In-depth reviews

Tesla Model 3 saloon - Reliability & safety

There could be some quality issues, but the Model 3 feels like the best-built and safest Tesla yet

Carbuyer Rating

4.4 out of 5

Reliability & safety Rating

4.0 out of 5

Electric models should, in theory, be simpler than petrol, diesel and hybrid cars because there are far fewer mechanical parts. However, Tesla is known for quality issues around fit and finish, so we hope the Model 3 proves to be a step forward in this regard.

Tesla Model 3 reliability

The Model 3 has been on sale for some time in the US, where it appears to have been largely reliable but plagued by quality control issues such as poor paintwork, large gaps between panels and poorly fitted trim. In the media, this is often attributed to Tesla's relative inexperience in mass producing cars compared with manufacturers such as Mercedes, but Tesla is also keen to show it offers great customer service by rectifying issues quickly under warranty. Overall, the Model 3 appears to be the best built Tesla so far, and the 2021 update has ironed out a few issues.

Tesla’s Model 3 finished 18th in the 2021 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, plus the brand itself came in 3rd overall in this year’s poll. This bodes very well for the ownership experience overall.

Safety

Euro NCAP crash-tested the Model 3 in 2019, and it scored a higher figure than any car before it in the safety assist category, with an impressive 94%. Its overall five-star score includes excellent ratings for adult and child occupant protection, and it scored well in the vulnerable road user category. The Tesla Model 3 is one of the safest cars on sale, and the manufacturer claims the Model 3 is particularly safe thanks to its compact electric powertrain, which allows for large crumple zones and a rigid passenger compartment.

Thanks to its semi-autonomous Autopilot technology, the Model 3 is also covered in myriad sensors and cameras that can help protect occupants by alerting them to danger and even braking or steering around obstacles itself.

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