GREEN CHOICE
2019
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GREEN CHOICE

Tesla Model 3

Tesla's Model 3 compact sports sedan is the company's first attempt at a mass-market electric car. It is aimed at competitors like the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series--but unlike those cars, the Tesla doesn't consume a drop of fuel. The driving range spans from 240 to 310 depending on the version. We bought a Model 3 with the Long Range battery.
Alerts
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit.
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.
Fuel Economy & Emissions
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Greenhouse Gas Greenhouse Gas The Greenhouse Gas Rating represents the amount of carbon dioxide the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).
Smog Rating Smog Rating The Smog Rating represents the amount of health-damaging and smog-forming airborne pollutants the vehicle emits compared to other vehicles of the same model year. This score from the EPA ranges from 1 (worst) to 10 (best).

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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2011
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NA
2018
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2020
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
NA
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
NA
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
NA
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
NA
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
NA
Drive System Drive System Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.
NA
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
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Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS and ESC standard. Side and head protection air bags standard.
Road Test

Tesla's Model 3 compact sports sedan is the company's first attempt at a mass-market electric car. It is aimed at competitors like the Audi A4 and BMW 3 Series--but unlike those cars, the Tesla doesn't consume a drop of fuel.

The driving range spans from 240 to 310 depending on the version. We bought a Model 3 with the Long Range battery. Our testers found the Model 3 to be fun to drive, thanks to the superb handling and immediate thrust from the electric motor. However, the Model 3's distracting controls, overly stiff ride, and uncomfortable rear seat count heavily against it.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
AWD , Rear
Warranty
Coverage varies among versions of this vehicle

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 1-speed Direct
Engines Available
  • electric (270 hp)
  • electric (258 hp)
  • electric (282 hp)
  • electric (468 hp)
  • electric (449 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2019 Tesla Model 3 owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

Air or water leaks

"Top roofing glass was not sealed properly and was replaced under warranty."

Anonymous, TX (2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Electric)

"There was a water leak in the rear trunk. It turned out that Tesla was aware of the problem which was do to a poor seal design. I took it to the service location and they installed the updated seal and it has been fine every since."

Anonymous, FL (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"Multiple weather seals have deformed."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Mid Range Electric)
Squeaks or rattles

"Constant noises and rattles when going over imperfect roads."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Mid Range Electric)

"The steering column had a loose wiring harness that rubbed when turning"

Anonymous, TN (2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance Electric)

"Poor body integrity and chassis flex. The driver's door sounds like it is going to fall off as well as too many buzzes and rattles throughout the body."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance Electric)

"Front right wheel area produces a clicking noise when turning at low speeds. Tesla has tried to fix but issue hasn't gone away."

Anonymous, GA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Rock entered a compartment underneath and rattles around"

Anonymous, NY (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"small rattle in dash not a problem"

Anonymous, (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Wind noise

"I was just wind noise coming from the driver side front door. Tesla service adjusted the window regulator at home in a few minutes."

Anonymous, QC (2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Electric)

"Passenger front door had more wind noise than other locations in the care. Tesla replaced the door seal under warranty."

Anonymous, MO (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"The model 3 is the loudest car I have ever driven in especially when it is up to speed. Loud whistles and full wind noise is a constant issue. Purchasing a third party noise reduction kit helped but it can still be numbing on long drives."

Anonymous, SC (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Front passenger side window has had unrepairable wind noise. After several attempts to have dealer repair/adjust gave up. Model 3 is generally known to have this design/workmanship problem."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"car is so quiet you hear more noise"

Anonymous, (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Right front window does not fully index up or window seals on top edge are not effective. Have gone to Tesla service center twice to resolve with no success."

Brian N., CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Slight wind noise from passenger side front window"

George D., CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Gets really loud at freeway speeds, almost like window open very little."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Wind noise coming into cockpit"

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Mid Range Electric)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Loose exterior trim or moldings

"While the dealer was running it through the car wash the rear bumper fell off. The trunk had sitting water in it."

Anonymous, (2019 Tesla Model 3 Mid Range Electric)

"Rear Bumper cover was loose and needed to be refitted."

Anonymous, (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"There was a chip in the paint on the hood when the car was purchased. Several months later a truck spilled gravel down the front and side of our car, which we had repaired."

Anonymous, (2019 Tesla Model 3 Mid Range Electric)

"There were a few random paint nubs around the car. Like it was painted in s dusty environment."

