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Discussion Starter #1
Hi
Just thought I would put down some thoughts from my model 3 test drive yesterday.
I'm doing this from a completely neutral point of view, and neither love nor hate tesla in any way. Also, I've never driven a tesla before, just one ev, an e niro.
Car I drove:
SR+, grey
Upgraded 19" wheels

The people were very helpful and friendly. Although it was very relaxed, there was clearly some time pressure, so compromises had to be made. More time would have been ideal. I could still rent one for 2 or 3 days.
When I first got in the car, the seat was set very low and far back, felt more like a race car. I did a little adjustment and was surprised that I could get it to feel quite natural and comfortable, considering my existing car is much higher.
I left the car on Creep, and most other settings on standard, except I put it in Chill mode.
I initially drove round the local area, mainly residential etc. This was to see how I felt about the comfort, over speed bumps etc.
The car didn't feel big, as I thought it would. Manoeuvring was pretty easy with the superb rear camera. Had to do 3 point due to a working bin lorry, but it was easy.
I was surprised that the suspension didn't feel harsh to me, but I'm no seasoned expert. Also was very happy with the minimalist layout.
I stopped and switched from Chill to Std and joined a motorway for a bit.
The power is obvious but didn't feel hard to control.
Adaptive cruise seemed fine and very similar to my car, but I didn't go to autopilot.
At low speeds it's great, at 70 it was pretty good, but not terribly refined. Still very comfortable though.
Voice commands were easy, especially where using the screen could be a bit fiddly.

So. What I liked and didn't like..
Likes... Pretty much everything
Dislikes... Minor but it just comes down to build and refinement. The showroom had 1 M3, a performance, and just walking around it I could see several bits and pieces out of alignment etc. The car I had seemed pretty good though. The car is fairly noisy at higher speeds but not too bad. View out the back isn't great but again not a big issue IMHO.

I just need one or two more cars to compare it to now. All in all a really great experience.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
That's great to hear Steve. Sounds like you had a very positive experience. What other cars are you planning on test driving before making a decision?
Thanks, it was really good.
In terms of other cars, it will probably depend on how soon they become available to test. The Polestar is the one that I find most appealing on paper, although I've not seen one. The id.3, and possibly the merc eqa and Ford mach E. I suspect some of these will arrive too late for me although I'm not in a desperate rush.
I'm looking for one car for us, which we can use for all the regular local stuff, plus a fair number of longer trips in this country and further afield, so am keeping my eyes open on here for other ideas. Comfort is a big factor and I was pleasantly surprised by the M3.
Cheers
 

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I think your review is accurate Steve. Having had a LR M3 for a year now, the only things I would consider when comparing with the other cars in addition to what you mention

1) Charging infrastructure for those longer journeys you intend to do. Tesla Supercharger Network is super reliable. There are a few other charge networks which I find good which include Instavolt and IONITY but the rest can be very hit and miss. Tesla has over 500 superchargers all over the country.

2) Over the air updates. Tesla is in a different league compared to other car manufacturers with this. If you had driven the M3 10 months ago it was totally different from today. The updates have been everything from power increase, massive improvements with the auto wipers, Netflix, YouTube, Sentry mode the list goes on. Since the 1st April, Tesla has 18 updates for their cars.

3) Charge rate - How fast can the battery accept a charge when on a long journey. Some of the newer chargers can do up to 250kw but if the max charge Of the car is say 50kw it’s going to take much longer to charge. Even with Tesla, unless the battery is really low, pre conditioned and nobody next to you charging when you arrive at a supercharger, I’ve had the max charge speed.

4) The biggest one for me is the range difference from the summer months to the winter months. Tesla must have improved the efficiency of the cars with updates but for example my LR is at 109% driving efficiency today giving me a range of 338 miles according to the app called stats. In winter I was getting around 260 miles doing the same driving. Electric cars don’t like the cold!

It is likely the fit and finish of the Volkswagen and Polestar will be better, but they will miss out on the technology side of things including the battery management tech but looking forward to seeing these cars on the road. I can honestly say the more you drive an electric car the more you will love it whichever you go with. It’s a totally different style of driving.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think your review is accurate Steve. Having had a LR M3 for a year now, the only things I would consider when comparing with the other cars in addition to what you mention

1) Charging infrastructure for those longer journeys you intend to do. Tesla Supercharger Network is super reliable. There are a few other charge networks which I find good which include Instavolt and IONITY but the rest can be very hit and miss. Tesla has over 500 superchargers all over the country.

