Tesla Model 3 Ride Quality Inferior To Old Nissan LEAF – Video


It lacks the air suspension available on the Tesla Model S and X and that’s part of the reason why the Model 3 has worse ride quality than an old LEAF.

The other part of the equation comes down to tires (much lower profile on the Model 3) and sportiness, which the LEAF lacks. The LEAF is tuned for comfort, whereas the Model 3 is more focused on sporty, so we’d expect to see a result like this. However, that air suspension can make a world of difference. See here to more fully understand how the 3 differs from its air-sprung siblings.

Tesla Model 3 On Left, Nissan LEAF On Right

Video description:

The Tesla Model 3 vs Nissan Leaf on a city road.

Which provides the smoother ride? Find out.

Both cars are using stock wheels and tires. The Tesla has the 18″ Aero wheels with the caps still on. The Model 3 is supposed to be “the first mainstream electric car” not a sports car.

The result is no surprise. The Nissan LEAF is a softly sprung family-hauler, whereas the Model 3 is basically a sporty sedan bordering on high-performance driving machine.

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78 Comments on "Tesla Model 3 Ride Quality Inferior To Old Nissan LEAF – Video"

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Well… yeah… of course it rides harder.

The Nissan Leaf rides smooth as an S-Class and the Model 3 is a sports sedan with stiffer suspension.

A more reasonable test would be to compare vs a BMW 3-series or 5-series.

Put that cup in the rear shelf to feel that Nissan Leaf torsion beam suspension ( aka. Torture beam suspension. ).

There is a reason why most premium sedans offer an adaptive suspension and most people order it.

Unfortunately that is not yet available on the Model 3 and the harshness may be an issue and something to be aware of in purchasing.

@cros13, some idiots will try to do a ride comparison between BMW 3 series(may be M3) with Toyota Corolla.

The result would be obvious: BMW of any car model would have worse ride compares with Corolla, and the tester would declare that Toyota is a better car than BMW.

No, BMW’s ride better than Corollas. Especially if you have active suspension, and even without. I travel a lot and get Corollas and BMW’s for rentals depending on where I travel to.

The Leaf rides as an S-class….?!?! LMAO…r u kidding me?! Are you seriously comparing a Nissan and a Mercedes in general, let alone the ride quality of a leaf and an S-class? I know that the Tesla fanbase is pretty damn hardcore, but once in a while you should open your eyes and understand that Teslas are nothing more than low-quality high-priced cars that, yes, do perform well on a straight line (due to lower center of gravity and balance points) but are alwful to actually drive, poorly built (so poorly, that even the windows trims are not alligned properly) and most if all, ugly.
Anyways, I am sure the fanbase will breeze by my comments and still order another model 3 and wait for it as if they ordered a Chiron, but for the rest of us, the ones that don’t buy Musk’s sh**, we know.

Such intelligence, very constructive, wow! /s

I don’t feel like the Leaf rides that smoothly at all. It’s certainly a much rougher ride than my e-Golf. I don’t really mind it, but the Leaf has never struck me as having any sort of exceptionally smooth ride.

I currently have a model 3 #1412. I have had 3 BMWs and the 3 rides even harsher than all three including the 2007 328 with the handling package and run flat tires. I am not driving the Nuremberg ring, I am driving LA pothole streets. I love everything about the car except the ride. For a 4000lb car to ride this rough is just poor design. The compression damping is way to high and the spring rate is also to high.

Model 3 will be producing 2500 M3’s a week by the end of fourth quarter. Already building 1,000 a week.

Sorry 1st quarter

YES! Good to Know.I’d Like to see one in my Garage Soon.

Well, I have a feeling they both have better ride quality than my Bolt! Lots of reasons I love my car, but a smooth ride isn’t at the top of the list! 😛

This guy should have done a Bolt versus Model 3 ride quality test.

(⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

Or better, include the Bolt for a 3 car test.

@ (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous

@ bro1999

Yeah, I’d like to see a comparison between these. Maybe once the Buick version comes out, that would be a good comparison between the three.

Pretty sure the Buick version will blow all three away.

They tired but everyone kept falling off the seat in the Bolt.

I always liked the ride, and handling of my British 1950s-60s sports cars. Wife’s Corolla, and the Leaf are sleep inducing. Loving the Bolt!

