The Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive has an official driving range of 374 miles along with rapid performance and lots of grip – and the driving experience has improved since we last reviewed this car in 2020.
We reviewed the Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive just two years ago. We were offered the opportunity to review the latest model, which shouldn’t have changed very much, but it was actually a much better car to drive – so why is this?
The basic Model 3 recipe hasn’t changed: a large 75 kWh battery in the floor, dual electric motors in the case of our test car, giving all-wheel drive, and rapid performance.
We think the Model 3 looks good (even with the dark grey 18-inch Aero wheels), but although its fastback saloon body style (which limits headroom for adults in the rear seats) might suggest it has a hatchback, it doesn’t – it has a boot – however the rear seats do fold down. There’s also storage space under the bonnet – combined with the boot, there’s 542 litres in total.
The dashboard has no buttons, just a large central touchscreen, which features all car information and controls.
We tested the Model 3 on two occasions soon after launch and both cars had ride quality that was poor compared to a BMW 3 Series, and there were also various rattles from the suspension. The poor ride quality also meant that the car didn’t feel agile around corners as there was no fluidity to the suspension.
However we’re pleased to report that the latest Model 3 has much improved ride quality, and as a result it feels more agile, adjustable and fun when cornering (the handling is helped by the Model 3’s low centre of gravity). The build quality also appears to have improved. Tesla says that there were changes to the Model 3’s suspension in 2021 but wouldn’t provide any details. There’s still some road noise on certain motorway surfaces.
With 443hp, the instantly-available performance is still excellent (with a 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds, or 3.1 seconds for the Performance model) and the all-wheel drive system delivers secure levels of grip.
So it’s all good news so far, but we need to talk about the car controls. As has always been the case with Teslas, there are no physical buttons on the dashboard, all controls are on the central 15-inch touchscreen. This allows Tesla to make over-the-air updates for virtually all car controls, but having all controls on the touchscreen may not be to everyone’s liking.
Having information such as a large map on the central screen is obviously a useful feature, but having to adjust items such as the steering wheel position, mirrors, ventilation and even the windscreen wipers via the touchscreen is going a bit far. It also means that you never have your speed displayed in front of you, you always have to look to the central screen to see if you’re exceeding the limit or not. In contrast, the BMW i4 has a central touchscreen which displays a clear map, there’s also a simple map in the instrument display in front of the driver, and there’s also a head-up display giving clear directions. And don’t go looking for a button for the radio in the Model 3.
The touchscreen also features controls for acceleration – chill or standard; steering can be selected as Comfort, Standard or Sport; and the level of brake regeneration can be adjusted.
If you like the idea of the car driving itself rather you driving the car, then Tesla’s Autopilot has been a leader in this field for many years, and just to prove that the numerous cameras, sensors and radar detectors are working, the touchscreen shows graphics of other vehicles and objects around the vehicle when you’re driving.
Aside from the driving experience, there are two big advantages of buying a Tesla. The first is the long driving range (the Model 3’s official WLTP range is 374 miles). After a week with the car our average real-life range was 348 miles, which is excellent. The Model 3 also delivers on its range promises at motorway speeds much more accurately than many other EVs.
The second advantage is the Tesla Supercharger network, making it very easy and quick to charge on long journeys (with the potential to gain 172 miles in 15 minutes). Currently there are virtually always queues of non-Tesla EVs waiting to charge at the two or so GRIDSERVE chargers that are typically at motorway service areas, but a short distance away there are often 10 or 12 bays at a Tesla Supercharger site. At the time of writing Tesla is opening up some Supercharger sites to other EVs – it will be interesting to see if this impacts negatively on the charging experience for Tesla drivers.
The Model 3 has a CCS charging port. Tesla retrofitted its Supercharger network to provide an additional CCS connector to allow the Model 3 to use the network. It also means that for the first time you can recharge a Tesla at any public rapid charger with a CCS connector without needing an adapter.
The Long Range Model 3 is able to charge at 250 kW to make use of the latest V3 Superchargers, although Tesla tends to taper charging power early so you won’t get the full power for very long, but charging will still be impressively quick.
The Model 3’s AC charging is handled by an 11 kW onboard charger.
The Tesla Model 3 Long Range Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive costs £54,990. Company car drivers can benefit from a Benefit in Kind (BIK) rating of just two percent for the tax year 2022/23.
There’s also a Model 3 Performance Dual Motor All-Wheel Drive variant, which has a range of 340 miles, a 0-62mph time of 3.1 seconds, and a price tag of £59,990.
The Model 3 comes with Autopilot. Eight surround cameras allow for 360-degree vision, while twelve ultrasonic sensors provide detection of surrounding objects. Forward-facing radar sees through heavy rain, fog, dust, and beyond the vehicle ahead. The Model 3, like other Teslas, has over-the-air software updates.
The Model 3 achieved a 5-star Euro NCAP safety rating in every category with the highest ever score in Safety Assist tests.
The Tesla Model 3 is now a familiar sight on UK roads, and it has even appeared in the monthly top 10 best-selling car lists. There are a number of reasons for this. Initially there was lots of pent-up demand while buyers waited for the car to arrive in the UK and then lots of cars arrived in a short space of time. The Model 3 was also much cheaper than the Model S, it offered Benefit in Kind tax savings, it had excellent performance, a long range, and, critically for many people, it could charge easily at the Tesla Supercharger network, while drivers of other EV brands struggled with the public charging network.
The main issue that we had with the Model 3 when it was first launched was the poor ride quality and the various rattles from the suspension. Our latest test car had much better ride quality than early examples of the Model 3, and much better ride quality than the Model Y, resulting in it being more agile and a much-improved car to drive. All car controls being accessed via the central touchscreen is still not ideal in our opinion, and it has a boot rather than a more practical hatchback, but this doesn’t appear to have stopped people buying the Model 3, and it retains its Green Car Guide rating of 10 out of 10.