville EV says:

    This review confirms my inclination to cancel my Model 3 reservation. I simply don’t want safety issues with the car I’m driving every day.
    I don’t want to be distracted every time I have to adjust the wipers or cruise control on a dark and stormy night.
    Besides, the Model 3 might be a better *value* than the competition – and it certainly looks better – but frankly I can’t afford the car I want. And if I wait for the short range version to come out, the subsidy will likely be gone by then.
    I just need to work up the nerve to cancel.

    1. Aaron says:

      Cruise control is TACC, why would you be adjusting it?

      That said, you shouldn’t purchase a vehicle you can’t afford.

      1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

        If I want to get past the car on the right of me because they’re swerving around/drunk?

        If I see a car on the on ramp and I want to get past the intercept point before they get on the freeway?

        If I see PoPo/Five 0/Fuzz either on the roadside or entering the freeway I’ll need to slow down???

        Lots of reasons………duh.

        Distracted driving “by design”.

        1. Aaron says:

          Those scenarios would have you use your “go pedal” or brake. Not incrementally increase your speed with the CC adjustment.

          1. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

            Then every car that has a “+” or “-” on the cruise control means they don’t do crap????
            They’re there for a reason.

            Puhleeeeese.

            1. Aaron says:

              Yeah, it’s slightly more convenient than modulating the speed manually and resetting CC.

              If it’s too much of an inconvenience don’t get one…

          2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            Gotta agree with Trollnonymous here. Well, not his claim that it’s “Distracted driving ‘by design’,” but that Tesla’s more sophisticated controls should make it easier, not harder, to incrementally adjust the cruise control speed.

            I hope that Tesla will add gesture control and/or voice control to make it easier to access control of that function as well as others. I have no doubt that situation will improve with time, as Tesla adds more functionality to the car’s interface software.

            But in the car’s current state of development, distracted driving is indeed going to be an issue. Probably not as serious an issue as it appears from reviews from first-time drivers, like this one; other reviews point out that as you get used to using the touchscreen controls, you can do it much faster and with little distraction. There is definitely a learning curve there.

            But distracted driving from having to go thru multiple menu layers of the touchscreen control is going to be an ongoing issue. The only reasonable debate is over just how serious that issue is, and whether or not it’s serious enough to be one on which a buying decision hangs. Perhaps in a year or two, gesture control and/or voice control will make that mostly a non-issue. But right now, it is an issue.

    2. s says:

      If you don’t need your $1000 deposit back immediately, just hold on to the reservation. If you change your mind in half a year, you can get the car then and you won’t need to wait another year if you had gone to the back of the queue.

    3. bro1999 says:

      I believe there is a way to sell your reservation. Actually, I’m sure there is. You just have to be willing to figure out how to do it discretely. 😉

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Or even discreetly; it would be rather difficult to sell a single reservation in a non-discrete fashion, since that would mean you wouldn’t be specifying any single one. 😉

        But no, despite the wishful thinking of many, it’s not possible to sell a Model 3 reservation or otherwise transfer it to another person; or rather, it’s not possible without the written permission of Tesla Inc.

        Of course the reservation holder could buy the car and immediately transfer ownership to someone else, but legally this isn’t at all the same thing. Legally, that transfer would qualify as selling a used car, which would rob the new owner of many of the perks of buying a new car… such as the up-to-$7500 tax rebate. In the case of a transfer of ownership within 12 months of the initial purchase, neither the original owner or the new owner could legally claim that tax rebate.

        Details in comments following the article linked below, for those interested. Note that’s the comments only; the article itself and the linked video have a pretty high misinformation content.

        https://insideevs.com/selling-tesla-model-3-reservation/

    4. Tech01x says:

      That makes no sense at all. The earliest that the full tax credit runs out is Q3, 2018… 9 months from now. After that, there’s 50% tax credit for another 6 months. And then another 25% for another 6 months.

      Have you spent significant time driving a Model S or X? I find the center screen to be *less* distracting, not more. It is easier.

      1. Murrysville EV says:

        I don’t mind center screens that augment the dashboard information, but the Model 3’s center screen is *it*.

        Muscle memory plays a big role in driving. When it’s dark and rainy out, it’s helpful to be able to operate the cruise and wipers without taking your eyes off the road for a second.

        I believe the Model 3’s center screen will be a safety hazard in some conditions. Even the momentary blinding of a dimmed display will hinder visibility for a few seconds after looking back toward the road.

