2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 Tesla Model 3
MSRP range
$49,000 - $64,000
2018 Tesla Model 3

What’s new

  • New dual-motor variants with all-wheel drive
  • Part of the first generation of Model 3 introduced in 2017

Pros

  • Tesla prestige at a lower price
  • Class-leading performance and handling
  • More technologically advanced than rivals
  • Supercharger network access for long-distance driving

Cons

  • Limited cargo capacity and interior storage
  • No Android Auto or Apple CarPlay support
  • Touchscreen interface design can lead to driver distraction
  • Currently only available with pricey options
  • Questionable durability based on our experience


Which Model 3 does Edmunds recommend?

Tesla isn't offering much choice for the Model 3 currently. The main thing you'll have to decide is whether to get single-motor rear-wheel drive or dual-motor all-wheel drive. The gains in acceleration from the dual-motor setup are significant, so it's likely worth the cost if you consider yourself a bit of a car enthusiast. One option for consideration is the Enhanced Autopilot upgrade, which future-proofs your car for when Tesla makes the Full Self-Driving Capability option available.

Edmunds' Expert Review

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

2018 is the first full year of production for Tesla's Model 3. While at the time of this review the long-promised standard Model 3 with 220 miles of range has yet to materialize, the initial single-motor drive with a long-range battery has been joined by a new dual-motor (all-wheel-drive) version and an available light-color interior.

But if you just can't wait for the affordable version, or you have an order already filed, you won't be disappointed with the Model 3 that's on the road now. In many ways, it sets new standards for a relatively affordable electric vehicle. The big battery has a rated range of 310 miles, which is more than any non-Tesla rival's range. With rear-wheel drive, the current Model 3 can cover 0-60 mph in 5.1 seconds and will top out at 140 mph. The new all-wheel-drive Performance blasts from 0 to 60 mph in a claimed 3.5 seconds, which is quicker than most high-performance sports cars.

On the inside, you'll likely appreciate the Model 3's minimalist interior design highlighted by a gigantic central touchscreen display. But the touchscreen has some drawbacks. Because Tesla routes almost all of the car's controls through it, you'll often end up having to take your eyes off the road to use them.

Of course, the Model 3 is compatible with Tesla's Supercharger network. Model 3 owners will have to pay for access, unlike owners of the larger Model S and Model X. Still, once you're hooked up, the network greatly enhances the Model 3's long-distance driving ability and is a distinct advantage compared to other similarly priced EVs.

We will note that we've had some trouble with a 2017 Tesla Model 3 that we've bought and are testing for a year. You can read about the maintenance issues we've encountered in our Tesla 3 Long-Term Road Test. It's just a sample size of one, but we also encountered reliability problems with our Tesla Model S and X test cars.

Then again, Tesla has typically improved its cars' reliability over time. If you want the more affordable standard-range model (available late  2018 or early 2019), it may not make sense to get the Model 3 right away. Overall, though, we like the Model 3 and think it's a great choice for an EV.

Trim levels & features

The 2018 Tesla Model 3 sedan currently comes with a long-range battery pack good for an estimated 310 miles of range. The single-motor (rear-drive) version is rated at 258 horsepower, and the dual-motor (all-wheel-drive) produces about 346 hp. The Performance version of the dual-motor setup cranks the output up to 450 hp.

The standard features for the rear-wheel-drive, 310-mile Model 3 include 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights and high beams, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, cloth upholstery, six-way manually adjustable front seats, and 60/40-split folding rear seats.

Standard technology features include a 15-inch touchscreen, a navigation system with real-time traffic, voice activation, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hotspot, remote control of some systems via a smartphone app, a rearview camera, and a seven-speaker audio system with internet streaming radio and two USB ports. Standard safety features include forward collision warning and mitigation, blind-spot monitoring with collision avoidance, and lane departure warning.