Article Title: “Tesla Model 3 Ride Quality Inferior To Old Nissan LEAF“

The article correctly points out that the Model 3 is tight-sports tuned while Nissan Leaf is floating-ride tuned… but that does not make the ride quality of the Model 3 “inferior” as incorrectly stated in the title.

I makes it inferior in ride quality, but superior in handling. The term inferior in this context is correct.

… I concede to your point. Thanks

It’s certainly not “inferior” if the driver is the sort of sports car lover who prefers to be able to feel the road.

I’m not one of those people, but you can read a review from someone who raves over the ride quality here:


Calling the ride quality “inferior” is definitely a subjective opinion, not an objective one. Now, if they had called it “harsher” or “rougher”, then that would be objectively correct. But they didn’t.

I generally agree with what @Pushmi-Pullyu is saying here which was the basis of my original comment but reason I above conceded to @Lawrence above point is because:

Wiki Says….

“Ride quality refers to the degree of protection offered vehicle occupants from uneven elements in the road surface, or the terrain if driving off-road… Automakers often perceive providing an adequate degree of ride quality as a compromise with car handling, because cars with firm suspension offer more roll stiffness, keeping the tires more perpendicular to the road…”


So it seems that those (like me) that prefer a sportier & better “handling” car are having to some degree make a trade on “ride quality”.

I got used to feeling the road in the decade plus I owned my first gen Honda Insight (before it was totaled by a UPS truck). So, I don’t mind feeling the road. That being said, I sure feel like I can feel plenty of the road in my Leaf.

Maybe I’m doing something wrong, but the Leaf doesn’t strike me as having a particularly smooth ride.

There are a lot of complaints on the internet about the ride quality of the Tesla model 3. Now I see why. This is horrible. The UPS truck rides smoother than this. They have to do something about the ride quality of the base model 3. There’s no good way to spin this. This is unacceptable…

Some of them have been due to very high tire pressures at delivery. Owners should check their tire pressures first.

“There’s no good way to spin this.”

At least one reviewer, a writer for Motor Trend, disagrees with your assessment. Disagrees completely! And that’s not “spin”, it’s opinion. So is yours.

For three years I had the 2012 Nissan Leaf SL. The ride quality was not that good, it should have been better, but when compared to the Tesla Model 3 you would think it was great. They are probably using the base model 3 rough ride to encourage people to upgrade to the air suspension system. After seeing this demonstration, who’s going to want the base model?

Easy: people that understand sports sedans are tuned that way ON PURPOSE to provide nimble and predictive handling, unlike the marshmellow loaf that is a Leaf.

i.e. BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 owners.

There is nothing “sporty” about vibrating car, quite the opposite, random jump at high speed can send you airborne off the road.

Good “sporty” shock absorbers absorb vibrations, even if they are “hard” and stiff to keep car on the road.

AFAIK there is no upgrade to air suspension for the M3, you have to go to the MS or MX for that.

“After seeing this demonstration, who’s going to want the base model?”

Anybody who complains about some cars, especially luxury cars, having a suspension so “mushy” that they can’t feel the road at all. That’s who!

Or more generally, anyone who prefers the “firm” ride quality of a sports car. I’m not one of them, but let us please not pretend that everyone prefers a highly cushioned ride.

If Tesla “upgraded” the Model 3 to 16 inch wheels instead of 18 and 19 inch wheels the ride would become nicer and the range and efficiency of the car would also increase…

I agree. I don’t like the Harsh ride of low profile tires. (I know they handle better) I am not too concerned about handling too much , A smoother ride would be my choice. They make Low profile tires with softer side walls for a smoother ride & could be switched out.

It is not sure it is even physically possible to put 16 inch wheels on the Model 3.

Another Euro point of view

Those low profile tires are a pain in the butt. They are bad for comfort, affect MPG performances negatively, bad for rain & snow. Stupid fashion.

“Those low profile tires are a pain in the butt.”


One rarely sees that phrase used where it’s literally true. 🙂

I would have thought the Model 3’s longer wheelbase (vs the Leaf) would have helped more.

It seems pretty clear that Tesla’s engineers deliberately chose to give the Model 3 a rather firm, sports-car-like ride quality.

Calling the ride quality “inferior” is wrong in more than just one way; it implies that Tesla didn’t achieve what it intended to, which is almost certainly wrong.

