Early Model 3 review shows off the best and worst features on Tesla’s new EV

Tesla Model 3 Review

If you’ve been wondering why we still haven’t seen a thorough and enlightening Model 3 review, the simple answer is that the number of Model 3 vehicles out on the road is infinitesimal. The reason for this, not surprisingly, is that Tesla, as some astutely predicted months ago, has experienced some challenges with respect to Model 3 production. Despite Elon Musk confidently proclaiming that Tesla learned from previous production missteps with the Model S and the Model Y, Tesla during its recent third quarter still only managed to produce 260 units due to production bottlenecks. As it stands now, Tesla has only managed to deliver approximately 222 vehicles to reservation holders, most of whom happen to be Tesla employees.

With Tesla still trying to address production issues, the company had no choice but to completely push back its production schedule by a full quarter. Though it remains to be seen when Tesla will emerge from what Musk has categorized as “production hell”, the company now maintains that it will be able manufacture “5,000 Model 3 vehicles per week by late Q1 2018.”

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So where does that leave us with informative Model 3 reviews? Not far, unfortunately. But the good news is that some impressions of the car from early reservation holders are slowly but surely starting to surface online.

Most recently, a Model 3 owner took to Reddit and posted a somewhat detailed review of Tesla’s mass market EV after 10 days of ownership. While some reviews of Tesla cars tend to be either over-the-top positive or curiously negative, the review from the Redditor above (who goes by the name chotemaamu) is refreshingly balanced, which is to say that the Model 3 brings with it its own set of enjoyable features and surprising disappointments.

After a somewhat underwhelming delivery experience where the delivery specialist seemingly didn’t know much of anything about the Model 3’s features, chotemaamu took the car out on the road and came away impressed with the way it handles.

Driving the Model 3 feels great. Overall handling is superb. Definitely not what people would normally expect from an electric car but would expect from a Tesla. Amazing acceleration, just amazing (super quick off the spot). It almost feels like a roller coaster. I had some fun catching people off guard while riding them around.
Steering is solid, and the car feels in control.

The suspension is much stiffer than I expected. For comparison, for me the suspension felt slightly stiffer than BMW 335 but no as hard as my BRZ.

The Model 3 interior, though, seemed to be a mixed bag. Though chotemaamu notes that the car feels spacious and offers up plenty of legroom, fit and finish issues were ever-present.

The center console storage space lids etc. feel plasticky. My 2017 CRV has much better materials in this regard.

You have to close the doors really (really really) hard to make them close properly. If the door is not closed hard enough it doesn’t latch and the window does not get sealed.

While fit and finish issues can sometimes be subjective, it’s hard to argue around a car with doors that need to be slammed shut with force in order to close properly. With so few Model 3 vehicles on the road, it remains to be seen if this is something that impacts all Model 3 units or if it just so happens to be an early manufacturing wrinkle that has since been ironed out.

As for the Model 3 design wherein all the controls reside on a touch screen on the center console, chotemaamu found some aspects of the design frustrating.

Navigation steps are listed on the far right hand side of the screen. Away from the driver, and it is sometimes hard to read/follow while driving. Looking so far to the right does not feel like just a glance. It is taking focus away from actual driving. Hopefully they can bring that panel back to the left, closer to the driver.

The entire Model 3 breakdown and review can be read over here. For anyone curious about what the Model 3 is actually like, it’s well worth checking out.