The Look 

The Drive

On Board Computer

Camera & Parking

Seats & Rear Bench 

Cup Holders & Cubby Holes

Boot

Safety (Euro NCAP) 

Fast charging, great range and lots of exciting tech

Starting price: £42,990

Pros

NCAP / awarded exceptional safety

Fast charging

Great mileage range

Bucket loads of tech

Cons

Price bracket placed at the high end

Possible motion sickness to begin with

Intro

The Tesla 3 was the best-selling electric car in Europe during 2021 and we were keen to see what all the hype was about. The price tag is pretty punchy with the entry level starting at £42,990 through to the top model, 3 Performance, at £59,990.

Tesla regularly update their cars, we drove a 2021 model, and were torn on whether we loved the futuristic exterior design or not.

The actual size of the car is close to the BMX 3 series and in contrast very minimalist. There are 5 exterior colours to pick from and match your style.  All models have a tinted glass roof which gives a spacious feel within the car.  The car is packed with tech and at any time, you can upgrade your software to have the Enhanced or Full Self Driving package.  We did not try out any of the automatic moves such as parking (note you must be behind the wheel for all automatic manoeuvres) this is still something very new and unnerving!

We started the car using a key card and there is the option to use your phone (Tesla App).  The car moves effortlessly and with no gear change it is very quiet.  The windscreen is generously wide and gives you a great view of the road ahead.  If you put your foot down, rather like a boy’s remote-control car, the Tesla is fast and responsive.  Perfect for overtaking on busy motorways. The handling is simple, and this makes parking and manoeuvring a doddle!

With such a comfortable and smooth car, you may feel a touch of motion sickness to begin with and there is some transitioning needed.  This is more directed at the smaller passengers in the back.  So be prepared on the first one or two outings!

Interior

The interior is stark. Basically, there is a steering wheel and the 15-inch tablet screen in the centre of the dashboard. Tesla have got rid of everything.  It’s like life before children – clutter free!

The steering wheel has two rotary buttons and the gear change on the righthand side.

Everything is controlled via the touchscreen which at times over complicates things. For example, just to open the glovebox, you must go via the screen which is not exactly speedy, or even when parking and you want to dip the wing mirror this is also controlled on the tablet. That said we soon found out that there is voice control for nearly everything.  You just need to touch the right-hand button on the steering wheel, and you can command the wipers to go on, boot to be open / shut, climate control through to asking the Tesla to navigate you to your destination.  However, we were unable to test the sensitivity of the voice control.  There is the possibility that the background noise of children or a baby crying could distort your command like ‘play some calming music’ could go horribly wrong!

With having such a large screen, the 360-degree parking cameras and sat nav are beautifully clear.  However, with no digital display directly in front of the steering wheel, you will always need to turn your head slightly to check on your speed, mileage range left etc..

Finally on a fun note the tablet has everything from Netflix, a fun toy box to games.  All quite useful, when waiting to collect one child, and keeping the others in tow entertained.

Seats & Passenger Space

The seats come in a black synthetic leather and if you are feeling daring you have the option to upgrade to a white interior.  We both decided that black and children was a much more forgiving combination!

The seats are very comfy and there is plenty of functionality to find your perfect position as well as enjoy a heated bottom on a cold morning. What more could you want!

The rear bench has two isofix points and is also great for two larger passengers.  However, a third teenager or adult would be a very tight squeeze.  On a plus the floor is completely flat which makes the cabin more comfortable.

Unfortunately, one small downside was due to the shape of the car, which only allowed the rear windows to go down 2/3 of the way.

Cups & Cubby

Storage spaces within the Tesla are fairly good.  Within the centre console there is a good tidy space which is large enough for a small water bottle. There are two cupholders and an angled shelf for your mobile which has wireless charging.  There are also 5 USB ports!  (Two in the centre console, one in the glovebox and two in the rear).

The glovebox is large and, due to the way it is locked, it makes a good security box.

Door bins in both the front and rear are designed perfectly for large bottles and items and there are a further two cupholders in the rear pull down armrest.

The pockets at the back of the front seats are just about big enough to store an iPad.

Boot Space

In the front of the Tesla there is 88 litres of space under the bonnet which is big enough for couple of large shopping bags or even to store your booster seats or similar.

The rear boot, according to Tesla, is 561 litres.  The saloon shape of the car creates a deep space which means, if you are on the smaller size, you have to almost crawl in to grab things from the back of the boot.  A pram or buggy fits comfortably in, but there is quite a large load lip to navigate.  For further storage there is a good space under the boot floor – potentially you could put the power cable here. To open the boot you can go via the touchscreen, the fob or by the actual button on the vehicle.

Summary

This all-electric car is full of tech and it may just take a little bit of getting use to.  On a fast charge you can get close to 80% within 30 minutes and even the standard entry Tesla will give you a range of up to 305 miles.  The Tesla 3 is very much leading the way, and although expensive, we found the car ticks a lot of boxes.

** Boosters used in this review: Cozynsafe Tambu (width 45cm)

Car Dimensions - Kate and Claire

Dimensions

4694 (L) x 2088 (W) x 1443 (H)

Boot Capacity - Kate and Claire

Boot Capacity

561 litres (+88 litres under bonnet)

Backseat Size Kate and Claire Reviews

Backseat Dimensions

Miles per Gallon - Kate and Claire

Miles per gallon

N/A

Range - Kate and Claire

Range

305 miles

Speedometer - Kate and Claire

Speed

0-60mph in 5.8 secs