GREEN CHOICE
2020
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GREEN CHOICE

Tesla Model 3

Tesla's Model 3 compact sports sedan is the California startup's most popular model. 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 260 to 330 depending on the version. We tested a Model 3 with the Long Range battery.
Alerts
There are 5 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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2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
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2016
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NA
2018
2019
2020
2021
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Transmission Minor Transmission Minor Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.
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.
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.
2000
2001
2002
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2008
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2021
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, ESC, side and head protection air bags standard. FCW, AEB, and BSW standard.
Road Test

Tesla's Model 3 compact sports sedan is the California startup's most popular model. 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 260 to 330 depending on the version. We tested 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 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 (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 2020 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

"Rear tail light leaked when taken to a care wash. Looks like unit was not sealed properly. Tesla came to my house and replace the part with no charge. That was just awesome!"

Anonymous, NH (2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard Electric)

"A small amount of moisture enters edges along windows on passenger side. Waiting to have repaired."

Anonymous, CA (2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard Electric)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

"I believe the wind noise problem is attributable to the seals and/or weather-stripping."

Anonymous, FL (2020 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Squeaks or rattles

"The problem was there when I took delivery. Approx. two weeks after delivery I had the rattle in the dashboard repaired at my local Tesla service center. This seemed to have resolved the problem however the noise returned about a month later and due to Covid 19 I have not been able to get it back in to resolve the problem."

Anonymous, CA (2020 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Rattles (lightly) at over 70 MPH. Have not had a chance to service due to pandemic."

Anonymous, FL (2020 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"There was a rattle from the B pillar at freeway speeds. Tesla placed additional insulation at no cost to me and the rattle ceased."

Anonymous, WA (2020 Tesla Model 3 Performance Electric)
Wind noise

"Noticable from the passenger side front window area at highway speed."

Anonymous, FL (2020 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Consistent wind sound on Passenger side began soon after purchase"

Anonymous, CA (2020 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

Backup or other camera/sensors

"The backup camera and navigation system would intermittently fail in unison. Tesla replaced the main computer and this resolved the problem."

Anonymous, (2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard Electric)
Display screen goes blank

"While driving, the display, e.g. electronics, rebooted twice within an hour. This was the first longer (3+ hours) trip I took it on. Both before and after, some odd things happened, like the indicators worked, but the display didn't show them, the speakers stopped working, the odometer showed a flat 50 mph regardless of speed or stop, etc. During the reboots the vehicle continued to drive, but obviously with no screen there was no information about speed available during the reboots. I ended up taking it to be repaired (which was definitely dissatisfying due to a week of texting with a tech who said they could fix OTA, but then I had to take it in anyway. After taking in, there were no updates for 24 hours to know when it might be ready.) They replaced a part with the infotainment system and the problem has not repeated, though I have not taken it on another long trip."

Anonymous, GA (2020 Tesla Model 3 Performance Electric)
Routine software updates

"When I picked the vehicle up from the dealership the screen informed me I had a system update that required being taken to the Tesla dealership. I never left the dealership and NO ONE helped me until I indicated I was ready to walk away and return the vehicle. It was the most unpleasant experience I've ever had buying/picking up a vehicle and made me rethink Tesla as a car buying option. However, the Tesla 3 is amazing and has changed my view of the DC commuting experience"

Anonymous, SC (2020 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Software update fixes

"My model included one year of Premium Connectivity but it was not turned on. Online support representative was rude, argumentative, and refused to listen to reason. Issue finally resolved after reaching out for supervisory assistance and Tesla store management. Premium Connectivity adds satellite-view maps with live traffic visualization, streaming music & media, an internet browser and over-the-air software updates via Wi-Fi and cellular."

Anonymous, OH (2020 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"My car would not download updates. It never downloaded an update after I received. This was stressful for me because I did not know if I was doing something wrong. I requested service and they fixed the updates a few days later."

Anonymous, OH (2020 Tesla Model 3 Performance Electric)

"Driving on interstate and navigation system was showing I am 500-1000ft off on city streets. Because of this the Autopilot turned off and only cruise control was working but at a speed limit set for city streets."

Anonymous, OH (2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard 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

"bad fit on doors"

Anonymous, (2020 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Front passenger door handle currently sticks. This keeps the handle in the open position making it difficult to close the door. The problem doesn't happen consistently, but enough to make it an annoyance."

Anonymous, TX (2020 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Mirrors

"The only issue with the mirrors is the paint defect."

Anonymous, (2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard Electric)
Tailgate, hatch or trunk

"Body panel joints are poor. The tolerances are uneven. Some are too wide. Other body panel joints are not in the same plane. The car is built somewhat sloppy."

Anonymous, (2020 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Windows

"Left passenger window was not adjusted properly at delivery, allowing for significant wind noise. I made an appointment for it to be fixed and it was fixed under warranty at no charge to me."

Anonymous, (2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard Electric)

Paint/Trim

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

What Owners Say

Loose interior trim or moldings

"On the interior of the B Pillar, lower section, the trim keeps popping off. The design and engineering of this peace is poor."

Anonymous, (2020 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)
Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling)

"trim mismatch...gaps were excessive and misaligned, also paint had imperfections"

Anonymous, CA (2020 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Paint quality is absolutely terrible."

Anonymous, AZ (2020 Tesla Model 3 Long Range Electric)

"Overall, I am pleased with the assembly, fit and finish of my new Model 3. The passenger side mirror has a minor paint defect that is visible in direct sunlight. Tesla tells me they will correct it. Otherwise the color and finish are good."

Anonymous, (2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard Electric)

"Some chipped paint when we picked it up"

Anonymous, (2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard Electric)

Engine Minor

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

What Owners Say

Engine computer

"Something in the drive system (motor, computer, fuse, etc.) broke on the second day that I had the car. They never told me what it was. The car notified me that it might not start again after being shut down. I drove it to my garage and turned it off. It did not start again after that. Tesla tried to fix it in my garage. They failed. They towed the car to a service center 250 miles away where they fixed it about 5 weeks after it broke down."

Anonymous, OH (2020 Tesla Model 3 Performance Electric)

Climate System

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

What Owners Say

Automatic climate control

"In March, during a heat wave, outside temp in the 70s, the climate control was on/off by itself. Tesla service end up replacing the control module under warranty."

Anonymous, OH (2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard 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 Model 3 is designed to use a smart phone as a key fob. It's a convenient feature but the functionality is buggy, it works well for me as principal driver but is very unpredictable when my wife uses the car. This may be a user problem but points to an overly complex implementation."

Anonymous, (2020 Tesla Model 3 Standard 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

Alignment

"The steering wheel was not level when driving in a straight line. We had to take it 100 miles to the Portland dealer."

Anonymous, OR (2020 Tesla Model 3 Long 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

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.

Drive System

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

Engine Major

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

Exhaust

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

Brakes

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

Engine Cooling

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

Transmission Minor

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

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