Say what you want about Tesla and its leader Elon Musk—and there’s an awful lot to unpack there—but the Model 3 electric car changed the rules of the EV game. Its relatively affordable price tag, impressive driving range, and strong performance have made it a big seller and keep it competitive still against the rising tide of newer electric offerings such as the Hyundai Ionia 6 and the Polestar 2. Scrutiny of our own long-term Model 3 as well as multiple test cars has shown that build quality is so-so. In the land of the SUV, some drivers would surely prefer the Model y – SUV instead but the Model 3 is easy to live with and fun to drive. The Long Range model offers an estimated 358 miles of range, so in our mind, it’s the one to buy, even if we’re enticed by the Performance trim’s extra power and racier look.
What’s New for 2023?
For now, nothing has changed for the 2023 editions of Tesla’s most affordable model. However, reports indicate that the electric sedan May soon receive a styling refresh —although given Tesla’s history the updated Model 3 may not be ready until the 2024 model year.
Pricing and Which One to Buy
The base rear-wheel-drive model is a good value, but its 272 miles of EPA-estimated driving range may not be enough to eliminate range anxiety for some drivers. We’d recommend the Long Range model that offers an estimated 358 miles of driving per charge. All Model 3s come standard with heated front seats, navigation, and Tesla’s Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system.
EV Motor and Power
As with most EVs, the Model 3 gains speed quickly, smoothly and almost silently, with the electric motor providing strong punch from a stop. And it’s fast—extremely so in some trims. The rear-wheel-drive Long range model we tested sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. The Model 3 Performance rockets to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds—0.5-second faster than our long term model 3 Long Range. Like all Teslas, the Model 3 carries its battery under the floor, resulting in a low center of gravity. This helps it change direction crisply and feel planted and stable in corners. The steering is accurate and well-weighted, with three different settings that adjust the level of steering effort. The ride is firm without being harsh; without the noise of a gas-powered engine, however, you do hear plenty of road noise inside the cabin as the tires thwack and thrum over pavement imperfections.
Range, Charging, Battery Life, and
|Official range (WLTP*)||278 – 360 miles|
|Pod Point Confidence Range**||236 – 306 miles|
Charging time for a Tesla Model 3 :-
The table below shows the estimated time to charge your Model 3 from empty to full. For rapid charging, we show the time to charge from 20% – 80%, as charging tends to slow outside this range to protect the battery.
|Charging method||Typically found at||Charging time*||Range/hour**|
|Empty to full|
|3-pin plug||Home||24 – 36 h||9 – 10 m/h|
|3.6kW||Home / Work||15 – 22 h||14 – 17 m/h|
|7kW||Home / Work / Public Locations||8 – 12 h||27 – 32 m/h|
|22kW||Work / Public Locations||5 – 8 h||42 – 50 m/h|
|50kW||Public Locations||40 – 60 min||96 – 113 m/30 min|
|150kW||Public Locations||20 – 20 min||288 – 339 m/30 min|
Battery Life :-
|Battery size||55 – 82 kWh|
|Usable battery (Pod Point estimate)||52 – 78 kWh|
|Official battery efficiency (WLTP)||229 – 266 Wh/mile|
|Battery efficiency (Pod Point estimate)||221 – 260 Wh/mile|
|0-62 mph||5.6 – 3.3 seconds|
|Top speed||140 – 162 mph|
|Engine power||271 – 554 bhp / 202 – 413 kW|
|Torque||404 – 660 Nm|
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPGe
The various versions of the Model 3 are rated between 113 MPGe and 138 MPGe by the EPA. Our test vehicle, however, managed only 84 MPGe when we took it on our 75-mph highway fuel economy test. The Model 3 comes standard with aluminum wheels that are covered by plastic aerodynamic hubcaps. We wanted to know how much impact those hubcaps have on the car’s driving range, so we tested it and were surprised to find that they helped more than expected. For more information about the Model 3’s fuel economy.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
We’re not exaggerating when we say that the Tesla Model 3 has an interior unlike any other car on the market today. It’s shockingly simple inside, with nearly everything controlled by the monolithic touchscreen in the center of the dashboard. Buttons on the steering wheel control things like the exterior side view mirrors and the position of the steering column—and we wish those controls were of the conventional design instead. The Tesla’s low, flat floor makes for a spacious and airy feel inside. The front seats are supportive and comfortable, but the rear seats are positioned low and are cramped and uncomfortable; don’t expect adults to be able to spend long periods of time in them. Folding the 60/40 split-folding rear seats is simple and expands the trunk considerably. The Model 3’s seatbacks fold flat, too, providing an uninterrupted cargo floor for hauling larger items. With the rear seats folded, the Model 3 provides enough room for 15 carry-on suitcases. There are also generously sized bins and cubbies throughout the cabin.
Infotainment and Connectivity
Navigation, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity are standard, but the Model 3 is, oddly, not available with AM radio or SiriusXM satellite radio. Several internet-streaming radio options are standard. It also can’t be equipped with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. To make charging-station layovers more bearable, the Model 3 offers plenty of entertainment options on its central display, including Netflix, YouTube, and a host of arcade games.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Although we question whether the name Autopilot is misleading, the driver-assist system has one of the best feature sets in the industry, with smooth operation and impressive capabilities such as automatic lane changes. For more information about the Model 3’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:
- Standard automated emergency braking
- Standard lane-departure warning
- Standard adaptive cruise control
Warranty and Maintenance Coverage
Tesla’s overall warranty coverage is among the longest in the EV segment, but it’s disappointing that the coverage doesn’t include corrosion protection. The Long Range model includes an additional 20,000 miles on the coverage period of its battery and drive components.
- Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
- Powertrain warranty covers eight years or 100,000 miles
- No complimentary scheduled maintenance