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This has turned into a bit of a tome - bear with me, but in summary I'm a happy customer (with few caveats) and hopefully some might find this useful.

Background:
Being a Leaf owner for 6 years, and running a Passat GTE estate alongside it as a company car for the last couple of years, I did the sums and took the leap to go for a Model 3 LR at the end of the Passat lease, via our company car scheme. I love the Passat, it's been very reliable, returns better-than-diesel average economy over our ownership, can fit in loads of stuff, and apart from the odd complaint from the middle seat rear passenger when 5-up it's the most comfortable car I've had since Chrysler Voyager many years ago (we do 20k-ish miles per year without Covid19).

Why Tesla Model 3?
The £100 per month saving (excluding fuel!) in getting Model 3 LR (including tow bar) over a new Passat GTE or Skoda Superb PHEV made the potential saloon vs estate compromise worthwhile as our main car, and tow bar means I can use the trailer for bigger and messier jobs. Model Y would be even better, but unknown costs, unknown future changes to government grant approach, and unknown timelines means that Model 3 is good for now to maximise cost advantage for BIK this year. I considered all longer-range BEV options; Hyundai Kona too small, Kia e-Niro just not available when I came to order, and although it's a more practical hatch the Tesla supercharging swayed it for our semi-regular long trips to Scotland, Yorkshire and France. Some good prices on Audi e-Tron 50; lovely inside and huge boot, but wouldn't make it 200 miles without charging (my minimum requirement). Jaguar I-Pace and Merc EQC dropped out of government grant so too expensive.

Ordering and collection:
I reserved a new inventory car online and our lease company took over the order without issues and I got my £100 deposit refunded from Tesla quickly without me prompting anyone. I picked it up 3 weeks later, contactless handover at Bristol was really easy.

What's the condition on delivery? Did I waste the hours spent researching possible quality issues on collection? Really it's fine and better than expected from some of the tales of woe I've read; one tiny chip on inside corner of boot lid, a <1mm white dot in the paintwork that seems to be under the top lacquer coat, and an occasional rattle from the rear seat somewhere on terrible roads (it's literally had a shake-down test over the past two weeks); all booked in to be resolved in August. Shut lines and panel gaps are all great (as good as the Passat), no wind noise or misaligned glass, all accessories included that should be, wheels (19") in perfect condition, so overall very good.

Ownership thoughts - what do I like?
I never test drove one due to lockdown, but had a good poke and prod in Tesla stores before lockdown. As hoped it's a fantastic driving experience, I could not justify a Performance model, it is so effortless, smooth and fast that I simply can't wait to get in and drive somewhere. Driving in 'Hold' mode with one pedal is my favourite, ride is good, efficiency is great (OK, it's the summer, it should be), tech is great (on the whole), space in rear gets the thumbs-up from the grown-up kids, even 5-up.

As a 24kWh Leaf driver with 85k miles and much rapid charging experience, the range is absolutely unbelievable. Of course I expected it to be a game-changing experience, but in reality this is a whole new world. I can't imagine I will miss a PHEV. Cabin refinement inc. wind and tyre noise is up there with Passat, overall rather quieter I'd say. Premium stereo is very good, matching the Bose system from an older Audi I had.

The kids love our new expensive games console sitting on the drive; I bought a couple of Logitech F710 wireless controllers and leave them to it.

Overall enjoying the tech experience and app (with a few caveats below).

What don't I like?
Not much, and partly it is a case if getting used to it, and frankly minor gripes overall. The main difference for me is seat comfort compared to Passat; I've spent two weeks and hundreds of miles playing with the driver's seat adjustment. It's OK, but maybe I was spoiled with the Passat which is much more cosseting; in the Passat you sit 'in' the seat which envelopes you and is really super comfortable, even with manual adjustment only. With the Model 3 you sit perched on the seat in comparison, the space around the hips feels tighter but not in a nice, supportive sports seat way (I'm average size btw), the seat squab is much shorter, and it has taken me a while to get a good combination of seat position and lumbar support. As I said it's fine, but not excellent, and maybe I need to spend more miles moulding me to the seat or the seat to me. I could be fussy, but I'm just surprised that more reviews (and I must have read and watched them all during lockdown) haven't mentioned this relative weakness IMHO.

