Ford itself wouldn't launch its first mass-production electric vehicle, the Mustang Mach-E, for another three years. The four-door Model 3 sedan was a bit more affordable initially, with a starting MSRP of around $36,000 for the 2017 model year compared with the 2021 Mach-E's $43,995 entry cost—though later Model 3 iterations would
close that price gap.
How do the first few model years compare?
2017 Tesla Model 3: the peoples' EV
Car and Driverlauded the 2017 Tesla Model 3 for effectively making electric vehicles accessible for the masses, delivering great range—an EPA-estimated 220 miles for its base model—at a relatively affordable starting price of $36,000 before subsequent price hikes.
But while it helped ease range anxiety for the average motorist, C&D still considered the Model 3 to be lacking amenities with its strange controls, barren interior and a ride that left something to be desired.
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The 2018 Tesla Model 3
While Tesla promised a more affordable base variant of the Model 3 for the 2018 model year,
Car and Driverstates that they couldn't really deliver due to some technical hurdles in development. What we got instead were three models in the $50,000 price range and up.
But at least Tesla offered some perks with the Model 3, including the Performance trim which added all-wheel-drive and a horsepower boost from 346 to 450 compared with the Long Range iteration. The Long Range edition has an EPA-estimated 310 miles of range per charge compared with the base model's 220 miles.
The interior still left a lot to be desired. As C&D points out, the Model 3 has a functional, albeit stark, interior design with commuters and families in mind. The publication notes again that the Model 3 lacked a refined ride and has quirky controls while wide panel gaps betrayed questionable exterior build quality.
The 2019 Tesla Model 3
Tesla finally delivered on its promise to produce a more affordable $35,000 version of the Model 3 in 2019 according to
Car and Driver, though Tesla quickly made it harder to purchase by making it available for purchase by special order via phone or in-person only. For this model year, the cheapest Model 3 you could purchase online, the Model 3 Standard Range Plus, would set you back around $41,000.
The 2019 Model 3 saw the standard inclusion of Tesla's Autopilot feature, as well as the introduction of the Performance Upgrade package for the Model 3 Performance This package decked the Model 3 out with improved brakes, 20-inch wheels, lowered suspension, and a top speed boost to 155 mph.
The Model 3 Performance has a 0-to-60 time of 3.5 seconds, while the Long Range Model can hit 60 in 5.1 seconds.
The 2019 model also saw a range boost. The Standard Range Plus model boasts 240 miles of range while the Long Range Model can hit 310 miles. However, when tested by C&D, the range figures didn't hold up to real world applications. Despite that, the publication remarked that the Model 3 features a similar range and semi-autonomous tech as the Model S but for half the price.
Save on insurance for your Tesla
If you're planning to purchase a Tesla Model 3, make sure you're getting the best deal on insuring it. Because of their high repair costs, Tesla vehicles can be
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