What you’re looking at is the reason why a lot of car manufacturers are now scrambling to bring out as many electric vehicles (EVs) as they can before government legislation brings the hammer down on fossil-fuel powered vehicles.
That reason is the 2021 Tesla Model 3.
Tesla set out to disrupt and subvert the general public’s perception of electric vehicles by taking them from being slow and boring plastic boxes to high performance vehicles with legitimate appeal.
From the Tesla Roadster, through to the Model S, then Model X, Tesla’s cars were never exactly cheap. So there was a need for a mass production mid-size sedan with a more accessible price.
In 2016, that’s when the Model 3 rolled out on stage, with an interior straight from a concept car, and a quoted US$35,000.00 price tag.
This has proved to be the ‘people’s Tesla’, with it being the most popular EV on sale today on Aussie soil.
Our loan vehicle was the Model 3 Long Range. I intended to put the Long Range badge through its paces, and uncover why Tesla is one of the most valuable automotive companies on the planet.
Build Quality4.1 out of 5.
As Model 3 production ramped up to meet demand, many issues around paint and panel fitment arose, with customers needing to make warranty claims early into their ownership experience.
These issues haven’t dampened the overall enthusiasm for Tesla, as many current and future customers are hopeful Tesla will improve its quality checks as production plateaus.
How did this Model 3 fare with its build quality? We had it checked over by a Tesla owner who possesses one of the first Model 3’s that were shipped to Australia, and we got the tick of approval that this was indeed of improved quality.
Paint, panel gaps and interior trim pieces were all decently applied and fitted - it certainly looks like Tesla has taken strides towards improving the build quality of the Model 3.
During my time with the Model 3, I became aware of a rattle coming from the front passenger door. I couldn’t confirm whether this was the seat belt rattling against the door, or a loose trim piece generating this noise.
Other than this small rattle, the Model 3 felt solid, and overall was well built.
Value for Money4.7 out of 5.
Our Model 3 Long Range, as you see it, was specced out to $107,334 as an indicated drive away price.
The Model 3 range now consists of three models, starting with the Standard Range Plus, priced from $71,996. The middle of the range is the Model 3 Long Range, which starts from $89,589. Finally you have the cream of the crop, the Model 3 Performance, which starts from $105,969.
If you ask me, the Model 3 represents excellent value for money - here’s why.
Starting with a full leather interior - which is actually made from cacti as this is vegan leather - and a wood grain dash, which is synthetic for sustainability reasons.
All seats are heated, you have three reversing cameras, a full glass roof, and in my opinion, the most intuitive infotainment system in the industry.
Within this central screen, you have full Google Maps, Spotify, Netflix, YouTube, and web browser integration.
In saying that, the value for money comes from the fact that your car will receive weekly updates from Tesla, all conducted ‘over the air’, keeping it up to date and helping fix any software ‘bugs’. So what’s the cherry on top in regards to money? It’s Tesla’s engineering behind its battery and motors to enable thrilling acceleration and respectable range.
This Model 3 Long Range you see here is capable of hitting 100km/h in a brisk 4.4 seconds.
For the price, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a sedan that’s able to move you and your passengers this quickly.
Cleaning and Maintenance4.3 out of 5.
Cleaning the Tesla is no different from cleaning a normal petrol-engined car.
Don’t worry, you’re not going to get electrocuted washing the dirt off your Model 3.
Inside, with plenty of room to move, you can easily access cracks and crevases with a vacuum.
It’s also easy to wipe down the vegan leather and wash any marks or scuffs off it.
You’re going to collect a lot of fingerprints on that centre touch screen, which can become glaringly obvious in direct sunlight.
Tesla has thought through this problem, offering up a ‘cleaning mode’ which allows you to wipe down the screen with a microfibre cloth and avoid accidentally pressing buttons on the screen.
Maintenance is what really impressed me here - there isn’t much to maintain here at all.
Tesla advises that there are no annual services, as you only come in when consumables need replacing.
These include brake pads and rotors, tires and air filters for the car’s air conditioning.
Because electric cars have fewer moving parts than their fossil fuel powered counterparts (moving down from hundreds of moving parts to a handful), EV’s rarely need mechanical attention.
It also gives the ability to use regenerative braking, which allows you to slow the car down with the electric motor. In theory it should allow your brake pads and rotors last a lot longer than you might be used to.
