Tesla dominates the electric car market for good reason. The automaker took the electric vehicle and turned out a sexy sports car that smashed acceleration records and incorporated some truly outstanding features. But, that doesn't mean much for your average Joe. Then, Tesla took things to the next level, taking electric sports car performance to the mass market. The Model 3 delivers all of the power and performance of a top handling roadster. Even better, it has all the luxury features and cool tech, but at a substantially more affordable price point. With a base price of just $35,000, the Model 3 is more affordable than many hybrids and doesn't require gassing up at the pump. When you talk about plug and play technology, the Model 3 sets the standard.
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When looking at the dash for a new car, it's all about ease of use. Can you reach the radio while driving? Is hands-free phone operation really a useful feature? In the Tesla Model 3, there are virtually no buttons, knobs, switches, or in-dash displays. Everything is contained within the in-dash infotainment display. That's right. You control the interior temp and the radio from the same screen, and many of the features are voice activated, so no need to take your eyes off the road.
Of course, if you do take your eyes off the road for a second, it will likely be A-okay with the addition of the Tesla autopilot system. While it comes with a $5,000 price tag, it is the cruise control you've always wanted. Not only does it speed up and slow down with no need to hit the pedals, but it also takes on some steering control, keeping you in your lane and moving in the right direction. You'll need to stay on top of things and pay attention, but it's a lot more restful when doing a lot of highway driving.
Trying to get the perfect temp in your car cabin can feel like a moving target. When the A/C finally kicks on hard enough, you get too cold. Hot air blowing directly in your face is distracting and terrible for your skin. The in-dash hidden vents on the Model 3 keep everything out of the way and make it easier to get consistent temps throughout the cabin. Plus, no more fiddling with directional controls on the vents. Everything is controlled through the central infotainment system.
If you've ever locked your key in the car, you know what a frustrating experience that can be. With the Model S, all you need is app access to get back in the car. That means even if you lock your phone in the car, a helpful stranger can give you access. There's no key fob of any kind. Everything runs through the app, so you can start the car remotely and carry less when on the go. A win/win from any angle.
If you need the app to start the car, what happens when you leave it with a valet? The valet shouldn't get unrestricted access to your vehicle, and Tesla anticipated that with a simple to use keycard. Shaped like a credit card, the keycard opens the doors with a tap and starts the car with another tap. It fits easily into your wallet and is just as easy to hand off as a business card.
Since your phone is essentially the key to your car, it should come as no surprise that the Tesla Model 3 includes a built-in phone charging station. There are two onboard docks, one for Android and one for iOS. That means you have charging available any time you're in the car. Plus, it makes syncing devices a breeze, since your phone is directly connected to your vehicle. You'll never need to worry about a dead battery while out and about.
The breeze coming from a traditional sunroof is nice, but it doesn't really let you enjoy much of the view. In fact, some cars can feel downright claustrophobic, but not Model 3. This baby offers an optional glass roof. That's right. You can get a see-through roof, not a small panel, but an entirely transparent roof. Combine that with the existing windows, and you get 360-degree views of where ever you're driving. Keep the windows up and still enjoy the scenery.
Remember how everything runs through that single, infotainment screen? Well, to make that feasible, the installed screen is 15 inches and doubles as the display for your instrument panel and backup camera. That means when you throw the Model 3 into reverse, you have a big screen that clearly illuminates everything happening behind your car. Plus, it also means you can see your instrument panel and control options, all at the same time.
When behind the wheel of a Model 3, you're already in control of some of the leading automotive technology, but Tesla also packs in plenty of fun. When you engage the autopilot system, you have the option to also turn on themed viewing. The Mario Kart theme turns your daily commute into a fun lap with some of your favorite characters. No, the autopilot won't drive like a Mario character, but it will give you the look and feel of a race while on the road.
Ever imagined you'd be able to get a tune-up while the car was parked in your garage? Also, the tune-up would be totally free and included in the price of your car? Well, with OTA software updates, that's pretty much what happens with the Model 3. Since a central computer controls most systems, a single update can dramatically improve performance. Tesla can roll out those updates with no need to stop by a dealership, saving you time, money, and tons of hassle.
While the base model at $35,000 comes with a 220-mile range on the battery, it is upgradable to 310 miles on a full charge. That's pretty much the same as a tank of gas. As long as you plot your travel to include stops at high-speed charging stations, you can put as many miles on your Tesla as you can on a traditional gas guzzler. Day trips, cross country commutes, and driving vacations are all back on the menu with this extended range battery.
Maybe you forgot your phone, or perhaps it just needs to charge. So, what do you do while waiting for a passenger? Tesla has you covered with plenty of pre-installed games on your infotainment system. From a selection of Atari classics to a fun drawing function, there's a little something to occupy your time.
Sure, you probably won't use your Tesla as a rolling hotel room, but you could. If you fold down the rear seats, you have enough space to blow up an air mattress for overnight. If you blew the bank on your new car and want to save on hotel stays, you can. Of course, you'll want to keep your head toward the driver's compartment, since there isn't much clearance in the back with the inflated mattress.
The wheels don't have the visual impact you get from some manufacturers, but every inch of the Model 3 was designed for efficiency, and the wheels are no different. It comes with specially designed 18-inch wheels and plastic hubcaps that increase range by as much as 10%. Just the hubcaps offer an incredible increase in the number of miles you can travel per charge. That's bumper to bumper attention to detail.
While you likely won't use it every day, or even every week, no one says no to extra cargo space. Since the Model 3 is all electric and doesn't need the space typically taken up by an engine, Tesla instead has dual trunk space. The rear trunk is indisputably larger and easier to access, but when you've taken up every cubic inch of interior space, it's nice to have just a little more room to throw a gym bag, laptop or another small piece of luggage.