The Tesla Model 3 is Green Car Reports’ Best Car To Buy 2019. It’s the second time a Tesla product has won our annual award, which was captured by the Tesla Model S in 2013. Many have called the Model 3 Tesla’s “iPhone moment.” But that was the Model S—the shock to an auto industry that had dismissed its very premise as unfeasible. The Model 3 looks well beyond that. It’s a brave, distinct product that makes no attempt to measure up to anything else on the road. And in some ways, it’s the future. On design and engineering, the Model 3 is probably the most advanced electric car in the world. It’s the only entire platform we’re aware of for a mass-market vehicle that’s on the market now and currently can, with over-the-air updates, extensively change virtually all of its systems and driving parameters.
We have mixed feelings about the Model 3 as a product. We’ve found little to fault so far (in limited time) in its driving manners. It handles like a quick, taut, precise sport sedan; rides quite well; and generally offers impressive packaging for passengers and cargo. But most of the questions and gripes surround the Model 3’s interior, its assembly quality, and the perceived quality of up-close details.
The minimalist interface makes the Model 3 a trendsetter in cabin design, but to many of us it’s certainly not a love-at-first-sight feature. As one of our staff put it pointedly: “This is not a functional interior. This is a tablet stuck onto a piece of plastic, and you’re expected to run the car through it.” That said, we’ve found a level of Apple-like elegance to the interface itself. We appreciate how, out of more than a half-dozen Model 3s that we’ve collectively sat in, the interface has never felt laggy.