2024 Tesla Model 3 Review: Best Sedan On The Market? 

Everyone knows about the Tesla Model 3 at this point. Your neighbour’s heard of it. Your postie sees twenty a day on his morning route. Even your dog, if it could talk, would yap enthusiastically about the minimalist interior and excellent mileage. 

It’s almost beyond belief how Tesla’s entry-level sedan has hyped itself up to become a market disruptor and then the established benchmark for electric cars worldwide. Read up on any new EV, and there’s guaranteed to be a section saying, ‘So, how does this compare to the Model 3?’

But is the hype to be believed? And, with competitors like the Polestar 2, Hyundai Ioniq 6 and BYD Seal nipping at Musk’s heels, is the Model 3 still the best EV sedan in town? Let’s take off those rosy glasses and find out. 

An overview of the Model 3

The Model 3 is Tesla’s second midsize electric sedan and is currently one of two Tesla cars available in Australia, the other being the larger Model Y.

The Model 3 is the cheapest EV Tesla offers and one of the most affordable on the market. But that doesn’t make it any less of a top choice, even with the development of some serious (and pricier) competition. It’s high-tech, fast, and offers greater price performance five years after its initial Australian release. 

Tesla also jazzed up the car with a sharper look in late 2023, giving the famously bug-eyed headlights a more premium facelift. The build quality feels like it’s made of stronger stuff now, too.

This is likely an effort to keep pace with rival EV sedans like the Polestar 2 and Hyundai Ioniq 6 (which, incidentally, wouldn’t look out of place on a poster advertising life on Mars). 

Still, it’s a much-needed change. It’s made the Model 3 stand out again in an increasingly crowded marketplace, along with a few well-planned price cuts

What versions of the Model 3 can I buy?

You can buy the 2024 Model 3 in three variants: Rear-Wheel Drive, Long Range, and the just-released Performance model. 

RWD is the standard (and cheapest) car of the three. As you’ll guess by the names, the Long Range AWD prioritises mileage, while the Performance variant is all about speed.

Aside from that, each variant has a few unique talking points, which I’ll discuss further below. 

How much does it cost? 

Tesla is notoriously fickle about its price points. If the manufacturer sold you a sandwich for $5 today, chances are it’d be $4.85 next week. The best way to find the actual cost as of right now is to check Tesla’s official website for your vehicle of choice. 

That said, these are the most recent prices for the three variants as of May 2024

ModelBase Price (as of May 2024)
Rear-Wheel-Drive (RWD)$58,900
Long Range (AWD)$67,900
Performance (AWD)$80,900

This makes the Model 3 $2,000 cheaper across the board than each of the Model Y’s variants. It makes sense, considering the Model 3 is smaller and more lightweight than its more practical cousin. 

Remember that these prices don’t account for Tesla’s $1,400 delivery fee and $400 order fee. You’ll also need to account for on-road costs like third-party insurance and stamp duty, as well as a home charger if you want to power up your vehicle overnight. 

What’s the range like on the Model 3? 

The battery capacity of all three Model 3’s is impressive, meaning the official range on a single charge is absolutely stellar. 

ModelRange on a Single Charge
Rear-Wheel-Drive (RWD)513km
Long Range (AWD)629km
Performance (AWD)528km

The standard RWD has a pretty admirable 513km range (WLTP). That, hands down, beats the RWD Model Y’s 455km standard range. In fact, it puts it in the top tier for mileage out of every EV worldwide. 

This range increases to an astounding 629km for the Long Range AWD version. The Performance version is only fit for 528km, but considering it can reach 0-100kw/h in 3.1 seconds, I think it’s more than earned its reduced-mileage credentials. 

Unlike the Model Y, the Model 3 is a bit untamed. It’s quick. Really quick. And it isn’t easy to drive it delicately, so your actual mileage may be a bit lower than what you see here. 

Still, all three cars will comfortably cover the 450km mark even if you spend a lot of time working the accelerator. 