Anonymous, (2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance Electric)

"After one year of ownership I noticed a paint chip on top of my trunk. At first it was not going to be covered under warranty but they later determined it was a paint defect"

Anonymous, (2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Electric)

"When washing the car, a quarter size flake of paint flaked off"

Anonymous, (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"When delivered it had a number of small paint issues which seemed common for Model 3's earlier in the build process. The local Service Center cleaned them up but after a few months many came back including damage they did in trying to fix the earlier issues. Since our closest service center is 100+ miles away we haven't had it looked at."

Anonymous, SC (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Mostly the concern is the quality and durability of the paint. Far more susceptible to minor scratching than any other car I have owned. Many Tesla owners spend 1000s installing aftermarket body films."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"the paint gets damaged with marks from routine activities like scraping snow"

Anonymous, MA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Paint had spots in it from the manufacturing process. It was delivered with these spots. Tesla took the car and had it repainted."

Suzanne S., CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"My Model 3 was delivered with paint defects - including foreign material embedded in paint, thick paint drops on the surface and water marks that have penetrated the clear-coat. It is a terrible paint job by any measure."

Michael H., CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Bumper has areas that paint was light, you could see through the paint to the primer."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"The car was delivered with a small paint chip on the rear bumper. This minor defect required 4 days in a body shop to fix, soon after delivery. The downtime is the reason I consider this serious."

Anonymous, RI (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"One drop of clear coat on the hood."

Anonymous, IA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Electric)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Display screen freezes up

"Everything just stops. Can't use radio or navigation or safety features"

Anonymous, (2019 Tesla Model 3 Mid Range Electric)

"Screen freezes or glitches or goes black. You have to hold the scroll buttons down with your foot on the brake for 30 seconds to reset it and then it goes black for about 30 seconds before it comes back on. The first time it happened I was completely at a loss and had to google what the problem was."

Anonymous, BC (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Display screen goes blank

"Same answer as before"

Anonymous, (2019 Tesla Model 3 Mid Range Electric)

"The display screen would periodically go blank when the car was first started up. It would require a reboot of the OS (just press two buttons and wait a few seconds), and then it would be fine. It never went blank while the car was being driven. I took the car to the dealer and they replaced the screen."

Anonymous, IL (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"A few times, the screen went blank completely or partly. I have to reboot the onboard computer by pressing the two buttons on the steering wheel. For the last few months, it hasn't happened, though."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"once every day or two the screen is blank when I enter the car. Tesla has suggested steps to fix this but the steps do not improve things. other Tesla owners report similar problem."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Screen goes blank then reboots. It can stay blank for minutes at a time. It loses all screen functions including speedometer and all controls."

Anonymous, WA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Hardware replacement

"LTE service kept dropped if out - would lose radio streaming and Traffic. To replace the modem they had to swap out the whole computer unit. Works great now."

Anonymous, CT (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
In-dash navigation system (GPS)

"The system is outdated in this brand new car. The street we live on isn't shown. Unable to enter addresses unless we're in our garage. Voice commands don't work."

Werner K., HI (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Radio

"About a dozen times over 10 months of my ownership, FM radio stopped working. I had to reboot the onboard computer."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Steering wheel controls

"turn signal didn’t do left lane change vs turn signal properly (frequently turn signal came on when lane change was tried). Turn stalk was replaced."

Bruce L., VA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Voice control commands

"voice control works very seldom, maybe 5 % of the time we try to use it."

Werner K., HI (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. The service guy was showing me how to do it, with a lovely display of mansplaining, but then he couldn't get it to work either."

Anonymous, BC (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Doors or sliding doors

"Front passenger door misaligned and was rubbing against fendor"

Anonymous, TN (2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance Electric)

"Bracket on seat broke"

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Glass defects

"Heater Defogger didn't work and there was a defect in one of the lines."

Anonymous, FL (2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance Electric)

"The glass tint was coming apart slowly in little specs in the back window and it was covered under warranty"

Anonymous, (2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Electric)

"Rear window developed a thermal crack around a heating wire during a cold snap. Note that we live near Chicago where it can get below zero degrees F so the heating wires are really needed to melt snow and ice off the rear window. I brought the car to the dealer and they replaced the window. The person who processed the drop-off mentioned that this was a problem that happened with cars manufactured earlier and he thought that problem had been fixed by the time we bought our car (but I guess it wasn't totally fixed yet)."

Anonymous, IL (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Locks and latches

"The door locks freeze up and you can't open the car."

