I can’t believe that a Silicon Valley entrepreneur has actually built a car as great as the Model 3. For a genius who is focused on living on Mars, and getting rid of human-piloted automobiles, he has created something that car lovers (like me) love to drive. The Model 3 is actually a setback for Tesla when it comes to autonomous vehicles, because you’ll always want to drive the Model 3 – not be driven by it.
The latest Tesla is shockingly good. I’ve driven both the Model S and the Model X and while they’re both excellent vehicles, the Model 3 manages to surpass both of them. Though it has the trademark instant torque and intoxicating acceleration, what really sets the Model 3 apart is its handling prowess.
I fully expected the steering feel to be loose and disconnected from the road since the car is basically a computer with four wheels. After all, this car will eventually be driving itself. But flip the thing into sport mode and it will feel like a BMW M3. Even better, to be honest. You can whip the car around turns with immense accuracy and take off like a bat out of hell at every single stoplight.
I didn’t think I’d like the Model 3 mainly because I don’t like how it looks. It largely blends into the world of average looking four door sedans but I learned quickly not to judge this Tesla book by its cover.
How difficult is it to drive with no gauges or buttons?
The Model 3 is definitely not a car you can jump into and drive right away. There is a bit of a learning curve but not as high as I thought it would be. As long as you take a couple minutes to familiarize yourself with the giant iPad in the middle and figure out where everything is located in the different menus, you’re good. It’s all very intuitive (thanks to all the Apple engineers stolen by Tesla).
When driving down the road, I thought it would be tough to keep checking a big screen in the center of the dash for your speed and other things, but it’s not. You get used to it quickly although you’ll be wishing you could play Netflix on it – it’s a good thing Tesla doesn’t allow you to watch Black Mirror while driving at 80 mph on a freeway.
It would have been nice to have the option to tilt the center screen to get a better viewing angle as a driver, but it’s stuck in one place. I suppose Tesla really didn’t want to negatively impact the big screen viewing pleasure for the passengers.
Is it fun to drive?
It’s fantastic. There’s not much more I could ask for when it comes to the driving experience. Not many cars can satisfy the ultimate car enthusiast as much as the Model 3 can.
How does the Spartan interior feel?
There’s not much going on inside the car besides the big screen display but as a driver that’s all you need. In the driver’s seat you’re consumed with the excellent driving experience the Model 3 provides. The visibility is great, the handling is great, the seats are great. The barebones interior might be a little more jarring to the passenger, but who cares about them anyway!
I was having too much fun driving the Model 3 to mess with the autopilot features. Today’s Teslas have all the hardware equipped to be fully self-driving. These cars are one software update away from that. But I hope they keep finding bugs with the latest version so that it doesn’t get released till the year 2134. In the meantime, I’ll enjoy the hell out of driving the Model 3.
What’s not so great about the Model 3?
The cost. It was originally marketed to be a cheaper car selling for $35K, but Elon quickly realized that wasn’t going to be possible, at least for now. The one I drove was purchased for over $60K. That’s too much money for the average car buyer so the Model 3 is still pretty much out of reach for most folks. But once the Model 3 sells for $35K, it will be a no-brainer to purchase and will be the best car for the money.
Battery range is still an issue however. Although the long range comes with 310 miles, it only stays that way if you drive like you’re 100 years old. If you drive the car like you’re not dead inside, you’ll quickly see the miles quickly dwindling down and start to experience battery range anxiety which is never fun.
Once the battery ranges are bigger and the Model 3 becomes cheaper, it will be tough for other car companies to compete with this gem of a car. I wouldn’t mind owning one of these some day.