Tesla Model 3 review

The Tesla Model 3 strengthens its influence with a significant update to styling, range, comfort and refinement.

Pros: Efficiency, on-board technology, performance. 

Cons: Fiddly interior controls, saloon boot. 

Tesla Model 3 Design

The Model 3 first arrived in Ireland in 2019 and quickly became a bestseller. Sales have stayed strong with some well-publicised price cuts in the interim keeping it firmly in the minds of buyers looking for a cool and capable long range electric vehicle. Yet these days newcomers like the Polestar 2, BYD Seal and Hyundai Ioniq 6 are looking to take a swipe from the same market. Tesla bites back with an update that’s far more than just a facelift – though the smoother front fascia and slim new headlights certainly sit well on the 2024 model. At the rear, the lights get a new C-shape and T E S L A is now spelt out across the boot lid. The standard wheel size is 18-inch and will get you farthest on a single battery charge. Combined with the Model 3’s smoother, aerodynamic shape, that’s now up to 554 kilometres (WLTP) in the entry level single motor, rear wheel drive model. There’s five colours to choose from including new Stealth Grey and Ultra Red.

Tesla Model 3 Interior

Just when you though Tesla couldn’t make car interiors any more minimalist, the company removes the stalks from behind the steering wheel. What results is a very clean look but puts simple controls like selecting forward and reverse into the screen. The indicators are now buttons on the steering wheel. They still have a nice tactility to them but make signalling on a roundabout an unnecessary clumsy affair. There are handy shortcut buttons on the steering wheel that help you access the wiper menu quickly or adjust the Autopilot driver assistance feature. The 15.4-inch touchscreen is still one of the most impressive in the business with logical menus and a myriad of games and other features to discover. Battery preconditioning is also handily connected through the navigation system.

Cabin quality has also improved over the years and the update adds classy ambient lighting with choice of colours. The seats are new, with front seats now heated and ventilated, and the outer two rear seats heated as standard. Other notable features include the standard fit glass roof, dual wireless smartphone charging pads and excellent sound system.

There’s loads of legroom in the rear and headroom is okay for a saloon too. The update also adds a new digital screen for rear seat passengers giving them access to their own climate control and entertainment.

The boot is also bigger than direct rivals at 594 litres with handy underfloor storage though practicality is limited somewhat by the narrow saloon opening. A Model Y offers a more practical hatchback-style boot. There's also a handy 88-litre storage compartment under the bonnet. 

Tesla Model 3 Performance & Drive

Tesla has made updates to the suspension for more comfort. New refinement measures include improved insulation and acoustic glass now all round. New tyres are also optimised for noise and range. The Model 3 is good to drive with natural, fluid steering and plenty of grip around corners. The ride quality is not quite premium but it’s generally a smooth drive across Irish roads. There’s not a huge amount of character to the drive but it’s admirable for its efficiency. We averaged about 12.8 kWh per 100 kilometres during our time with the Model 3 rear wheel drive.

And then there’s the performance. Even the rear wheel drive model offers nifty performance from its 57.5kWh battery and 245hp rear mounted motor. 0-100 km/h is a hot hatchback rivalling 6.1 seconds and Tesla hasn’t held back on the accelerator response. Regenerative braking is integrated into the drive and the Model 3 offers true one pedal driving. Access to Tesla’s supercharger network is another bonus, as is high speed charging – up to 170kW for rear wheel drive models and up to 250kW for the all wheel drive.

Worth noting because It’s not something that usually bothers us, but the Model 3’s turning circle isn’t great for a vehicle of this size and can make parking in tight spaces or U-turns surprisingly awkward.

Tesla Model 3 Pricing

The Model 3 starts from €38,607 for the rear wheel drive model tested here with range up to 554 kilometres (WLTP), from €50,171 for the long range all wheel drive with up to 629 kilometres (WLTP) range and from €61,091 for the upcoming Performance model with up to 528 kilometres (WLTP) of range.

Carzone Verdict

The Model 3 is one of Ireland’s bestselling electric cars and deservedly so. It’s priced very well, offers excellent range and efficiency, and is packed with technology features. The update brings more comfort and refinement, and if you can live with the pared back cabin, there’s never been a better time to get one. 

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