The Premium Upgrades package (mandatory for early adopters) adds LED foglights, tinted glass, heated and power-folding auto-dimming exterior mirrors, a panoramic glass roof, heated seats, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, a power-adjustable steering column, simulated-leather upholstery, wood interior trim, a covered center console, driver-seat memory functions and a premium audio system. For the Performance trim, Tesla also offers a Performance Upgrade package that includes 20-inch wheels, performance tires, a lowered suspension, upgraded brakes and a higher speed limiter.

Also available is the Enhanced Autopilot option that adds adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, automatic lane changing and self-parking. Buyers can also choose an option that gives the Model 3 the capability to be fully self-driving in the future. Nineteen-inch wheels are available as a stand-alone option.

Trim tested

The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Tesla Model 3 Long Range (electric motor | direct drive | RWD).

Driving

4.5
The Model 3 feels sporty and engaging thanks to strong off-the-line performance, intuitive steering, and a balanced rear-wheel-drive chassis that feels coordinated and nimble. The standard 18-inch all-season tires are the limiting factor. Buy the optional 19-inch tires if you wish to maximize grip.

Acceleration

4
There's ample thrust from the 258-horsepower electric motor, and it moves out in a smooth, seamless way with no shifting interruptions. The rear-wheel-drive layout adds poise and confidence when you lay into it. Ours reached 60 mph in 5.3 seconds at our test track, which is properly quick.

Braking

4
The powerful four-piston fixed-caliper front brakes are easy to modulate, but you'll rarely need to use them because lift-throttle regenerative braking will handle routine braking. Our panic stop from 60 mph took a longish 133 feet due to our car's standard 18-inch all-season tires.

Steering

5
The Model 3's steering feels nicely weighted and quick off center, which makes it a joy on winding roads even without a ton of feedback. When driving straight, it feels connected, and the effort builds rather naturally as cornering loads mount up. Of the three settings, we liked Normal and Sport.

Handling

4
It displays admirable coordination and balance when entering a corner, transitioning through a bend, or feeding on the power while exiting. But the standard 18-inch tires hold it back and can lead to early stability control intervention if pushed hard. Optional 19-inch rubber may have higher limits.

Drivability

5
Power delivery is impeccably smooth and accurate, and the throttle is responsive without being jumpy. Direct drive means no shifting, so there's no way that gear changes can ever be out of step with the driver's wishes. The transition from acceleration to lift-throttle braking is easy to manage.

Comfort

5
We found the Model 3 to be a pleasant place to sit, and that feeling held up for hours at a time. Its comfortable seats and quiet cabin deserve a great deal of credit. It rides agreeably most of the time, but it can sometimes feel busy and bound up if the road surface is broken or uneven.

Seat comfort

5
The leather seats that are part of the Premium Upgrades package are broad but not flat. They are supportive but not hard. The adjustments are simple but effective. We liked the fit and feel much more than any Model S and Model X seats we've sampled, and we remained comfortable all day.

Ride comfort

3.5
It swallows large and small bumps with equal ease, and it glides along nicely over reasonably smooth asphalt. But the suspension doesn't breathe freely over lumpy surfaces and can feel stiff-legged on cracked concrete roads. The Model 3's tires run at a fairly high pressure, and it can feel like it.

Noise & vibration

5
Immensely quiet and still. There's very little propulsion noise because the electric motor is under the trunk floor, and we didn't notice much wind noise flowing over the roof and around the mirrors either. The standard 18-inch all-season tires seem good at keeping quiet as well.

Climate control

5
Electric heat means no waiting, and preconditioning the cabin is easy when plugged in. Front vents are contained within a door-to-door slot that looks like a styling element. Unique yet straightforward touchscreen controls allow driver and passenger to readily alter the air stream. Has rear vents.

Interior

4
The Model 3's interior is more attractive than we ever expected of such a simple design, and its driving position, roominess and visibility are all fantastic. The touchscreen doesn't block your view, but it does absorb your attention for too many routine tasks that should be doable without looking.

Ease of use

2
Far too many controls divert the driver's attention away from the road and onto the touchscreen. You must look away to change the wiper speed (never appropriate, even in auto mode) or alter the cruise-control speed. The same goes for the side mirror tweaks and tilt-and-telescoping wheel adjustments.