Driving the Tesla Model 3

Contrary to myth, you’re actually going to have to do the majority of Model 3 driving yourself. The Autopilot is there to offer its well-meaning support, but it won’t let you kick back with snacks and watch a movie on your road trips quite yet. 

But that’s not a bad thing because the Model 3 is ridiculously fun to drive. It’s not as practical as the Model Y, but it more than makes up for that in sheer power. 

It’s rapid, for starters. And it seems like Tesla has put in serious graft to iron out some niggling handling and suspension issues for the 2024 model, though the ride still isn’t as crisp as rivals like the Polestar 2. 

How fast can the car go?

The Model 3 is fast. Even the base car can reach 100km in an impressive 6.1s, but the Long Range and Performance models, in particular, pack a serious punch. 

Model0-100km/hTop Speed
Rear-Wheel-Drive (RWD)6.1s201km/h
Long Range (AWD)4.4s201km/h
Performance (AWD)3.1s261km/h

The RWD and Long Range AWD are more than rapid enough for the average commuter. 

But if you’re really in the market for speed, the recently-released Performance variant is absolutely blistering. A 3.1s 0-100km/h puts it closer to a 2023 McLaren 720S than to the BMW i4 M50. 

How does the Model 3 handle? 

Steering is responsive and accurate, if a little gritty. It often lacks the real crisp, smooth driving feel that the BMW i4 offers. 

On the freeway, it cruises with ease, and the straight-line acceleration really shows off what the car is capable of. 

But on a roundabout, you might find the handling a little skittish. The Model 3 is laser sharp on bends, sometimes to the point of overexcitement, as though it’s already taking the corner before you’ve had the chance to put any heft into the steering wheel. 

Still, it’s obedient, for sure, and there aren’t any moments where you feel like you aren’t in control. The handling might take some getting used to, but once you get a feel for the EV, you’ll begin to enjoy the way it drives. 

Aside from that, the Model 3’s brakes are brilliantly responsive and controlled by the car’s low centre of gravity. 

What about driving comfort? 

One gripe with Tesla’s older Model 3 is that it wasn’t particularly comfortable to drive. It felt brutal over imperfections and seemed to find every pothole in an otherwise spotless road, a ride quality problem the Model Y still struggles with. 

That’s all changed with the 2024 Model 3. The suspension feels far more comfortable, and solid damping means it handles pesky bumps remarkably well.

This is based on the standard 18-inch alloy wheels, mind you. The optional 19-inch and Performance 20-inch wheels may add some disruption back into your daily drive. 

How’s the noise? 

Road noise is another bugbear Tesla has worked diligently to iron out. As with all EVs, the car is like a whisper in cities, but it previously had a reputation for being a bit echoey on freeways.

As part of the EV’s 2023 facelift, the car now benefits from sound-dampening acoustic glass and better seals. This makes for a blissful ride, even at high speeds, though there is a minimal amount of wind noise that might still creep into the cabin. 

Tesla Model Y interior

The newer 2023 model offers a sleeker nose and slightly tweaked back end. Aside from being a bit prettier on the eyes, Musk’s company claims this also makes the whole thing more aerodynamic, which is why the 2024 versions boast more miles of range

The inside has experienced a few subtle changes, but nothing major. It’s still pretty spacious, ruthlessly minimalist, and controlled by a single central touchscreen.

Is the Model 3 easy to get the hang of?

Tesla’s Model 3 lives and dies by its 15-inch touchscreen. It doesn’t have a control panel full of instruments like most cars. The dashboard is just a chunk of polished wood, an air vent and a screen that controls every aspect of the EV’s performance. 

As for the driving position, you’re pretty high up compared to most other sedans, which is a welcome change. The steering and pedals are at the right distance, and everything seems to line up nicely. 

If you need to adjust steering, though, you’ll need to trek through the touchscreen settings to let the Tesla know you want to make a change. It can be frustrating. Save this one for when you’re off the road. 

