2018 Tesla Model 3
- New dual-motor variants with all-wheel drive
- Part of the first generation of Model 3 introduced in 2017
- Tesla prestige at a lower price
- Class-leading performance and handling
- More technologically advanced than rivals
- Supercharger network access for long-distance driving
- 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
2018 Tesla Model 3 pricingin Ashburn, VA
Which Model 3 does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating4.5 / 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.
Noise & vibration5
Ease of use2
Getting in/getting out4
Child safety seat accommodation3.5
Audio & navigation4
Features & Specs
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.
Tesla Model 3 vs. the competition
2018 Tesla Model 3
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.
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.
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.
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?
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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.