Noise Level4.5 out of 5.
If you turn off the air conditioning fans, and this cabin is possibly the quietest place you’ve been in some time.
I wasn’t prepared for the complete silence and sound isolation that this cabin offers.
First, it’s starting up the car. There is no noise confirming the car is on, you just hop in, put the car into drive, and off you go.
It’s hauntingly quiet when you want it to be, you set off with the car generating as much noise as a memory foam pillow.
The same can be said for the outside too.
Other electric vehicles are being fitted with ‘sound generators’ which ‘whirr’ as the vehicle moves along the road to simulate the sound of a Jetson’s car to avoid having pedestrians walk out in front of these silent vehicles.
This Tesla did not have that sound generator, and if it did, I couldn’t hear from the outside.
You can however hear the slight high pitched whir of the electric motor under heavy acceleration, but that’s all the mechanical noise you’re getting from the Model 3.
You’re never going to annoy your neighbors with the Model 3 - it’s so quiet that you become a ghost of your garage, appearing and disappearing without a trace.
The issue with complete silence is that you begin to notice everything else.
You’ll certainly begin to notice the drone of rubber tires against rough roads, the occasional rattle of seatbelts, or the blasting fans of your air conditioning.
Tesla has however done an exceptional job of trying to minimise these sounds by using soft-close operations of the centre console storage bins and coat hooks.
Sound deadening is also aided by a hard parcel shelf over the boot, which can’t be removed, helping isolate the cabin from intrusive road noise.
Unfortunately the gorgeous glass roof does come at a weird cost, and that’s an echoey cabin. Immediately stepping into a Model 3, you’ll notice additional travel of your voice inside. Which is strange when you become aware of this.
This echo does come at a benefit to the speaker system, as it provides an excellent environment when listening to podcasts or music, allowing you to become more immersed in what you’re listening to.
If you’re planning on listening to podcasts, music, or even watching Netflix while you charge, the audio system in the Model 3 is exceptional.
In fact it was so clear I was hearing parts of the audio in a TV show that I hadn’t heard before when listening from my TV at home.
Braking4.4 out of 5.
This isn’t a light car, you need a lot of lithium ion batteries to power a vehicle like the Model 3.
So, you would think it would be obvious that you’re carrying all this weight when coming to a stop, well, not exactly.
The four disc brakes are standard and are Tesla branded.
When using the brake pedal, the harder you press, the more you can feel the weight of the Tesla become apparent.
It’s a hefty car, but in an emergency, the Model 3 will stop as short as its competitors.
While commuting in the Model 3, I had a heart stopping moment where I needed to come to a complete stop from around 80km/h.
This was the test of the car’s brakes I didn’t really want to conduct but had to, and boy was I impressed.
These aren’t a set of Brembos, but they are enough to help you safely avoid obstacles.
One key feature that helps you safely brake is the car’s ‘Autopilot’ camera system, which has active pedestrian, cyclist, motorcycle and car avoidance systems. If I had failed to brake, the car would do it’s best to stop in time.
ANCAP has tested these systems both During the day and at night, where the Tesla Model 3 cemented its 5 star safety rating by performing exceptionally well in the automated braking test.
Other than the emergency setting of applying the brakes, 90% of my driving in the Model 3 did not require me to touch the brake pedal, thanks to regenerative braking.
A drive mode in the car allows you to accelerate and brake using just the accelerator pedal, upon deceleration and coming to a stop.
You can use the resistance of the electric motor and the car’s ‘Autopilot’ system to smoothly come to a stop at traffic lights, or simply slow down for a corner.
This is a feature that I wish all vehicles had.
Acceleration/Power4.5 out of 5.
Acceleration is the hallmark of the Tesla brand - the Tesla Model 3 Long Range is capable of hitting 100km/h in 4.4 seconds. The Model 3 will keep on accelerating to its top speed of 233km/h too.
Although the threat of losing your license might limit you there.
If you don’t trust another driver with your car, you can place a speed limiter via the Tesla phone app to prevent the above from occurring.
If you don’t trust another driver with your car, you can place a speed limiter via the Tesla phone app to prevent the above from occurring.
Although the threat of losing your license might limit you there.
