Tesla Model 3 Review & Prices

The Tesla Model 3 is Tesla’s cheapest electric car, but in many ways the best. That said, it’s not as practical as Tesla's own Model Y

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RRP £39,990 - £59,990
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£39,990
Monthly
£495*
Used
£15,000
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2024
Outstanding EV Award
wowscore
9/10
Reviewed by Darren Cassey after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Very fast
  • Massive range
  • Loads of tech

What's not so good

  • Can be awkward using the screen for everything
  • German saloons still higher quality
  • Controls can be a little fiddly

Find out more about the Tesla Model 3

Is the Tesla Model 3 a good car?

If you’re looking for an affordable electric family car, the Tesla Model 3 should be right at the top of your shopping list. It was given a major update in late 2023 which gave it a sleeker, more aggressive exterior design and a subtly changed interior – but perhaps more important is that updates make it more quiet and refined inside as well as more comfortable over bumps. It's so impressive that it has won the Outstanding EV Award at the 2024 Carwow Car of the Year Awards.

You can't overstate just how influential the Tesla Model 3 has been. Remember in the early-mid 2000s, when phone handsets were getting ever smaller and discreet — until the chunky iPhone came along in 2007 to completely turn the industry on its head? Well, that’s sort of what the Model 3 has achieved with the car. Not only has Elon Musk’s brainchild shown the world that long-range electric cars are today and not just the future, but in the process it also paved the way for alternatives such as the Polestar 2, Hyundai Ioniq 6, Kia EV6 and BYD Seal.

If there was one criticism you could levy at the old Model 3, it was that it had rather gawky styling, but the revised version has sharper, slimmer headlights that give it a more aggressive look. At the rear you get C-shaped lights that create a classier, more defined look than before.

There are changes under the metal, too. Tesla has always pushed the boundaries in terms of range, and now you can go even further between charges. The all-wheel drive Long Range model has an estimated range of 421 miles with the 18-inch wheels, though that drops by over 30 miles if you pick the 19-inch wheels. Even the standard rear-wheel drive version can go comfortably over 300 miles, plus you get access to Tesla's excellent Supercharger network.

Tesla Model 3: electric range, battery and charging data

Range: 318-390 miles
Efficiency:
4.4-4.7 miles per kWh
Battery size:
60kWh / 79kWh
Max charge speed:
250kW
Charge time AC:
7hrs 34mins, 0-100%, 11kW
Charge time DC:
27mins, 0-80%, 250kW
Charge port location:
Left side rear
Power outputs:
241hp / 346hp / 460hp

If you're making the most of that range then a comfortable interior is just as important as the exterior, and it’s inside the car where the Tesla Model 3 is known for being revolutionary. It's spacious for those in the front and back, and while screens that dominate the dashboard have become commonplace now, Tesla was the first to go all-in – and remains the most committed to the cause of digitising everything. There's not even any sort of dashboard ahead of the driver, and it's a shame Tesla still hasn't developed a head-up display for its cars.

So instead of physical buttons, you control pretty much everything through a whopping 15.4-inch touchscreen. It’s a good thing, then, that the screen is easy to read, laid out rather sensibly and responds to your inputs just as quickly as a range-topping iPad does. The satellite navigation, based on Google Maps, is incredibly easy to use and follow.

That said, it is slightly annoying you can't get Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and having to control everything through the screen – including opening the glovebox and moving the steering wheel – can be annoying. It's also worth noting that while the 2024 model's infotainment system remains largely unchanged, the screen is brighter than the outgoing version's.

The rest of the Tesla Model 3’s cabin looks a bit plain by comparison, but at least it feels pretty solid now – which hasn’t always been the case with Tesla’s cars. It’s not quite as roomy as the Ford Mustang Mach-E – particularly in the back – but the Model 3 comes with a vast panoramic glass roof that stretches all the way from the driver’s headrests to the bootlid. It’s a welcome feature, as it does a fantastic job of flooding the cabin with light.

It also does nothing to limit the cavernous boot space available in the Model 3. At 590 litres it's more than you get in any of its alternatives, with the Kia EV6 being closest at 490 litres. It includes under-bonnet storage that's more spacious than you'll find elsewhere, plus you get a chunky front boot to..