If the 3 is purposely tuned this way they are shooting themselves in the foot. This limits their customers to those looking for “sports sedans”. If you are trying to create a mass market for EVs, limiting your audience runs counter to that purpose. If they had a “sports option” that had stiffer suspension, and a smoother “standard” version, then they could meet both and increase market potential. Seems they are limiting their market by this.

Having “sport tuned suspension” is counter to the idea that the Model 3 is more than a local car. I love cars that handle, but wouldn’t road trip in one. A car that is designed for performance over comfort is what weekend cars are for.

Yes, with the range and Superchargers you can take long trips, but when you have to go a thousand miles feeling every bump up your spine, it certainly changes the practicality of the car.

“If the 3 is purposely tuned this way they are shooting themselves in the foot. This limits their customers to those looking for “sports sedans”. If you are trying to create a mass market for EVs, limiting your audience runs counter to that purpose.”

I agree, it does seem strange that Tesla would give the base model a ride firmness that only a sports car lover can appreciate. Those of us who don’t want their body to ache after hours of driving, will apparently have to wait for, and pay for, the air suspension package.

If this was a marketing ploy by Tesla, then I think it was a mistake. Just my opinion, of course.

Very interesting test. I liked the ride in my former Leaf, so I’m not sure I’ll enjoy the Model 3 if I pull the trigger. Still, I won’t buy it until I drive it.

Also – I noticed that Leaf is showing 23 miles range on half a tank of electrons. Terrible degradation – just like I experienced, and in this case it’s only 54F outside. That car is almost unusable now.

Yeah, awful!
And 6/12 bars isn’t precisely half the energy left as we all know about the GOM false indication.
And I think I read only 15498 miles on it witch make matter even worse!
This Leaf got beaten in hot weather with lot of DCFC.

IMO something weird is going on there. There’s no way any Leaf, even in the worst possible conditions, should have a battery that degraded in only 15,000 miles. I count eight bars on the battery which is also terrible.

If that Leaf is really down to eight bars at only 15K miles then it’s a shoe-in for battery replacement. I wonder if the battery was defective from the start.

All LEAF batteries were defective to begin with.

New springs ride harder.

To everyone complaining and saying they won’t buy one, or people won’t buy them, etc…


Until Tesla can build them faster than they can sell them. Once they happens, they’ll figure out why and offer options to sell more.

They’ll offer smaller rims and softer suspension, or larger rims and stiffer suspension. Easy fix. But unnecessary right now.

Why would you come here and spoil these perfectly good uninformed rants with your COMMON SENSE! For shame John!

If Tesla wants people to know about the Model 3, and wants them to put off buying another car with the plan to eventually get a Model 3, then it certainly is going to be a problem if they find out the base model won’t work for them; if they have to wait longer and pay more to get the package with air suspension, at a somewhat higher price.

That is certainly going to lose Tesla some sales. You’re correct to say that in the short run it doesn’t matter, but it seems pretty clear Tesla’s goal is to capture as much of the growing PEV market as it can, as early as it can. People deciding the TM3 is unacceptable because the ride is too firm certainly is going to have an impact on sales. Not in the short term, no; but certainly in the long term.

Just my opinion of course, but I can’t see how it could be otherwise. I think the only real question here is just how much negative impact this will have on demand for TM3, not whether or not it will.

I actually want Bose type magnetic suspension.

I think Leaf fans are ignoring the real benefit here. I mean, shucks you could wash a load of laundry in the trunk with all that agitation going on, on a seemingly flat road. That’d save even more energy and water than a Leaf could.

I’ve been driving a Model S now for 3 years. It will be my last. I loved the car when it first came out, but better options are now coming. I’m moving to the Jaguar iPace EV because it is of better quality. A nicer interior, and it will handle better. Most importantly for me, or will have a smooth and comfortable ride. The Model S doesn’t have thd kind of ride expected on a £100,000 vehicle.

Yeah the Jag MAY turn out to be all you desire. Which simply means it’s a better car as far as YOU subjectively believe it to be, not because it actually IS.

When it comes to cars, “better” is almost always subjective.

The more EV options the better.
Plus, there will be more meaningful comparisons (Jag vs Tesla) when they are both/all EVs.

I just don’t get people who say this “car is bad” – without useful context it is like saying: “Apples are bad. Pears are much better!”