This is the fastest car you’ve driven, I can assure you that. Unless you've had the privilege of owning a supercar or ‘super’ hot hatch, there aren’t many cars under $100,000 AUD that offer this sort of performance.
The Model 3 Long Range is powered by two electric motors to provide AWD grip, which propel you to 100km/h as fast as possible.
And the best part is you do this without a loud engine or exhaust. You can blast off from the lights without sounding like a hoon. Look in the rear view mirror and it appears as if the world is standing still as other cars are just making their way off from the traffic lights.
Gear Shifting5 out of 5.
The funny thing is...there isn’t much of a gearbox in the Tesla Model 3.
Most electric cars go without a complex multi-speed transmission, and usually make do with a single speed transmission.
In the Tesla, getting up to speed and back down is seamless and incredibly smooth.
Similar to Mercedes-Benz, you have a column-mounted shifter on your right stalk, behind the wheel.
When shifting between P, R, N and D I experienced no clunks or lurches, which can happen in traditional automatics.
Elon Musk has planned for future Teslas to not require the driver to shift into a drive mode, and believes that soon your Tesla will be able to predict which direction you want to travel in. Spooky...
So in saying that, it’s safe to say that the Model 3 the transmission is so refined you’ll hardly notice it.
Suspension4.2 out of 5.
Tesla has done a decent job at transforming a 2 tonne sedan into a vehicle that is more than comfortable for the daily commute and long journeys, but still able to carve corners.
The way Tesla chose to manufacture their electric vehicles has resulted in a very low centre of gravity.
Built on a ‘skateboard’ style chassis, the Tesla can use the weight of its batteries being placed so low to its advantage.
The even distribution of weight throughout the Tesla means it doesn’t bobble around on uneven surfaces, instead, it glides over bumps with ease.
Even when heading on unsealed roads, the Model 3 did an okay job at keeping relatively still.
I was more impressed with how the Model 3 rode around town.
Speed bumps, potholes and average road surfaces were never an issue, making the Model 3’s cabin a relaxing place to spend time.
If you're tempted to turn a little harder into those corners, the Model 3 will perform. It is just as fun to take on the twists and turns of the Old Pacific Highway as any performance sedan or hatch, and doesn’t roll around like it’s suspension is made from marshmallow.
Fuel Efficiency4.3 out of 5.
Tesla is the market leader in range, which is part of the competitive advantage for the Model 3.
It’s in the name: Long Range - this Model 3 will take you to where you want to go, and further.
With EV’s, there are three measurements of range which can be used to compare different makes and models.
There’s WLTP (Worldwide harmonised Light Vehicle Procedure), NEDC (New European Driving Cycle) and EPA (Environmental Protection Agency). In Australia, the two figures you’ll most likely come across are WLTP or NEDC.
NEDC isn’t as accurate as WLTP, but it’s what Tesla uses initially to inform you of the range of their vehicles on their website.
WLTP is more accurate and is usually used by European manufacturers, as it’s the latest measurement introduced to measure range for electric vehicles.
WLTP takes into account daily use of the vehicle, options, equipment and the model of car. Which can result in the same type of car having different ranges depending on the configuration of that particular vehicle.
The NEDC claimed range for the Model 3 is 657km on a single charge.
The WLTP claimed range for the Model 3 is 580km on a single charge.
This isn’t false advertising, it’s simply a different way of calculating range.
580km is exceptional for a sub $100,000 electric sedan in my opinion. Now stomping on the toes of traditional petrol powered motors.
When it comes to charging, Tesla receives the better options when charging away from home, compared to other EVs.
If you have the ability to install a three phase charger at home, you’ll be filling up the Model 3 at around 50km of range per hour of charge.
If you only have access to your household wall outlet, you’ll be filling up the Model 3 at around 15km of range per hour of charge.
Even better, if you’re using electricity from the grid, you can request your Tesla to only begin accepting charge at a certain time, meaning you can plug in and forget your Tesla, while charging with the cheapest electricity during the middle of the night.
But if you have no way to charge at home, or are travelling, you are able to charge using Tesla’s supercharging network, at a small fee.
The cost of filling up is fractional to that of filling up a full tank of petrol, however it does take a little more time. Somewhere between $8 to $21 per charge is normal.
