by Sami Grover: In almost all aspects, it lives up to the hype, says Edmunds. But man, is that screen a distraction…
Whether it was the hordes of eager reservation holders for a car they knew nothing about, or Lloyd actually saying nice things about a car, the Tesla Model 3 has already busted many conventions.
But now, as Elon Musk’s (more) affordable electric sedan finally starts being delivered to customers, people are eager to find out how the thing actually drives. The folks over at Edmunds have now got their hands on one for a long-term test vehicle, and Director of Vehicle Testing Dan Edmunds shares some of his early impressions in the video below. Much like when we posted Fully Charged’s review of the Leaf 2.0, you’ll have to watch the full video to get the insights of a real auto journalist who actually knows what he’s talking about. But in the meantime, here are some my top-line takeaways from the review:
1) The interior, which has all the higher end upgrades, lives up to Edmunds’ expectations in terms of Tesla’s premium brand. (Be aware there is some controversy about recent changes to this online.)
2) The range does appear to hit the much hyped 310 miles, although Tesla recommends charging to 90% unless you are going on a longer road trip.
3) The trunk is extremely roomy, and there’s even some space for a few duffel bags in the front trunk, or “frunk”, as Tesla folks seem to call it.
4) The driving experience appears overall to be good, with solid acceleration and decent handling, although Edmunds does suggest that something feels a little off with handling. The innovative air conditioning/heating set up also gets a big thumbs up.
5) Visibility, says Edmunds, is excellent—especially with the gigantic glass moon roof above the head.
The only real challenge appears to be the touch screen, which you pretty much have to use for everything, including adjusting windshield wipers and mirrors. As Lloyd noted on the Byton electric SUV, these gigantic screens are a potential major source of distraction. And you only have to watch the reviewer to see that this is very much the case here.
Of course, as autonomous and semi-autonomous driving becomes more commonplace, you could argue that distractions will be less of an issue. In the meantime, however, those of us who are biking, walking or otherwise moving around town without the benefits of a gigantic metal cage may have to watch out for distracted Model 3 drivers, on top of all the other hazards already out there.
Just one more reason to hope that bikes and e-bikes really will eat cars, I guess, but in the meantime the Model 3 is a significant step forward. So much so, that Edmunds is holding onto a reservation he made for himself.