2018 Tesla Model 3 electric

MSRP $46,000 - $64,000

Ranked #12 in Sedan

6.9

Overall Rating

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2018 Tesla Model 3 electric Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: August 13, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor


With an aim to dominate the compact sedan market, Tesla has released the Model 3 this year. It is available for sale with a starting MSRP of $46,000 and is mainly available in three trims- Mid Range, Long Range, and Performance. The Mid Range trim gets a 62 kWh battery that offers an electric range of 260 miles and can do 0-60 in 5.6 seconds. The other two trims get a 74 kWh battery and have a claimed electric range of 310 miles. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 three-quarer view

The cabin layout of the Model 3 offers an elegant minimalistic design that boasts a lot of space for the passengers. It has also earned great safety ratings and comes packed with industry-leading driver aids. Not only are its specs and features list good but its electric battery has a warranty of up to 8 years, which is really great. The Model 3 gets competition from the Nissan Leaf, the BMW i3, and the Chevrolet Bolt

See detailed review »

Pros

Spacious rear seats

Large trunk

Quick acceleration

Excellent EV range

Great safety ratings

Cons

No smartphone integration

Large infotainment screen can be distracting

High ownership costs

What's New?

All-new model


Features

vehicle bio

base price

$46000

bodystyle

4dr Sedan

passenger capacity

5

top speed

130 mph

drivetrain

rear wheel drive

engine type

transmission

1 speed Direct Drive

dimensions

wheelbase

113 in.

length

185 in.

width

77 in.

height

57 in.

curb weight

3838 lbs.

ground clearance

6 in.

capacity

passenger volume

97 cu ft.

cargo volume

15 cu ft.

performance

zero to 60 mph

5.1 sec.

standing 1/4-mile

13.3 sec.

warranty

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

drivetrain warranty

8 yr./ 100,000 mi.

corrosion warranty

12 yr./ unlimited mi.

roadside assistance

Yes

ev battery warranty

8 yr./ 100,000 mi.


Pictures & Videos


Trims

Mid Range$46,000 onwards

LONG RANGE$49,000 onwards

LONGE RANGE$55,000 onwards

Performance$64,000 onwards

Colors and Styles

2018 Tesla Model 3 electric in Deep Blue Metallic color
Deep Blue Metallic

Vehicle images are guides only and may not reflect the model's exact specifications/features– exact specifications/features should be confirmed with the seller.

Ratings

Features

7.0

Engine and Performance

6.0

Fuel Economy

9.9

Interior

7.3

Exterior

6.0

6.9

OVERALL RATING

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

6.9

Overall Rating


The Model 3 is poised to shift Tesla down from hallowed, aspirational startup to legitimate, skeptic-free corporate success- Cnet

Touted as an electric sports sedan for the masses, the Tesla Model 3 has dominated headlines for the past year. Its electric power train offers swift acceleration and a maximum electric range of 310 miles, which is the best in its segment. Other than the performance, the Model 3's interior offers spacious seats and is technologically advanced than any other electric car in the segment. 

Owning an electric vehicle means high ownership costs. Therefore, be prepared if you are planning to buy one. The true cost to own the Model 3 is $8,360 which includes all costs such as maintenance, repair, depreciation, fuel, etc. When it comes to reliability, J.D. Power has not rated the vehicle. And since it is an all-new model, it is too soon to judge its reliability. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 Front View
2018 Tesla Model 3 Rear View

7.0/10
Features

6.0/10
Engine and Performance

9.9/10
Fuel Economy

7.3/10
Interior

6.0/10
Exterior


2018 Tesla Model 3 electric Features

7.0/10

The Model 3 is loaded with high-tech innovations- Autotrader

As of now, the Tesla Model 3 is available in three trims namely Mid Range, Long Range, and Performance. Prices for these trims start from $46,000 and it goes all the way up to $64,000 for the top-end Performance model. According to sources, there is also a base $35,000 Standard model but Tesla isn't building any of those. All those prices exclude the $1,200 destination charge and the federal government's $7,500 tax credit. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 top view

There are not many choices when it comes to optional packages. With the $5,000 Enhanced Autopilot package, the Model 3 can steer, accelerate, brake, and automatically change lanes for you. It's incredibly cool tech that operates more precision than some goober drivers but the system requires constant attention. This is not autonomous driving though Tesla promises that will come later. 

