2019 Tesla Model 3 review – the world’s best electric car? | What Car?

2019 Tesla Model 3 review – the world’s best electric car? | What Car?

[Music] So, here it is… The car we’ve been waiting
for, for quite a long time actually. The Tesla Model 3. It was first unveiled
almost three years ago, and although there have been various teething
problems, and production bottlenecks along the way. The car has actually been
on sale for about 18 months now over in the States. It’s only now though that the
first cars are finally arriving in Europe. At the moment it’s just left-hand
drive models, which is why we’re out in Madrid today, but right-hand drive cars
are expected to appear in the UK before the end of 2019. Now some of you Tesla
fans will doubtless know plenty about this car already, like my cameraman for
today Dan, who actually has a deposit down on one of these, and is so excited
to be filming it today that he’s wearing his Model 3 t-shirt. Let me just take
a quick video on my phone of that for you. But for those of you who aren’t that
clued up about the Model 3, what exactly is it? Well it’s an electric car, Tesla
doesn’t do petrels, diesels, or even hybrids, and it’s the company’s
entry-level model. So it sits below the Model X SUV and the Model S, which is a
fairly big luxury saloon. It’s about the same size as a BMW 3-Series and Tesla
quotes a maximum range of up to 310 miles between charges. We’ll talk about
that in a little bit more in detail later on. As for how much it will cost you in
the UK, well Tesla is still being a bit cagey about that. But if you convert the
cost from Euros, you’re looking at roughly £50,000 for the All Wheel
Drive Long Range model, rising to about £60,000 for the
Performance version that we’ve got here today. In other words, it’s priced roughly
somewhere between a Kia e-Niro and a Jaguar I-Pace. Now we did get a brief go
in the Model 3 out in San Francisco last year, but this time we have the best
part of two days to really get to know the car properly. So we’ve put together a
bit of a plan, today we’ll be heading out of Madrid and a couple of hours north
to the city of Burgos. On the motorway up there we’ll try out some of the
Autopilot autonomous driving tech, and we’ll see what the Model 3 is like
as a high speed cruiser. When we get to our hotel – which I’m reliably informed
has a Supercharger on site – which is one of Tesla’s own really quick charging
points, we’ll have a proper look around the Model 3, and have a good play with it’s
enormous touchscreen infotainment system. Then tomorrow
we’ll head out into the countryside to find out what the Model 3 is like to
drive on some twisty mountain roads. Then finally, we’ll be finding out
roughly how many miles you can expect from a full charge in the real world, but
before we head off it’s worth mentioning that although you probably know us best
for our car reviews – we’ve been doing them for more than 40 years now – these
days we can also help you buy and potentially save you quite a lot of
money in the process. So if you are in the market for any new car make sure you
head over to our website whatcar.com or click the link up there in the top right
to find out how much you could save. Okay so we’re on the motorway and we’re going to
try out some of the Autopilot features. Firstly you’ve got Adaptive Cruise
Control (TACC). To activate it, what you do is pull once on this stalk here, on the
right hand side of the steering wheel, now that will set you to the speed limit
of the road, and it will automatically maintain a set distance from the car in
front by accelerating and braking accordingly. Now you can change that
distance if you’d rather be a bit further away from the car in front, then you just
move this control backwards, and if you knock it to the right then that brings
you up closer to the car in front. Now on top of that you’ve also got something
called Auto Steer. As the name would suggest, this is a function that really
takes care of the steering for you, as well as the cruise control. Now to
activate that, you double tap on the stalk, and in the most part it actually
works really well. It steers you in the centre of the lane, it does so smoothly
so you’re not bouncing off one side of the lane and then the other. The only
time that it can get a little bit confused is if there are some quite severe
corners on the motorway, and what it will do then is warn you before
disconnecting, and on top of that you must keep your hands on the steering
wheel at all times, because if it senses you haven’t after a short period of time
then it deactivates the system as well. But there’s more! Because if you’ve got
Auto Steer enabled, you can actually perform a lane change as well. What you
do to do that, is you just indicate and the car will check there’s nothing around
before steering you out into the next lane, and
turning the indicator off. If you want to go back in the lane, again all
you do is you indicate back the other way,
it checks there’s nothing that’s come along on the inside and then it steers
you over to that lane as well. So it’s pretty clever, and actually in the US the
Autopilot system will work with the navigation systems, so you can
effectively just plug-in the destination and the car can pretty much take care of the
driving for you while you’re on the motorway. It will take you off at the junction
it thinks you need to come off at and then hand things back over to you.
But at the moment, there’s no word on when, or if at all this will be available
in Europe. In other respects on the motorway, the Model 3 is very good as
well. It feels really stable at speed, and the
steering – when you are choosing to steer yourself that is – is nicely weighted and
it’s very precise so it allows you to place the car exactly where you want