Getting in/getting out

4
The doors open wide, but there's a knack to the nifty push-in/pull-out door handles that we're not sure everyone will like. The sills are a bit high and require a wee bit of foot lift, but the roof doesn't present much of a ducking problem. The front and rear are virtually the same on all points.

Driving position

5
The seat and pedals are in perfect agreement, and the telescoping steering wheel has a ton of range. The feel and grip of the steering wheel rim are excellent, and the view out commanding. Our one gripe: We'd like a gap between the brake and dead pedal to allow the occasional leg stretch.

Roominess

4.5
The optional Premium Upgrades glass roof does amazing things for headroom, and front legroom is abundant. This smaller Tesla still feels wide, and the abundance of glass only enhances the feeling of space. Rear legroom is decent behind a 6-footer, but toe room can be snug behind a tall driver.

Visibility

5
The view out is expansive thanks to a low cowl, low door sides and slender pillars. The over-the-shoulder blind spot isn't very big, and backup camera coverage is broad with a large display. But we'd like slightly larger side mirrors, especially since their positions are hard to tweak when underway.

Quality

3
The Premium Upgrades package includes nice-looking leather and wood materials. Most of our car's panel fits are true, but one hood seam isn't flush. Our test car was delivered with a broken vanity mirror and a loose seatback cover. Note: Ours is a very early-build car, among the first 1,200 made.

Utility

4.5
The Model 3's trunk can hold far more than you'd expect thanks to a very broad pass-through and SUV-like fold-flat rear seats. We were able to fit an extra-large mountain bike in easily. Inside, cabin storage is plentiful, something we can't say about the other Tesla models we've owned.

Small-item storage

4
Other Tesla models come up short in this area, but not the Model 3. It has a decent-size center console armrest and, because it uses a column shifter, it has two more hidden storage compartments ahead of the central cupholders. There are decent-size door pockets with molded bottle holders, too.

Cargo space

5
The Model 3 is a sedan with a trunk, but it's nearly as commodious as a hatchback. The trunk is broad, but there's also a deep well under the false floor. The rear seats fold utterly flat, and the aperture between is quite large. In a pinch, you could actually lie down and sleep quite comfortably.

Child safety seat accommodation

3.5
The three top anchors are very easy to access under flip covers on the fixed parcel shelf. The lower LATCH anchors are tucked tightly between the seat cushions, so you must take care to avoid scratching the leather as you hook up a seat.

Technology

3
The Model 3 scores an A for its sound quality, navigation display, and the Autopilot traffic-aware cruise and lane management system. But it earns a D-minus because Tesla's chosen way to bring your smartphone into the audio environment involves Bluetooth audio and fiddling with your phone while driving.

Audio & navigation

4
The large Google-based navigation display is beautiful and easy to control. The Premium Upgrades package includes an upgraded audio system with fantastic wide-spectrum sound. But it demands undue attention to switch between modes. It has FM, HD and internet radio but no AM or satellite radio.

Smartphone integration

1
Tesla lags far behind in this area. There's no Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, but we're even more disappointed that an iPhone's music library doesn't come up on the screen when plugged in via the USB port; those are for power only. It's Bluetooth streaming audio or nothing — a huge hassle.

Driver aids

5
Our Model 3 is equipped with the Autopilot option, and it is the premier adaptive cruise and lane keeping system you can currently buy. The sensitivity of the collision alert and lane departure warning is easily customizable, but the adaptive cruise following distance is buried in the touchscreen.

Voice control

2
The standard voice button didn't recognize names in our paired phone's contact list very well. We found ourselves using our phone's own voice search instead. It works best when you are looking for music outside your phone environment, such as on the Slacker and TuneIn services the vehicle supports.

Top consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2018 Tesla Model 3.

