One of the Model 3’s big selling points is its range, and we think most buyers should strongly consider the Long Range Battery version. It boosts range by 50 miles, which will undoubtedly help as you hop from Supercharger to Supercharger on long road trips. As a bonus, selecting the larger battery pack increases power output significantly, making the Tesla’s instant acceleration feel even more impressive.
Edmunds’ Expert Review
8.4 / 10
When it was first announced in 2016, the Tesla Model 3 made headlines with a trio of talking points: 1) 0-60 mph in less than 6 seconds! 2) A range of 220 miles! 3) And all for the low, low price of $35,000! While this low-cost Model 3 still isn’t available after more than a year of full production, we’re still hugely impressed by the version currently on sale. Aside from a few ergonomic issues, the 2019 Tesla Model 3 is one of the best electric vehicles on sale today.
The Model 3 is roughly the same length as a Mercedes-Benz C-Class, but it makes excellent use of its dimensions and feels roomier than many of its competitors. Its trunk is also massive, and the lack of an engine means there’s a front trunk as well. Rounding out its strengths are tight steering, poised handling and instant acceleration that make it a thrill to drive. You also get Tesla’s suite of advanced driving aids, which is one of the best in the business, especially at this price point.
Our only gripe concerns the central touchscreen system. Because almost all of the Model 3’s controls are tied to it, you have to divert your attention from the road to do something as simple as adjusting the wiper speed. At the same time, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, or even a Tesla-developed browsing solution for your phone, are not available. Bluetooth streaming audio from your phone is the only way to go, but using your phone while driving means a ticket in states that ban phone use while driving — not to mention it’s an additional distracted-driving hazard.
Other electric vehicles certainly do better in that vein. You also have more choices than ever. The Chevrolet Bolt and the Hyundai Kona EV, in particular, stand out for their 230-plus-mile ranges and more affordable pricing. Yet the Model 3 has such a wealth of advantages that it warrants serious consideration for electric-car shoppers or even people just wanting a premium small sedan, electric or not.
2019 Tesla Model 3 configurations
The 2019 Tesla Model 3 is a compact electric sedan currently available in three trims: Mid Range Battery, Long Range Battery and Performance. The Mid Range Battery features a single motor that drives the rear wheels and is good for 258 horsepower and 260 miles of total range. The Long Range Battery uses two motors to provide 346 hp to all four wheels. The Performance version increases power output to 450 hp. Both the Long Range Battery and Performance models are rated at 310 miles of range.
Be aware that Tesla updates its vehicles on an ongoing basis rather than by model year, so what follows might not necessarily reflect the most current offering.
All versions of the car come standard with 18-inch wheels, automatic LED headlights and high beams, keyless entry,dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and 60/40-split folding rear seats.
Standard technology features include a 15-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, voice controls, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hotspot, remote control of some systems via a smartphone app, a rearview camera, and an audio system withinternet streaming radio and two USB ports. For standard safety features, there are forward collision warning and mitigation and blind-spot monitoring with collision avoidance.
The Premium Upgrades package (required on all vehicles at the time of publishing) adds LED foglights, heated and power-folding auto-dimming mirrors, a panoramic glass roof, heated seats, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, a power-adjustable steering column, simulated leather upholstery, wood interior trim, a covered center console, driver-seat memory functions, two additional USB ports and a premium audio system.
For the Performance trim, Tesla also offers a Performance Upgrade package (also required on all Performance models at the time of this review) that includes 20-inch wheels, performance tires, a lowered suspension, a carbon-fiber spoiler, upgraded brakes and a higher-speed limiter.
Also available is the Enhanced Autopilot option that adds adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, automatic lane changing and self-parking. Nineteen-inch wheels are available as a stand-alone option.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Tesla Model 3 Long Range (electric motor | direct drive | RWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted in 2017, the current Model 3 has received some revisions, including making dual motors and all-wheel drive standard for Long Range Battery models. Compared to the current Model 3 offerings, this test vehicle’s performance scores relate more to what you’ll get from the Mid Range Battery version.
The Model 3 feels sporty and engaging thanks to strong off-the-line performance, intuitive steering, and a balanced rear-wheel-drive chassis that feels coordinated and nimble. The standard 18-inch all-season tires are the limiting factor. Buy the optional 19-inch tires if you wish to maximize grip.
We’ve found the Model 3 to be a pleasant place to sit, and that feeling holds up for hours at a time. Its comfortable seats and quiet cabin deserve a great deal of credit. It rides agreeably most of the time, but it can sometimes feel busy and bound up if the road surface is broken or uneven.
The Model 3’s interior is more attractive than we ever expected of such a simple design, and its driving position, roominess and visibility are all fantastic. The touchscreen doesn’t block your view, but it does absorb your attention for too many routine tasks that should be doable without looking.
The Model 3’s trunk can hold far more than you’d expect thanks to a broad pass-through and fold-flat rear seats like those in an SUV. You’ll be able to fit a large mountain bike in easily, for example. Inside, cabin storage is plentiful, something we can’t say about the other Tesla models we’ve owned.
The Model 3 scores an A for its sound quality, navigation display and the Autopilot traffic-aware cruise and lane management system. But it earns a D-minus because Tesla’s chosen way to bring your smartphone into the audio environment involves Bluetooth audio and fiddling with your phone while driving.