Sunday, March 25, 2018

Tesla Model 3 review: the fast and infuriating

I was standing next to the Model 3 when a guy on a bike rode by and yelled, “How is it?” My typical interactions with people who ask about Tesla’s affordable sedan (so many people ask me about the car) typically take about five minutes. I point out the highlights and issues I’ve encountered while driving. Without thinking, I threw him a thumbs up. It was a gut reaction to a car I’ve come to adore but have also been confused by. I should have yelled, “It’s complicated!

  • Quick off the line and far more nimble than the X and S make it a joy to drive
  • Minimum EV range of 220 miles
  • Outstanding voice control
  • Lots of techOTA updates will fix things. Maybe.
  • Too many controls pushed to touchscreen
  • Needs more hardware buttons
  • Only Long Range version is currently available
  • No dash cluster behind the steering wheel


A great electric vehicle sidelined by an in-car interface that complicates simple tasks.

To say the $35,000 Model 3 is important to Tesla would be an understatement. Judging by its pre-orders (the highest the industry has seen), it’s already the most anticipated car ever. It’s the culmination of CEO Elon Musk’s nearly 12-year-old “master plan” to bring an affordable EV to market. Now that the Model 3 is here I can positively say it’s a joy to drive, but it’s also frustrating to do some of the simplest things in the cockpit. During a single trip I went from having an electric-motor-fueled grin on my face to throwing my hands up in exasperation while trying to adjust the cruise control follow distance. So yeah, it’s complicated.


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