Charging at a Supercharger can take anywhere from 15 minutes to 40 minutes, depending on how much charge you require.
A Supercharger will initially charge around 1000km of range per hour of charge, but as you get close to 100% charge, charging speed significantly decreases to as slow as 200/300 km of range per hour of charge.
During my time with the Model 3, I intended on running as close to 0km of range as possible.
A full charge at a Tesla Supercharger indicated that I had around 560km of range remaining, and took around 30 minutes.
30 minutes of time which passed by with ease whilst watching Netflix as the car charged.
Setting off on an unplanned journey, my idea was to see how far I could push the battery before I’m in desperate need of a charger...or if things became really sticky, someone’s power outlet.
Consumption along the trip was hindered by some steeper elevation and rain, all which was factoring against the Tesla achieving its claimed 580km of range.
And then there was my driving. I dug deep into the accelerator pedal to help shed that range as quick as possible.
After around 5 hours of driving, I still had around 200km of range at a Supercharger up north.
That left me with less than an hour to try and shed as many kilometers as fast as possible.
Even when really trying to reduce the range of the Tesla, I had completed a 7 hour journey, covering close to 360km with around 88km in the ‘tank’ - and that was me really trying to drain the Tesla’s battery as fast as possible.
I have to say, I was really impressed with this range, even though the quoted range does vary from the real world depending on your driving style. You would see similar results, if you did the same in a petrol or diesel powered vehicle.
The best part is, after the trip I can roll into my garage at home with 1km remaining in the battery, plug in and charge overnight and be ready to do the same tomorrow.
Handling4.3 out of 5.
Before heading into this drive, I had heard that the Model 3 couldn’t replace your sports car when it comes to the handling department.
That’s somewhat true.
What I can say after a few hundred kilometers in the Model 3 is that you’ll have more than a good time when it comes to handling.
Day to day, the Model 3 masks its weight by having the lowest centre of gravity in the medium sedan segment.
You’re rarely going to encounter any body roll that would usually be associated with a heavier car.
The Model 3 darts between gaps in peak hour traffic and soaks up rough sections of tarmac, making it a potent daily commuter.
On weekend cruises the combination of a low centre of gravity, decent tires and a quick steering ratio mean you’ll make mince meat of sharp and progressive turns so you can make the most of Australia’s roads.
Interior Design4.3 out of 5.
The interior design of the Model 3 is absolutely the defining feature of the entire car.
No other vehicle on the market offers a spartan interior quite like this.
There is no instrument cluster, instead, every single control is operated through the centre 15 inch screen.
If the centre screen was laggy, out of dateor offered a limited experience, this would ruin any chances of success for the Model 3.
Instead, what you have is a consumer grade tablet with the responsiveness of a modern smartphone.
Not only do you feel like you're interacting with your phone, you also receive over-the-air updates to the vehicle.
However, if this centre screen fails for whatever reason, it can be a bit of an issue. In that instance, it would be my main concern having all of your information located in one interface.
The best example of this? Recently, Netflix was added to the Model 3 as an application, turning your car into a private-ish (if not for all the glass) home cinema with surround sound.
The interface is extremely intuitive, and was very easy to wrap my head around and operate.
To answer the question, ‘is it hard to read your speedometer?’. The answer is no. All of your vital driving information is clustered into the top-left of the screen. It’s no different from the same glance you give your speedometer in your car. You just need to adjust your glace slightly to the left, rather than slightly down.
Besides watching Netflix, you can play video games, either with a controller, through the screen or using the steering wheel.
You can view all of your trip and charge information to see how to best optimise your range via this screen.
You are able to play fart sounds when you indicate, play Christmas music on repeat, activate a sound bite of Will Ferrel’s ‘Cow-Bell’ skit, or even change the surface of your navigation to the photorealistic surface of Mars.
Does all this sound a little strange?
That’s alright, that’s because it is.
There’s so much here that revolves around the ‘meme’ world, that all you’re really meant to do is smile and ‘play’ with these features.
The Model 3’s centre screen is meant to be more entertainment than infotainment.
All which can help create positive association with your Tesla, give it some personality and make waiting for your car to charge a time to relax.
Besides the centre screen and all of it’s whimsy, you get to experience minimalism first hand.