A cars ride ‘feel’ is subjective just like the stiffness of a couch. I actually consider a sports sedan stiffness as “superior” to a drunken Oldsmobile.

Harder the ride feel every bump makes me feel like i’m in a real sports car.


Tesla is a premium performance brand after all. Have you people forgotten?

Its somewhat like people ordering a C-class AMG and then complaining about the harsh ride.

I haven’t seen any information that would point out that Tesla is interested in producing more sedated vehicles.

I am buying M3 for autopilot. When level 5 autonomous is achieved, I will definitely appreciate ride comfort than handling. It will be great if Tesla offers the option to have smaller rims and softer suspension now so it can save me money and trouble in the future.

Need it more without. AP is 40% safer than without

AEB is 50% safer than without AEB* by airbag deployment count. Now when Tesla Autopilot added AEB but got only 40% improvement, it would mean it is around 10% less safe than other car with AEB.

* Extra conditions apply: your AEB must be really functional like in today’s mass market cars to reach these 50%. AEB that crashes into big red truck stopped on highway do not qualify.

In that case you probably shouldn’t buy one for at least half a decade, if not a full one. We’re still a long way away from fully autonomous driving.

Hmmm, well, calling a ride quality “inferior” because it’s intentionally engineered to be firmer, is at best a subjective judgement, not an objective one. At worst, it’s pretty clueless.

Personally I prefer a softer ride than the very firm one described in Motor Trend’s “First Drive” review (link below); a rave review which appears to be confirmed by other more recent reviews in many ways, including this one.

Those who don’t want their TM3 to have as firm a ride as a sports car will, I guess, have to wait for the air suspension package available at a later date. At least, it seems to be a reasonable assumption that the air suspension will have selectable levels of ride firmness… but you know what they say about assumptions! 😉


Handling and ride comfort are 2 sides of the same coin. You can have one but not the other. If it’s ok to say that TM3 handling is superior to that of Leaf, it’s perfectly ok to say that TM3 has inferior ride quality.

You still can have both but you must make the move to magnetic suspension instead of old mechanical systems.

Lol dumbest comparison ever. Of course the leaf is smoother, it got no power and doesn’t corner like the tesla 3. Why are we even.

Remember, this car was designed to take on and thoroughly beat the BMW 3 series in performance.

I’m sure that once the Model 3 is out for a while that Bilstein or some other high end damper manufacturer will offer smoother dampers and an aftermarket spring will probably also be offered maybe even Tesla itself will change the characteristics.

I personally like sports car handling on my cars even though it means a rougher ride.

Performance oriented car with 18″ wheels rides differently than a non-performance car with 16″ wheels. Who would have ever thought?

News at 9.

A good road car has both qualities, a smooth ride and good handling. A harsh ride isn’t a indicator of good handling, it’s just an excuse for poor design, at least for a road car.

Well this is disconcerting. I ditched the Leaf because Kia Soul EV ride was far superior. Makes me wonder about my Model 3 on reserve . Will get a test drive next week and find out.

Tire inflation pressure has a large effect on ride comfort as it changes the “springiness” of the tires. What pressures were the Leaf tires at? What pressures were the Model 3 tires at?

Model 3s are being delivered with >45 psi inflation pressures. Would someone with a Model 3 please reduce these pressures to 32 psi and report on the results, please?

The range and energy use will plummet as well with lower tire pressure.

Sporty cars with stiffer suspensions and better handling generally have “firmer” rides than cars with softer suspension and worse handling. It is a trade off unless one uses fancier suspension setup and things such as air suspension or magnetic dampers.

Now, there are some former Prius/Leaf owners complaining about Bolt suspension being too “firm” as well. Well, I would just say that those people don’t like sporty driving, they would rather driving a sofa around.

“It lacks the air suspension available on the Tesla Model S and X and that’s part of the reason why the Model 3 has worse ride quality than an old LEAF”

Sorry that makes no sense.

The original LEAF does not have air suspension. So by your logic an old LEAF will have worse ride quality than an old LEAF.

I have a 2013 Leaf. It does ride nice. I’m buying a model 3 – not a Leaf 2.0 – as are MANY others.

overall tesla model 3 seems to be good in all aspects like design,power and specifications.

A couple of 21 inch subwoofers thumpin’ in da trunk with Bassnectar playin will make y’all forget about the wheels bumpin’ but da trunk thumpin’!