2) Over the air updates. Tesla is in a different league compared to other car manufacturers with this. If you had driven the M3 10 months ago it was totally different from today. The updates have been everything from power increase, massive improvements with the auto wipers, Netflix, YouTube, Sentry mode the list goes on. Since the 1st April, Tesla has 18 updates for their cars.

3) Charge rate - How fast can the battery accept a charge when on a long journey. Some of the newer chargers can do up to 250kw but if the max charge Of the car is say 50kw it’s going to take much longer to charge. Even with Tesla, unless the battery is really low, pre conditioned and nobody next to you charging when you arrive at a supercharger, I’ve had the max charge speed.

4) The biggest one for me is the range difference from the summer months to the winter months. Tesla must have improved the efficiency of the cars with updates but for example my LR is at 109% driving efficiency today giving me a range of 338 miles according to the app called stats. In winter I was getting around 260 miles doing the same driving. Electric cars don’t like the cold!

It is likely the fit and finish of the Volkswagen and Polestar will be better, but they will miss out on the technology side of things including the battery management tech but looking forward to seeing these cars on the road. I can honestly say the more you drive an electric car the more you will love it whichever you go with. It’s a totally different style of driving.
Thanks for all the points, really appreciated.
I think the supercharger network is a big factor. During my test drive I was just trying to consider the car in isolation.
All the points you make are good. I feel that the main thing with tesla is that you know where you are, as they have been delivering cars for a while now.
So you know what you like or don't like.
With the polestar and vw nobody really knows yet.
The main thing that appeals about the vw is the manoeuvrability which sounds excellent. It will probably be reasonably well put together. I'm not very convinced with the tech though. Could be wrong.
The polestar appeals because I think it will be well made and comfortable, but will need to try it to see. I also think developing the tech with Google could be a smart move, and it looks good. Whether they can deliver fixes and enhancements remains to be seen but I think the platform is there.
It would be a lot easier if I could arrange test drives for each of these close together, but that won't happen.
I'm sure that I will be all electric pretty soon and I've never enjoyed driving before like I've had with the feeling of driving the e niro and the model 3.
Thanks again. 🙂
 

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The software updates are very much a double edged sword. Autowipers have taken 4 years to get to a state where they're just acceptable, autopilot gets better but also gets worse, things break like voice control which was wonderful for many years and then an update just broke it for 4 months, some are reporting their charge rate keeps reducing to 16A at home, There is plenty of good stuff too and its continually being developed, but it also feels like they throw stuff out and then debug it in the field, thats fine until the feature you rely on stops working or gets worse.

There's also a bunch of tech that you may be surprised is missing depending on what you are used to. No carplay, doesn't read speed limits, no surround view when parking, headlights are not adaptive and BMW, Audi etc have way better headlight technology, infact the headlights (on my MS facelift) are the worse I've had on a car for 15 years. These might not matter to you, they certainly don't bother most Tesla drivers, but equally there are some who are surprised when they find the car doesn't have them.
 

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That's a very good and fair review Steve & I'm glad you found the seating and driving comfort to be OK.

I recall that your wife had some concerns about the lack of controls etc so did she manage to test it with you?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
That's a very good and fair review Steve & I'm glad you found the seating and driving comfort to be OK.

I recall that your wife had some concerns about the lack of controls etc so did she manage to test it with you?
Thanks.
Unfortunately we are full time carers at present so only one of us can be away at a time. My plan is to hopefully test a couple of other cars at least (soon) and assuming the M3 still appeals, I would hire one for a couple of days so we can both try it.
Best laid plans lol...
Cheers
 

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Your thoughts after your test drive are reasonable and reflect what we've found in 10 months of ownership.

There's a few mods you can make to reduce a bit of the noise - yes, you can argue that you shouldn't have to do that, but being pragmatic means sometimes tackling things to get them done rather than wishing for the moon on a stick.

