To say that Tesla are shaking up the automobile market would be a gross understatement. In fact, they’ve been trying to do so for the last few years.
The problem, at least up until now, has that it’s all been hype. Their models look nice, and seemingly perform well, but cost has been an issue. In other words, they just haven’t been viable for the masses.
This is where their Model 3 enters the equation. This is Elon Musk’s answer to affordable – and this has what has made the car industry sit up and take notice the most. The Tesla Model 3 is an electric sedan, which currently retails for $55,000. Granted, this is more than Musk first speculated it would cost (by some $20,000 we should add) but the omens so far suggest that this could be Tesla’s best creation yet.
Following on from the above, let’s see if the Model 3 really is worth the price, and if it is going to truly shake up the car industry like so many people and media sources have been suggesting for the past few years.
Tesla might be regarded as a green car manufacturer, but that doesn’t mean to say that they don’t take immense pride in the vehicles that they design. They are utterly stylish – and the Model 3 certainly falls into this category as well.
Some have suggested that it’s not quite as slick as the Model S, but at least in comparison to the vast majority of similar vehicles it’s up there with the best. In short, for those of you seeking a vehicle which looks the part, this ticks the box.
Let’s not forget that this is Tesla’s attempt at something of a budget offering, so comparing the interior to a premium vehicle really isn’t fair. Despite this, the Model 3 is still completely up there, and there won’t be any discomfort whatsoever whilst driving the car for long distances. Legroom is perfect, even for tall people, while the roofline is surprisingly high and actually gives you more space than the Model S.
If we were to describe the interior in one word, it would be Scandinavian. It’s pure, slick and just gives you an incredible amount for your money. Some people might suggest that it doesn’t “seem” to offer a lot of features, but this is merely due to its simplicity. They’ve simplified all of the right controls, and gifted the driver an interior to die for.
One area which has courted some controversy has been the gigantic 15-inch touchscreen that dominates the car. A lot of people have suggested that this is far too large, and can act as something of a distraction. However, let’s not forget that the same was said about touchscreens when they first entered the automobile scene some years ago, so this is a concern that one has to assume might be diluted further down the line.
Putting the size concerns to one side, the display is breathtaking. The GPS navigation, coupled with voice control, makes driving a breeze. Additionally, this also houses the autopilot user interface and while this might again be tricky to get to grips with initially, it’s one of those features that could prove to be a “grower”.
Following on from the general interior, let’s now talk about the storage in the Model 3. This is better than the Model S and if we were to coin a few examples, you now have a shelf below the touchscreen (with more than enough room for two of today’s phones) as well as significant pockets in the side doors which are convenient to say the least.
In terms of the trunk, this is clearly not going to be quite as significant as the Model S. The car is smaller, and it now houses around 15 cubic feet (the Model S was double this). However, you can manipulate this by folding down the rear seats. In essence, this means that you could inflate a twin mattress and just about fit it in the vehicle – and this will provide more than enough space for most of us.
Unsurprisingly, a vehicle like this one is always going to be judged on its range. This is something that Tesla have taken immense pride in and the official line says that the Model 3 will be able to travel for 315 miles before needing to be recharged.
In truth, the Model 3 isn’t going to appeal to those people who are looking to smash the 0-60 barrier in record speeds. However, the statistics are still reasonably impressive, with the vehicle able to get to that elusive 60mph range in 5.1 to 5.6 seconds. Considering the fact that the latest BMW 3-series hybrid takes almost 6 seconds, this can be classed as a resounding success by Tesla.
Following on from the previous section, let’s talk about the way in which the vehicle is handled. Again, for those adrenaline junkies out there, the Model 3 is unlikely to tickle your fancy.
It’s not particularly fun, but if you are considering an electric car this is unlikely going to be one of y our desired features anyway. What we will say is that it has a low center of gravity and if we were to compare it to its predecessor, the Model S, you are going to gain slightly more enjoyment from it.
The keyless factor
We just had to make a point about the keyless system that Tesla has devised for this model. Unsurprisingly, they’re all for doing things differently, and this means that you are given a card key – rather than the traditional key.
The way in this works is that you hold the key up to the B-pillar – which will then grant access to the car. There is a slight caveat to this, as if the vehicle is covered in salt and ice the mobile phone app will have to be used (which uses Bluetooth to function).
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