2018 Tesla Model 3 Review
Pros & Cons
- Tesla prestige at a lower price
- Class-leading performance and handling
- More technologically advanced than rivals
- Supercharger network access for long-distance driving
- Currently only available with pricey options
- Touchscreen interface design can lead to driver distraction
- No Android Auto or Apple CarPlay support
- Limited cargo capacity and interior storage
- Questionable durability based on our experience
Which Model 3 does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating8.4 / 10
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.
Notably, we picked the 2018 Tesla Model 3 as one of Edmunds' Best Electric Cars for 2018.
What's it like to live with?
Edmunds' editorial team acquired and lived with a 2017 Tesla Model 3 Long Range for nearly two years, logging 24,000 miles. As an all new-design for Tesla, it had a few teething problems at first. But most of the issues were electronic in nature and were later sorted out via software updates. The 2018 Tesla Model 3 offered more powertrain choices than our early long-term Model 3. It's the same generation, though, so most of our observations still apply. To learn more about the Tesla Model 3, check out our experiences as early adopters living with our 2017 Tesla Model 3 Long Range.
2018 Tesla Model 3 models
The main configuration for the 2018 Tesla Model 3 sedan is 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. Tesla also offers a mid-range battery pack with rear-wheel drive and 260 miles of range.
Standard features for the 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. Early calendar-year buyers could choose an option that would have given the Model 3 the capability to be fully self-driving in the future, but Tesla discontinued this option partway through the year. Nineteen-inch wheels are available as a stand-alone option.
|Overall||8.4 / 10|
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
Our experts like the Model 3 models:
- 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.