The lack of a heads-up display is another concern. Rather than glancing up to check you’re within the speed limit as you would with any other car, you’ll need to avert your gaze to look at the big central screen. Impractical? Sure. Dangerous? Maybe. 

What about the indicator stick?

Nope, sadly not. It’s now a button on the steering wheel. Tesla calls this ‘an uncluttered driving experience.’ Or, it could be, as many other Tesla enthusiasts like myself believe, a chance for Tesla to ‘save some money on manufacturing costs.’ 

Still, it’s not a bad change per se, but expect to spend a few months ungraciously fumbling around for a lever that no longer exists before you unlearn the habit. 

How good is the 15-inch touchscreen? 

Tesla’s monolithic 15.4-inch touchscreen is both its biggest draw and drawback. It’s a lot to take in, and its very presence means there’s a lack of buttons or switches in the car itself. It’ll take you about an hour to figure out how to heat your seats, but once you’ve got the hang of it, it’s a pretty handy tool. 

It has all of the standard toys, like sat-nav, DAB Radio and Bluetooth. You can control the temperature for the rear cabin, play music, and even stream Netflix, which is useful for keeping kids entertained via the 8.0-inch rear-seat screen. If you need to make any updates, you can just zap them in from the ether with a software update. 

Fans of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto will be left a little dejected, as there’s currently no way to access either. You’ll have to get used to Tesla’s infotainment solution. 

How much boot space does it offer? 

The Model 3 has a serviceable 425-litre boot space that is relatively spacious, if not that impressive. That figure also includes the extra space in the front boot.

The space should be more than enough for most commuters, but if spaciousness is a must, the Model Y offers an 854-litre boot, almost double that of the 3. 

What about the materials? 

The refreshed model has noticeably better materials. According to Tesla, the new textures and use of aluminium will offer ‘elevated levels of execution.’ 

Perhaps that’s a sheepish admission that the previous version of the EV felt a bit lacklustre when it came to the build quality. The car ‘thunks’ when you close the door now rather than clanging like it did before. 

As for the interior, the new version is a bit more minimalist. There’s not much to look at, and it lacks that premium finish, but whatever you find inside is nicely designed and soft to the touch. 

White seat covers could raise a few eyebrows, considering it’s a family car, but this is an optional extra. If you’re sporting a darker exterior, the white seats look pretty stylish when you (or others) peer inside the car.

Tesla Model 3 safety and security features

The Model 3 takes top marks for its safety rating. Like the Model Y, it received a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on Euro NCAP testing, scoring 96% for adult occupant protection and 86% for child occupant protection.

As for actually driving the car, the EV feels relatively secure. Other standard active safety features include

  • Blind spot alert.
  • Front and rear parking sensors and cameras.
  • Adaptive cruise control.
  • Collision warning.
  • Lane-keeping assist.
  • Lane departure warning.
  • Electronic stability control.
  • Emergency braking.

The only problem I discovered while driving and testing was the thick windscreen pillars, which may obstruct your view when leaving a junction. This isn’t a problem exclusive to Tesla, though. The much-loved Polestar 2 also suffers from the same issue. 

Tesla Model 3 charging

It’d be heinous to talk about any Tesla EV and not mention the genius of the supercharging network. 

This enormous public charging collection is exclusive to Tesla drivers. Each Tesla charging station will typically charge your Model 3 in 15-30 minutes. As a plus, your car’s sat-nav will automatically guide you to superchargers nearby. 

Aside from that, home charging is still an option. The Model 3 Accessory Shop sells a Gen 3 Wall EV charger for $800 that will charge your car comfortably overnight.

Plus, it’s pretty common nowadays to see EV charging stations at your local servo (service/gas station). On top of that, many large Aussie supermarkets (e.g., Westfield) are now starting to offer electric vehicle charging bays in the car park. 

For example, the other day, I was grocery shopping, and I was pretty surprised to see an EV charging station at the Ashfield Shopping Centre in Sydney.

