Tesla
Model 3
2019
Go
Anthony Sophinos
Automotive Editor - March 11, 2019

2019 Tesla Model 3 OVERVIEW

The Model 3 represents Tesla's foray into the realm of relative affordability. So far, it's been a successful experiment – the Model 3 led the compact luxury market for 2018, outselling such stalwarts as the BMW 3-Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class. A newly expanded range of models means the 2019 Tesla Model 3 intends to continue pressuring the traditional segment leaders.

What's New for 2019

As Tesla eschews model years for periodic updates, nothing has been introduced specifically for cars built in 2019. The marque does, however, perform routine running changes, software updates, and hardware enhancements. With Tesla, it's more a matter of continuous evolution than year-to-year refreshes.

All that said, the biggest recent news with the Model 3 lineup is the arrival of the much-ballyhooed $35,000 entry-level variant. Though it has less features and range than its upmarket siblings, the introduction of the base Model 3 means there's finally a Tesla with a price that lies squarely in the heart of the overall car market.

Prices have been also been lowered by about $2,000 for all variants as the $7,500 federal tax credit gets slashed in half for the new year. This is due to the brand now having sold more than 200,000 electric cars; once an automaker reaches that threshold, the tax credit begins to get phased out. By 2020, Tesla buyers will no longer be rewarded with any amount of federal tax credit.

Tesla Model S

Choosing Your Tesla Model 3

Few cars are as straightforward as the Model 3 when it comes time to build your own. Options are almost nonexistent, and the dizzying array of equipment differences between trims has been largely kept at bay. The various trims of the Model 3 are instead primarily determined by range and performance.

The two options that are available regard technology and can be had across all trims. The $3,000 Autopilot option bundles lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and pedestrian detection – enough to let the car shuffle itself down the highway with nary an input from the driver.

For another $5,000 on top of that (for a total of $8,000), you can opt for "full self-driving capability" that imbues the Model 3 with ambitious autonomous abilities. These include an autopark feature that lets the car park itself in any space and a summon feature that brings it to you in a parking lot. It also gives the Model 3 the self-sufficiency to handle all aspects of highway driving, including lane changes and passing as well navigating on- and off-ramps.

Charging time is largely the same across all models. Plug a Standard Range or Mid Range model into one of Tesla's supercharger stations, and a depleted battery will gain back 150 miles of range in 30 minutes; that same amount of time gives a Long Range car 170 miles to play with. At home on a 240-volt outlet (Level 2), 37 miles of range is regained for every hour plugged in, regardless of model or battery size.

Every Model 3 comes with a 120-volt adapter (Level 1), 240-volt adapter, a public charging adapter, and a 20-foot cable connector with a carrying bag. A charging station can be installed in your garage by Tesla; check the right box on their website and they'll come out to give you an installation estimate.

Standard Range

The cheapest version of the Model 3 is a single-motor setup paired with rear-wheel drive known as the Standard Range, which starts at $36,200 (all prices include the $1,200 destination charge and exclude any tax credits). It offers an EPA-estimated 220 miles of range and a zero-to-60 mph time of 5.6 seconds. Perhaps most importantly, it brings the Tesla cachet to a much wider audience than before.

Those familiar with the more premium Tesla models might be surprised by the rather spartan quarters that is the base interior. While the big 15-inch touchscreen is present and accounted for, it shares the cabin with manually-adjustable seats, cloth upholstery, and a basic navigation system. A base stereo system with an undisclosed speaker count handles in-car musical entertainment. A pretense of luxury is suggested by the four USB ports, heated and power-folding mirrors, and a glass moonroof.

For another $2,000, buyers can upgrade to the Standard Range Plus. It boosts range by 20 miles and drops the zero-to-60 time by 0.3 seconds. The interior benefits from upgraded materials and trim, 12-way power heated front seats, an audio system that has what Tesla calls "immersive sound," LED fog lights, and a console that has docking stations for two smartphones.

Mid Range

The Mid Range Battery model uses the same powertrain layout as the Standard Range. Available only with what Tesla calls the "Premium Interior," the Mid Range Model 3 is priced at $41,200. It's good for 264 miles of estimated range, gives the 3 a top speed of 140 mph, and can go from zero to 60 mph in 5.2 seconds.

The Premium Interior comes standard with LED lighting, a 14-speaker premium sound system with a subwoofer and two amps as well as immersive sound, in-car wi-fi, navigation with live-traffic maps, and heated front and rear seats.

Long Range

The Long Range model can be had in two distinct guises: single-motor and dual-motor. Single-motor versions are rear-wheel drive and offer 325 miles of range. Top speed is 140 mph and the zero-to-60 mph run is done in five seconds flat. Equipment and options mirror the Mid Range model with the Premium Interior for a starting price of $44,200.

Spring for the dual-motor version and you'll get a bit more oomph and all-wheel-drive grip at the expense of range, which drops to 310 total miles. The zero-to-60 mph run takes 4.5 seconds and the top speed climbs slightly to 145 mph, while the Premium Interior and its features are still present.

Performance

Topping the Model 3's hierarchy is the $59,200 Performance model. As the name implies, the idea here isn't so much better range but rather a more visceral driving experience. As with the second Long Range variant, dual electric motors and all-wheel drive come standard, and total range remains 310 miles.

Decidedly unlike the Long Range model is the top speed of 162 mph and a zero-to-60 sprint that's completed in a supercar-like 3.2 seconds. Other standard upgrades with this model include 20-inch wheels shod in performance summer tires, performance brakes, a carbon fiber spoiler, a lowered suspension, and a track mode.

CarsDirect Tip

While the Performance model is enticing, the better buy in the 2019 Tesla Model 3 lineup is the dual-motor Long Range variant. The 310 miles of total range should quell any range anxiety, and the extra motor and all-wheel drive improve performance in both dry and inclement weather.

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