The Tesla Model 3 is undoubtedly one of the most anticipated and coolest cars to come along in a long time. Thousands of people lined up at Tesla stores just to order one as if it were some new iPhone. After getting a more in-depth look at one, it’s not exactly hard to see what all the fuss is about. The Model 3 is not only the long-range, reasonably affordable electric car that Tesla promised, it also appears to be a minor technological marvel, perhaps even a revolutionary one.
It all starts with the exterior, where Tesla has eliminated the traditional key fob in favour of a smartphone app that not only allows the owner to lock and unlocked the car, but also control various features such as the climate controls, horn, headlights, and trunk. Step inside the cabin, and your phone can then be placed on a retractable charging dock with interchangeable cables for both Android and Apple phones. Rather than having multiple air vents, the Model 3 has one long thin vent that stretches across the entire dashboard. Above the wood trim panel is a second thin air vent that blows upwards. Together, these vents control the air flow in every possible direction.
All traditional controls are replaced by a giant high-resolution touchscreen, which is rigidly mounted to the dashboard. The screen contains everything from audio, climate and navigation functions, to controls for the phone functions, lighting, and even the side mirrors. The steering wheel features a pair of scroll dials that vary in function depending on what you have up on the screen. They can be used to control the sound system or phone functions, but they can also be used to adjust the side mirrors and steering wheel.
As cool as it is, the Model 3 is far from faultless. Rear seat space appears to be ample, however, the rear windows can only be rolled down about halfway, which is a bit unusual. The information for basics such as speed and turn signal indicators are located on the centre screen, which takes a bit of getting used to. Finally, there’s the issue of questionable build quality given the long and troublesome roll-out of production models which have been delayed several times.
Overall, the Model 3 appears to be a very promising car. It will take some time to sort out any initial quality concerns, ramp up production to full steam, and launch more variants, including the promised $35,000 model with the smaller battery pack, but the wait seems to be worth it. For a full review of the Tesla Model 3, check out this cool video by the Youtube/Autotrader sensation Doug DeMuro.