Test driving a Tesla Model 3 in New Zealand

EV.nz was lucky enough to have the opportunity to test drive a 2019 Tesla Model 3 factory new for New Zealand, left-hand drive of course.

The model was the entry level Tesla package option with Standard Range Plus and Partial Premium Interior.

Specs of the Telsa Model 3 we test drove were:
– Range: 460km
– Top Speed: 225km/hr
– 0-100 km/hr: 5.6s
– Colour: Pearl White Multi-Coat
– Wheels: 18″ Aero Wheels
– Autopilot: included
– Full Self-Driving Capability included

Interior included:
– 12-way power adjustable heated front seats
– Premium seat material and trim
– Upgraded audio – immersive sound
– Music and media over Bluetooth®
– Tinted glass roof with ultraviolet and infrared protection
– Auto-dimming, power folding, heated side mirrors
– Custom driver profiles
– Centre console with storage, 4 USB ports and docking for 2 smartphones

Being the first time the EV Editor had driven a Tesla (having sat in many) it was a wonderful experience, giving the feeling of stepping into something that was completely new from a driving perspective.

From the start, using a credit card like key on the centre console made the vehicle feel like it was unlocking a piece of technology rather than a vehicle.

The full display of what’s currently going on within the car right in the middle of the vehicle was quite a lot of information to attempt to take in at once and was a little over-whelming just at first. It took a good few seconds of searching on the display to find whether I was in Park or Drive and then make sure that the controls were in the right place. It was lucky I had someone helping me as I would have taken a lot longer in the initial stages without a walk-through of what it meant for this style of electric vehicle to actually be ready to drive.

When starting of it was immediately obvious that the sound was going to be very different from any other vehicle and any other electric vehicle as well that I’d driven. The interior cabin felt close to pressurised and the sound deadening was exceptionally good.

Moving out onto the road for the first time, I was struck by the response to the throttle. There was an immediate response unlike anything in a petrol vehicle. As many electric vehicles will attest to, this is one of the best things about electric motors, the torque they provide in the early ranges. I could only compare the response to something similar to being on a motorbike when you open the throttle up.

Handling felt very smooth around corner although I must admit to being a little distracted at first by the display and trying to find information on the display. Especially so within the first few blocks of driving this version of the Tesla Model 3. I can only imagine that the Tesla Model S is significantly more responsive and drivers who are initially wowed by driving the latest electric vehicle on the road would need to be very careful about distraction.

Overall the experience was one of feeling like I was driving the future. While that may sound a little cheesy, it was the best description of the difference between driving the Tesla Model 3 and driving a standard petrol road car of the same age. There was enough different that it felt like it had come out of the future and that all vehicles (likely all electric vehicles) were going to feel like this.

You can read more about the Tesla Model 3 from the Tesla site itself here – https://www.tesla.com/en_nz/model3 or read the AA specific review of it here – https://www.aa.co.nz/cars/car-reviews/an-introduction-to-the-tesla-model-3/.