The Tesla Model 3 isn’t just one of the most high-tech electric cars on sale, it’s also one of the best saloons you can buy

The Tesla Model 3 is better to drive than ever. Updates have made it more comfortable over bumps and quieter and more refined at higher speeds. And the high-power Performance version, reviewed separately here, is an absolutely fantastic super saloon that's great fun on a twisty road.

While the light controls and silent motors make the Model 3 a breeze to drive in town, it's even easier to drive on motorways, where the optional Enhanced Autopilot system lets the car pretty much drive itself – providing you keep your hands on the steering wheel. It’ll accelerate, brake and steer for you to maintain a safe distance to other cars, and will even change lane when you indicate. As good as it sounds, though, it's a costly optional extra.

In fact, the sheer number of passenger-impressing gizmos you get in the Model 3 makes the more expensive Model S seem a bit of an extravagance. It might be the baby of the Tesla range, but the Model 3’s stylish looks, futuristic-yet-practical cabin and sports car-baiting performance make it one of the best electric cars on sale and a genuine alternative to the posh saloon mainstream.

A tempting proposition then – find out how much you could save by browsing our Tesla Model 3 deals. You can also find some great used Model 3 deals as well as check out other used Tesla stock. Looking to sell your current car? You can do that through Carwow too.

How much is the Tesla Model 3?

The Tesla Model 3 has a RRP range of £39,990 to £59,990. Prices start at £39,990 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £495. The price of a used Tesla Model 3 on Carwow starts at £15,000.

Our most popular versions of the Tesla Model 3 are:

Model version Carwow price from
RWD 4dr Auto £39,990 Compare offers

It might have a reputation for being a pricey premium brand, but the Tesla Model 3 is actually very competitively priced amongst similarly sized electric cars. Perhaps the most natural alternative is the BMW i4, but this starts at the same price as a Long Range AWD Model 3, while the Kia EV6, Polestar 2 and Hyundai Ioniq 6 all start at a bit more than the Tesla, with top-spec, long-range versions that are considerably more expensive. The Volkswagen ID3 is closest on price, but its interior feels much cheaper and less high-tech, and it's also a smaller car.

The Tesla Model 3 Performance starts at around £60,000, and even that feels like pretty good value, considering the BMW i4 M50 kicks off at £70,000, though the Kia EV6 GT is only about £2,500 more than the Tesla.

All this being said, it's easy to push the price of the Model 3 up. If you want a black and white interior, fancy paint job or bigger alloy wheels, all are expensive extras. And it's more money again for the enhanced Autopilot package or 'Full Self-Driving' capabilities.

Performance and drive comfort

The Tesla Model 3 offers fantastic acceleration and impressive cornering ability, but it can’t quite match the best sports saloons for overall handling and cornering excitement

In town

Any Model 3 is impressively quick away from the lights, but it’s not all about speed here, it is also easy to drive thanks to light controls and a suspension that is still firm, but more comfortable over most road surfaces, and brakes that make it easy to come to a smooth stop, unlike many other EVs. Visibility is slightly marred by rather large front door pillars, so you’ll have to get used to peering around the blind spot at junctions.

The comprehensive Basic Autopilot driver assist system includes traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors and a blind spot warning feature, all useful tools when navigating tight and congested city streets. Add on the optional Enhanced Autopilot feature, and your Model 3 will park itself, and the Smart Summon feature can even guide your car to you in a car park.

On the motorway

Motorway driving is smooth and refined, while performance is either impressive or excessive depending on the version you pick. Adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning are standard, and the optional Autopilot system will drive the car for you as long as you keep a hand on the steering wheel. 

With even the standard Model 3 capable of 318 miles on a charge, it’s good to know that the front seats are comfortable and supportive on longer trips. The panoramic glass roof also makes the interior feel airy, especially for passengers in the rear, while the fact that you now get acoustic glass all around means there's less wind and road noise to contend with.

