Tesla Model 3 review

Category: Electric car

Section: Costs & verdict

Available fuel types:electric
Available colours:
Tesla Model 3 2019 RHD infotainment
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RRP from£43,545

Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

As we've already mentioned, the Model 3 is the cheapest car in Tesla's line-up – and by some margin. After you’ve taken into account the Government's plug-in car grant, the Standard Range Plus costs roughly the same as an equivalent BMW 3 Series. You don't get the grant on our favourite Performance version, though, because it's over £50,ooo, which makes it more expensive outright than the Polestar 2. That said, the Model 3 is predicted to depreciate more slowly, which should reduce that gap once you come to trade it in. 

The Model 3 makes the most sense to company car drivers because its zero CO2 emissions mean extremely low benefit in kind (BIK) tax bills. You’ll also spend a lot less on electricity than you would on petrol or diesel. Insurance costs are higher than on many conventional rivals, though.

Buying a Model 3 gives you access to Tesla’s own network of Superchargers, which allow you to charge the battery (from 10-80%) in as little as 30 minutes. You have to pay each time, but the price is reasonable, and the Supercharger network is more prolific and more reliable to use than any other. That's a big reason to buy the Model 3 over, for example, a Polestar 2.

You can still charge up at any public CCS charging point if you need to. This method takes longer (around 1hr 15min) for the same 10-80% top-up, whereas a full 0-100% charge at home using a 7kW charger takes around 11hr 45min.

Equipment, options and extras

All versions of the Model 3 come with plenty of luxuries, including climate control, adaptive cruise control, faux-leather seats (heated in the front) and keyless entry – via an app on your smartphone. 

Go for the Long Range or Performance version and, as well as the infotainment extras we’ve already mentioned, you’ll get heated seats in the back. It’s a good thing the Model 3 is so well equipped as standard, though, because there isn’t much on the options list.

Tesla Model 3 2019 RHD infotainment

Reliability

The Model 3 comes with a four-year/50,000 mile warranty, with the battery and drive unit covered separately for eight years or 100,000 miles. Not only does this warranty cover the electrical bits against faults, it also guarantees a minimum 70% retention of battery capacity.

In the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, Tesla finished 4th out of 31 brands – a far better showing than in 2018. However, the Model 3 was too new to be included in the survey.

Safety and security

The Model 3 is one of the safest cars ever tested by Euro NCAP – it scored exceptionally well for both its ability to protect occupants in an accident and for its ability to help avoid a crash in the first place. The latter is thanks to automatic emergency braking (AEB) and blindspot monitoring featuring as standard.

As for security, as well as the usual accoutrements, there’s something called Sentry mode. When enabled, this uses the car’s external cameras to start recording when the car is approached after it’s locked, saving the footage to a USB drive. So, if someone tries to break in, or if someone drives into your Model 3 when its parked up, the cameras will record the incident.

 

Overview

The Tesla Model 3 is great to drive, packed full of tech, fast (ridiculously so in Performance guise) and even reasonably practical. Yes, it is firmer-riding than some of its executive car rivals, but it’s never uncomfortable, even on beaten-up UK roads. It’s is also competitively priced and well equipped, and factor in its long battery range and Tesla's world-beating charging infrastructure and it's more recommendable than the Polestar 2. Indeed, it’s a real contender not just in the electric car class, but the wider executive car class, too.

  • Savage acceleration
  • Long range between charges
  • Surprisingly practical
  • Fast charging via Tesla's prolific Supercharger network
  • Build quality could be better
  • Handling not as entertaining as petrol rivals
  • Some may find the ride a touch firm

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