At long last, it’s starting to look as if Tesla is finally starting to ramp up production on the Model 3 in a meaningful way. Though the Model 3 is reportedly much easier to manufacture than the Model S and Model X that came before it, Tesla didn’t come anywhere close to reaching its initial goal of manufacturing 20,000 Model 3 units per month by December of 2017. Indeed, Tesla during the third quarter of 2017 only managed to deliver 220 vehicles.
More recently, though, deliveries have ramped up significantly and we’re now starting to see Model 3 units arrive at the doorsteps of folks with no affiliation to Tesla. As a quick refresher, the first Model 3 deliveries were earmarked for Tesla employees and early reservation holders with substantive connections to the company. That being the case, thorough Model 3 reviews have been few and far in between over the past few months.
Not to worry, we’re starting to see an uptick in Model 3 reviews as Tesla continues to ramp up production and and improve delivery times. Most recently, Jalopnik posted their ‘First Drive’ review of Tesla’s mass market EV and had mostly positive things to say about the Model 3.
In fact the Model 3’s exceptional visibility in every direction would make for a uniquely immersive driving experience, if the driving experience itself weren’t so distinctively unremarkable.
The car accelerates competently, and a 30 mph to 50 mph passing-sprint feels downright rapid, but there’s almost no sensation of speed or drama of any kind. This nearly goes without saying, but while quick, you get none of the crushing acceleration you’d find on, say, a P100D Model S. But as I mentioned, the quoted zero to 60 mph time is still around five seconds flat, so nobody’s gonna call it slow.
For a more exhaustive review, you’ll definitely want to check out Jameson Down’s review over at Electrek. Whereas Jalopnik’s editors had to borrow a Model 3 for a few hours, Down actually received delivery of a Model 3 last week. In turn, he’s had much more time with the car and has a number of interesting observations.
As to the fit and finish of the car, long a weak spot for Tesla, Down writes:
After seeing my car and three other “first batch to the public” cars up close in the last couple days, I can report that the cars by and large do not seem to have significant issues with panel gaps.
Early Model S had a lot of issues with inconsistent panel gaps, but as Tesla built more and more of them, this problem has been disappearing. Many thought that the same would happen with Model 3 – that early cars would have issues, and later cars wouldn’t. The fact that these “first-batch” cars to the public do not have these issues shows that Tesla is not just getting better at making the Model S, but better at making cars in general.
As for how the car handles, Down observes:
On to the driving. The first thing I noticed is that the handling is superb. The car feels very “pointy” – it’s extremely responsive on turn-in, and feels much more nimble than a Model S due to its ~1,000lb lower weight. There is virtually no body roll due to the low center of gravity. The steering in sport mode feels perfect and responsive, though there are comfort and standard modes as well if you prefer lighter weight on the steering wheel. Keep in mind here my daily driver is a Roadster.
I need to underline that whole paragraph. This car’s handling is really great. I love it. I really really love it. It’s my favorite thing about the car so far.
You can check out Down’s full review over here.
And in case you missed it the first time, a Model 3 owner posted an insanely detailed and lengthy Model 3 review on YouTube about two months ago. You can check that over here with corresponding timestamps below.