Popular Mechanics: Tesla Model 3 wins 'Car of the Year'

Posted on April 04, 2018 by Matt Pressman

The Tesla Model 3 has been praised by reviewers from both the automotive and mainstream media. However, one magazine's car reviewer liked the Model 3 so much, he decided to order one for himself. Ezra Dyer at Popular Mechanics explains, "something that I’ve never done with any of the other thousands of cars I’ve tested: I put down a deposit. I pay my $1,000 and get in line." What brought Dyer to this conclusion? 

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To evaluate Popular Mechanics Car of the Year, Dyer decided "this year’s awards celebrate the cars that make us happy to still be in the driver’s seat." The winner: Tesla's Model 3. Why? Dyer elaborates: "mashing the throttle to revel in that gush of acceleration... with 271 horsepower, the Model 3 doesn’t quite rearrange your internal organs like a Model S, but it’s still ferocious."

He adds, "I immediately get into a drag race with a frustrated day trader in a Mercedes S550, which the Tesla casually dusts until I back off and he goes screaming past. I take a moment to ponder what happened. I launched effortlessly, with instant torque and total traction, no gears to shift. The other guy had to spin the Benz’s V-8 up to its horsepower peak, probably beyond 5,000 rpm, at which point the transmission shifted gears, the revs dropped, and it all happened again. By the time that process repeated a few times, I was halfway to my exit. In a car that costs half as much."

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What about Model 3's minimalist interior? Dyer notes, "All Model 3s are built around an utterly spare interior. There’s a 15-inch touchscreen on the dash, two scroll wheels on the steering wheel, and that’s about it. Via the screen, you instruct the scroll wheels what to control—the mirrors, the steering wheel tilt, stereo volume—thus eliminating a scatter of dedicated buttons that you might use only once... I put the stalk into drive, and head toward the highway. It’s strange to have no instrument panel dead ahead, but I’m already used to it."

Are there any downsides? Dyer explains, "It’s thrilling, but the Model 3 isn’t perfect. I’d like a heads-up display, some way to put the speedometer in my line of sight... [and] Tesla literally can’t build this thing fast enough. So the question to be answered, the only one that really matters, is whether the Model 3’s biggest problem is that too many people want one. Because that’s a dilemma that hasn’t existed since maybe 1964, when a million people wanted the new Mustang. You know, that vaporware fad that’s only been around for a half-century now."

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Circling back to Dyer's decision to order the Model 3 for himself, he explains, "Maybe I’m [reservation] number 450,001. Maybe I’m doing this because I enjoy supporting a guy who builds rockets and shoots cars into orbit. I don’t care. Because unlike almost everyone who’s reserved a Model 3, I’ve actually driven one. I know that it’ll be worth the wait. And while I wait, it makes me happy to think that sometime in 2019, I’ll have the Popular Mechanics Car of the Year in my driveway."

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Source: Popular Mechanics

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