  26. Eco says:

    Great review! Model 3 is a great car, can’t wait to get mine sometime next year.

    I believe Tesla is working furiously on the UI software to make it more intuitive and with full voice control, that’s the whole point of having (almost) everything controlled from the computer instead of knobs.

    Regarding the rear window height, it’s a compromise for more trunk opening space so bicycles and surf boards can be inserted. I don’t think I’d mind turning on the rear camera the odd time I’d have to back up.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Regarding the rear window height, it’s a compromise for more trunk opening space so bicycles and surf boards can be inserted.

      How so? It appears obvious from the photos posted above that the rear window does not come down as far in the back as it could. Note particularly the photo captioned “You can see how high the rear deck continues up the rear of the Tesla Model 3. The glass doesn’t begin until about halfway up.”

      Looks to me like the rear window could easily come down at least another 3-4 inches, and likely more. I appreciate that Tesla wanted to minimize drag, but this looks like a bad compromise to me. They could have brought the bottom of the rear window down a few inches farther without serious impact on aerodynamics and drag.

  27. s says:

    Tom,
    Great review, thanks! Does this make the first confirmed customer delivery (outside of the stage 4 cancer guy who got a special treat from Tesla)? If non-employee deliveries started last week, I’d expect reports in TMC, M3OC, reddit, etc. But I see nothing about non-employees actually taking delivery yet.

      1. s says:

        Thanks for the video, hadn’t seen this! Great to see one in the Boston area. But I’m pretty sure that it can’t be a regular customer car. Just doesn’t make sense for the first report of a regular (Tesla owner, but not employee) customer to be in MA, with none of the CA owners who ordered before Thanksgiving getting theirs yet.

        1. ffbj says:

          Right. They did get moved up in the line I’m sure, so it’s a bit unfair to imply that their getting one is typical.
          Though the question was, has anyone aside from employees gotten theirs, and other popular shows such as M3OC, were mentioned.

    1. George B says:

      The vehicle Tom test drove has likely been treated as a Tesla / SolarCity delivery due to previous affiliation of the owner at the time order placement.

  28. Lawrence says:

    A well thought out voice command in conjunction with the trackballs would be far preferable than taping and sliding a touchscreen. Is there no voice command or is the reviewer unaware of it, thus didn’t try using it?

    Without it, going through menus on the touchscreen to do even the most basic functions will become really annoying quickly.

  29. Steven says:

    That was my thought also, I don’t even know how to control my wife’s X’s wipers, they just work. In a few weeks, these will also I bet.

    Speed control under AP (probably controlled entirely by speed limit offset soon) and rear visibility are the only concerns that remain for me.

  30. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    As I understand it from the manual, the rockers on the steering wheel normally control stuff like stereo volume.

    Then, when you select a configuration item they’ll be used to modify the configuration.

  31. Roland says:

    I would have liked to hear about ride quality impressions with regards to the firmness of the suspension. Some reviews have said it’s a bit stiff especially with 19″ wheels. Thoughts?

    1. Tom Moloughney says:

      It was on the stiff/sporty side. That said, it wasn’t harsh. Ride preference is so individual, you really need to drive a car yourself to decide if it’s too stiff or too soft to your liking.

      1. bro1999 says:

        How was it compared to the Bolt you reviewed? Some people say the Bolt’s ride is a bit stiffer than they expect.

        1. Tom Moloughney says:

          I wish I had driven the Bolt more recently, that was four months ago. The Model S is much heavier, and you can feel it. It feels more solid than the Bolt, or my i3 for that matter. The suspension is tight, but I’d say it definitely absorbs road imperfections better than a Bolt.

      2. Murrysville EV says:

        @Tom: Thanks for a good review.

        The problem with test driving a Model 3 is that right now very few people can do that. IIRC, people are being asked to commit another non-refundable $2500 to configure their care, which also converts their $1000 reservation into non-refundable money.

        I’m 6’6″, and think Tesla’s expectation for people to shell out $3500 for a car which may not suit them is over the top. They need to populate their sales offices with demo units for this purpose.

        1. I’m sure they will get them out the their stores as soon as they can. Right now they need to get as many into customer hands as possible. I bet we’ll start to see them in Tesla showrooms sometime in Q1 .