Anonymous, PA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance Electric)

"Driver door issues have prevented the car from locking on occasion."

Anonymous, NJ (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"Trunk opening was out of alignment. Service Center was able to adjust alignment."

Anonymous, WA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Mid Range Electric)

"Bad panel fit for both the hood and trunk"

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Mid Range Electric)
Windows

"If you force the door locks open in the cold, the windows don't go down when the door opens, then you can't close the door because the window overlaps the trim (so it doesn't close properly)"

Anonymous, PA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance Electric)

"Window was striking the car door frame when opening and closing the the door because window wasn't dropping automatically as required. Was fixed by tesla."

Anonymous, GA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"After opening the driver side window all the way down. Then trying to close the window, it would intermittently roll back down. However, this problem goes away after second or third attempt."

Anonymous, WA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

A/C compressor

"A/C compressor completely failed within first 300 miles, Tesla Service Center replaced the compressor and gave me a Performance Model S as a free loaner while mine was in the shop. Have not had a reoccurrence of this issue."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Automatic climate control

"I suddenly could control the climate control through manual settings only."

Anonymous, (2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Electric)

"Auto climate stopped working. Tesla replaced an interior sensor."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Temperature sensor failed, and A/C functioned radically."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Heater system

"Tesla fixed software/hardware glitch that prevented heating after 6 months of ownership. It's fine now."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Mid Range Electric)

"Climate control when not in vehicle would not work. Could not use Dog mode. Heater electronics was replaced under warranty."

Anonymous, WA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

What Owners Say

Other/unsure

"The software controlling the warning light for the airbags was not operating correctly within the first month of the purchase. It took a full month for Tesla to respond and send someone to my household to replace the faulty software."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"There was a bad sensor which was replaced for free by the Tesla Service center."

Anonymous, OR (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Very poor BSI. Tesla grafted it from S and X which have in line screen which Model 3 does not. BSI is an image on the center mounted car screen which requires one to take one's eyes off the road, look down and to the left of the screen, refocus, then look over one's shoulder to see if traffic is really there. The driver side mirror does not cover the blind spot. In addtion the car has very poor rear sensing so the image does show until the car has been in the blind spot while other systems give warning of approach and take into account speed of the approaching car and provide a warning in the side view mirror where one is looking. BSI on Model 3 is borderline dangerous as it asks you to take eyes off the road."

Brion L., OR (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Lane keeping does not work consistently even on the same road with good marks. I reported this as problem to Tesla. They viewed saved camera images from the car and then examined the time of the images via Virtual Technician and confirmed the inconsistency. An on the road tech was dispatched and we drove the road. He confirmed Lane Keeping was not working. He called factory as we drove and they said some roads were geo fenced out due to Full Self Driving tech. I don't have FSD. It's dangerous as driver does not know if/when Lane Keeping will work. After Tech confirmed it was not working, I get Service Report from Tesla that car is working normally."

Brion L., OR (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Under certain lighting conditions the car suddenly brakes hard for no apparent reason, as if it detected an obstacle but there was none."

Anonymous, WA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

Bushings

"The car has very large and soft bushings in the upper rear control arms, which makes the handling very twitchy if not dangerous. The front suspension has no caster or ability to adjust it, neither front or rear suspension has camber adjustment. The shocks require a 1000 mile break-in."

Anonymous, CA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance Electric)
Shocks or struts

"The model 3 has very stiff suspension. Although it holds the road well and corners like no other car, it's a bumpy ride when riding over irregularities in the road. My sienna is more forgiving."

Anonymous, (2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Electric)

"Right front strut assembly replaced. Started making noise about 4 months after purchase, best described as a creaking sound, like a door hinge that's in need of lubrication. Covered under warranty. Part was back ordered, so repair took about 5 days. Loaner car was provided. Completely satisfied with Tesla's response."

Anonymous, NY (2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Electric)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

"Defective wiring harness caused the car to go into limp home mode when the car was 2 weeks old with 325 miles on it. Took a month for them to diagnose and repair."

Anonymous, NY (2019 Tesla Model 3 Performance Electric)

"The car stopped working suddenly. It was fixed by Tesla by replacing some parts"

Anonymous, (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

Squeaking

"the brake squeak when cold"

Anonymous, MA (2019 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

Keyless entry

"The keyless entry never worked correctly. With either the card or the phone app."

Anonymous, (2019 Tesla Model 3 Mid Range Electric)

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

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