Tesla Model 3 – First Look Inside & Out
Sometimes you get lucky to be at the right place and right time to see something up close and personal that you’ve only been able to dream of seeing live. That happened today, the Sunday after Thanksgiving when I got a chance to sit behind the wheel and explore the inside and out of a brand new Tesla Model 3. While I only had about 10 minutes to explore the Model 3, I wanted to share my first impressions of this amazing new all electric vehicle.
This particular vehicle is the long-range (310 mile) battery with Premium black interior and standard 18′ wheels with the AERO wheel covers. My first impression is that the Model 3 looks more substantial in person. While the overall proportions are taut, it presents itself very well with the lines from every angle looking really good. Panel fit and finish were excellent and the owner demonstrated the solid feel of the vehicle when they asked me to close the trunk. Thunk. Solid! I think the steel body construction for this size vehicle helps give that sense of solidness.
The door handles present with a push on the thicker left side and the handle opens to the right. The doors are very solid with the front doors designed very similarly to the Model S. Inside the doors open with a small button at the top of the arm rests that looks like a power window.
Once inside the Model 3, I noticed several things right away. First the front seats are incredibly comfortable (this is the premium interior – not leather but very close in look and feel). The seat bolsters are wider and a bit flatter than the Model S, which I found to be very comfortable. The driver and front passenger space is very generous with headroom exceptional.
The minimalist dash. The center console is very useable with twin cup holders and a multi-fold compartment. Interior fit and finish appeared to be good from my brief time inside the Model 3. The only complaint I have: the wood veneer trim band looks and feels artificial.
The controls screen. This is the one item I was really prepared to dislike but found myself right at home with the more intuitive functions and the overall size of the screen is less imposing than photos, videos and editorial would lead one to believe. While I did not get a chance to go through many of the driver functions, what I saw reassured me.
Rear passenger compartment. OK its tight. But that’s not a surprise. Knee room is just at the edge of acceptable but this is a 3-Series not a Model S. What was a very pleasant surprise was the comfort level of the rear seats and the reasonable headroom – the individual who accompanied the owner was 6’4″ and they fit quite nicely in the back seat.
Trunk space was a pleasant surprise with the cavern being both tall and deep. Plus the below floor additional storage and Frunk space make the Model 3 a nice weekend trip vehicle. The rear end styling is really beautiful in person. The integrated deck spoiler is a great styling feature.
Aero Wheel covers love’em. Hate’em. Take them off when you don’t need them. The owner verified the better range but agreed that they should be taken off. They said that right now the lugs are exposed so removing the aero isn’t the best look.
First impressions are very positive and I look forward to the actual roadtest. The owner said that passing performance 40 to 60 mph is blistering fast – like about 1 second. I look forward to verifying that myself soon.
What the Model 3 is not is the Model S. It is not a family hauler like the Model X. It is a perfect daily commuter that will be very comfortable to drive (to be confirmed with that test drive).