    2. Nix says:

      If ride firmness is important to you, the 18″ wheels might be a better choice. Hard to say for sure until someone does a back-to-back test drive.

  32. Get Real(Improved Version) says:

    Thanks for the honest review. I think it’s pretty much as a lot of us expected it to be. Driving wise it’s great but unless the fit/finish issues (for now at least) need to be improved upon and while some may love it the whole sparse (or clean if you love it) interior and center console are a turn off.

    Good to hear about the front seat comfort though. I admittedly had my doubts as even those S non-premium seats aren’t exactly comfy.

    1. Get Real says:

      Real version here of Get Real.

      I agree its a solid review by Tom so thanks Tom!

      Its obvious that for the money the Model 3 will be the best sedan BEV for the money on the road for people who care about performance, looks, and charging capabilities and will be followed by the SUV version that will do the same and more for those who prefers SUVs.

      Can’t wait to get mine and transfer my Navdy HUD from my aging 2012 Volt into this car and call it a day.

      Unlike what the shills, shorters and haters who regularly pollute this site say, this car will become the vehicle that gets BEVs into the mainstream and this represents massive progress towards a better future.

      Of course fact won’t stop the trolls from trying to take a win and making it a loss because they don’t care about anything but themselves.

  33. Dutchie says:

    A lot of the “complaints” in this review like
    – various settings for regenerative braking
    – activating wiper by stalk in stead of screen
    – changing speed for cruise control with stalk etc.

    These are all software related and probably will change in the future by over the air software updates

    1. pjwood1 says:

      Yes, over time Tesla may update owners cars to hide more stuff:
      https://tinyurl.com/ydz7ytu5

  34. Emir says:

    Hey Tom, did you notice your consumption?

    Model 3 should be so much more efficient than a Model S. Did you drive it long enough to see consumption? I don’t think it has the graph consumption app yet but average consumption and trip meter should be there.

    1. Tom Moloughney says:

      No I didn’t. But honestly, it wouldn’t have been useful. I was stomping on the accelerator on every opportunity I had to do so. I’m sure my consumption wasn’t very good.

      1. George B says:

        The consumption of the vehicle I test drove this weekend was 247 Wh/m or about 4 m/kWh. Hope it helps!

        1. Emir says:

          That is incredible. 310 easy miles on the LR version! Can’t wait to replace my 2014 i3. Just waiting for the European, dual motor version. Still expecting 14-15 months of waiting.

  35. scott franco says:

    Thanks for the overview!

    I would say that the uneven build of the exterior panels says that the “automated assembly line” of the M3 still includes a lot of manual steps or rework. Machines don’t produce random fit of exterior body panels.

    All in all, I have not been invited to purchase the car. Prudence says that if I were, the thing to do is tell them I want a later car after they have shaken out.

    1. scott franco says:

      I would also say that it explains a lot about why they are stockpiling cars in parking lots. These cars are “scheduled for rework”, ie., factory rejects that are due to be reworked.

      This again says “wait”. It will take an amount of time to clear these reworked cars. You don’t want one of them. Sorry Tesla fans!

    2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      “I would say that the uneven build of the exterior panels…”

      I would say you need to read the review again. Tom quite clearly wrote “I probably wouldn’t have even brought it up if this wasn’t a topic that’s been so widely discussed.” The inevitable slight imperfections, as seen on all cars, not just Tesla cars, is something he probably would not have even have noticed if it was not for all the Tesla haters all over the Internet spreading false impressions about the fit-and-finish of Tesla cars. It’s true that in the past, Tesla had serious problems with fit-and-finish on early production Model S’s and Model X’s, but from various reviews of early Model 3 production units — including this one — it looks like Tesla no longer has that problem.

      In the real world, all cars have slight mis-alignments of body panels and trim. Cars from low-volume auto makers like Rolls-Royce and Ferrari may re-work some of the panel and trim alignments by hand, so that you have to look closer to see the slight imperfections; but they are still there if you look closely.

      The only cars which have perfect body panel alignment are the computer-generated animations/renders of cars now seen in all TV and magazine commercials for cars, and auto makers use those precisely because no real cars look that perfect.

      If you doubt this is true, then next time you’re in a parking lot, look closely at every car you pass. I think you’ll agree with my assessment.

  36. JyChevyVolt says:

    Is it Kdawg approved? Can you put a 57″ TV inside the Model 3?

