Practicality and space
The Model 3 may look unconventional - and perhaps even spartan - inside, but the lack of clutter from buttons and knobs means there is plenty of space, making the cabin feel light and modern. Tall rear passengers may find the seats a little odd, as the battery makes the floor higher than expected. To compensate, the bottom part of the back seat is tilted at an angle.
The Model 3’s boot isn’t huge compared to the competition, with a total capacity of 425 litres. That figure includes the extra space in the front compartment under the bonnet - nicknamed a ‘froot’. In comparison, a BMW 3-Series or Audi A4 both have 480 litres, all at the back. On the plus side, the Model 3’s rear seats do fold down and are split to allow you to carry a combination of longer loads and passengers. There’s plenty of cubby space in the cabin too, so the driver and passengers shouldn’t be short of places to store oddments. Tech fans will also be pleased to see the Model 3’s four USB ports and two wireless induction charging pads for compatible phones.
If you love tech, the Model 3 is going to delight you, especially as the company has a habit of actually updating cars over the internet so it gets better features and improvements.
Perhaps the most interesting feature is the £5,800 ‘Self-Driving’ option, which means the car can drive on motorways automatically, even changing lanes for you when you hit the indicator. It will automatically move in or out of parking spaces, too. Plus a free upgrade, due later this year, will allow the car to recognise and respond to traffic lights and stop signs and drive itself on city roads.
That’s pretty serious tech, but Tesla also has a sense of humour and will send owners ‘Easter eggs’ giving the car hidden fun functions. Recently these have included a retro Atari games package, a virtual whoopee cushion and a special Christmas light show.
There’s nothing as boring as a key either - it’s been replaced by your mobile to communicate with your Model 3. If your mobile isn’t working or you lend the car to someone else, a credit-card sized device can be used to open and start the car.
Tesla believe it is much better to avoid an accident in the first place, so the Model 3 has an incredible array of gadgets designed to protect the car. Cameras and sensors aim to help the driver by being an electronic guardian angel, checking for traffic and objects all around the car and sounding warnings or even taking over the controls if the computers sense a collision is imminent. It sounds scary, but since human error is a factor in 95% of all road accidents it’s great that the car keeps an extra eye out for you.
If the worst should happen, the Model 3 will still keep you safe, which a strong bodyshell and a full complement of airbags. Even the glass roof is reinforced and is said to be capable of withstanding the weight of two adult African elephants standing on it!
As a result of this tech and equipment, the Model 3 scored top marks in both the European and American independent crash tests.