You have two contoured wireless charging pads for you and your passenger’s phone, plenty of interior storage and a large glass roof. There’s also a flat floor for rear passengers, meaning the centre seat is no longer as dreaded as it used to be.
Overall, the interior of the Model 3 is spacious, lets in plenty of light, and is essentially a travelling living room, as all the attention goes straight towards the centre mounted TV...I mean screen.
Think the living room comparison is a little extreme? There’s also a mode to activate a fireplace to appear on the screen, and simulate a warm fire on a winter's night. It is a travelling living room.
Boot Size4.5 out of 5.
An advantage when buying an electric car?
It’s the endless boot space compared to a conventional fossil-fuel powered sedan.
The Model 3 offers 542L of total cargo space, without the seats folded.
Divided between the rear boot, front trunk aka ‘Frunk’ and the underfloor storage.
The ‘Frunk’ is a small storage section found under the bonnet of the Model 3, which you can open from inside the car or from your phone. Unfortunately, you’ll need to manually close the bonnet, unlike the rear boot.
There’s enough space in the ‘Frunk’ for two regularly sized backpacks, or for a few shopping bags from the supermarket.
It’s also a great place for a gym bag, so you don’t mix your gym clothes with the rest of the items in your boot.
The rear boot can be opened and closed from inside the car or via your phone, a new addition to the 2021 update of the Model 3.
The rear seats are able to fold in a 60:40 split configuration, but you cannot remove the parcel shelf that covers the rear boot space.
That’s due to it housing sound deadening material which helps isolate the cabin from excessive road noise, and features two additional speakers.
For as much usable space in the Model 3, unfortunately, you are restricted to the 45cm vertical height the rear boot opening offers.
Comfort4.7 out of 5.
I only had the Model 3 for four days, so I needed to make the most of this short time with the popular EV.
This meant driving for almost all hours of these four days, and throwing in a large road trip in the mix too.
The Model 3 offered supreme comfort from it’s vegan leather seats, in combination with it’s suspension setup.
After four days, I found no issue with fatigue, or any aches and pains that I’d normally be able to find just after a few hours in any car.
I’d also put comfort down to being able to use the ‘Full-Self Driving’ package on the Model 3.
This $10,000 option, which activates all of the inbuilt sensors and cameras on the Model 3, enables you to use one of the most advanced versions of adaptive cruise control on the market.
You are still required to touch the steering wheel every 20 seconds, however, on longer stretches of road, the Model 3 will steer and maintain speed with great accuracy without the need for much input.
You’re also able to have the Model 3 slow down by itself for sharper corners as it appeared to recognise the black and yellow chevrons that indicate a sharper turn.
Additionally, you can ‘Navigate on Autopilot’, which means the Model 3 will indicate, change lanes and follow roads displayed on your route to your destination.
For long trips, the Model 3 is a great vehicle to arrive feeling relaxed and refreshed.
And for additional convenience, you don’t even have to find your car in an open car park.
With the ‘Full-Self Driving’ option, you are able to ‘Smart Summon’ the Model 3 from out of it’s parking space and have it roll up to your desired location. This feature geo-fences the Model 3 from entering public roads, so you’ll only be able to use this feature in an open car park..
Safe to say the Model 3 is pretty comfortable.
Features4.4 out of 5.
Starting below $100,000, the Tesla Model 3 is fitted with plenty of useful features.
There are useful features like having 5 heated seats, a ‘Sentry Mode and Dash Cam Mode’ for security and of course the functionality of having your phone as your key.
And then there are the whoopie cushion, gaming and video streaming features which are there really for your entertainment. Still awesome features if you ask me.
Check out the key features outlined below:
- Single-speed transmission
- Lithium-ion battery pack
- Dual electric motors
- 15 inch central touch display
- Over-the-air software updates
- Full-internet connectivity
- Spotify, Netflix and Twtich connectivity
- Google Maps integration
- Eight surround cameras
- Twelve ultra-sonic sensors
- Forward-facing radar
- 5 Star ANCAP Safety rating in all categories
- NEDC range of 657km
- WLTP range of 580km
- 0-100km/h in 4.4 seconds (claimed)
- Top speed of 233km/h
- Keyless entry, exit and vehicle operation via phone app
- Full-Self Driving Package (Smart-Summon, Navigate on Autopilot, Traffic Light Recognition and Lane Marking Recognition)
Should you buy one?