    1. Kdawg says:

      I’m guessing no. So this would have to go into the cons column of the pros vs cons list of my Model 3 reservation decision. I was disappointed the Model 3 wasn’t a hatchback like the Model S.

  37. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    @Tom Moloughney:

    Thanks very much for the review!

    Some comments on the article:

    “I’m all for simplicity, but Tesla may have taken it a little too far. My first impression is that I won’t love everything being controlled by the center screen. Needing to look to my right for every bit of information, as well as to activate accessories while driving, just doesn’t seem all that safe.”

    I was expecting a perfect storm of criticism over the lack of dedicated instrument panel in the Model 3. I’ve been surprised that the reaction from reviewers is more muted than I expected. Perhaps my prediction that Tesla would be forced to rush a HUD into production, or perhaps make that a service center installed option, will prove to be wrong.

    There does need to be an easier and faster way to access certain functions, especially the more common ones. Perhaps in the coming months or years, Tesla will add gesture control and/or voice control over those functions, making them easier and safer to access.

    “There’s a stalk already on the column that activates the washer and wiper, why not allow that to have full control of the wiper function?”

    That does seem like Tesla dropped the ball there. And thanks, Tom, for clearing up that confusion. I couldn’t understand why people kept saying that you had to use the screen interface to activate the wipers, when there is a wiper icon visible on that steering column stalk!

    “The rear window doesn’t continue down as far on the Tesla Model 3 as it does on most cars. This limits the driver’s rear view visibility.”

    Wow, I’m really disappointed that Tesla made that design decision. Any auto maker should know better. Perhaps Tesla thought it had to sacrifice some lower window area to make up for all the glass overhead in that huge rear window? At any rate, I definitely think the TM3 deserves to be “dinged” for that impractical design decision. 🙁

    “On the road, the Model 3 doesn’t disappoint. It actually felt faster than Tesla’s claim of 5.1 seconds from 0-60, supporting Motor Trend’s recent instrument test which delivered a time of 4.8 seconds.”

    Let’s not forget that Motor Trend uses the “one-foot rollout” convention which artificially lowers the 0-60 times it reports. This isn’t the place to argue over whether that is “right” or “wrong”, but the difference should be kept in mind.

  38. ModernMarvelFan says:

    “The Deep Blue Metallic looked so good in person that I’m now seriously considering it for my Model 3”

    I agree. That is the color I want for my Model 3.

    After seeing the blue, black, red, white in person, I would say that Blue is the best color followed by the black.

    Nice write up! I haven’t driven it yet, but review does match up at least on the exterior observation that I have on the few Model 3 that I have seen around the Bay Area.

  39. Don Zenga says:

    Awesome looks, if there are defects, will they fix it later after all the production ramps up.
    For some people, reducing pollution, foreign oil and have the car is more important than those small defects.

    I believe the EPA does not count the space in the Frunk and if they do, it will add another 2 – 3 cu. ft. to the existing 115 cu. ft. of space.

    And what about the space below the trunk, probably that will add another 1 – 2 cu. ft.

    Go Tesla go.

  40. cab says:

    Tom, how was the road and wind noise at freeway speeds and what types of road surfaces did you get to drive on (i.e. smooth blacktop, aggregate blacktop, grooved concrete, etc.)?

    How was the ride quality compared to your original i3 (if you can remember, I know it has been a while) and the loaner i3 you’ve had more recently (a shame you don’t have your i3s yet)?

    1. The cabin was very quiet, no noticeable wind noise. It’s definitely more planted than an i3. The weight alone will contribute to that. It weighs nearly 1,000 lbs more than an i3. The ride quality seemed better than an i3, in the short time I had driving it, at least.

  41. Ben says:

    Tom, just wanted to say: I like your unbiased and detailed reports best in the EV world, it is something you do not see very often. Keep it that way.

    1. Tom Moloughney says:

      Thanks, Ben. I appreciate the sentiment greatly. 🙂

  42. ram1901 says:

    Nearly every ICE car has it’s controls on a center dash console or somewhere below the steering wheel on the left or right.

    The Prius (top selling hybrid) has it’s speedo in the middle of the dash, not centered in the driver’s view.

    Speedos in the center of the dash are usually behind the steering wheel where you have to glance down, thereby taking your eyes off the road.

    The idea is to set it and forget it … keep your eyes on the road with occasional glances at the control surface. I submit that It’s no less dangerous to fumble with switches that require you to look away from the road than it is to glance to your right at a touch screen. Like any car, you get use to and develop muscle memory for various control functions.