Trim Mid Range Long Range Performance
MSRP (FWD) $46,000 $49,000 N/A
MSRP (AWD) N/A $53,000 $64,000
Key Features 12-way power front heated seats Adds/ Upgrades to Mid Range trim Adds/ Upgrades to Long Range trim
  Dual-zone automatic climate control Heated rear seats 20-inch performance wheels
  18-inch wheels 14-speaker premium audio system with subwoofer Lowered suspension
  15-inch touchscreen display Panoramic glass roof Performance brakes
  Auto-dimming, power-folding, heated exterior mirrors LED fog lamps Carbon-fiber spoiler
  Tinted glass roof Four USB ports  
  Ambient lighting Leatherette upholstery  
  Premium cloth upholstery    
  7-speaker sound system    
  Wi-Fi hotspot    

We Recommend

The base Mid Range model is the best pick. It offers a decent electric range and agility is also good. If you are looking for more electric range, go for the Long Range model. We also recommend buying the Enhanced Autopilot that offers self-driving capability. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 electric Engine and Performance

6.0/10

The Model 3 lives for the highway roll- Road and Track

2018 Tesla Model 3 Engine and Transmission

The Tesla Model 3 gets two different electric-motor setups. The base powertrain in the Mid Range model consists of an electric motor and a 62 kWh battery pack. Power levels are rated at 221 hp and 302 lb-ft. of torque with RWD drivetrain. The Long Range and Performance models add another electric motor while the battery capacity increases to 74 kWh battery capacity. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 powertrain

The Long Range trim is rated at 271 hp and 307 lb-ft. of torque and is the only version with both RWD and AWD drivetrains. The most powerful Performance model raises the bar to 450 hp and 471 lb-ft. of torque whereas AWD configuration is standard. There's no traditional gearbox. That means it's just smooth, seamless torque and it just goes. 

Models

2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 BMW i3 Hatchback

2018 Nissan Leaf Hatchback

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Hatchback

MSRP

$46,000

$44,450

$36,200

$36,620

Engine

Electric

Electric

Electric

Electric

Drivetrain RWD RWD FWD FWD

Transmission

1-Speed Direct Drive 1-Speed Direct Drive 1-Speed Direct Drive 1-Speed Direct Drive

Power

221 hp

170 hp

147 hp

200 hp

Torque

302 lb-ft.

184 lb-ft.

236 lb-ft.

266 lb-ft.

The Model 3 is currently the most powerful electric sedan in its segment and also a pricey option. The Chevy Bolt makes 200 horses and is priced around $9,380 less than the Model 3. The Nissan Leaf is the most affordable electric car in the market but makes the least power. The BMW i3 produces significantly less power than the Model 3 but its pricing is not alluring. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 Acceleration

Acceleration in the Tesla Model 3 is instantaneous, relentless, and intoxicating. It blasts from 0-60 MPH in about 5.6 seconds and further, races to a quarter of a mile in 13.3 seconds while the top speed is limited to 130 MPH. Those are really good numbers for a base model. The Long Range model takes only 4 seconds to reach 60 MPH with a top speed of 142 MPH.

2018 Tesla Model 3 takes 5.6 sec to reach 60 MPH

As the name suggests, the Performance model is the quickest of all. It has a mind-blowing 3.1-second acceleration time and tops at 162 MPH. Press the accelerator and there's no downshift or engine-related delay, you just go. All in all, the Model 3 displays wonderful acceleration and doesn't require any performance upgrades for getting a scorching acceleration. 

Models

2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 BMW i3 Hatchback

2018 Nissan Leaf Hatchback

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Hatchback

0-60 MPH

5.6 sec

6.9 sec

7.4 sec

6.8 sec

Quarter Mile

13.3 sec

15.1 sec

15.8 sec

15.2 sec

Engine

Electric

Electric

Electric

Electric

Top Speed

130 MPH

103 MPH

92 MPH

91 MPH

No other competitor can be compared to the Model 3's agility. The Chevy Bolt and the BMW i3 go hand-in-hand in both performance tests. Although the latter makes less power, its low curb weight helps to keep up with the Bolt. Meanwhile, the Nissan Leaf is the slowest contender in this competition and its weak powertrain is the cause.  

2018 Tesla Model 3 Handling and Steering

The Tesla Model 3 is a king of a car that rewards precision and a willingness to probe the limits. With its well-tuned multi-link suspension and a weighty battery pack placed low in the chassis, the smallest of Tesla's is a Grade-A daredevil at the corners. The chassis is nicely balanced. It's got a good low center of gravity and hence, doesn't roll a whole lot.

