2021 Tesla Model 3 Review – Still The Best Electric Car Money Can Buy< Back to blog
The Tesla Model 3 is a multi-award-winning electric car that has been the brainchild of eccentric renowned Tesla CEO Elon Musk since it was first introduced in 2017. Late night tweets, the stock exchange and SpaceX aside, Tesla has created (in our opinion) one of the very best EVs available today.
After becoming the first electric car to sell over one million units in 2021, the American manufacturer still isn’t resting on its laurels. The Model 3 has recently been facelifted with a new look and even longer range, so you can get your executive zero-emission saloon with up to 360 miles of range between charges.
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2021 Tesla Model 3 design
The first word that comes to our mind when we think of the Tesla Model 3’s design is clean.
Everything about its look and feel is slick, modern and has an air of premium style. While it’s not exactly as exciting as the Porsche Taycan’s or Audi e-tron GT’s sporty, aggressive style, it’s nevertheless an attractive-looking car in a minimalistic sense.
There are three versions of the Tesla Model 3 available: Standard Range Plus, Long Range and Peformance. Only specifying the latter has a significant difference on the design of the Model 3, which you can see below in our comparison of the three trim levels.
2021 Tesla Model 3 interior
If you thought the outside of the Tesla Model 3 was minimalist, just wait until you step inside. To keep everything looking futuristic, Tesla made sure that all the car’s functions, including the headlights and windscreen wipers, were only controllable through the massive 15in iPad-like infotainment screen in the centre of the dashboard.
Rather bizarrely, even the speedometer is displayed on the touchscreen which we think is a tad too far. That’s because it can be very distracting trying to check your speed on the move.
Once you get used to the Model 3’s quirky bare interior, you’ll be wowed at just how intuitive the system is when you operate it. The processor is very quick and there’s a plethora of fun features within the screen (i.e. driving games controlled by the steering wheel, Spotify, Netflix and YouTube). It’s worth noting that the driving game can only be played when the car is stationary, while we recommend keeping video streaming down to a minimum to avoid distractions while you’re driving.
Adding to the Model 3’s tech-savvy interior are a pair of wireless charging pads beneath the infotainment screen. Alternatively, if your phone isn’t enabled with wireless charging, two high-powered USB-C ports let you rapidly charge your device on the go.
Opt for the Long Range or Performance versions of the Model 3 and you’ll get a punchier 14-speaker sound system for crisper-sounding audio.
2021 Tesla Model 3 practicality
As a large executive car, the Tesla Model 3 has similar space in the back than the BMW 3 Series, so a couple of tall passengers will be comfortable there for longer journeys. The only slight complaint is that the sloping roofline means headroom isn’t quite as good as rivals.
Boot and storage space is pretty good in the Tesla Model 3 too. Namely, the car has a boot and a space underneath the bonnet (which Tesla refers to as a ‘frunk’) which can hold a combined 425 litres of belongings.
On top of this there’s a handy amount of storage space dotted about the cabin, including a couple of cup holders, a storage tray and two wireless phone charging mats beneath the infotainment system.
A neat feature of the Model 3’s boot is that is can be opened electronically, either through the touchscreen, your Tesla app or using a button on the boot lid.
2021 Tesla Model 3 range and charging
How much range you get from the Tesla Model 3 and how quickly it can be charged will depend on the version you choose. Below we compare range and charge times of the three Model 3 trims.
2021 Tesla Model 3 driving
Regardless of which Tesla Model 3 specification you choose, performance is rapid and silent. In road tests, the entry-level Standard Range Plus spec managed 0-60mph in just 6.1 seconds, which will worry most hot hatches at the lights without making a song and dance about it either.
The single electric motor on the cheapest version of the Model 3 still gets a chunky 271bhp and a more-than-enough top speed of 140mph.
Things get even quicker when you step up to the Long Range and top-spec Performance models thanks to all-wheel drive and dual electric motors. The former comes with a whopping 434bhp, while the latter bumps this up to a ludicrously powerful 449bhp. Out on the road, the Performance spec of the Model 3 timed a 0-60mph in a mere 3.3 seconds.
We’d recommend the Long Range and Performance spec if you want a tidy-handling electric car too. 20in alloy wheels and a stiffer sports suspension on the Performance variant transforms this car, making it very quick when you steer, much more than in the Polestar 2. While the Long Range is a little less grippier and a tad more body lean.
A standout feature of the Tesla Model 3’s drive is Autopilot, available as standard on all versions. It includes automatic lane-keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control systems that keep you in the lane safely and at a safe distance from the car in front while you’re on the motorway.
Don’t expect the system to turn the Model 3 into a full self-driving vehicle, though. You’ll still need to be in charge of the car at all times and be ready to react in emergency situations to override the assistance systems.
Tesla insist that the Model 3 has the hardware that means it has full self-driving capability. You can purchase this function for an additional $10,000 (approx. £7,249) but you’ll have to wait for the over-the-air software update to come before you can use it. This isn’t expected for some years yet.
According to the US automaker, the self-driving capabilities will include:
- Navigate on Autopilot
- Auto Lane Change
- Full Self-Driving Computer
- Traffic Light and Stop Sign Control
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