We’re on the last stretch with our 2021 Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor which is being replaced with a Kia EV9 next week (I’ll write about that car too, don’t worry). I’ve held a lot of opinions about this car for the last three years and I thought it would be a good idea to close the chapter on this journey. For myself in the future should I consider Tesla again, and for others who might have a TM3 in the past or future.
First of all, this car is fun. Quick as hell and glued to the road. It’s fairly comfortable and it has excellent range all year around. For the 60 000 km we’ve traveled, we’ve averaged 167 Wh/km which is not bad in real world conditions in mostly cold Sweden. The sound system is quite good, the infotainment system has most stuff you need (I’ve never actually missed CarPlay), the app works well enough, the car always starts, and the Tesla Supercharger network is excellent.
In fact, the charging network and how fun this car is to drive would be my main pros with this car.
The list of annoyances is quite a bit longer. Nothing’s to say the new car will be any better, you don’t know until you live with a car. It reviews well, but you never know. Anyway, this would give me a chance to post again when I apologise for the bad rap I will now give Tesla when I realise the competition still hasn’t caught up and things are somehow worse than they are now. Time will tell.
First off, the wind shield wipers which are camera based in Auto are just terrible. Most of the time it misses the mark. Either it’s in deep slumber when it’s pouring down or it’s whacking away its dry rubber on a dry windscreen on a sunny day making not so lovely sounds. I hope they tested the manual wipe button on the left stalk for longevity, because even though this car has very few buttons, that is one of them, and I push it ALL. THE. TIME. On the Swedish west coast, rain is default, and summer is not a season, it’s a day. If you’re lucky. We need those wipers to work.
Speaking of wipers, the wiper fluid is dispensed from the wipers, not shot up on the wind shield. This makes them not spread as well so you need to use more, which is sad because the fluid container is quite small. This design also makes them more susceptible to freezing. And once they’re frozen during freezing temperatures, there’s nothing you can do except wait for weather to be warmer before you can use them again.
No lip on the trunk so if you have snow on your car and open the trunk, you’ll have a trunk full of snow. Not great. But you’ll be occupied with booking service for the too weak electric trunk motor that probably broke when you tried to open your trunk with some ice around it, so perhaps you forget about it. While waiting for service, if you get thirsty, you can always open the frunk and have a sip of meltwater that consistently makes its way in there somehow. Tesla has tried to fix this twice. It’s better, but it still get’s wet. Keep little there.
Autopilot is a twitchy friend. When it works, it’s great. And I don’t mean the “spend-the-equivalent-of-a-small-extra-car”-expensive full self driving package, I mean the regular cruise control with lane assist type of feature. Dry and not too rainy or too sunny days it will mostly do a good job. But it has a lot of nervous breaking going on. Sometimes the car thinks that a highway is no longer a highway and will start aggressively breaking which is really disturbing and potentially dangerous for people behind. No one expects a car on the highway to behave like that if there’s no jam or anything up ahead.
The car makes a whole lot of sounds. There’s the silly Joe mode that lowers the sounds but not nearly enough. And most of the alerts are incorrect. It’s blaring it’s alarm once in a while for crossing legal lines even though I use the turn signal.
The fit and finish of the car is not great. Panels are not aligned, a lot of gaps, flimsy attachments and the the material quality for most things are within below average and average, at best.
And then there’s the door handles. I’ve not yet been in a situation where I don’t have to explain to someone not familiar with Teslas how to get into the car. Or out. Tesla is really pushing the envelope of complicated unnecessary door opening solutions. You should not have to give people a tutorial on how to get in or out of a car. That’s objectively poor design.
There’s more, like the weird steering wheel with the controls that doesn’t seem to be designed to go sideways yet a lot of features rely on this. Thin paint job, the car had fart and rainbow cowbell features before the ability to add a stop along the route of your navigation. That shows some serious priority issues.
…that said. I’m going to miss it. It had a lot of character. It’s whimsy, perhaps to a fault, but it was never boring. It has always done the job and we’ve had fun along the way and all things considered, all my annoyances are fairly minor ones, and Teslas will continue to improve as they mature. I might consider a Tesla again in the future, if I can overcome the fact that it’s made by a company owned by Elon Musk.