Tesla Model 3 2022 Review @carsales.com.au

When I say electric vehicle, you think Tesla, 
right? Once a rare sighting on Aussie roads,  
Tesla is no longer limited to the wealthy early 
adopters with kilowatt-hours on their mind.  
In fact, with recent price cuts and 
a new flow of supply from China,  
Tesla will easily sell 10,000 examples of its 
Model three this year, more than double that  
of all other EVs combined. So let’s see if 
the updated Model three is worth the hype.
In the last decade few brands have disrupted 
the automotive industry in the way Tesla has.  
With a polarising leader at the helm and a flock 
of vocal devotees worldwide, Tesla has long been  
an enigma to many. But in what could be the 
ultimate paradox for the seemingly elitist EV  
pioneer Tesla’s top selling Model three is now 
more accessible than ever. Now priced under  
almost all of its combustion engined German 
rivals, the cheapest 2021 Tesla Model three  
standard range plus also undercuts the luxury car 
tax threshold with the least priced under $60,000.
Tesla design is synonymous with sleek minimalism, 
a lasers more approach inside and out.  
For that reason they aren’t a great 
deal of stand out exterior features,  
it’s all very subtle even getting in 
is understated. Underneath the now  
Chinese produced Model three

standard range 
plus there’s different battery chemistry  
lithium, iron, phosphate rather than 
lithium, nickel, cobalt, aluminium,  
which means it is cheaper to produce but reduces 
range by around 10 miles or 16 kilometres.  
But it allows for 100% charging rather than 
90% and brings potentially a longer life cycle.
Fitted with a single AC electric motor, single 
speed reduction gear and the 50.9 kilowatt-hour  
battery the rear wheel drive Model three 
standard range plus now has a maximum range of  
448 kilometres, a top speed of 225 kilometres per 
hour and a swift zero to 100 time of 5.6 seconds.  
The interior is minimalist but it’s not clinical, 
it still has a warmth and a nice sense of occasion  
in here. And the quality of the cabin materials 
and fit and finish in this Shanghai-built car  
don’t appear to be any different to any 
of the US models we’ve driven before.
Interior updates for 2021 include matte black 
trims to replace the gloss piano black finish,  
satin black sill plates, a graphite finish 
for the seat controls and metallised scroll  
wheels on the steering wheel. Also new are 
inductive charging mats for two smartphones,  
an updated centre console and this compartment 
with a sliding lid. You’ll also find two extra  
USB-C ports for high speed device charging and a 
new magnetic sun visor that steps back into place.  
It’s easy to get a comfortable driving 
position but for anyone new to this model  
it takes a while to get your head around the 
lack of instrumentation front and centre.
This 15-inch colour centre mounted touch 
screen is pretty much where it all happens.  
Swipe, tap, zoom, pinch, it pretty 
much mimics device life as we know it.  
Push and scroll buttons on the steering wheel are 
your other point of control, it’s a learned skill  
but worth the effort. Traditionalists will 
mourn the lack of tactile buttons and dials.  
Years from my first taste of the Model three I’m 
still teetering on the fence I love the clean  
lines but I’m still craving some dexterous fun. 
The user experience is intuitive and informative  
as well as highly entertaining. There is no 
Apple Car Play or Android Auto but we think  
you’ll survive. You’ll find satellite 
navigation, dual zone climate control,  
bluetooth connectivity, voice control, 
heated front seats and a Wi-Fi hotspot  
all standard. You can even name your vehicle and 
much of this you can do via the Tesla mobile app.  
The Model three has a five star and kept safety 
rating with most of the basics well covered.
In cabin storage is really good and what I 
love is that you can put stuff in places,  
close over the lids so it’s out of sight. Space, 
amenity and comfort are all of a high standard.  
And that carries through to the second row 
as well. Comfortable seats fit for three,  
two charge points, two directional 
air vents, two ISOFIX positions,  
three top tether child seat points and an arm rest 
with cup holders. A 649 litre boot is fit for the  
family load and then some. A power tailgate is new 
for 2021 and you can open it using a button here,  
use the touch screen or use the Tesla app.  
60-40 split fold seats offer extra load 
flexibility. For EV owners in Australia range  
anxiety is real and the roll out of convenient 
nationwide recharging infrastructure has been slow  
but like EV subsidies that is rapidly changing. 
So let’s get on to the driving enjoyment shall we?
The simple active unlocking the car and 
jumping in and the Model three is ready to go.  
There is no stop-start button, it immediately 
feels different. The model three packs a punch  
that throw you back in the seat kind that we’ve 
come to enjoy from big torque EVs. Response is  
immediate and more than enough. It handles well 
too, it’s not up to the German levels of dynamism  
and engagement behind the wheel but I tell you 
what it’s not far off. Drive modes of comfort,  
standard and sport dial up the engagement and feel 
at the wheel. It’s really fun and easy to drive,  
it’s sporty but still comfortable and noise 
suppression is up there with the Europeans too.
Impressive range from one charge, a broad 
and effective array of safety and driver  
assist technologies and efficient home charging 
solutions are another strength in the Tesla story.  
A large glass house makes outward vision 
really good but it also makes for a really  
bright cabin and it also gives the sense 
that it’s much larger than it actually  
is. A four year 80,000 kilometre warranty will 
disappoint many potential buyers. Reverse parking  
the Tesla Model three is simple with the 
help of cameras and front and rear sensors.
The 2021 Tesla Model three standard range 
plus is better and cheaper than before. And  
it addresses almost all of the concerns would-be 
EV buyers might have. You’ll be hard-pressed to  
find a better EV in this price bracket. So yes, 
Tesla’s most affordable model is worth the hype.

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