Tesla
Model 3
2018
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William Kinton
Automotive Editor - July 9, 2018

Expert Rating

3.3 (Good)
MPG
126 City / 116 Highway

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2018 Tesla Model 3 OVERVIEW

After cementing their place in the market with the Model S luxury sedan and Model X SUV, Tesla has made the move downmarket with the 2018 Model 3.

What's New for 2018

The Tesla Model 3 is a brand new car for 2018.

Tesla Model S

Choosing Your Tesla Model 3

The Tesla Model 3 starts at $35,000 with an extra $1,000 for destination, but there are also a number of tax credits and incentives at both the Federal and state levels that'll bring that price down a bit depending on where you live. For that price, you get a range of 220 miles and the ability to hit 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds. The battery can also be recharged to get 130 miles of range in just 30 minutes if you use a Tesla Supercharger station, and your home will give your car 30 miles every hour. Speaking of Supercharger stations, the Model 3 doesn't get free access to them like the Model S does, so you'll have to pay for each use.

Inside, the standard Model 3 comes with a 15-inch infotainment screen, dual-zone climate control, navigation, and in-car WiFi. Additionally, the budget Tesla comes with cloth seats and the use of the Tesla app, which provides keyless entry and remote climate control. Beyond that, you don't get much else besides the privilege of Tesla ownership.

Tesla is currently offering several upgrades available for the Model 3. If you'd like a color other than black, it's $1,000, and you can get 19-inch wheels for $1,500.There's also the $9,000 Long Range Battery, which boosts the range to 310 miles while dropping the zero-to-60 mph time down to 5.1 seconds. The battery will charge up to 170 miles of range in 30 minutes at a Supercharger or 37 miles of range per hour if you charge at home. The $5,000 Premium Upgrades Package will give you 12-way adjustable heated seats, a much nicer looking cabin with open pore wood, a premium audio system, a glass roof, and fog lights.

The Model 3 does have access to the much vaunted Autopilot driver assistance features. The initial step is the Enhanced Autopilot package for $5,000, which adds lane keeping assist with automatic lane changing, adaptive cruise control, and the ability to more or less drive itself from one freeway to another. It also will exit the freeway on it's own and then park itself at your destination. If you pay an extra $3,000, you'll get any future Full Self-Driving Capability that Tesla ends up developing. Tesla claims the Model 3 will be capable of driving itself completely with zero input from the driver, but makes sure to put a disclaimer that says it "is dependent upon extensive software validation and regulatory approval, which may vary by jurisdiction." Tesla may be one of the best driver assistance suites, but this is a bold claim. Essentially, you'll be paying for a wink and a hope that a lot of stars align to make it work.

If you want a Model 3, you better get in line, and be prepared to pony up. The only way you can currently get a new one is to reserve one straight through Tesla by paying a $1,000 deposit. Once you pay that, be prepared to wait between four to 12 months for it to show up.

CarsDirect Tip

Don't get the Full Self-Driving Capability package. You're paying $3,000 for basically nothing at all. Even if Tesla does eventually develop the technology, there'll still be heavy regulatory hurdles to make sure it's actually able to be used. Considering the length of the Model 3's vehicle warranty, you're basically making a $3,000 bet that all of those hurdles will be overcome. At this point, the odds do not seem to be in your favor.

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