It’s taken a while, but Tesla’s entry level car is here in New Zealand. It’s reputation precedes it of course, and the model I tested was the most powerful dual motor Performance, with all the giant killing performance credentials already collected around the world.
So, does it live up to those expectations? God yes. Straight line acceleration is a visceral experience, akin to sitting on top of one of Elon’s Falcon 9 rockets.
Handling is also impressive, with plenty of traction from the all-wheel drive system.
Tesla build quality hasn’t always been the best but it seems that in the time the Model 3 has taken to get here Tesla has got the quality right, and the fit and finish is what you’d expect in a car that costs NZ$105,200
The Tesla Autopilot system also works well, but on the legendary roadworks on the southern motorway it can get confused by all the lines and imperfections in the road seal. It serves as another reminder that the autopilot system is not infallible and you still always have to monitor it.
The issue I have with the Model 3 is the concentration of almost all the car’s functions on the 15-inch screen mounted to the centre of the dashboard. Operation of the screen itself is intuitive but there’s no haptic feedback from the screen to tell you you’ve actually done something. Pushing a button that feels as if it has clicked into place makes for a better control system. In the Model 3 you have to keep taking your eyes off the road to ensure that you have actually completed the function you are trying to activate.
Screen antics aside the Model 3 is a truly impressive car and it is certainly worth the asking price.