The Tesla Model 3: What the critics say
Make way for “the most important vehicle of the century.” With the new Model_3, Tesla founder Elon Musk has just delivered on his promise to build an affordable longrange electric car, and it’s everything admirers of the $68,000 Model_S could hope it would be. With its “slinky” silhouette and “incredibly light and airy” minimalist cabin, the Model_3 easily looks the part of an era-defining breakthrough. “What’s blanching, though, is the car’s ride and handling.” This car is so quick off the mark and “scalpellike” in turns that an Alfa Romeo Giulia “feels like a wet sponge in comparison.”
Tesla will tell you the Model_3 starts at just $35,000, “but there’s one big problem: Barely anyone will pay that price.” Most buyers will want to pay another $9,000 for the battery that extends the range of a full charge from 220 miles to 310. They’ll also want Enhanced Autopilot, a paint color other than black, and the $5,000 cabin upgrade that ensures they’re not “essentially getting the interior of a base-model Toyota Camry.” Suddenly you’re looking at a $60,000 midsize sedan.
Looked at another way, the bare-bones 310- mile Model_3 delivers greater range per dollar than the economy-class Chevrolet Bolt. But the vehicle’s true targets are Germany’s midsize luxury sedans, and “BMW and Mercedes should be concerned.” Yes, Tesla will be challenged to boost production from a trickle of Model_3s to many thousand a week. Still, Musk and company have managed to create a $35,000 car that “looks, drives, and feels like a Tesla.” That “shows how far the Silicon Valley automaker has come.” ■