We have had our Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus (SR+) for a little over 3 years. It sits at 28,698 miles, or about 9,500 miles per year. (True, we’re no warriors. The low mileage compared to the US average is because the car barely moved during the covid lockout. Part of it is that we don’t like spending hours in the car, so we avoid long trips. we only did one in those 3 years.)
While it’s true that we haven’t put many miles on the car compared to the US average, it certainly feels like a lot to us. We are also a one car family so all our miles are really logged on this one car.
I wasn’t sure how to approach this 3 year review. I’ve been providing updates whenever we have any service on the car, but that’s not really the same as a review. We have the initial review articles and not much has changed since then, but it’s not like there’s only so much to say about the car and living with the car – there are lots of little nuances to mention. However, it seems the best approach may be to start with the main reasons we bought the car.
Why I bought a Tesla Model 3 and what I think about the things now
The top 4 reasons we bought the car (in no particular order) were: Autonomy, Safety, Long term valueand Mission.
Pursuant AutonomyI have already acknowledged several times that “Full Self Driving” (FSD) is not where I expected it to be. I actually bought the car right before Elon Musk announced that they had to completely re-engineer and re-code the way they approached the challenge. It took a long time to get this done and then get back on track and then finally release the “complete” ride to customers (which is still not available to everyone who bought the FSD, but which I had for about a year thanks to a quick safety score test) . That’s fine and certainly doesn’t make me angry, but I’ve come to think that Tesla’s approach doesn’t work well, and I’m now skeptical that it will achieve fully autonomous driving at the level of a robotaxi. Although, I will be more than happy to see it! As a final note, although I’m not happy with the level of FSD at the moment (not the actual abilities, but rather the reliability and consistency of these abilities), I think it’s important to point out that I bought the FSD package for $6,000, and once Monday rolls around, the price of the same package will be $15,000. So honestly, it still seems like a good investment – even if I can’t sleep or work on the way to my daughters school.
Pursuant Safety, well, I guess it’s the same story as back then. The excellent safety features make the car one of the smartest cars you can buy and I’m still happy with it.
Pursuant Long term valueSo far, the Model 3 has held its value wonderfully – or even grown! Some of it is all the market disruptions that came out of the covid era, but some of it is unique to Tesla and the high demand for its vehicles. We’ll see how this plays out in the coming years (I have no intention of selling my car anytime soon, if ever).
Finally (until the next part) The Tesla Mission she is still extremely important to me. At this point, I don’t think Tesla is critical to further moving the industry forward. If Tesla disappeared overnight, the industry could continue to evolve into pure EVs at the same rate. Although, as much as the cat is out of the bag on this topic, it is also true that Tesla’s constant innovation and propensity to take risks and try new things will probably always move the industry in some way. Most important to me, though, was how critical Tesla was to really getting the EV industry off the ground. I don’t think it’s legitimately debatable that Tesla played a huge role in this and greatly accelerated the mass adoption of EVs. Tesla was, in my eyes, one of the most important companies in history.
4 more top reasons to buy a Tesla Model 3
After I published an article in August 2019 about my 4 reasons why I bought a Model 3, I wrote another one about 4 reasons that significantly tipped the thumb on the Model 3 scale. They were: Range, Infotainment & Navigation, Spaceand “Come on.”
If range I’m still glad I got a car with such a long range – I don’t see the need for the long range that comes with a bigger and more expensive battery, but I think significantly less range could be annoying. A software update once increased our range, but battery degradation reduced it from the original range of about 240 miles to about 200 miles on a full charge. That’s not fun to see, but at the same time it doesn’t seem to change our charging patterns too much and I think it should stay stable around that range for a long time. (But we’ll see.)
As regards infotainment and navigationI still think no other car in the United States comes close to the Tesla in these things, and apart from anything else, I would buy a Tesla over any other brand if they were otherwise comparable. The infotainment features have also improved dramatically since I bought the Model 3, adding Disney+, Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, and many video games and other services.