As far as tech goes, overall it's great but moving away from Apple CarPlay is still a wrench for me. I wish the nav would give me a choice of routes like Google Maps and I wish voice recognition worked reliably for nav destinations and replying to messages (Google and Siri very good in this sense). I could move my podcasts to Spotify but I don't want to, so while using Bluetooth for audio and Siri on my iPhone does work for this, it feels a disjointed experience. I've tested Spotify in the car and sounds great, but a bit frustrated that it doesn't buffer the next song when in poor signal areas, also that the maps display doesn't cache much in advance of your route either. And how do I control map zoom level to my preference? Perhaps some setting I've not found yet. Also being unable to change charge schedule from the app seems like a very obvious omission in functionality that I took for granted in the Passat.

One other thing I find odd is how the car behaves when you step away from it briefly. For example, I want to post a letter, it's a bit dark and raining, you pull up at the side of the road next to post box, leave indicator flashing left and lights are on (Auto), put it in Park, nip out and close the door to put letter in, and rear lights and indicator have turned off in a dark street. I wish it would let me decide when to turn off completely, or at least have a time delay. I could manually turn side-lights etc. on, but what a faff for a few seconds (OK, so this is definitely a 21st century problem...).

Summary:
If you've got this far well done. Despite the caveats I love the car and have zero regrets, I think it's definitely the right choice right now for my needs, and it puts a smile on my face very time I get in. I haven't fully tested the boot space practicalities in real life compared to the Passat, but I've got a luggage/bike rack platform for the tow bar that seems to work well enough as an insurance policy, even with the relatively lowly 55kg nose weight limit on M3.

Bring on some longer journeys!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I had a 1mm spot under lacquer now I have a resprayed rear wing!
I was planning to ask them how they will fix it, assuming a respray will be needed and not sure if new paint job would actually end up looking worse than the original (in terms of shading/blending) - it's rear wing on mine as well. How would you rate your repair quality?
 

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Your purchasing experience minus getting the car (Getting it in September when the Leaf goes back) echoes mine. The E-Niro lead times were insane!

The lack of Carplay is quite a big one for me as I test drove a load of cars with it and really liked it. Tesla at the very least could offer it as an optional extra as I have a Tidal subscription with a ton of playlists and music already on the phone as well as a ton of Audible audiobooks, both of which have Carplay integration and control.

I loved the E-Tron too as well as the EQC which I just saw yesterday for the same Lease deal I have got for the M3 LR but I have signed on the line now and ordered fitted mats as well as the matt 'wrap' for the centre console which will save me the angst of watching it get scratched up and fingerprint just by looking at it.

I test drove the performance version thinking it was the LR and was pleased I had gone for the LR as the slightly harder ride and acceleration were lost on me.
 

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And how do I control map zoom level to my preference? Perhaps some setting I've not found yet.
I don't think this is possible as I was also trying to find a way to adjust it to my preference. In the end I gave up and I just got used to it so it's no longer an issue for me anymore.

One other thing I find odd is how the car behaves when you step away from it briefly. For example, I want to post a letter, it's a bit dark and raining, you pull up at the side of the road next to post box, leave indicator flashing left and lights are on (Auto), put it in Park, nip out and close the door to put letter in, and rear lights and indicator have turned off in a dark street. I wish it would let me decide when to turn off completely, or at least have a time delay. I could manually turn side-lights etc. on, but what a faff for a few seconds (OK, so this is definitely a 21st century problem...).
There is a setting where you can delay the lights turning off after getting out of the car. I believe it stays on for about a minute or until the doors lock. I can't remember exactly where the settings are (an educated guess would be under the 'Lights' menu) but it's definitely in there somewhere. Mine was set to enabled by default when I picked my car up, which I didn't like. I prefer the lights to turn off as soon as I exit so I had to play around with the settings to change it.

Good review of your experience though. Definitely insightful especially for those who are thinking about getting a Model 3.
 

