Posted on May 18, 2018 by Matt Pressman
UK's Autocar recently published its review (and video) for the Tesla Model 3. Out of 5 stars, Autocar's Matt Prior awards the newest Tesla with 4.5 stars. He explains, "The Model 3 is, as every Tesla is, a fast electric car with a convincing range. It’s Tesla’s first affordable, high-volume car... And although Tesla’s already building more of these [cars] than anything else, it’s still not enough."
Production issues aside, Prior comments that "if you’re looking for a rival, consider the BMW 3 Series or 5 Series, depending on your outlook. The Model 3 is a five-seat saloon and 4.7m long, which puts it a toe width longer than a 3 Series, although it’s more spacious inside, hence the 5 Series comparison. There are fewer mechanical shenanigans to package, which is why there’s good interior space and a boot at both the back and the front."
So what about all the fuss surrounding Model 3's interior? Prior writes that the unconventional "door handles... open conventional doors onto one of the airiest interiors this side of a car with no roof. An uncovered sunroof at the front and a rear window that stretches up into the roof give good head room, while across the dashboard sweeps a big wooden panel, above which is one big, heavily diffused air vent. Fit and finish are fine."
On the dash, taking "centre stage is a 15.0 [inch] monitor that could have been swiped off your work desk. There are column stalks, two multi-function buttons on the steering wheel and a hazard-warning switch on the roof, required by law. And no other buttons. Everything is controlled via the touchscreen. Genius or infuriating? Honestly, a mix of both, but mostly genius."
How about its Autopilot functionality? Prior notes, "There’s a graphical display on the monitor of where other traffic is, and it’s one of the most aware systems I’ve tried. Tesla says the hardware is already installed for when full autonomy is permitted. The car has eight cameras, 12 ultrasonic monitors and the forward-facing radar, and a new software programme could [someday] enable it to operate autonomously."
How about Model 3's performance? It's reported that, "once you get attuned to the level of acceleration (brisk) and deceleration (also brisk) the Model 3 delivers as you flex your ankle, it’s really rather compelling." That said, "don’t expect 3 Series levels of control... [although] on a twisting road, you’ll find that the Model 3 steers convincingly and grips pretty well. It’s not a sports saloon, not in handling terms, anyway, but it is a capable one. [And] because of the instant torque and seamless delivery, it’s quick, too."
Prior concludes, "The Model 3 is not the perfect car, but what is? After two days in it, I rather liked it. Some people have shorted Tesla stocks and have an interest in it failing... [but] this kind of talk is for people who care more about arguments and less about metal than I do, so I can’t help with that. Ultimately, a manufacturer lives and dies by the quality and desirability of the cars it turns out, and that bit I can advise you on: the Model 3 is both credible and desirable."
Autocar's Video Review