The Tesla Model 3 is one of Ireland’s best-selling electric cars, alongside the Volkswagen ID.4 and ID.3. To stay ahead of the game, Tesla has recently facelifted the Model 3 with lots of updates inside and out. Prices for the rear wheel drive Standard Range Plus start from around €49,000, and it has a 448 kilometre range, while the Long Range version that you see here has four wheel drive and a best-in class 580 kilometre electric range, starting at around €59,000.
The Model 3 first arrived on the market in 2019 however this 2021 model gets a few changes on the outside include new satin black trim over the doors, door handles and around the cameras up front, replacing the chrome trim on the old model. Tesla has also added new wheel designs with more efficient tyres to reduce rolling resistance. On the standard model you get 18-inch aero wheels, while the one that we tested has 19-inch sport wheels.
The tailgate is now power assisted and you can open it easily outside, using the touch screen inside or through the Tesla app on your smartphone. Boot space is decent if not as good as what you will get in other EVs like the Audi Q4 e-tron or Volkswagen ID.4. Adding the boot and the front trunk together you get a total of 542 litres of space.
There is also now holes on the lining of the boot lid which allows water to drain better than on the previous model, water used to accumulate here on the old model spilling inside the boot, which is not ideal in rainy Ireland. One thing that owners have complained about the Model 3 is issues with panel gaps and this can vary from car to car, however we didn't notice any obvious issues with our test car.
Stepping inside there is now double glazing on the windows which should help to reduce noise in the cabin and the quality of the cabin which came in for a lot of criticism has improved. Other updates include new scroll wheels on the steering wheel, more black detailing in the sills and magnetic strips in the sunvisors.
From the driver’s seat the Model 3 is ever impressive with a minimalistic dashboard and an enormous 15-inch touch screen that controls pretty much everything in the car, from hazards while driving and steering wheel adjustment to entertainment. When it comes to tech, Tesla is streets ahead of the competition and it has a wow factor that few of its rivals can match.The glass roof is another nice feature stretching the whole way overhead and flooding the cabin with light.
The original Model 3 had a glossy piano black finish which used to get covered in finger prints and was impossible to keep clean, but the new model has a matt-style finish on the centre console. There is also a new wireless charger that can charge two smartphones at once which is very clever, along with new USB-C fast charging points in the centre console with lots of storage too.
Tesla’s claims its vegan interior materials are more sustainable than traditional materials used for car seats, although we’d question how well the bright white finish in our test car will stand up to daily wear and tear. Space is good throughout the cabin and even in the rear seats, the glass roof makes it feels airy and leg room is good, even in the middle seat thanks to the flat floor. Family buyers also get two sets of ISOFIX mounts in the rear seats.
There’s plenty of storage space in the front trunk too although it is a little bit smaller than before because the new facelifted model 3 uses a heat pump, which is a more efficient way of heating the interior and uses less energy from the battery to do so. As a result, if you are driving this facelifted model 3 in cold Irish wintry conditions, it should be able to travel further distances than the previous model.
The big news is that you can travel further with the updated Model 3, up to 448 kilometres with the standard rear wheel drive model. Go for the more expensive Long Range model with all-wheel drive and the large 78 kwh battery and you get a range of up to 580 kilometres, which is enough to get you from Malin to Mizen Head! In reality, with the Long Range version you can expect to achieve in around 500 kilometres of driving from a single charge, which is still a class above any of its rivals.
Performance is incredible with the two electric motors sending 434 horsepower to all wheels. Power delivery is breathtakingly fast, this one will cover 0-100km/h in just 4.4 seconds, with enough power to throw you back into the driver’s seat. Although you mightn’t expect it, it is a lot of fun to drive too, and it corners very well. There is still plenty of wind and road noise from the tyres when you are driving even with the double glazed windows, but the driving experience is relaxing nonetheless.
In terms of charging, maximum charge speed is an impressive 170 kilowatts so it can rapid charge faster than most other electric cars at this price point too. With Tesla’s Supercharger network of chargers, the Model 3 adds up to 275 kilometres of range in just 15 minutes.
Prices for the rear wheel drive standard range plus model start from €48,990 in Ireland and you get the 448 kilometre range, Basic Autopilot which will allow the car to steer, accelerate and brake automatically for other vehicles and pedestrians in its lane. You also get 18-inch aero wheels and pearl white paint as standard, but colours such as black blue or red are all extras.
It’s a similar story inside, you get all black interior as standard but this black/white combination is extra. You can also choose to add enhanced autopilot for €3,800 extra and, with auto lane change, autopark and summon mode too.
Our test car is the Long Range Dual Motor All Wheel Drive model which starts at around €59,000, while this one has upgraded red mult coat paint, 19-inch sport wheels and a premium interior which bumps the price tag up to €70,000!
If you want to go all out, there is a range-topping Model 3 performance model which starts at just over €65,000, with 20-inch wheels, performance brakes, a carbon fibre spoiler and lowered suspension, and it offers supercar beating performance with a 0-100km/h sprint time of just 3.3 seconds!
Although there is a flood of new electric car models arriving on the Irish market this year, the Tesla Model 3 remains a stand-out option with hugely impressive and entertaining tech, an unrivalled real-world range and it’s great to drive too.
There are some well documented build quality issues with the Model 3 however such as panel gaps and it does taking getting used to also, especially if you are adverse to touch screens. That said, this 2021 update model is better rounded with better build quality than before.
Car Details: Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor All-Wheel-Drive
Price from: €58,990
Price as tested: €70,015
Range (WLTP): 580 kilometres
Top Speed: 233km/h
0-100km/h: 4.4 seconds