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First Drive

First Drive: Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus
The story: Tesla has updated its entry car, the Model 3, for 2021 with interior improvement and increased range figures thanks to engineering and tyre upgrades
Category:Compact executive
Key rival:Polestar 2
Efficiency:267 miles
On sale:Now

The Tesla Model 3 is one of this year’s big success stories, with the zero Benefit-in-Kind rate driving popularity of electric vehicles among company drivers.

Tesla has made some model year changes to its smallest car, with increased official range figures and a couple of notable interior tweaks.

The entry car, which has a list price of £43,490 before the Government £3,000 grant is factored in, looks tempting compared with a decent spec of compact executive diesel, and even more so now with an extra 13 miles of official range, taking it to 267 miles.

First Drive- January 2021- Tesla Model 3- Image 2In the cabin, a new sliding central stowage compartment and dual wireless charging pads are the big additions, and both are useful introductions, while there are also exterior trim tweaks and a boot that now opens via a button on the bootlid or via the Tesla app.

The Standard Range Plus model driven here records a 5.3-second 0-60mph time that sounds great in isolation until you look at the £46,990 (after grant) Long Range model’s time of 4.2 sec (and 347-mile range, also up by 13 miles), and the £56,490 Performance range-topper’s astonishing 3.1-second time and 352 miles, a rise of 23 miles.

In isolation, the rear-drive Standard Range Plus feels quick enough, but note that the Model 3 also has a hard ride and the steering isn’t the most communicative, although the chassis is very capable.

Tesla’s recharging network is a huge advantage, and makes its EVs an even more convenient proposition, although the limited dealer network and lack of fleet infrastructure is still worthy of note.

paul barker

The verdict

As sensible and affordable as executive-level EVs get; updates make the Model 3 even more appealing.