The Tesla Model 3 comes in four different configurations. Currently, the car is available in rear-wheel drive with what Tesla calls either its "standard-range battery" or its optional "mid-range battery." The car also comes in dual-motor all-wheel drive with the "long range battery," and in dual-motor all-wheel drive in "performance" guise. Tesla claims a 220-mile range for the standard battery, while the rear-drive Mid Range model will hit 60 mph in 5.6 seconds with an EPA-estimated range of 264 miles. The AWD Long Range will cover 310 miles, with acceleration to 60 mph in 4.5 seconds. Performance trim with all-wheel drive accomplishes the same feat in just 3.3 seconds while not compromising range. Top speed on the Performance is estimated at 155 mph.
Step inside the Tesla Model 3 and it immediately becomes apparent that the future has arrived. Rather than a typical dashboard, a 15-inch tablet-like device dominates the central dash area, displaying everything from map information to the radio. The result is an incredibly clean and spartan looking interior that does away with much of the clutter that's defined modern interior styling.
For now, the Model 3 rides on a choice of 18- or 19-inch wheels, though the Performance can be upgraded to 20s. Inside you'll find what Tesla calls its Premium interior. This means that standard features include heated front seats with 12-way power adjustment, four USB ports and two smartphone docks, a tinted glass roof, custom driver profiles and one year of Tesla's connectivity service free of charge. This service includes both navigation updates with traffic as well as in-car streaming from media devices. LED foglamps and heated exterior mirrors are also standard.
For those who really want to experience the future, Tesla offers a $5000 Enhanced Autopilot option. Enhanced Autopilot includes auto-lane change, autosteer, active cruise control and Autopark and Summon functions. Tesla also expects to add fully autonomous self-driving capabilities to the Model 3, though that function is not currently available.
Fully Electric Propulsion
Available All-wheel Drive
Tesla doesn't update the Model 3 on a year-to-year basis, instead choosing to incrementally improve the car over time. The biggest and most recent change is the introduction of a new base model. With this model, dubbed the Standard Range model, Tesla has finally achieved what they set out to do, sell an all-electric vehicle to the masses at a base price of $35,000. This new base price is significantly less expensive than what was available earlier, truly bringing an electric only option to huge number of Americans.
The Tesla Model 3 can be compared both to compact luxury sedans such as the BMW 3-series and the Audi A4. It can also be compared to fully electric vehicles such as the Nissan LEAF and the Volkswagen e-Golf. The Tesla offers excellent power and handling as well as ultra-modern styling, but with a starting price of $35,000, the Tesla starts at about $5,000 less than the BMW and $2,400 less than the Audi.
Compared to the LEAF and Volkswagen, the Tesla offers greater range and a stronger technology suite as well as better performance. Pricing is roughly equivalent to those two compact electric vehicles.
Buyers in the United States can expect to take advantage of tax credits designed to incentivize the purchase of an electric car. The remarkable battery-only drivetrain of the Model 3 means there's very little difference between a gasoline-powered car and an all-electric one. With all the performance, technology and ease of use one would expect from a car in this class.