On a twisty road

The rear-wheel-drive base model is already faster than most similarly-priced cars, and it handles twisty roads with confidence. The low centre of gravity makes it feel planted around corners, but the steering feel isn’t quite up there with the more expensive Ford Mustang Mach-E, nor the BMW i4.

The suspension is able to soak up rutted road surfaces without too much trouble, though, and although the rear-wheel drive version delivers enough oomph to put a smile on your face, it's the all-wheel drive versions that will really make you giggle. The improved suspension means that the Tesla is more composed over bumps, which gives you more confidence to have some fun in the corners.

If you want the most fun you can have in a Model 3, a new Performance version was announced in April 2024. It has some suspension and brake upgrades to go with more power that should make it more capable in corners – check back soon for our verdict once we've been behind the wheel.

Space and practicality

You won’t have any trouble fitting four adults and a fair amount of luggage into the Model 3, but accessing the glovebox or adjusting the steering wheel via the touchscreen seems a bit overcomplicated

You get a fair amount of storage space in the Model 3, starting with a pair of large front door bins that will take big water bottles and even smaller handbags. The central cubby incorporates a tray with two USB-C ports, and you get another covered storage compartment as well as two cup holders. 

A padded section ahead of these storage bins gives you a place to store and wirelessly charge your phone. You’ll need to use the massive 15.4-inch touchscreen to unlock the glovebox though, which seems a bit overcomplicated. 

The front seats offer plenty of adjustment, and the steering wheel can be positioned to suit just about every shape and size (though this has to be done through the screen, too).

Space in the back seats

Passengers in the back can make use of two smaller yet still useful door bins, and the central armrest folds down to reveal a set of cupholders. There are also front seat-back pockets and centrally mounted air vents with USB-C ports located under them, which are powerful enough to keep a laptop going.

Your passengers will be more comfortable in the back of the new Tesla Model 3 than in the old one, thanks to seats that recline more, though there's still not a great deal of under-thigh support. That's where the complaints end though because it's much quieter and more comfortable than before, and you get a screen between the front seats to control the ventilation and music, which feels more special than most alternatives.

The two outer seats come with ISOFIX anchors, but they're a bit tricky to find the mounting points. A BYD Seal is a better option for fitting a child seat.

Boot space

The Tesla Model 3 has a massive boot with a capacity of 594 litres, so you can fit comfortably more stuff in the back than any similar cars you might consider, with the Kia EV6 being well behind at 490 litres and the BMW i4 offering 470 litres. Other options don't get close, with the Polestar 2 offering 405 litres, the Hyundai Ioniq 6 coming with 401 litres, and the Volkswagen ID3 sitting at 385 litres.

What's more, there's a front bonnet that's also bigger than you get elsewhere, with some electric cars not even having stowage space up front. In the Tesla you get an extra 88 litres, considerably more than the Kia EV6's 52 litres.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

There’s still nothing quite like the interior of a Model 3, aside from another Tesla. It’s ultra-minimalist and the material quality is good, if not in the league of its German alternatives

Stepping into the cabin of the Tesla Model 3 is a lesson in minimalism and uncluttered design that no alternative offering has yet mastered. You don't even get stalks behind the steering wheel anymore – the indicators are buttons on the face of the wheel, and you select drive and reverse by swiping the touchscreen.

To access the various functions – both minor and major – you will need to make use of that huge 15.4-inch touchscreen jutting out of the centre of the dashboard. It all looks very futuristic, but having to delve through menus to access everything from the music volume to seat heating and even steering wheel adjustments can initially be a bit frustrating.

Once you’re all set up and have configured the shortcuts and layout to your tastes, it is as easy to navigate as your smartphone. The screen is very responsive, has bright and clear graphics and the sat nav uses Google Maps which is about as user-friendly as it gets. Tesla doesn’t offer Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but you may not actually miss it – that just goes to show how intuitive it all is. We still wouldn’t mind a physical button for the glove box though.

A nice touch is the double wireless phone charger beneath the dashboard, which means you and your passenger don't have to fight over charge. There's also a USB-C slot to top up the old-fashioned way, too.

