We know the Tesla Model 3 is a great little sedan that is no longer just good compared to other EVs, but also when compared to conventionally powered rivals. It is not that often compared to these gas- or diesel-burning three-box models, but when MotorTrend did it, the publication crowned the Model 3 as its best sedan buy of 2021.
The Model 3 was close to winning their 2020 car of the year competition, but its quality control niggles ultimately robbed it of the top position (although even making it among the finalists was an achievement in and of itself). This is what MotorTrend had to say about the car this year, which to be frank seems like a bit of negative description for their top sedan pick:
The Tesla Model 3 came very close to taking home our 2020 Car of the Year honors. It's a well-rounded sedan in all aspects; it's the only battery electric vehicle on this list; and it offers great range at an attainable price. The Model 3 has come under fire for its build quality, and it doesn't feel as luxurious as some competitors do inside. The steering is also vague, and that's not what you want when you're behind the wheel of something as lightning quick as the Model 3. That said, its range numbers dismiss our anxiety, it's quiet, is regularly updated over-the-air, and Tesla's Supercharger network is still unmatched. The Model 3 does more than enough to justify its spot at the top of our list.
In second place, after the Model 3, MT placed the Genesis G70, followed by the Audi A4, Volvo S60, Alfa Romeo Giulia, BMW 3 Series, Acura TLX, Cadillac CT5, Lexus IS and Infiniti Q50. This is certainly an achievement for Tesla as a brand to have such a reputable automotive outlet pick its smallest offering as the best premium compact sedan overall, in spite of the fact that even though EV popularity is rising, battery-powered vehicles are still seen as niche propositions.