2020 Tesla Model 3 Performance


2020 Tesla Model 3 Performance Review


Performance: 9.4

The 2020 Tesla Model 3 breaks a lot of stereotypes regarding hybrid and electric vehicles. It gets the great efficiency you expect from an EV, but it's also incredibly sporty. The Model 3 offers plenty of power, eager acceleration, and agile handling. Every model has a driving range of at least 250 miles, and the regenerative brakes operate smoothly, unlike in some classmates.

  • "The Model 3 feels sporty and engaging thanks to strong off-the-line performance, intuitive steering, and a balanced rear-wheel-drive chassis that feels coordinated and nimble." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "Our testers were impressed by our car's glued-to-the-road handling, with steering that is quick and precise, much like a well-tuned sports car. The Model 3's taut suspension keeps the car from leaning when cornering, while its sharp reflexes help it carve through tight turns with ease and tear down straightaways." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
  • "It's the kind of friendly, engaging drive that could make anyone excited to slide behind the wheel. Hustling the Model 3 is rewarding and un-demanding. This isn't a car you drive with an iron grip and dilated pupils. It's playful, charming, involved without demanding sacrifices in comfort or usability. That fun-to-drive character doesn't feel like a contrivance. … It's one thing to discover driving joy in a sports car that was painstakingly engineered to tickle the pleasure neurons of autocrossers and track rats. Finding that in a family sedan—a car aimed at entry-luxury four-door buyers, the silver drones of white collar office parks worldwide—is an unexpected delight." -- Road and Track (2018)

Acceleration and Power

The Model 3 comes with three powertrain options. The Standard Range Plus is the base setup, and it has a 250-mile range and a zero-to-60 time of 5.3 seconds.

Next up is the Long Range model. Its battery enables the Model 3 to go up to 322 miles on a single charge, and it drops the zero-to-60 time down to just 4.4 seconds. The Performance model carries the same 322-mile range, but it jets from zero to 60 mph in a scant 3.2 seconds.

Regardless of which model you select, the Model 3 accelerates quickly and doesn't feel underpowered in any driving situation. If you opt for the Performance model, you'll be able to leave many popular sports cars in your dust.

According to EPA estimates, the Standard Range Plus Model 3 gets 148 MPG-equivalent in the city and 132 MPG-equivalent on the highway. With the Long Range battery, the Model 3 gets 124 MPGe in the city and 116 MPGe on the highway. Even by the lofty standards of electric vehicles, those are terrific ratings.

Tesla claims that at a supercharging station, the Model 3 can add up to 180 miles in just 15 minutes. At a home charging station (with a 48A wall charger), the Model 3 can add up to 44 miles of range per hour.

  • "Get the Model 3 Performance, and exotic supercars costing three times its price need to be wary of your relatively innocuous electric car." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Power delivery is impeccably smooth and accurate, and the accelerator pedal is responsive without being jumpy. Direct drive means no shifting, so there's no way that gear changes can ever be out of step with the driver's wishes. The transition from acceleration to regenerative braking is easy to manage." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "Acceleration is indeed less brisk than its bigger siblings, but that passenger-startling response that's a Tesla trademark is still here. I was able to zip through some increasingly dense traffic without issue, a quick flex of my right foot plenty enough to dive into any gap." -- CNET (2018)

Handling and Braking

The Model 3 isn't a sports car, but you might think it drives like one. This car has a low center of gravity, which contributes to its deft handling and helps it stay planted around turns. It also has sharp steering. The suspension is a bit stiff. That keeps the ride on the firmer side, though it's not uncomfortable.

Electrified vehicles often have grabby regenerative brakes, but the Model 3's are smooth. The base Model 3 comes with rear-wheel drive. All other trims come standard with dual-motor all-wheel drive.

  • "Beyond its blistering speed, the Model 3 handles quite well for an electric car." -- Autotrader
  • "No matter which Model 3 sedan you choose, the battery pack is nestled within the chassis, putting the majority of the mass low and centered between the axles. As a result, the Model 3 behaves like a proper sports sedan on a twisty road, aided by minimal body roll and available dual-motor all-wheel drive. Brake regeneration, steering effort, and accelerator behavior are adjustable, allowing the driver to fine-tune the driving experience." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Going back to zero was a relatively mild experience also. The Model 3's regenerative braking produced an apparent but gentle drag on the vehicle as I released the accelerator, and I had to put the brake pedal down to slow the vehicle sufficiently to take turns." -- Jalopnik (2018)

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