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Car of the Year Awards 2024: Executive Car of the Year

A top-notch executive car must do it all – frugally and in style. Buyers want effortless long-haul capability, a comfortable and classy interior, and low benefit-in-kind tax rates...

WINNER: Executive Car of the Year

Tesla Model 3 RWD

COTY 2024 logo with Motoreasy

The more things change, the more they stay the same. How to improve on an executive car that was already streets ahead of its opposition? Well, Tesla has managed it – and then some.

From a purely fiscal point of view, what we said about the Tesla Model 3’s award win in 2023 still holds true: because it’s electric, company car drivers are rewarded with tiny benefit-in-kind tax bills. A 2% rating means a 40% tax payer will need to hand over just £25.58 per month. Yet, at a whisker under £40,000, our favourite Model 3 – the entry-level RWD – hardly breaks the bank for private buyers, either, costing less than some distinctly ordinary electric vehicles (EVs) from the class below.

Tesla Model 3 rear

Even if the Model 3 hadn’t been revised, it might well have won. But the deal was sealed with a boost in range and an improved interior to go with the refreshed styling. The RWD car is now officially capable of travelling for up to 318 miles between charges, while the Long Range manages 390 miles, with both versions going farther than before due to efficiency gains rather than larger batteries.

What’s more, excellent showings in our real-world range tests confirmed that, even before the changes, the Model 3 was one of the best EVs for long drives – more so when you factor in the brilliant Tesla Supercharger network.

An executive car also needs to look and feel the part, and beyond the sleeker exterior styling, the revised Model 3 gains comfier heated and ventilated seats, improved sound insulation and an upgraded audio system for the Long Range version, while rear passengers get their own touchscreen on which they can watch Netflix. The only backwards step is the decision to delete the indicator stalk in favour of less intuitive steering wheel-mounted buttons.

Tesla Model 3 interior

Both the RWD and Long Range offer brisk performance: the former takes just 5.8sec to get from 0-60mph, while the latter slices this to 4.2sec. Revised suspension and new tyres take the edge off the car’s previously hard-edged ride, making it an even better high-mileage companion. Plus, the Model 3 still resists body lean well in corners and grips strongly.

Even practicality is excellent by saloon car standards, with the two boots (one at the rear, the other under the bonnet) able to swallow nine carry-on suitcases between them. The Model 3 is a class act, then. In fact, its ability to beat petrol, diesel and hybrid rivals – not just electric ones – means it’s made our separate Large Electric Car category redundant.

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See all of our 2024 Car of the Year Awards winners >>