Tesla Model 3 ride review

1 Apr, 2016 7:15am Aaron Gold

We take one of the world’s first rides in the all-new Tesla Model 3 electric compact exec car

Following the launch of the new Tesla Model 3, we took the briefest of rides with Doug Field, Tesla's Vice President of Engineering, at the wheel. Doug was kind enough to floor the accelerator pedal during our quick jaunt, and the Model 3 leapt to an indicated 60mph in what felt like around four and a half seconds, with the torquey, jet-like acceleration typical of electric cars.

Doug told us we were riding in one of the dual-motor all-wheel-drive cars, which offers better traction and performance than the basic rear-drive car. An impromptu slalom showed that body lean was well controlled - no surprise with the battery and motor mounted so low - but until we get our own hands on the wheel, we'll have to reserve judgment on the Model 3’s handling.

Once our internal organs had returned themselves to their native positions, we took in the Model 3's interior, which is so simple as to be nearly stark. The cabin is dominated by a large touchscreen; it's mounted horizontally rather than vertically as in other Teslas, giving the appearance that someone has left a laptop on the dashboard.

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Speed and gear selection are displayed in the upper corner of the screen, with a strip of climate controls at the bottom and the rest of the video real estate split between the map display and stereo controls. Unlike other Tesla models, that's it for instrumentation—in fact, that's it for anything. Aside from a small squared-off steering wheel, the dash is nothing more than an unadorned strip of black and white, with a center console bisecting the front bucket seats. It's the kind of interior we expect to see in a concept car, but Doug told us we were looking at something very close to the production version.

Unlike the Model X, the Model 3's windscreen doesn't extend into the roofline; instead, they've saved that treatment for the rear window, which extends clear up to the car's B-pillars. A large sunroof over the front seats completes the illusion of a nearly-all-glass roof. The glass roof also improves rear-seat headroom, while the front seats have been pushed forward for more legroom. The six-footers riding behind us said that legroom was acceptable and headroom surprisingly generous.

Our quick test-drive left us eager for more, and we're looking forward to putting a Model 3 to the test when it arrives towards the end of 2017.

Get full details on the new Tesla Model 3 here...