2018 Tesla Model 3 driving view

Where it falls down is the ride quality. It's a little bit on the firm side to give that sporty feel but it's not that bad. The steering feels stable on a straight line but off-center, it has a sporting quick ratio. Small adjustments make big changes in your trajectory. Regarding steering settings, with such a quick ratio, the light efforts of Comfort mode make it hard to steer with accuracy. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 Braking

The braking performance of the Tesla Model 3 is really impressive. The front wheels of this car get 12.6-inch rotors while the rear wheels get 13.2-inch rotors. The Model 3 achieves a braking distance of 113 feet when stopped from 60-0 MPH. The brakes feel completely natural which is a stellar achievement for an electric car.

2018 Tesla Model 3 brakes

As it is an electric car, the Model 3 gets a regenerative braking feature. That means it conserves the energy applied on the brakes to charge the battery. If you don't like the regenerative braking intensity and vehicle creep behavior, simply change them on the large screen. It's that easy. Certain braking technologies also help to reduce the braking distance.

Models

2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 BMW i3 Hatchback

2018 Nissan Leaf Hatchback

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Hatchback

Brake Front

12.6 in

11.0 in

11.1 in 

11.0 in

Brake Rear

13.2 in

11.0 in

11.5 in

10.0 in

Curb Weight

3,686 lbs 3,278 lbs 3,433 lbs 3,563 lbs

60-0 MPH

113 ft.

107 ft.

128 ft.

128 ft.

The low curb weight of the BMW i3 helps it to achieve the shortest braking distance in this competition. But the Model 3's braking performance is really great despite being the bulkiest here. Both the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Bolt take the same braking distance in this competition, which is average for its size. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 electric Fuel Economy

9.9/10

As a battery-electric model with ranges above 200 and 300 miles, the Model 3 gets our top score- The Car Connection

One of the main benefits of owning a Tesla is an excellent fuel economy and electric range and the Model 3 does fulfill the expectations. The Mid Range trim with 26 kWh battery capacity returns 128 MPGe in the city, 117 MPGe on a highway, and 123 MPGe combined. This model delivers a class-leading combined range of 260 miles. Although it is a base model, it still stands out in terms of fuel economy. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 driving view

The Long Range model increases the city and highway ratings to 136 MPGe and 123 MPGe with a combined mileage of 129 MPGe for RWD models while the AWD versions drop down to 116 MPGe. The Long Range and Performance trims can deliver up to 310 miles in mixed proportions. No other electric vehicle offers an electric range in the market as the Model 3. 

Models

2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 BMW i3 Hatchback

2018 Nissan Leaf Hatchback

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Hatchback

MPGe (City)

128 129

125

128

MPGe (Highway)

117 106

100

110

MPGe (Combined)

123 118

112

119
Battery Capacity (kWh) 27 29 40 28
Range (City/Highway/Combined; Miles) NA/NA/260 NA/NA/114 NA/NA/151 NA/NA/238

Clearly, the Model 3 is ahead of its rivals, in terms of electric range and MPGe ratings. The closest to it is the Chevy Bolt with 119 MPGe combined while its range is also commendable for its price. The Nissan Leaf offers a decent range of 151 miles thanks to its large battery pack while the BMW i3 comes in last in terms of electric range. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 electric Interior

7.3/10

The Model 3 offers low-frills luxury- USA Today

2018 Tesla Model 3 Seating and Comfort

The best word to describe the Tesla Model 3's interior is sparse. That's because there isn't a lot else to catch your eyes. Calling this interior minimal would be an understatement. Both cloth and leatherette upholstery are available in the Model 3. The front seats are cushiony, comfortable, and supportive. Features such as 12-way power-adjustable front seats heated front and rear seats are available on higher trims. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 dashboard

The long strip of wood and metal across the dash breaks up things nicely. The Model 3 also has all the legroom one could hope for in a small sedan and it'll be appreciated by both front and rear passengers. Speaking of headroom, it would be better if the six-footers are seated in the front row as headroom is slightly less. The tinted glass roof protects the occupants from UV and infrared rays and also makes the cabin feel airy. 