First month from a former sports car owner
Matt W.M.,06/12/2018
I really like this car now. My first test drive was the day I purchased on faith about a month back. On that day I expected more out of it. My last car was a 350hp german sports car. While this has plenty of torque off the line, I thought it would be quicker. Now that I have driven this a few weeks I do really like the power, balance, and handling overall. It has grown on me. The stereo is great, but I end up using my phone or TuneIn, I hope there will be more popular options integrated into the car (Pandora or Spotify). The tech is amazing in the car, the sensors, remote access, HVAC, and interior design all are great value. The build quality is better now than a few months back, I have a few minor items that seam cheap or misaligned. I'd prefer stiffer suspension. Autopilot needs to improve, which it will, but part of that is my own comfort using in urban freeways. Does it have minor issues? Sure, but that has been true with every car I have purchased, German, Japanese, and American. I prefer this over any EV or hybrid I have driven. This is truly a fantastic and futuristic car.
Driving the Future
dave,08/03/2018
Sold my C series MB to purchase this car. As my first EV I didn't know exactly what to expect, but after waiting for 2 years without ever even having driven the car, it has exceeded my expectations. The interior is unlike a traditional car as are some of the driving characteristics - most particularly the regenerative braking. The acceleration is stellar and the suspension and steering above average. It's hard to compare to any other car since - in many respects - you are driving an iPad. Nearly every control routes through the center screen. I'm old (50's) but it still didn't take very long to adapt to the lack of instrument cluster, etc. Driving visibility is quite good. Despite the fact that I've only had it 5 months, nearly every feature has improved through periodic over-the-air software updates. This is revolutionary and someday will be the standard. Right now, it just really cool to receive updates that improve the interface and driving experience. Very happy to have this car and would buy it again and again.
Futuristic
SKP,08/06/2018
Met expectations. Driven 1000 miles, so far all looks good. On long trips where most of the distance is highway miles with speed limit of 75mph ... range is reduced from 310 to something like 265. So will need more frequent super-charging. If I had know this earlier, I would have opted for the 18" wheels instead of the 19". It would have given an extra 30 mile range. Also if your daily commute is 20 miles each way to work ... no need to spend money on fast charging at home. On regular outlet I get 5miles/hr and usually can get 60 miles of charge in the night. Things to like: acceleration, no engine sound, regenerative braking, a/c vents, headlights, sound system, navigation.
Range anxioity. Not anymore.
Alan Storch,08/07/2018
My thoughts before owning a Tesla M3 was always the range and the availability of charging on the road. All of that was for naught. I live in South east Florida and there are Super Chargers all around me. The car I purchased has extended range of 310 miles (more if you drive conservatively and use the regenerative braking). Every night the car goes in the garage and gets plugged in. Every morning it is fully charged to go 310 miles. My average daily trip is 50-75 miles. My ICE car is almost never filled and has considerably less range. Elon Musk has started the future of automobile travel. Luxury performance at a comparable price with 1/6th the fuel cost and with safety galore.
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Features & Specs

MSRP
$49,000
MPG
136 city / 123 hwy
Seats 5
1-speed direct drive
Electric
N/A
MSRP
$55,000
MPG
120 city / 112 hwy
Seats 5
1-speed direct drive
Electric
N/A
MSRP
$64,000
MPG
120 city / 112 hwy
Seats 5
1-speed direct drive
Electric
N/A
See all 2018 Tesla Model 3 features & specs

Safety

Our experts’ favorite Model 3 safety features:

Automatic Emergency Braking
Warns if a front impact is imminent and applies the brakes if the driver doesn't respond in time.
Active Cruise Control
Maintains a set gap between you and the car you're following. It comes to a complete stop and resumes following, too.
Lane Keeping Assist
Warns if you are drifting out of your lane and will nudge the steering to get you back in line.

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover5 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover6.6%

Tesla Model 3 vs. the competition

2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Tesla Model 3 vs. Chevrolet Bolt EV

The Bolt is the only other EV that comes close to the Model 3's range (240 miles versus 310 miles). It's also less expensive. The Bolt's interior is a comparative disappointment, though. It has low-quality materials and front seats that aren't very comfortable. The Model also handily outperforms the Bolt on acceleration and handling.