If you're considering an EV, and have a budget of up to $100,000, absolutely.
Even if you're considering a conventional sedan, I'd highly recommend checking out the Model 3.
This is a vehicle that will change your perception on EV's and will make driving your internal combustion a lot less attractive.
The performance, features and range of the Model 3 are all seriously impressive both as an EV and compared to internal combustion vehicles. I'd be sure you would thoroughly enjoy your ownership experience with a Tesla Model 3.
About the author
Cameron is your typical car nut, but also drives and writes about cars for ProductReview.
Reviewer Photos & Videos
Great tech, Boring interior, distracting centre screen.
There is no doubt that the electric drivetrain is excellent, however that is about the only thing that is truly excellent. In a word, the interior is boring, there is no instrument cluuster which means that any GPS navigation, desire to change the music, or warnings are flashed up on a screen that is positioned in such a place as to distract you from the road.
Now it is entirely possible that this is the safest vehicle in which to be a distracted driver, but it would be safer still if it didn't have everything on a centre screen, and had just a couple more buttons for sensible features like the windscreen wiper speed.
Purchased in March 2021 at Tesla for $93,000.00.
The future today
Purchased Model 3 standard range plus, updated from my old fairmont v8. Build quality and reliability are great far better then previous cars I have purchased from Holden and Ford. My major disappointment is that no way will it do the claimed 460km real world open road driving is around 360km range.
Purchased in December 2019 for $77,000.00.
Mediocre at best, atrocious customer service
I'm a big fan of the idea of electric cars. It's the way the industry is going to go. Unfortunately, Tesla as a company leaves a lot to be desired. The build quality of the car is mediocre, with very obvious squeaks and rattles. The car firmware is what I would consider a late alpha, rather than being sufficiently stable to be released to customers. (Google "phantom braking" for an example of the issues the car has in this respect.)
All of this, I was prepared to deal with. Unfortunately, Tesla's customer service is bad. Really, really, _reall...y_ bad. For basic concerns covered under warranty, they're acceptable; but the moment you go off the beaten track, they are hopeless. Promises to follow up that are never kept. Indicative timelines that aren't met. It's almost impossible to get hold of anybody other than front-line staff by phone. All this adds up to a complete failure on what I would consider to be basic, rudimentary customer service. If you're not prepared to tolerate that, save your pennies and wait for Hyundai and VW to bring out their mass production EVs. Competition is coming, and I would say that it's likely you'll be more satisfied with the competitors than with Tesla.
Purchased in December 2019 for $93,662.00.
The beginning of the end for petrol/diesel engines
I bought the base model 3 Sr+ after conducting a great deal of research. The price is indeed a stretch but the savings in fuel and service made up for some of the difference. Having now had the car for two months I'm very happy with the decision to buy it.
It is different, the range is really around 360k and the build quality is fine- not Japanese standard but close enough. The paint on ours is flawless but I know others have had minor issues.
It's pretty easy to live with especially with the Tesla charger installed at home. Whilst it would be ...
Purchased in June 2020 at Tesla for $74,650.00.
Love my Tesla Model 3
I picked up my Tesla Model 3 almost a year ago, September 2019. The trade in they offered me for my previous vehicle was reasonable, but that's more than likely because it wasn't very new or fancy - if you have a more valuable vehicle, you'd do better on the private market.
The car is spectacular. I was not sure whether it would end up being our "tourer" car or just our city car, but it's both. My family are disappointed if I ever suggest using our previously beloved euro. It drives like a dream, works fine over long distances with supercharging or fast chargers, has all sorts of amazing tech and just generally makes driving fun.
After driving an EV, it's hard to go back to an ICE vehicle.
Purchased in September 2019.
Battery Km distances misleading
This was stated by a representative from Tesla in a chat conversation "printout can be provided" My Testla is 9 months old only ever charged to 80% get around 334 kms Tesla advertising states from 460 which I presume is a full charge. Did a full charge today and it went to 364 kms. Asked about this and was told it is based on the "NEDC standards". "In the real world though, our model 3 standard range plus gets a rang of about 350 Km so you vehicle isn't malfunctioning, that's just its maximum range". I suggested that they should publish real world figures. He stated that this is how the Australian Government wanted it. Other than the battery issues I do like the car.
