MSRP
$37,990

2021 Tesla Model 3 Interior Review

Scorecard

Interior: 7.2

The 2021 Tesla Model 3 looks and feels futuristic. There are no physical controls, which can make sifting through the touch screen’s menus risky while driving. Storage space is good, but the rear seats can be a touch tight.

  • "To go with the removal of shiny bling on the outside of the Model 3, the interior has lost the shiny black plastic surfaces on the central console, as well as some of the silver trim. It has gained some classy stitching, but most importantly the wireless phone charger, which was a plug-in addition to the previous Model 3 under a flap, is now a fully integrated tray for two phones." -- Forbes
  • "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." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Model 3's interior is minimalist and handsome, almost Scandinavian in terms of its look and feel." -- Kelley Blue Book (2020)

Cargo

The Model 3 impresses when it comes to storage. Not only is its 15-cubic-foot trunk well-sized among luxury hybrid and electric cars, but it also has a front trunk, or frunk, where an engine would go. The rear seats can fold down to accommodate bulky items, and a power trunk lid comes standard.

  • "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." -- Car and Driver
  • "Storage areas are numerous throughout the cabin, with a 15-cu ft. cargo bay with additional storage under the load floor. Up front, there's a small cargo hold where an engine usually resides, providing even more storage." -- Autotrader (2020)
  • "The Model 3's trunk can hold far more than you'd expect thanks to a broad pass-through and fold-flat rear seats like those in an SUV. You'll be able to fit a large mountain bike in easily, for example." -- Edmunds (2019)

Seating

The Model 3 seats five people. The front seats come standard with heating and power adjustability, and heated rear seats are available.

There’s plenty of room up front, and the seats are well-cushioned. However, the back seats earn mixed reviews. Some critics find them to be snug but comfortable, but others say that they’re too cramped for taller passengers.

For installing child safety seats, there are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The lower anchors are set deeply in the seats, but otherwise, the setup is easy to use.

  • "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." -- Car and Driver
  • "The Model 3's front seats are comfortable and form-fitting, and there's good legroom and headroom, too. In the back, two occupants can fit comfortably, providing their legs are not too long. The wide, flat floor helps with foot room, and the glass panel roof gives up a few more inches of headroom." -- Autotrader (2020)
  • "The inside of the Model 3 is cozy, compact, but hardly claustrophobic. Even in the back seat, which is fairly upright but as livable as any other Civic or BMW 3 Series-sized car. The gigantic glass roof, which is only punctuated by a single central pillar running between the car's front and rear seats, does a lot to make the Model 3's cabin feel airy." -- Jalopnik (2018)

Interior Features

Standard in the Model 3 is a 15-inch touch screen, wireless device charging for up to two smartphones, navigation, Bluetooth, four USB ports, HD Radio, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a glass roof.

Most functions are done through the touch screen, including adjusting the mirrors and steering wheel. Many of these tasks are buried deeply in submenus, and it can take a while to figure out where everything is. Additionally, features such as satellite radio, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay are absent.

Several safety features come standard, though they’re mostly bundled in Tesla’s Autopilot system. These include a surround-view parking camera system, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, sensors all around the vehicle, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, and parallel and perpendicular park assist. Autopilot also lets the Model 3 steer and accelerate within its lane.

Available equipment includes Tesla’s Full Self-Driving Capability, which adds semi-autonomous driving features such as auto lane change, parallel and perpendicular parking, stopping at traffic lights and stop signs, and Summon, which lets you call the car to you.

See 2021 Tesla Model 3 specs »

  • "Not everything is perfect with the Model 3, however. The fact that nearly everything is controlled via the massive touchscreen creates a significant learning curve. Despite the simplified menu layout, there are still too many submenus to go through to do simple tasks like adjusting the steering wheel." -- Motor Trend
  • "Our only gripe concerns the central touchscreen system. Because almost all of the Model 3's controls are tied to it, you have to divert your attention from the road to do something as simple as adjusting the wiper speed. At the same time, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, or even a Tesla-developed browsing solution for your phone, are not available. Bluetooth streaming audio from your phone is the only way to go, but using your phone while driving means a ticket in states that ban phone use while driving – not to mention it's an additional distracted-driving hazard." -- Edmunds (2019)
  • "The screen is full of menus and has an impressive level of capability and functionality, but drivers are forced to use the screen in ways that don't always make sense. It's fine for drivers to adjust their mirrors or the height of the steering wheel while they're stopped, but other adjustments that are normally made while driving can become distracting." -- Consumer Reports (2018) 

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