    The layout of the touch screen and the placement of the 15 inch display is an ideal high tech way of replacing old/low tech. It’s within easy reach and the functions that are required while driving are easily accessible. i.e. heat/ac controls, wipers, turn signals, cruise, gear shift display, speedo display and so on.

    Most of the reviews that gripe about the consolidation of the controls on the 15 inch display are feeling the pain of learning a new interface.
    My guess is once one drives the car for a few days and become familiar with it’s layout, it will be easier to use than what one use to drive.

  43. Nate says:

    Thanks for the objective review.

  44. Kdawg says:

    How did the Supercharger pay system work? Did you swipe a card, use an app, or get a bill emailed to you?

    1. MTN Ranger says:

      “Customers are billed automatically via a credit card linked to their Tesla Account. After each Supercharger session, customers can view the session details online. Supercharger history and downloadable invoices may also be viewed online.”

      https://www.tesla.com/support/supercharging

      1. Kdawg says:

        Thanks. That’s a useful link. I found this interesting “In North America, pricing is fixed within each state or province.”

      2. blkjack2u says:

        Thanks for the link! Does it really take just an hour to full charge? If so, seems a fair rate with my state being by the minute, otherwise, it is quite a steep cost over at home (especially with non-peak rate for EV owners).

  45. Bersus says:

    and, being a 1st day reservation from Italy, my delivery estimate is still 4 years away!
    Oh well it’s not that i worry incentives could run out… what incentives?

  46. Raymmmondo says:

    Great article! Thank you.

  47. NG says:

    Nearly all the concerns in the article can be resolved through software updates. Automatic windshield wipers have already been confirmed. Likely to come out very soon. Speed adjustments for autopilot could potentially be controlled from the steering wheel scroll wheels. More regen breaking modes could probably be added, though from my experience, I thought regen breaking was just fine as is. Can’t imagine it being stronger than that, but then again I have very little experience with electric cars outside of the model 3.

    I didn’t notice at all that it was difficult to see out the back window. I guess next time I drive one, I’ll have to pay a little more attention. Also, I know people keep complaining about having to look to the right for their speed and other info, but the screen is at such a perfect angle and at the right height where I feel there’s very little difference between a glance down vs a glance to the right. It took minutes to get used to it. I was looking for things to be concerned about when I drove the car, but it was so much fun that all of those concerns melted away instantly.

  48. Bonaire says:

    20c/kWh = 13 kWh for 40 miles of range at $2.60 per 40. So, roughly the same as gasoline pricing for a 40mpg car like a Honda Civic at $18,900 or so for highway mpg. Then you need to buy the electronics for at-home charging station ($400+electrician).

    Economically, it’s still a tight compare for a Model 3 to a true economy car. So, the reality still is a compare to a BMW Model 330 or so at a similar price given that the $7500 tax credit isn’t easily factored into a lease.

    It’ll be a fun car when it comes out at $35k but for now, the $50k+ entry price isn’t economical. it’s a BMW 5-series compare.

  49. claude says:

    You’re still very lucky Tom (4 more months before delivery) mine too was reserve on the 31st of march 2016 (in person) and I’m an S owner and my delivery date is at the end of 2018! I’m from Montreal…

  50. rambunkshuss says:

    My biggest worries with the M3 are long-term reliability and getting it fixed. It’s not like I have a choice of 6 Chevy dealers within 30 miles as I have now. The MS has proven to be just average in reliability, so how good will l’il bro be for half the cost?

  51. Chris Llana says:

    Thanks for the useful review, Tom, especially concerning the strength of the regen (disappointing). Robert Llewellyn (Fully Charged) did a review of the Model S 100D recently, and discovered that the AWD regen was significantly stronger than with his own RWD Model S. I’m hoping the same will apply to the AWD Model 3 versus the RWD Model 3 (and might be worth checking before opting for a RWD 3). With all four wheels braking (and the front wheels doing the most work), an AWD EV certainly has the potential for much stronger magnetic braking.

  52. Bradford says:

    The Bolt has a wonderful rear camera that remains on as your rear view mirror…many seem to love this feature on the Bolt…..maybe that would be an option for this the model 3 so as to improve rear visibility (with a lens incorporating less “fish eye effect” or slightly less wide field of view? just a thought….

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