Tesla Model 3 Review By Edmunds – Video

Tesla Model 3


Edmunds’ newest long-term test vehicle is a Tesla Model 3, so this is the first of an upcoming assortment of professional reviews.

As many of you are aware, when Edmunds acquires a vehicle for long-term testing, there’s generally an initial article/video, followed by more detailed information at a later date, and then concluded with a recap at the end of one year of use. This is meant to give the reader an idea of what it’s like to “live with” the vehicle.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 interior

Being that this is just Edmunds’ introduction post, the publication hasn’t had an opportunity to get into the nitty, gritty details about the Tesla Model 3. In fact, Edmunds has not yet taken the Model 3 to the track. Nonetheless, we look very forward to the wealth of details that will come from the upcoming process.

So, what does Edmunds have to share in this early stage, aside from the current “knowns,” like pricing, range, and power?

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing, spent a weekend with the Model 3, thus far. His key takeaways are as follows:

  • Don’t lose track of the key card (if your phone dies you’ll be locked out)
  • The minimalistic dashboard really works well
  • The interior feels very clean and “not cheap”
  • There’s plenty of logical interior storage
  • The trunk opening is large
  • Tesla Model 3

    Tesla Model 3 trunk opening and interior space

  • The internet browser and the power menu is either not present, or buried in menus
  • The owner’s manual is missing or hidden in menus
  • There is no physical owner’s manual in the glovebox
  • Outward visibility is excellent (even out back … )
  • The car offers plenty of thrust
  • The steering wheel has a nice feel and you can adjust its level of effort
  • Good grip, minimal body roll, although a bit firm for rough roads (it feels like a Tesla)
  • Rear-wheel drive lessens the function of the regenerative braking
  • Great stereo! (as part of the currently mandatory Premium Upgrades package)
  • Touch screen is cool and mostly simple (though some operations are too hard to perform while driving)
  • Adjusting the steering wheel tilt and mirrors is difficult at first
  • Wiper controls on the touch screen is an issue
  • The air vent system is very well-designed
  • Cruise control and Autopilot controls are “weird”
  • Tesla Model 3

    Tesla Model

    Looking to your right (at the screen) while driving is the biggest problem that Dan repeats throughout the review

Edmunds concludes:

“I’m diggin’ this thing … I’m pretty impressed with the Model 3 sedan, so much so that I’m going to hang onto a second reservation that I put in for myself.”

Dan is confident that the Model 3 is going to live up to the promise, despite worries about whether or not this car can live up to the hype and make reservation-holders happy, especially after such extended wait times.

Video Description via Edmunds on YouTube:

What is it like to drive the long-awaited Tesla Model 3 sedan? Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds shares his thoughts after spending a weekend in our newest long-term test vehicle.

Q: How much does the 2017 Tesla Model 3 cost?
A: They’re not yet building the $35,000 base vehicle with the standard battery. All 2017 Tesla Model 3 sedans have the long-range battery, so they start at $44,000. For the time being, the $5,000 Premium Upgrades package is a mandatory option, so the effective base price of the car is $49,000. This test vehicle was priced at $55,000 because it also has Autopilot ($5,000) and a paint color other than black ($1,000). Delivery and taxes are extra, of course.

Q: How far will the 2017 Tesla Model 3 go on a full charge?
A: Model 3 sedans built with the long-range battery are officially rated to deliver 310 miles of range. The base model will be rated at 220 miles when it debuts in the near future.

Q: How much power does the 2017 Tesla Model 3 have?
A: The rear-mounted electric motor produces 258 horsepower. There is no transmission because the Model 3 uses direct drive to power the rear wheels.

Q: How quick is the Model 3?
A: We have not yet brought our Tesla Model 3 to the track. Complete test results will be coming to Edmunds soon.

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30 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Review By Edmunds – Video"

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Damn it looks good. The aero-wheels works perfectly in that color.

Gaaah, can’t wait to get mine. And I hope the dollar crashes totally during 2018… 😉

Sadly, your wish is trump’s command.
Putin is in control, so, our $ likely will collapse.

“There is no transmission because the Model 3 uses direct drive to power the rear wheels.”

That’s wrong. It’s has a single speed transmission with fixed gear ratio.

All electric cars have one step-down gear.
It’s still direct.
There is no shifting.

IMO, direct would mean the shaft of the motor is connected directly to the axle.

Indirect without a transmission would mean the shaft of the motor connects directly to the differential, but without any additional gears to increase or decrease the rpm ratio between the motor and the wheels.

Indirect with a single speed transmission is what Tesla uses, this adds a single gearset to allow the motor to turn at about 10 times the rpm of the wheels.

Indirect with a multispeed transmission (some call a gearbox) adds multiple gear ratios to the above. The early roadster had a 2 speed gearbox. Most classic car EV retrofits keep the original gearbox for simplicity, even though you don’t use more than one or two gears.

yea I was wondering about that.

In the video he mentioned something about adaptive cruise, then autopilot since they paid for that option. This is something I’ve been wondering regarding the Model 3. If one chooses to buy the M3 without autopilot (and upgrade to AP later via OTA update and $5k), would the vehicle have any form of cruise control?

You pay $5k at the time you buy, it is a higher cost I believe $7500 if you purchase AP after you buy the car.

Adaptive cruise is stock with the car, so yes you will have adaptive cruise if you don’t buy AP.

