Tesla Model 3 review

Category: Electric car

Section: Costs & verdict

Tesla Model 3 2021 interior infotainment
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 front right tracking
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 rear cornering
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 interior dashboard
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 interior rear seats
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 interior infotainment
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 right tracking
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 right tracking
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 rear left tracking
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 left static boot open
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 interior front seats
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 'frunk' front boot open
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 boot open
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 front right tracking
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 rear cornering
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 interior dashboard
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 interior rear seats
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 interior infotainment
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 right tracking
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 right tracking
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 rear left tracking
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 left static boot open
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 interior front seats
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 'frunk' front boot open
  • Tesla Model 3 2021 boot open
What Car?’s MODEL 3 deals
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In this section:
  • Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
  • Equipment, options and extras
  • Reliability
  • Safety and security

Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2

As we've mentioned already, the Model 3 is the cheapest car in Tesla's line-up, but it's still too pricey to qualify for the Government's electric car grant. The entry-level rear-wheel drive model costs roughly the same as an equivalent BMW 330e and the entry-level Polestar 2. Both the Model 3 and the Polestar 2 are predicted to depreciate slower than the 330e. 

Like all pure electric cars, the Model 3 makes a huge amount of sense for company car drivers because of the enormous benefit in kind (BIK) tax savings on offer. You’ll also spend a lot less on electricity than you would on petrol or diesel. Insurance costs are higher than on many conventional rivals, though.

Equipment, options and extras

All versions of the Model 3 come with plenty of luxuries, including climate control, adaptive cruise control, faux-leather seats (heated in the front), an electric tailgate and keyless entry via an app on your smartphone. 

Go for the Long Range or Performance version and, as well as the infotainment and sound system extras we’ve already mentioned, you’ll get heated seats in the back and a heated steering wheel. It’s a good thing the Model 3 is so well equipped as standard, though, because there isn’t much on the options list.

Indeed, apart from metallic paint, different alloy wheel designs and white (instead of black) seats, the only options are Enhanced Autopilot and Full Self Driving Capability. The names are potentially misleading, because they doesn't allow you to sit in the back and read a paper while the car takes you to your destination by itself. They do, however, allow the car to make lane changes on its own (just hit the indicator), steer itself into a parking space and even be 'summoned' via a smartphone app at very low speeds; for example, if someone parks too close to you in a car park for you to open the doors, you can simply drive your Model 3 out of the space using your phone.

Overview

The Tesla Model 3 is good to drive, packed full of tech, fast (ridiculously so in Performance guise) and even reasonably practical. Yes, it is firmer-riding than some of its executive car rivals, but it’s never uncomfortable, even on beaten-up UK roads. It’s also competitively priced and well equipped, and when you factor in its long battery range and Tesla's world-beating charging infrastructure, it's more recommendable than the Hyundai Ioniq 5 or Polestar 2.

  • Savage acceleration – particularly in Performance version
  • Long range between charges
  • Surprisingly practical
  • Fast charging via Tesla's prolific Supercharger network
  • Rivals are quieter on the move
  • Handling not as entertaining as many petrol-powered rivals
  • Some may find the ride a touch firm
New car deals
Target Price from £42,990
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Used car deals
From £39,599