The space it’s not overwhelming in the Model 3, but it’s a lot bigger than the BMW i3 we had before the Model 3, and it’s more than adequate for our needs. If the Model Y had been on the market when we were buying the Model 3, we most likely would have bought the Model Y, but a lower-riding car that doesn’t have as much rear end has some advantages. . When needed, the storage space in the trunk and trunk is very useful. The biggest issue we have with the space is that it doesn’t fit very bulky or long items (like the trash can we once had to buy and then realized at the store that we needed our friend with the Model X to come help us bring the Home ).
“come on” the argument boiled down to the fact that the Tesla Model 3 is beautiful and Tesla is cool. I still think the Model 3 is beautiful, even though it’s all over the place now. The “cool factor” definitely seems to have worn off, but I guess that varies from person to person.
White seats, service, rattle and noise, minimalism, glass roof
We absolutely love it white seats and continue to consider them one of the best choices we’ve made when buying a car. They are much cooler than the black seats here in Florida, look beautiful, and are much easier to clean and maintain than I expected. They are super yummy and I highly recommend them.
Regarding service, most of the time anything I needed (even tire changes now), Tesla sent cell service to my driveway. It’s so convenient, easy and even fun. Despite much talk about Tesla service from some critics and unhappy owners, I found this to be one of Tesla’s selling points. There are a few things that aren’t ideal. First, I thought paying Tesla to deliver and replace my tires when my first set was worn out wasn’t a great idea – I was told it would be much cheaper to get tires from a third party. Also, when I have to go to the service center, it’s not the most pleasant place. It has an industrial warehouse feel and almost nothing extra for the customer to enjoy. The BMW service center just around the corner where I used to go with the i3 is lots of nicer. It seems to me that Tesla should invest a little more to make their service centers nice. Finally, Tesla tends to line up a lot of cars for service, and even if you reserve a service slot for a simple and quick fix, they expect you to wait hours or leave and come back later. Being a one car family this has been an issue several times. As a result, I had to reschedule appointments and once got a rental car from them even though they said they don’t offer rental cars, but it was quite broken and very dirty in various places (nevertheless I was glad to have another car to test and be able to easily leave and return).
There’s no doubt that the Model 3 isn’t the best car to block road noise (it is very loud in our car, especially at high speeds). From time to time there may also be rattles that are annoying. I think when you read about these things without experiencing them, one can think they are much bigger than they are. YMMV. Most important: drive the car a bit if you’re considering buying it, and do the same with other cars you might buy (including the Model Y). Similarly, the Model 3 is very sensitive to bumps in the road, which I find annoying, but that’s in some ways the down side of a small/midsize sedan that’s super fun to drive.
The minimalistic design The Model 3 — inside and out — is still one of my favorite things about the car. I love it.
I almost forgot to mention glass roof. As much as we love the view from the glass roof, it brings in too much heat. During the warmer months of the year (which is a few months in Florida) we stick heat shields under the glass roof to block the heat. They work well, but it’s not an ideal solution, of course they block a nice view from the roof and can fall off from time to time (not good). Also, the glass roof tends to get chipped, especially when driving on the Interstate. We got the chip in ours almost immediately after purchasing it. Fortunately, it didn’t have any cobwebs and we never had to repair or replace it. In Florida, you get one free windshield replacement per year for such chips (it’s the law), but that doesn’t apply to glass roofs. Also, the companies that fix windshield chips quickly, easily, and cheaply don’t do the same for Tesla’s glass roof. It would cost me a few thousand dollars to replace our glass roof.
I think that covers most things. We love our Model 3 and can highly recommend it, but we usually recommend the Model Y when asked because many people want the extra cargo space and higher seating position. We’ll see how the Model 3 does in the next 3 years.
For much more detail and nuance on 3 years of Model 3 ownership, browse our Model 3 SR+ review article archives or browse our more extensive long-term Model 3 review articles (which include many articles from other Model 3 owners).
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