If it’s like all other AP hardware equipped Teslas, if you don’t buy Autopilot, you only have traditional cruise control.

Current buyers are still paying for T’s R&D costs, driving the cost of adaptive cruise, etc. too high. I’ll wait for more reasonable prices and in the interim have bought a Honda Civic touring with 41 mpg hwy, adaptive cruise & more for less than half the 3 with add-ons. But electric is our end goal.

Yes but a basic speed keeping cruise control is standard. Adaptive (keeping a certain space between the vehicle in front) is what is added with the AP option.

Looking to the right for speed info etc. is strange at first, but you will quickly adapt to it and in a month’s time you will have forgotten it was ever an issue.

Yes, I’d wish Tesla would put more standard controls into the car. Like wiper and mirror function.

Otherwise, a revolutionary product finally arrives.

The car was designed around auto wipers, headlights, memory setting, etc. Having dedicated controls for functions that you would rarely ever change just adds money.

I adjust cruise control speed often, such as when speed limit changes, or if traffic conditions change (if I didn’t spend thousands more to get ACC). It’s much more convenient to tap a button on the steering wheel a few times rather than reaching for screen or resetting cruise control speed from scratch.

Regarding audio controls, in my current car I often adjust audio volume and skip forward or backward using steering wheel controls. I’m not sure if the Model 3 can do that, but it would be a pain if it couldn’t.

@Merv, I believe much of the design decisions for the Model 3 was made with the premise that a good amount of (up to level 4/5) autonomy would be there by the time they rolled out of the Fremont factory. It now appears to me that the included AP hardware may not cut it for going beyond level 3. They are at level 2, right now.

Tesla will most likely update the AP hardware suite (and the price too) in some future version of the car. I don’t expect the steering wheel to exist in that version.

I actually fiddle with TACC speed all the time in my S. That was the one part of the review where I winced a little.

@mx, direct control of wiper is okay but side mirrors ? How often do you adjust side mirrors (or rear mirror) while driving ? Every minute ?

I never adjust any mirror while driving, I only adjust mirrors once and never touch it again if I am the only driver of that car.

More importantly, with mirror adjustment set to our keyfob, there really is no reason to have separate buttons.
And the same is true of the wipers.
Shortly, you will turn then on/off via voice.
That will be a huge difference.

If they do the voice implementation well that’ll be nice of course, but anyone who thinks voice is a perfect answer hasn’t driven with kids or inlaws who won’t STFU. Trying to talk to the car while passengers are also talking… doesn’t work well.

Nice and I was originally kind of cold to the combination of Smart Phone or card to unlock the car but then I learned the cards are supposedly $5 or so. Much better then the ~$300 key fobs which eat batteries today and can die when dropped in water.

I think this is a feature more automakers will pick up faster than transitioning to battery power. What is the purpose of carrying around a bunch of keys? Just like Apple Pay, all you need is your phone for everything, including your car! Of course you need to keep it charged.

From what distance does the card lock/unlock the car? Today I can unlock or sound the alarm from ~50 ft or more. Quite handy to lock it if I don’t remember I locked or not. I can also unlock for someone while I am standing far away. How does it work with the card? Smart phone may be the only option.

Optioned as they have it for $55k, … it feels complete.

Try to bring your order price down by dropping any of the “Edmunds equipped” options off the list. .. and you get a squirmy feeling.

Nice car — if you’re comfortable with a $55,000 price tag.

/Probably going to want to sacrifice some range with a lower tire pressure for non-roadtrip days. Upper 40’s psi is pretty stiff.

The main option is the $9,000 long range battery. By eliminating that option, your $55K price tag drops down to a much more palatable $46,000.

So it remains exactly the same “nice car” without the longer range. If you wanted to delete the “enhanced autopilot,” and have a normal gas car experience, the price would be $41,000, and you would still have a “nice car.”

@Unplugged, my plan is the standard range with luxury package for $41k plus tax and fees before any tax credit.

@HN, Me too. I will add the AP later on (even if I have to cough up more for it). Unless of course, they say that full autonomy is possible by the time I get my car. I have always wanted to tour the length and breadth of USA without having to stayed glued to the wheel, the whole time.

I’m wondering about the credit card key. My chargepoint cards typically last less than a year. Of course ChargePoint is notorious for junky docking stations – they probably only work well in southern california climates.

He basically likes the car, and you can’t expect perfection for $55,000.

It needs more physical controls. Tesla should study the Chevy Bolt for a lesson on the right balance of touchscreen vs. physical control.

Windshield wipers especially, sometimes your windshield is unexpectedly splashed and you cannot see forward without hitting the wipers. In a Model 3 this could become a life threatening situation.

I’ve not yet seen if it has a heated steering wheel which in an EV is mandatory for cold weather climates. If not then it’s a grave oversight.

Otherwise the interior looks great, and Chevy would do well to study it and learn how to design seats and how to create a sense of solidity. To be fair, the Model 3 costs a LOT more than a Bolt so Tesla have more leeway on materials. I’ll be surprised if Tesla actually build many $35K Model 3s.

He mentions in the review that you can get a single wiper sweep at the tap of a stalk button, so that’s your “life threatening situation” sorted out.

I do like a heated steering wheel but it’s an overstatement to say it’s “mandatory” and a “grave oversight”. From experience I can say that there are these things called “gloves” that work quite well. Also in a long-range car such as the Model 3, there’s less need to avoid using the cabin heater.