Purchased in November 2019 at Tesla for $74,000.00.
I am now like driving a car heading to the Future! Steady, fast and full of gadget!!! Absolutely love it....soundless and elegant design with innovative setting provided in cozy interior design.
Purchased in October 2019 at Tesla for $70,000.00.
Drive it once and you're hooked - the future of motoring
Extraordinary performance, precise handling, quiet, comfortable, eco-friendly, OTA software updates, one-pedal-driving, inexpensive to run and very efficient.
Two interstate trips in the first 6 weeks ownership proved the Model 3 LR to be the perfect car for 800km at the wheel - never arrived more relaxed thanks to the quiet ride and Autopilot. Two stops at Tesla Superchargers (10 + 25 minutes) were timely breakfast, lunch and especially toilet stops, so we stayed longer than the car needed. Newer EV chargers being installed on highways are ...capable of even faster charge rates, but already it's a rush to fit in a hot pie, coffee and a restroom visit on the current hardware. First 2400km or so of Supercharging can be free for this long range Model 3 if ordered using a referral link, so this, plus complimentary hotel, winery and shopping centre Tesla Destination chargers meant these two trips cost nothing in 'fuel'. At home, excess solar generation recharges the car on sunny days, so the ongoing 'fuel' cost for around town or a 'day out' is essentially free with a low solar FIT. Charging overnight is another option for some using cheaper night rates. Regenerative braking slows the car while feeding power back into the battery when coming down hill and when pulling up to the lights, so it is possible to arrive with more charge than you started with, depending on the route. The regenerative braking means the actual brakes rarely get used, let alone worn out, so servicing is measured in years, apart from checking tyre tread and washer fluid. Every 2 years it's recommended to check the brake fluid and swap the cabin air filter, and at 6 years an A/C filter - a fraction of the cost of one 'oil change' (plus the list of other 'parts' and services) in other cars.
Purchased in December 2019 at Tesla.
A game changer. Here is why;
Just clicked over 10,000km. Time for my thoughts.
The Tesla model 3, breaks all the automative rules in a big way. Absolutely everything about this car is a dream. Here is a FEW reasons why;
Aside from the obvious electric “green” side of things, my base model SR+ is an absolute blast to drive. When you can outrun 600cc motorbikes (1000cc bikes if you buy the dual motor/performance) up highway on-ramps, you come to realise that a responsible car can also be an incredibly fun car.
Forward warning, when you let friends have a test drive, they will return the next day with comments like. “thanks, now every car I hop into is a bucket of *^*+”.
Let’s list just a few of the things this car does that none others do:
Purchased in October 2019 at Tesla for $69,000.00.
The best thing you could ever buy
The evolution of the automaker industry.
They've really gone and said 'whats wrong with EVERYTHING in a car?' then fixed it.
It's faster than a Porsche 911 for a reasonably priced car.
They went the Apple approach to the vehicle, simplify everything, get rid of all the dials.
Actually know how to make software for a 21st century environment (automakers still making screens from the 1990 era).
Comfort, constant over-the-air software updates that allow you to have new features and make you drive a brand new car every time there's an update.
No slimey carsalesmen. Not sure if the car is for you? Go and book a test drive at Tesla, they won't push you to buy the car, they honestly just want brand awareness, the car will sell itself.
Purchased in October 2019 at Tesla for $77,000.00.
This is the most amazing car we have ever owned, by far! (Updated)
(Update at the end)
After a long wait, we were thrilled to at last get our Tesla Model 3 in late September ‘19. We had previously owned a Mitsubishi PHEV (plug in hybrid) which was our first taste of “electric motoring”- however the PHEV could do only 45 kilometres at best before the petrol engine had to take over.
