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In-depth reviews

Tesla Model 3 review - Interior & comfort

Tesla takes a minimalist approach to interior design, with a large touchscreen at the centre

Carbuyer Rating

4.4 out of 5

Owners Rating

1.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews
Interior & comfort Rating

4.0 out of 5

If you thought the Model 3’s exterior was fuss-free, the interior is even more minimal in its design. There’s a small dashboard with a low scuttle to improve visibility, and the usual trinkets like air vents, gauges and knobs are completely absent. Instead, there’s a single slot for ventilation, a large touchscreen and steering wheel, but little else. 

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Quality has taken a noticeable step up for the facelift, though, with an improvement in the look and feel of the vegan leather and plastic surfaces. Tesla has also focused heavily on reducing interior noise, citing a 30% improvement thanks to acoustic glass, sound-deadening materials and better-isolated suspension.

Infotainment and navigation

A 15.4-inch landscape touchscreen sits perched on the dashboard, and it’s at the heart of the Model 3 experience. It’s a slick device, and it needs to be, because it takes care of almost every function, from navigation to media, lighting and even the windscreen wipers and putting the car in gear. This brings some annoyances, including the stalkless steering wheel – finding the indicator buttons on the steering wheel isn’t always easy on the move.

There’s now the addition of a small rear screen, too, allowing back-seat passengers to adjust the climate control, or watch YouTube and listen to music using Bluetooth headphones. 

Equipment

For an electric car with a low entry price, you'd expect the Model 3 to be filled with tech and, for the most part, it is. A tinted glass roof makes the interior feel spacious, and there are 12-way adjustable heated front seats, sat-nav, USB ports, a wireless charging pad for two smartphones, Bluetooth, folding door mirrors, and a hands-free tailgate. Tesla actively avoids leather upholstery, instead using a synthetic material and trim.

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It's somewhat odd that Android Auto and Apple CarPlay aren't included, but Tesla's own software is amongst the very best, with a slick and attractive interface that's similar in feel to an iPad. It can be a bit fiddly when you realise even the door mirrors, wipers and lights are controlled by the touchscreen, but using the system quickly becomes familiar. Voice control also works well, making it even simpler to carry out tasks on the move.

Options

While Audi, BMW and Mercedes serve up famously long options lists, there have been numerous reports of Tesla streamlining Model 3 production by reducing the complexity of choices available.

To adjust its exterior looks, you're limited to swapping the standard 18-inch Photon wheels for 19-inch Nova wheels, costing £1,500. Pearl White paint is standard, while Deep Blue Metallic and Solid Black cost around £1,300 extra. Ultra Red multi-coat paint is the most expensive finish, costing around £2,000, the same price as Stealth Grey.

Inside, a black interior is standard, while a contrasting black and white treatment (£1,100) looks very striking, but could be a worry from a practical standpoint. All that's left is the option to upgrade from the standard Autopilot system to Enhanced Autopilot (£3,400) or even Full Self Driving, at a cost of around £6,800. This ensures all the technology is included to allow the Model 3 to drive itself to and from destinations set in the sat-nav with no hands on the steering wheel. This will likely arrive as a series of incremental updates, and will depend on motoring laws allowing its use, because it’s not legal in the UK yet. If you don't plan on owning the car for a long time, this is one area to save some cash.

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Richard is a former editor of Carbuyer, as well as sister site DrivingElectric.com, and he's now Deputy Editor at Auto Express. Having spent a decade working in the automotive industry, he understands exactly what makes new car buyers tick.

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