Models

2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 BMW i3 Hatchback

2018 Nissan Leaf Hatchback

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Hatchback

Passenger Capacity

5

4

5

5

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

39.6/56.3/42.7

39.6/53.6/40.5

41.2/54.3/42.1

39.7/54.6/41.6

Second Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

37.7/54.0/35.2

37.2/49.2/31.9

37.3/52.5/33.3

37.9/52.8/36.5

Except for the BMW i3, the rear of the competitors is five-seaters. The Chevrolet Bolt offers slightly more head and legroom in the rear row but its body is not wide enough. Hence, less shoulder room can feel congested for adults. The BMW i3 offers the least rear-seat space in this segment due to its hatchback profile. The Nissan Leaf offers great headroom in the front row but fails to offer enough legroom in the rear row. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 Interior Features

  • Power tilt & telescopic multi-function leatherette steering wheel
  • Cloth & leatherette upholstery
  • 12-way power front seats 
  • Heated front & rear seats
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Remote start
  • Keyless entry
  • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
  • Aluminum alloy foot pedals
  • 15-inch touchscreen display
  • 15-speaker sound system
  • Navigation system
  • Wi-Fi hotspot

2018 Tesla Model 3 Infotainment System

A giant glowing 15-inch infotainment system catches your eye the moment you step inside. Although this screen looks modern and elegant, it still lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Model 3 also lacks a traditional instrument panel and physical controls below the screen. This handy driver's tool can be found on the infotainment screen. You can even adjust the climate settings on the screen itself. The lower versions come with a 7-speaker sound system while the higher trims upgrade to a 15-speaker sound system.

2018 Tesla Model 3 infotainment system

As time goes by, just having a touchscreen is a slight concern because you need to brace your finger against something to use it properly and it distracts you from the road. But as the screen goes, this is large, highly visible and the graphics interface is terrific. Using Google Maps on this large screen is really very nice. It's quick and follows the same gestures like your smartphone such as swipe and pinch to zoom. Tesla also said that the infotainment system will receive regular over-the-air software updates, which is kind of cool. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 Cargo Space

The Tesla Model 3 offers a trunk volume of 15 cubic feet, which is really good for a sedan. It can easily hold two large luggage bags for a small trip. Luckily, the rear seats can be split-folded, and hence, you can store long items in the Model 3. These seats have to be manually folded and there is no lever provided. 

 

2018 Tesla Model 3 cargo space

Due to the absence of a traditional engine, you get additional space under the hood. The frunk can be used to keep you charging cables and toolkits or two small grocery bags. The liftover height is low so loading items is pretty easy. Also, the shape of the trunk is wide enough and can store more items. 

Models

2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 BMW i3 Hatchback

2018 Nissan Leaf Hatchback

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Hatchback

Standard Trunk Volume (cu-ft.)

15.0

15.1

23.6

16.9

Maximum Trunk Volume (cu-ft.) N/A 36.9 30.0 56.6

Thanks to its hatchback profile, the Chevy Bolt is the most practical vehicle in this segment. It provides a maximum cargo space of 56.6 cubic feet, which is more than enough for an intercity journey. Similarly, the BMW i3 and the Nissan Leaf also offer more cargo space than the Model 3 due to its body style but the former offers better space.

2018 Tesla Model 3 electric Exterior

6.0/10

With the absence of a radiator and a traditional front grille, the Model 3 lets you know right away it’s an EV- Kelly Blue Book

2018 Tesla Model 3 Dimensions and Weight

In terms of design, the Tesla Model 3 borrows heavily from its older brother, Model S. While the longer low-riding Model S feels more sleek and stylish, the slightly taller Model 3 comes across as a tad bit bubbly. This design language will definitely be appreciated by many buyers who are already fans of the brand's futuristic aesthetic.  This car is much more pleasing in the eyes when viewed from a front quarter angle.

2018 Tesla Model 3 driving view

From the side view, you will notice the wide stance of the car which contributes to a spacious cabin. The Model 3 sits on 19-inch aluminum wheels and these wheels keep the car 5.5 inches above the ground, which is decent for a sedan. It's also hard not to like the Model 3's tinted glass roof that packs UV and infrared protection. Around the back, the design is kept pretty much simple with LED taillights as standard. 

Models

2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 BMW i3 Hatchback

2018 Nissan Leaf Hatchback

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV Hatchback

Curb Weight (lbs)

3,686  3,278  3,433  3,563 

Length (in)

184.8

158.3

176.4

164.0

Width (in)

72.8

69.9

70.5

69.5

Height (in)

56.8

62.9

61.4

62.8

Ground Clearance (in)

5.5

5.5

5.9 6.0

Wheelbase (in)

113.2

101.2

106.3

102.4

Track Width (in) F/R

62.2/62.2

61.9/61.3

60.6/60.4

59.1/59.1

The Chevy Bolt's ground clearance is 0.5 inches higher than the Model 3, which is good for riding over high bumps. At 101.2 inches, eh BMW i3 has the shortest wheelbase in this segment. This is the sole reason for its cramped rear row. Weighing nearly 253 pounds less than the Model 3 is an added advantage for the Nissan Leaf as it will be easier to climb steep roads. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 Exterior Features