in your lane. The one downside is that this is not the quietest cruiser in the
world… There’s quite a lot of wind noise from around these frameless doors here,
and there’s quite a lot of road roar as well which is no doubt partly caused by
the 20inch wheels that come as standard on this Performance Model 3. Cheaper
versions that come on 18 and 19 inch wheels will no doubt be quite a bit
better in that respect. Now there’s one more thing that’s a complete gimmick really,
it’s called Rainbow Road, and how to activate that? You tap the stalk four
times, and the road goes rainbow-coloured, and it
plays a tune for you while it’s activating a Auto Steer. [Music] So we’ve arrived at our hotel, and we found the
Tesla Superchargers, but these aren’t just any old Superchargers. They are
Model 3 ready. Now that’s because the usual Tesla connector, which is one of
these and you use that to charge a Model S or a Model X, doesn’t work with the
Model 3. So you have to use one of these, which is called a CCS connector.
This is a bit of a pain because it means that until Tesla updates all of its
Superchargers, some aren’t compatible with the Model 3 at all. On the plus
side, the car does know which locations are and aren’t Model 3 ready so it isn’t
as though you’re gonna have to take any gambles. Plus the Model 3 can charge
at the same speed as other Tesla’s, around 120 kilowatts,
which is much much faster than a Jaguar I-Pace or a Kia e-Niro. The new CCS
connector also means you can charge reasonably briskly at about 50 kilowatts
at some regular public charging points that would previously have been
incompatible with Tesla models, and of course you can still use a regular Type 2
connector to charge your Model 3 at home. So what about the rest of the car?
Well, let’s start with how you get into it, because there’s no conventional key.
You just get one of these, a smart card, and you touch it on the side pillar here,
and the doors unlock. If you’re thinking it’s a bit rubbish that there’s no
keyless entry in a car costing this much money then fear not, because as long as
you’re logged into the Tesla Smartphone app that Tesla provides, then
the doors will automatically unlock when you approach the car. The door handles
are flush with the bodywork just like they are in a Model S, but here they
don’t automatically pop out for you to grab, you have to push here. To get out
again you just press this button, although there is an emergency release
in the unlikely event you get stuck inside the car without power…
Now driving positions tend to be quite personal things, they work for some people and not
quite so well for others. But most of the fundamentals are really good here, there
is a lot of adjustment in the seat, and once you’ve finally figured out how to do
it, in the steering wheel as well. Now the only downside really is that the drivers
seat, it doesn’t have a great deal of support and even with the adjustable
lumbar support in its most extreme setting I did still get a bit of
backache on the two-hour journey up here. Now we could spend more than an hour
talking you through the finer detail of this touchscreen, but we’ll
just run through the basics. The screen measures 15inches across, so it’s
slightly smaller than what you’ll find in a Model S or a Model X, and it’s also
in landscape orientation rather than the portrait layout that Tesla usually
favours. But the basic interface is very similar. Let’s start with this icon
here, which brings up a lot of the cars’ functions. You can adjust the mirrors and
the steering wheel, we talked about that a minute ago, here you’ve got the light
controls, this is the locks so that’s where you set up your phone to unlock
the doors automatically, and you can also set child locks, and things like that.
This just allows you to play about with the display brightness, these are the driving
modes so you can adjust the aggressiveness of the acceleration, you can
change the steering weight, and you can play about with the regenerative braking.
This is the Autopilot stuff and that’s what we talked about on the way up
here – you can play about with those settings. This is the sat-nav controls, so you can do things
like avoiding toll roads, and here is safety and security, so you can set speed
limits, and you can also turn off the alarm. Now finally, you’ll see here, this is how
you open the glovebox, but you can also open the bonnet, the boot, and the
charge port flap from the touch screen as well. This menu here, as you probably
guessed, is the music side of things. You’ve got various options along the
bottom here. This icon here brings up a lot of the cars apps, you can see your
energy consumption over a period of time for example, and you can also see all the
charging information. So you can set the charging limit to preserve the life of
the battery, can change the current at which the battery is charging, you can
schedule charging, and you can also see how much you’re being charged. Press
this icon here and you get a reversing camera, and you can keep that on any
speed you like, unlike pretty much every other car on sale which will
automatically switch the camera off when you go above crawling speeds. If you
swipe left, you get trip information. Here is what we did earlier, and finally there
is the wiper switch. The air-con is also rather fancy because there are no
adjustable vents on the dashboard, you adjust the airflow by playing
around with the touchscreen here… Remember we showed you that silly
rainbow-road function on the way up here? That’s a fun feature that Tesla calls an Easter
Egg, and there are a few more… You can turn your Model 3 into Santa’s sleigh,
change the sat-nav maps to the surface of Mars, turn the screen into a giant
drawing pad, play some classic Atari games, turn up the heat with romance mode,
or even try to embarrass your passengers with some fart noises. The touchscreen