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Tesla Model 3 LR ,MSM, FSD, 18 inch Wheels, Tow Hitch
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That was a very helpful review. I have just ordered mine (literally this week) so hopefully i get it without too much delay. Could you elaborate on which bike rack you got for the tow bar and where from as I am after one of those too.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
There is a setting where you can delay the lights turning off after getting out of the car. I believe it stays on for about a minute or until the doors lock.
Thanks, you're right, there is a setting under lights which I have turned on, it's labelled 'headlights after exit' and seems to work literally on the headlights only, so rear lights will still go off instantly. Just a change in behaviour to previous VW group cars I've had before that isn't a huge deal in the scheme of things.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Could you elaborate on which bike rack you got for the tow bar and where from as I am after one of those too.
After some deliberation I went for the Cruz Rear Cargo platform from roofbox.co.uk, who I've used for my last few cars for roof bars and boxes and accessories and found them to be an excellent company to deal with:

CRUZ Rear Cargo carrier system: base platform no. 940-535.

It's 3kg heavier than the similar Thule Easy Base, leaving around 38kg of load capacity given the 55kg limit of Tesla nose weight. That's still enough for roughly two large suitcases or a couple of bikes; I got the two-bike kit as well (yet to be installed). The other key benefit is the mechanism to slide and tilt it to get access to the boot.

It's very fast to install on the car; slide on the tow ball, clamp with one lever and push button to lock in place. Only downside is that although it comes with fog light and reversing light thanks to 13pin plug (unlike Thule), they are LHD positioned with fog on left and reversing light on right (I might get round to re-wiring them one day).

Downside compared to a roof box/bars is that it could make supercharging trickier; using an end-stall and parking at 90deg might be essential. I also can't give any estimate of efficiency/range cost yet.

Couple of pics while being assembled and tested:


132463


132464
 

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After some deliberation I went for the Cruz Rear Cargo platform from roofbox.co.uk, who I've used for my last few cars for roof bars and boxes and accessories and found them to be an excellent company to deal with:
<deletia>
Downside compared to a roof box/bars is that it could make supercharging trickier; using an end-stall and parking at 90deg might be essential. I also can't give any estimate of efficiency/range cost yet.
Bjørn Nyland did some tests with roofboxes on a Tesla Model 3, including one mounted on such a "rear carrier", and unsurprisingly discovered that the efficiency hit was much less than using roof bars. Also looks like it might well still work with Superchargers .
 
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I’m really surprised about the seat comfort point. I’ve come from a Mercedes that was designed for someone with a bigger rear than me. The Model 3 is softer and a better fit. Maybe just different shapes or personal preference...

I do have the same annoyance about the charging features in the app. Schedule and current both need to be controllable from the app for me to be happy with it.
 

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Nice to see a balanced write up.

I agree with some of your criticisms, particularly that they really need to improve the navigation with route options, way points, etc. - hopefully coming in future update. I don't miss Android Auto (use it in Zoe) and use my own Spotify account to get a better experience. I also have lossless FLAC music on USB to take benefit of the excellent Premium audio (some people play crappy DAB radio and wonder why it doesn't sound good!) Not being able to change charging time in app is very odd - even the lowly Zoe can do that.

Seat comfort is very subjective and both me and (far shorter) OH have found the Model 3 very comfortable and, supportive including our longer trips, such as our week in North Wales last year.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I’m really surprised about the seat comfort point. I’ve come from a Mercedes that was designed for someone with a bigger rear than me. The Model 3 is softer and a better fit. Maybe just different shapes or personal preference...
Seat comfort is very subjective and both me and (far shorter) OH have found the Model 3 very comfortable and, supportive including our longer trips, such as our week in North Wales last year.
You're absolutely right, it is clearly subjective and I am very much in the minority, so it's more 'me' than the car. I've always had fabric or leather/alcantara mixed seats, never leather or fake leather, that might be a factor also. Thinking about it, I had a Mercedes 300DE for a 48 hours test drive a few months ago (it was on my shortlist of options also), and it took me a good while to get comfy in that too, so it's definitely me :)
 

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You're absolutely right, it is clearly subjective and I am very much in the minority, so it's more 'me' than the car. I've always had fabric or leather/alcantara mixed seats, never leather or fake leather, that might be a factor also. Thinking about it, I had a Mercedes 300DE for a 48 hours test drive a few months ago (it was on my shortlist of options also), and it took me a good while to get comfy in that too, so it's definitely me :)
Alcantara - haven't had those seats in a while, but agree they can be nice. Do many manufacturers still offer?

The profiles in Tesla are really handy for restoring seating, mirrors etc. I particularly like it also adjust steering wheel as OH needs it very different to me. Is something iPace doesn't offer IIRC.
 
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