Some of the cool exterior highlights of the Tesla Model 3 are:

  • LED headlights, taillights & DRLs
  • LED front fog lights
  • Exterior entry lights
  • Power-folding, auto-dimming, heated exterior mirrors
  • Chrome door handles
  • Black grille
  • Body-colored mirrors with chrome accents
  • Chrome window trim
  • Carbon fiber rear spoiler
  • 19-inch aluminum wheels

2018 Tesla Model 3 electric Safety

The sensitivity of the collision alert and lane departure warning is easily customizable- Edmunds

The Tesla Model 3 received a 5-star overall rating from NHTSA. It also received a 'Good' rating in all the crash tests conducted by IIHS. The headlights were rated 'Good' for models manufactured after June 2018 and for the models built before June 2018, got the second-best 'Acceptable' rating. Therefore, it is good to say that the Model 3 is a safe vehicle. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 NHTSA crash test

Tesla adds a lot of standard driver-assist features in the Model 3. Besides the regular safety features, the Model 3 also gets access to the $5,000 Enhanced Autopilot option that adds self-driving capability, although Tesla does not recommend keeping your hands away from the steering wheel. The list of safety features available in the Model 3 are mentioned below:

  • Lane Departure Warning
  • Blind Spot Sensor
  • Forward Collision Warning
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Rearview Camera
  • Automatic Emergency Braking
  • Front & Rear Parking Sensors
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Lane Change Alert
  • Parallel Park Assist

2018 Tesla Model 3 electric Competition

2018 Tesla Model 3 vs 2018 BMW i3

Due to its luxury stature, the BMW i3 costs nearly $9,500 more than the Model 3. The Model 3 is a better car than the i3 in almost every aspect. Its electric powertrain makes less power and also has less electric range. Its cabin feels cramped while the materials used don't live up to the brand's name. The only best thing about the i3 over the Model 3 is the cargo room thanks to its hatchback body style. 

2018 BMW i3

2018 Tesla Model 3 vs 2018 Nissan Leaf

The Nissan Leaf is the cheapest entry in this segment. The main highlight of this vehicle is low ownership costs. The Leaf makes decent power for its price and has a good range for an electric vehicle. As with many hatchbacks, it offers less passenger space in the rear row but practicality-wise, it is good. Unlike the Model 3, the Leaf has undergone limited crash tests but comes packed with a long list of safety features. 

2018 Nissan Leaf 

2018 Tesla Model 3 vs 2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

Priced at $9,380 less the Model 3, the Chevy Bolt is the closest rival. Performance-wise, it is not quicker than the Model 3 but offers lively handling. Also, it delivers good MPGe figures and an electric range for a hatchback. As with other hatchbacks, the Bolt offers less passenger space in the rear row but provides better cargo room. The Bolt's safety ratings are also decent but offer an extensive list of advanced safety features. 

2018 Chevrolet Bolt EV

2018 Tesla Model 3 electric Final Verdict

The Model 3 is definitely an important landmark for Tesla in the EV world. The company's first reasonably priced car comes all the same driving range and driving fun as its older brother, the Model S. Software updates are also a beautiful luxury. However, the Model 3 is far from perfect. Needing the touchscreen to control virtually everything about the car can be distracting while driving for even the best multitaskers. Nevertheless, the Model 3 is definitely an impressive achievement by Tesla and a worthy option for EV buyers. 

2018 Tesla Model 3 three-quarter view

2018 Tesla Model 3 FAQs

What's the price of a 2018 Tesla Model 3?

The all-new 2018 Tesla Model 3 has a starting price of $46,000 for the base Mid Range model and it goes up to $64,00 for the Performance trim. 

Does the 2018 Tesla Model 3 have self-driving capability?

Yes, all the trims of the Tesla Model 3 can upgrade to Enhanced Autopilot for $5,000 that adds self-driving abilities. 

Does the Tesla Model 3 have front parking sensors?

The Tesla Model 3 comes standard with Parallel Park Assist that uses a combination of front and rear sensors and cameras for effortless parking. 

How fast is the Tesla Model 3 Performance?

The Tesla Model 3 Performance can sprint from 0-60 MPH in about 3.1 seconds and has a claimed top speed of 162 MPH. 

How far can a Tesla Model 3 Long Range go?

According to Tesla, the Model 3 Long Range version can deliver an all-electric range of 310 miles. 

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