even displays the speedo and all the other bits of info that you’d usually
expect to find on a screen behind the steering wheel, and that’s helped create
this incredibly clean looking dashboard with no buttons, switches, or dials on it
at all. Interior quality isn’t going to worry the likes of Audi, but it’s
certainly something Tesla has improved on a lot over the years, and nice touches
like this ceramic face on the dashboard help make the Model 3 feel reasonably
premium inside. The Model 3 also feels really light and airy in the front, and
there’s a huge amount of storage space dotted around the interior.
Things aren’t bad in the back, but I’m 6 foot and I’m sitting behind my imaginary self
and I don’t have a huge amount of knee room, I can’t really move my feet at all, but the
fact there’s no hump in the floor like you usually expect to find in a petrol
or diesel car should make it pretty easy to fit three people across here.
Now the Model 3 is a saloon, so the boot opening isn’t as big as a Jaguar I-Paces but
there is loads of room for luggage in there, and it’ll actually hold even more if
you lift up the boot floor. There’s even space for a couple of soft bags
under the bonnet. [Music] Now it’s our second day with the
Model 3, and we’re heading out into the mountains to find some good driving roads,
this is the Performance version after all. It has stiffer sports
suspension and really sticky Michelin tires to help it go around corners
better, and compared with other electric cars even the Jaguar I-Pace for example,
it handles really quite well. I mean it is obviously quite a heavy car still, there
are a lot of batteries it needs to carry around, so it doesn’t turn into corners
quite like an Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio, for example. But once you’re settled into
a corner you can carry a surprising amount of speed through it and out the other
side again. It steers surprisingly well too – it’s something Tesla’s worked really
hard on since the early days of the Model S, and we reckon it’s something the
company is now better at than any other electric manufacturer to date.
Most impressive of all though is undoubtedly the acceleration, even the regular
Long Range model can do 0-60mph in 4.5 seconds, whereas this Performance version
that I’m driving today can do that (0-60mph) in a scarcely believable 3.3 seconds.
That’s quicker than Porsche 911, let alone a Jaguar I-Pace. Now the other thing
I really like about the Model 3 are the brakes. The regenerative side of things
is taken care of when you lift off the accelerator, so the effect doesn’t
increase unpredictably when you press the brake pedal like it does in many
electric cars. Now that not only makes it easier to slow down smoothly, it just
generally makes the car more enjoyable to drive. As for the ride, well this
Performance version is undoubtedly quite firm, and that’s hardly surprising when
you consider it has stiffer sport suspension and massive 20inch alloys.
We’d still say it’s no firmer than M Sport versions of the latest BMW
3-Series for example, but there’s no doubt if comfort is a priority we would
recommend you look at the regular Long Range Model 3 instead. Now before we
give the car back to Tesla, there’s one last thing we need to do, and that’s to find out
roughly how many miles you can expect from a full charge. Tesla quotes a range
of 310 miles based on an official government test carried out over in the
US, but the European WLTP figures have just been published
and they say the Performance version that we’re driving here can do 330 miles,
and the less powerful regular Long Range model can manage 338 miles on a charge.
So we’re charging the car back up again, and then we’re going to drive it
relatively gently all the way back to Madrid, which is about 150 miles away to
see how much charge we use up. A bit of maths and that should give you a rough
idea of the mileage you can expect in the real world. Although we will of
course be putting the Model 3 through our much more scientific Real
Range tests when we get the car back in the UK. To find out more about our Real
Range tests, including how many miles other electric cars can manage on a full
charge, just click the link up there in the top
right. Okay so we’re coming towards Madrid now, we’ve done around 130 miles
and the car is saying we’ve used up 55% of the battery. So assuming that’s all
correct, that gives us a potential maximum range of around about 235 miles.
Which is very good when you consider that pretty much the whole way we’ve
been doing 70 miles an hour on quite a hilly motorway. We reckon if you’re
driving on slower roads you should be able to get well over 250 miles. As
well as having a long range the Model 3 is actually a really good car in other
respects, it’s fun to drive, it’s packed full of tech, it’s ridiculously fast, and
it’s even reasonably practical. The problem is we don’t know how much it
will cost in the UK yet, and until we do it’s impossible to say where the Model 3
will rank in our Electric car league table. Tesla also needs to get a bit of a
move on with deliveries in the UK, because there are plenty of other
electric cars on the horizon from more established manufacturers that could
potentially snap up would-be Model 3 buyers who just can’t be bothered to wait
any longer. Hopefully that won’t happen because,
assuming the prices aren’t too optimistic, this is a car that really
does deserve to succeed. Watch out for our full UK video review of the Model 3 in
the coming months, and in the meantime head over to whatcar.com to read our
full written review of the car. Thanks for watching and if you’ve enjoyed this
video give us a like and hit the subscribe button so that we can let you
know about future content as soon as it’s published.

