Tesla Model 3 LHD rear seats

Tesla Model 3 review

Costs & verdict

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Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

As promised, the Model 3 is the cheapest Tesla ever sold, and by some margin. After you’ve taken into account the government plug-in car grant, a Standard Range Plus costs a couple of thousand pounds more than a BMW 320d in popular M Sport guise. The Performance, meanwhile, comes in at a little under £50k after the grant, but still undercuts similarly brisk petrol-powered executive saloons. All versions are well equipped, with adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance coming as part of the Autopilot system coming as standard.

According to the latest official European tests, the Performance model can manage 329 miles on a full battery charge. As for the Standard Range Plus, no official figure is yet available, but Tesla estimates a range of 258 miles. In the coming months, we’ll be putting all versions through our scientific Real Range tests to see how far they can go in real-world driving, but early anecdotal evidence suggests 250 miles should easily be achievable by the Long Range in milder weather.

Buying a Model 3 gives you access to Tesla’s own network of Superchargers that 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. However, curiously, the Model 3 accepts a different charging connector than the Model S and Model X, so not all Superchargers are currently compatible.

The upside, though, is that you can charge at any public CCS charging point (other Tesla models can’t do this). 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 type 2 charger takes 11hr 45min.

The Model 3 comes with a four-year/50,000 mile warranty although the battery and drive unit are covered 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 throughout its duration. The Model 3 itself didn’t feature in the 2018 What Car? Reliability Survey, but Tesla as a brand came rock bottom. Still, the Model 3 does feel like the best built Tesla yet, so lets hope reliability is improved.

It is yet to be tested by Euro NCAP, but automatic emergency braking (AEB) is standard along with ‘sentry mode’. When enabled via the Tesla app, this uses the car’s cameras to start recording when the car is moved or touched after it’s locked. So if someone tries to steal the car, or if someone drives into it when parked, the cameras will record the incident.

Tesla Model 3 infotainment
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The Model 3 is great to drive, packed full of tech, is fast (ridiculously so in Performance guise) and even reasonably practical. Yes, it is firmer than some of its rivals, but it’s never uncomfortable even on beaten-up UK roads. Factor in a competitive price, especially given its sheer pace, and it’s a real contender not just in the electric car class but in the executive car class, too.

  • Acceleration, especially in the savage Performance model
  • Long range between charges
  • Loads of tech
  • Competitive pricing for the class
  • Wind and road noise at speed
  • Build quality could be better
  • Handling not as entertaining as hardcore performance saloons
  • Some may find the ride a touch firm