Compare Tesla Model 3 & Chevrolet Bolt EV features

Tesla Model 3 vs. Hyundai Ioniq Electric

Compared to the Model 3, the Ioniq lacks in range and performance and may seem out of its league. But with its spacious rear hatch and fold-down rear seatbacks, the Ioniq is a pleasantly practical choice. It's also a lot more affordable than the Model 3.

Compare Tesla Model 3 & Hyundai Ioniq Electric features

Tesla Model 3 vs. Nissan Leaf

The Leaf has more range than ever before — around 150 miles — but it's still less than half the range of the Model 3 with the big battery pack. Equipped with ProPilot, the Nissan comes close to the Model 3's Autopilot functionality. Plus the Leaf's cavernous rear hatch is perfect for hauling big loads. Dynamically it's no match for the Model 3.

Compare Tesla Model 3 & Nissan Leaf features

2018 Tesla Model 3 for Sale

Tesla Model 3 2018 Long Range 4dr Sedan (electric 1DD)
751 miles
Used 2018
Tesla Model 3
Long Range
List$53,000
Est.Loan: $965/mo
View Details

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More about the 2018 Tesla Model 3

There's been a lot of hype surrounding the previous two models from Tesla, the S and the X, but the Model 3 has been the recipient of a heaping serving of it due to its more accessible $35,000 price. Unfortunately, that price is unattainable for now since only the more expensive extended-range version is available. The rumored mid-$30,000 version of the Model 3 should be offered in early 2019. The current price of admission, however, runs from about $50,000 to $70,000.

The five-passenger 2018 Tesla Model 3 sedan is propelled by a single electric motor that is powered by a long-range lithium-ion battery pack. The rear-wheel-drive model creates the equivalent of 258 horsepower fed through a single-speed transmission. Cruising range is estimated at 310 miles. For 2018, Tesla has also introduced new dual-motor all-wheel-drive versions that produce up to 450 hp.

Standard feature highlights include 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights and high beams, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, a 15-inch touchscreen, a navigation system with real-time traffic, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, a Wi-Fi hotspot, remote control of some systems via a smartphone app, a rearview camera, and a seven-speaker audio system with internet streaming radio and two USB ports. Forward collision warning and mitigation, blind-spot monitoring with collision avoidance, and lane departure warning are also standard.

Also included for the first-generation Model 3 is the Premium Upgrades package that adds items such as LED foglights, heated and power-folding auto-dimming exterior mirrors, a panoramic sunroof, heated seats, power-adjustable front seats, a power-adjustable steering column, simulated-leather upholstery, wood interior trim and a premium audio system.

The available Enhanced Autopilot option provides adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, automatic lane changing and self-parking. Buyers can also choose an option that gives the Model 3 the capability to be fully self-driving in the future. Nineteen-inch wheels are available as a stand-alone option.

In the Tesla Model 3's price range, the BMW i3 represents one of its few competitors. The 2018 Model 3's lower price will pit it against other EVs that include the Chevrolet Bolt, the Hyundai Ioniq and the Nissan Leaf. In all of these cases, the Tesla outperforms these alternatives by a significant margin in terms of acceleration and range. But it does come up short in regard to cargo space and interior storage.

For most shoppers interested in the Model 3, the advantages far outweigh the drawbacks. Thankfully, you can use all of the tools available at Edmunds to get a clearer picture of the differences.

2018 Tesla Model 3 Overview

The 2018 Tesla Model 3 is offered in the following submodels: Model 3 Sedan. Available styles include Long Range 4dr Sedan (electric 1DD), Long Range 4dr Sedan AWD (electric 1DD), and Performance 4dr Sedan AWD (electric 1DD).

What do people think of the 2018 Tesla Model 3?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2018 Tesla Model 3 and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2018 Model 3 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2018 Model 3.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2018 Tesla Model 3 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2018 Model 3 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Our Review Process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

Which 2018 Tesla Model 3s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2018 Tesla Model 3 for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2018 Tesla Model 3.

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Why trust Edmunds?

Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

Should I lease or buy a 2018 Tesla Model 3?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Tesla lease specials
Check out Tesla Model 3 lease specials