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. What is desperately needed though is a really good voice activation where you can at least pull up certain hubs on the screen so you don't need to navigate through the menu while driving.

  2. While looking at this model, there is another new model and brand from Volvo, which will muscle in with the Tesla’s, look out for the Polestar2 Vehicle. Technology moves fast.

  3. The tedious Tesla Fanboi is VERY much in evidence in the comments here – desperately nit – picking every point which could be 'perceived' as criticism!! – sad……

  4. What the fuck is the point of mentioning "easter eggs" in every review. They are useless, pointless and irrelevant. And they are no longer "Easter eggs" if you tell EVERYBODY.

  5. What I want to know is, if I come barreling along from behind on a Hayabusa on the autobahn, will the lane change assist react in time to avoid me having to emergency brake to avoid shunting a Tesla up the rear end?

  6. Anyone here having experience with seat comfort? The reviewer is mentioning back pain from a 2 hour drive already…

  7. It may be a great car but I'd take an electric version of the car that slides into frame at 15:52 over this in a heartbeat.

  8. £50k? what ever happened to these model 3's being £35k? a lot of those 400k+ customer pre-orders were on that basis!. I predict pre-order customers asking to be refunded if the UK price is anywhere near that £50k price tag for the long range version. Plus by the time these cars actually start being available in the UK there will be other choices.

    I have been leasing cars for the last 10/12 years and was considering a model 3 when available in the UK. I doubt very much these will be able to compete in the very competetive UK lease market. Shame…..

  9. Takes an hour to charge vs 5 min to fill up. 90%+ of electricity is generated by fossil fuels and less efficiently and cleanly than by a modern car. Electric vehicles are bad for the environment,.

  10. Did you use any referral code  to buy your car?Are people nowadays offering referral code nowadays? I want to buy my Tesla 3 soon.

  11. All Tesla series with wider rear track than front track bodyworks all : the lowest traction 0.7g, extreme tail flick, extreme slide on circuits by use F1 speed 160 km/hr to top speed.

    End report.

    Tesla all databases

  12. £50,000 forget it, I've been driving for 11 years and spent about £7,300 including repairs. Only the rich can afford these types of car's long way to go before regular people can afford one.

  13. Thank you Tesla for putting your money where your mouth is. Instead of moaning about Climate Change you did something about it.And made it cool. Next you must make an affordable one.

  14. I heard that they made the seats better. Do you know if that is the new version of the seat? Thank you very much! I have watched a lot of Model 3 videos but yours is the best. Nuts and bolts of how to operate. 😀

  15. Did you do the range test after a normal charge? Or full trip charge?
    Not regular drive mileage, but indicative of when you plan to push the range.

  16. @5:38 Are you implying that the car is noisy compared to a internal combustion vehicle?
    @5:55 More cowbell!
    @8:40 You are the first person that I've heard to complain of a back ache in a Tesla.

  17. Did I understand the Model 3 uses a different connector to the Model S or X? That's news to me, I didn't know that. I thought it used the same connector. Maybe in Eiurope it uses a different connector. I'm not sure if the Australian model uses the same connector or a different one.

  18. Hmm here’s the thing what’s stopping me from buying an ev, I’m more of a estate fan as I need the boot SUV and cross overs seem pointless not much room for rear passenger and the size of the car versus our uk parking space are getting smaller. 2 as I have a Diesel car and live out side of London I don’t need to pay the tox charge untill next year which leads me nicely into the London mayor election will the tox charge be scrapped or will it become really expensive. 3 should I buy an ev plug in or hybrid or lease. Leasing very popular in USA. Untill UK gets briext done and a new government is in place I think we should wait let other manufacturers get their cars out for 2019/2020

  19. Sorry but when I buy a new car I want to drive it.Also I had to be in total control behind the wheel this is dangerous.Peole have already been killed in this car having it on auto pilot.Stop being fucking lazy people

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