The condition of our Model 3 at delivery in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, was near enough to perfect, and the whole buying experience was fabulous, with just a minimum of fuss. It’s a very different experience to the traditional deal...er model, and in our opinion, so much nicer. (The Tesla “driving experience” wasn’t totally new to us, as we had driven a loaner Model S for a full weekend back in 2017. However the S was both a little too big and expensive for us, so we waited, and waited, and waited for the Model 3 to arrive downunder, and were then more than happy to order online and buy without a test drive of the model 3.) The car is absolutely fabulous to drive, extremely comfortable and incredibly fast. The 0 to 100kph time - a little over 3 seconds- literally has to be experienced to be believed- and of course if you’re not careful you could blow your licence very easily indeed. However the cruise control which I use nearly all the time more than makes up for that by sticking very accurately to the selected speed, both uphill and down, (however obviously you have to check that the selected speed is commensurate with the actual speed limit. The car is now reading speed signs, though that is still not always accurate, but should improve soon with further software updates.) The car is a technological masterpiece, and just keeps getting better with very regular free, over the air software updates. It also has won amongst the highest crash test results of any car ever tested, with lots of active and passive safety features. It has fabulous connectivity, a terrific sound system, and can be controlled by your phone from almost anywhere, as long as there’s a phone signal. Example: in hot weather I can turn the A/C on so we return to a cool car. Range on a full charge is rated at 500 kilometres but you’d have to drive carefully to achieve that. However with sensible driving I can easily achieve significantly over 450 highway kilometres in good conditions, though as with any car, range is affected by headwinds, rain etc. The faster you drive, the less range you will have due to air resistance. It’s also the opposite of an “ICE” vehicle (internal combustion engine) as it will get better efficiency around town and in traffic, as it recharges the battery (“regen”) any time that you’re slowing down. It is incredibly cheap to run compared to a conventional car, with the cost of electricity being just a fraction that of petrol. We mostly charge at home, on off peak power after 10pm or from solar. You can charge from any 3 pin plug, albeit slowly, the better option is using the additionally supplied wall charger in your garage connected on a dedicated circuit to your switchboard. You can if desired wake up every day to a “full tank”, - though it is better not to completely fill the battery, except when needed, for maximum longevity. We just have a bit of a chuckle now when fuel prices jump up super high. (I typically select 80% charge on the screen unless I’m doing a big trip.) There’s an 8 year warranty on the battery, and many older Tesla’s have achieved literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands of kilometres on the original battery. Once you’ve experienced electric motoring, you’d never go back. Perhaps best of all- there is almost zero required maintenance to the car other than the commonsense things like tyres, and wheel alignment if and when required. I also don’t ever have to get it serviced to get the full warranty. Brakes will likely last almost forever as nearly all stopping and slowing down is done by the regen, unless you’re driving aggressively, ie: power going back into the battery. (It’s quite easy to drive the car without touching the brake pedal, known as “one pedal driving”.) Our Model 3 has only the basic, included “autopilot”, (not the extra cost optional features) but even in basic form it’s absolutely terrific and makes highway driving very dramatically less tiring, and also allows very relaxed driving in heavy stop start traffic with the car doing all the work. You keep a hand on the wheel, and keep an eye on it, but the car does ALL the steering and braking, and stopping starting etc.
Purchased in September 2019 at Tesla.
Questions & Answers
How do you go with driving without any controls or instruments around the steering wheel? Do you find such a large screen distracting?
I like to turn my screen off at night as it is too bright, do you have this option with a Tesla? Thanks Tanya.
It’s brilliant Tanya- period. Some people say it takes an hour or two to get used to no screen for the speedo in front of the steering wheel- I would say it took me maybe five minutes. I even had an aftermarket HUD display in our previous car which I was going to fit in the Tesla, but there is absolutely no need. (The screen is great at night, auto dims and changes colours- not intrusive or glary at all.) After getting used to the Model 3 setup, I get in my Jeep Grand Cherokee and it’s in a word, horrible. : Cluttered, with knobs and switches everywhere.
The model 3 now has voice control as of two updates ago, (about a month?) which started off not very good at all, but has improved dramatically since then and will continue to evolve much much further, and will rapidly get to the point that you can set almost anything by voice alone. It’s already doing a lot like “set temp to 23”, or “set fan speed to 6”, “open glove box”, “turn on dome lights”, “navigate to XXXXX”, “play ‘70’s music on Spotify” etc etc.
The car will just continue to improve- and already does far more than it did when we took delivery in September. What other car gets better and better after you take delivery? All other cars are “broken” for me now. I hate driving anything else.
Thanks so much David, sounds like they have got their act together in this respect.
ProductReview.com.au has affiliate partnerships. These do not influence our content moderation policies in any way, though ProductReview.com.au may earn commissions for products/services purchased via affiliate links.