Material quality has typically been hit and miss for Tesla, but the new Model 3 has no issues in this regard. Everything feels pretty well put together, and while it's still not quite up there with the likes of BMW and Mercedes, you can have few complaints. Some nice touches that elevate the premium appeal include perforated leather upholstery that allows for a cooling function in the seats, ideal for a hot day.

One thing that is missing is a head-up display. These have become common among most other brands, but not Tesla. It's a shame because it would make it easier to watch your speed, which is currently displayed in the corner of the touchscreen so requires you to constantly glance away from the road.

Electric range, charging and tax

You can choose from three battery and motor combination for the Tesla Model 3. The first is the standard range model, which has a single motor and rear-wheel drive. With a 0-60mph time of 5.8 seconds it's no slouch, and with an official range of 318 miles it doesn't feel like the budget option at all.

If you want more power and range, though, there is the dual-motor long range model. It has all-wheel drive and can scoot from 0-60mph in 4.2 seconds. A bigger battery means it will travel up to 390 miles on a charge.

However, as it stands, these official range figures are measured with the optional 19-inch alloy wheel design. Tesla estimates that the rear-wheel drive model will go 344 miles on the standard 18-inch wheels, while the long range could go 421 miles.

If you want the most power possible, there's also an all-wheel drive Performance version. It has 460hp, but Tesla reckons it will go from 0-60mph in a ridiculous 2.9 seconds, though we'll have to get behind the wheel to verify this. Regardless, it's sure to be lightning quick, yet despite this and the fact it's only available with 20-inch wheels, Tesla claims a respectable range of 328 miles.

The rear-wheel drive model might not go as far as the Long Range between charges, but it's actually slightly more efficient, so will cost a bit less in electricity for a given journey. Official numbers suggest 4.7miles/kwh is possible, while the dual motor version gets a figure of 4.4m/kwh – either way, that's excellent efficiency. Again, though, the 18-inch wheels should improve these numbers.

During our review of the car, we saw hugely impressive efficiency of 4.6m/kWh in the big battery version. This would result in a real-world range of about 342 miles.

When it's time to charge, the dual motor can top up slightly quicker at 250kW, compared with 170kW for the standard car. Both get to use Tesla's excellent Supercharger network, though.

Company car buyers will find the ultra-low electric car benefit-in-kind rate mighty appealing, while everyone benefits from the fact there's no road tax to pay in the first year.

Safety and security

A Tesla Model 3 Long Range garnered a full five-star Euro NCAP score in 2019, with a very impressive 96% adult occupant score and 94% for safety assist systems. Although this was for the old version, they're similar enough that it still applies.

All Model 3s come fitted with the Basic Autopilot driver assist system which includes traffic sign recognition, lane departure warning, front and rear parking sensors and blind spot warning. Adaptive cruise control and keyless entry are also standard fitments.

All models can additionally spec the Enhanced Autopilot feature, which adds a host of extra abilities like semi-autonomous driving and a self-parking system which will park the car for you. A Full Self-Driving Capability option is also available, which includes traffic light and stop sign control and access to future developments like automatic steering on city streets. We would stick with the Enhanced Autopilot option for now.

Reliability and problems

In the past, the Model 3 has generally placed in the middle of the pack in customer surveys, with owners generally appreciative of the impressive performance and tech, but complaining of patchy build quality and various gremlins in the first year of ownership. Tesla has been hard at work rectifying issues, and this shows with a consistent improvement in more recent surveys and quicker turnaround time when dealing with customer complaints. 

You get a four-year/50,000-mile warranty as standard, this is slightly different to the more common three-year/60,000-mile warranty offered by most premium alternatives. Owner transferable servicing plans are available, with some maintenance tasks being done via over-the-air updates, otherwise the car will alert the driver when a physical visit to a dealership is required. Running costs should be low with just the cabin filter and brake fluid (if contaminated) requiring replacement every two years.

Buy or lease the Tesla Model 3 at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £39,990 - £59,990
Carwow price from
Cash
£39,990
Monthly
£495*
Used
£15,000
Ready to see prices tailored to you?
Compare new offers Compare used deals
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