Tesla Model 3 reliability and warranty

Tesla’s Model 3 is generally reliable. Whereas previous models had somewhat of a reputation for faults, the more recent variants, with their higher-quality materials, seem to be a step in the right direction. 

Still, the standard RWD offers an 8-year/160,000km warranty, which goes up to an 8-year/192,000km offering for the Performance and Long Range variants. This covers all of the basic electrical equipment most likely to go wrong. 

Tesla Model 3 pricing

The Model 3 base prices are: 

  • Rear-Wheel-Drive: $58,900
  • All-Wheel Drive Long Range: $67,900
  • Performance AWD: $80,900

The standard equipment is pretty generous, too. The base price for the refreshed 2024 model comes with heated and ventilated front and rear seats, 18-inch Photon wheels, minimalist ambient interior lighting, wireless charging pads and an admittedly stripped-back version of the EV’s famous Autopilot drive-assistance system. 

The standard Long Range model offers much the same, aside from a slightly upgraded stereo system. In contrast, the Performance version comes with 20-inch Forged Wheels, adaptive suspension, and sports car seating.

Aside from that, addons are few and far between, though each car offers a few ways for you to spend extra for some additional bits and bobs. 

Exterior and interior purchasing options

Tesla offers five exterior colours for the Model 3. The Pearl White Multi-Coat is included with the base price. You’ll need to pay more for the rest. 

2024 Tesla Model 3 ColoursAddon Cost 
Pearl white multi-coatIncluded with the base price
Deep blue metallic$1,500
Solid black$1,500
Stealth grey$2,300
Ultra red$2,600

For both the RWD and Long Range AWD, you can upgrade to 19-inch Nova Wheels for $1,800. This option isn’t available for the Performance variant as 20-inch Warp Wheels come standard with that EV. 

Your interior options are pretty limited. All Black is standard, with the admittedly more stylish Black and White colourway costing $1,500 extra at the checkout. 

Autopilot purchasing options

Tesla’s Autopilot comes standard with all EVs, but this is only the basic version. The Enhanced Autopilot will set you back $5,100 and offers auto lane change assist and the ability to summon your EV from its parking space. 

For $10,100, you can get Full-Self Driving (FSD). Don’t be fooled, though. This won’t let you kick back and put your feet up quite yet. FSD only adds traffic light and stop sign control, plus the promise you’ll receive ‘Autosteer on street’ functionalities when they finally arrive. 

Is the Model 3 worth it? 

The Model 3 has its flaws. It’s a little skittish on corners, has a few issues with visibility, and still doesn’t feel as comfortable as rival EVs. 

But despite all of that, I still can’t shake the feeling that it’s one of the most exciting, innovative electric cars in the world today. 

Look: I’m not here to tell you how to feel about Elon Musk, Twitter becoming X and wireless brain chips. That’s not my forte. But I do know cars. And believe me when I say this is one of the best on the market, even compared with non-EV sedans. 

It’s absolutely rapid, feels exciting to drive, and still offers enough practicality for it to be functional for the everyday motorist. Plus, the 2023 version has elevated the car’s aesthetics to the ‘absolutely awesome’ category. 

Sure, there’s quite a lot of unlearning to be done to get used to the car’s quirks, but once you get to know the machine, it’s a heckuva lot of fun. I adore this car, and you will, too, even if we’d all prefer an indicator stick. 

Are you considering a car lease for your next EV?

The Model 3 is the cheapest EV Tesla offers, but it’s still a big ask to expect consumers to dish out $60K in one payment. 

There are other ways to secure your EV for less. Paying for the car with a novated lease via Vehicle Solutions means you can get a new Model 3 for just a couple hundred dollars a month. 

You can bundle the finance (including running costs) into a single payment that’s deducted from your salary on a monthly basis. 

This makes buckets of sense because getting an EV novated also means you don’t need to pay any income tax or GST on the lease. Want to find out how much you could save on your Tesla Model 3 when you choose a novated lease? Check out our EV Novated Lease Calculator to learn how much you could save.