With a near-perfect combination of performance, driving range, and accessible pricing, the 2022 Tesla Model 3 is an electric car that lives up to the hype. It’s fast—especially a Performance Model—and it’s agile, which means the Model 3 is an electric car that driving enthusiasts like us can fall short of. The driving range is 358 miles per charge on the mid-range long-range model, so the Model 3 doesn’t have to be charged every day. The attractive entry price doesn’t unlock the Model 3’s full potential, though its fit and finish don’t quite match up with alternatives like the Chevy Bolt and Ford Mustang Mach E. However, there’s no more affordable way to park one of Tesla’s flagship electric vehicles in your driveway.
What’s New for 2022?
Last year’s Standard Range was renamed rear-wheel drive and given a new type of battery pack that uses lithium-ion phosphate instead of nickel, cobalt and aluminum. Despite being less energy-dense than the previous battery pack, the estimated range of this entry-level model is increased to 272 miles. The Long Range is also seeing a slight increase in its estimated driving range this year, to 358 miles per charge.
Rear-Wheel Drive: $46,440
Long Range: $52,440
The Rear-Wheel Drive model is the best value, but its 272 miles of estimated driving range may not be enough to eliminate range-anxiety for some drivers. We’d recommend the Long Range model that offers an estimated 358 miles of driving per charge. All Model 3s come standard with heated front seats, navigation, and Tesla’s Autopilot semi-autonomous driving system.
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Engine, Transmission, and Performance
As with most electric vehicles, the Model 3 gains speed smoothly and almost silently, with the electric motor delivering powerful power from a standstill. It is very fast on some models. The long-range, rear-wheel-drive model we tested sped from zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds. Model 3 Performance rockets hit 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds – 0.5 seconds faster than the Model 3 Long Range Long Range.
Like all Teslas cars, the Model 3 carries its battery underground, resulting in a lower center of gravity. This helps it change direction crisply and feel firm and stable in corners. The steering is precise and well-weighted, with three different settings that adjust the level of steering effort. The ride is steady without being stiff; Without the noise of a gas-powered engine, you hear a lot of noise inside the cabin as the tires sway and sway on pavement imperfections.
Interior Design, Comfort, and Cargo
We’re not exaggerating when we say that the Tesla Model 3 has an interior unlike any other car on the market today. It’s shockingly simple inside, with nearly everything controlled by the monolithic touchscreen in the center of the dashboard. The Tesla’s low, flat floor makes for a spacious and airy feel inside. The front seats are supportive and comfortable, but the rear seats are cramped and uncomfortable; don’t expect adults to be able to spend time in them. Folding the 60/40 split-folding rear seats is simple and expands the trunk considerably.
The Model 3’s seatbacks fold flat, too, providing an uninterrupted cargo floor for hauling larger items. With the rear seats folded, the Model 3 provides enough room for 15 carry-on suitcases. There are also generously sized bins and cubbies throughout the cabin.