The build quality might "lack" a bit in terms of perfect panel gaps etc, but that's really the window dressing - the meat and bones of the car are good. And FWIW, our Leaf 24 had similarly variable panel gaps, but not as bad as my colleague's Leaf 24 (ie leafs are variable too), and even his new Leaf 40 has some issues (bonnet is about twice the gap on one side as the other). I also saw a jag XE a while back in a pretty blue-ish silver colour that had the unfortunate effect of highlighting the shonky panel gaps, waaaaayyyyyy worse than our model 3. Merc C-class wagons are really easy to spot because the thin little tail light strips on the tailgate never line up with the ones on the body on both sides - one side is always off. My point is not to say that the model 3 is great in this regard or to say it shouldn't be better.... it's to say that lots of people REALLY look closely at that on model 3s because they've heard it's bad. Put the same critical eye over any car and you'll find uneven gaps - even our Lexus GS (and it's hard to think of any mass-market car that could reasonably lay claim to higher build quality). In terms of the underlying build quality of whether the car will still be going well in 10 years time - I think it will. I think that paint is the real quality questionmark on the model 3.

Regarding the power and control - something to note is that the Model 3 SR+ (ie RWD) traction control system behaves differently to ICE traction control. In ICE vehicles, the wheels slip, that's detected and power is cut (revs drop, boost lost) until the wheels regain traction. Then performance is limited because of the lost revs and boost (in turbo ICE, most these days). In some EVs and hybrids (our Lexus, our old Leaf) behaviour is similar - in the Leaf the traction control would cut power after slip (often triggered by a bump in a tight hairpin at the bottom of our side-road), and then you have to wait for a software timeout (somewhere between 0.5-1s, but felt like forever!). The Tesla moderates the motor power exactly at the point where slip begins to occur - ie it gets an idea of how much torque the road conditions allow to be deployed, and deploys just a little less than that. If you mash the pedal in the wet then the model 3 will accelerate as quickly as conditions physically allow. Many other EV traction control systems are a bit stuck in ICE thinking, and the Kona has a reputation for spinning up the fronts very easily (I understand the e-niro to be a bit less so, but worth checking out).

It's really nice to see thorough and objective approach you're taking to this.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Your thoughts after your test drive are reasonable and reflect what we've found in 10 months of ownership.

There's a few mods you can make to reduce a bit of the noise - yes, you can argue that you shouldn't have to do that, but being pragmatic means sometimes tackling things to get them done rather than wishing for the moon on a stick.

The build quality might "lack" a bit in terms of perfect panel gaps etc, but that's really the window dressing - the meat and bones of the car are good. And FWIW, our Leaf 24 had similarly variable panel gaps, but not as bad as my colleague's Leaf 24 (ie leafs are variable too), and even his new Leaf 40 has some issues (bonnet is about twice the gap on one side as the other). I also saw a jag XE a while back in a pretty blue-ish silver colour that had the unfortunate effect of highlighting the shonky panel gaps, waaaaayyyyyy worse than our model 3. Merc C-class wagons are really easy to spot because the thin little tail light strips on the tailgate never line up with the ones on the body on both sides - one side is always off. My point is not to say that the model 3 is great in this regard or to say it shouldn't be better.... it's to say that lots of people REALLY look closely at that on model 3s because they've heard it's bad. Put the same critical eye over any car and you'll find uneven gaps - even our Lexus GS (and it's hard to think of any mass-market car that could reasonably lay claim to higher build quality). In terms of the underlying build quality of whether the car will still be going well in 10 years time - I think it will. I think that paint is the real quality questionmark on the model 3.

Regarding the power and control - something to note is that the Model 3 SR+ (ie RWD) traction control system behaves differently to ICE traction control. In ICE vehicles, the wheels slip, that's detected and power is cut (revs drop, boost lost) until the wheels regain traction. Then performance is limited because of the lost revs and boost (in turbo ICE, most these days). In some EVs and hybrids (our Lexus, our old Leaf) behaviour is similar - in the Leaf the traction control would cut power after slip (often triggered by a bump in a tight hairpin at the bottom of our side-road), and then you have to wait for a software timeout (somewhere between 0.5-1s, but felt like forever!). The Tesla moderates the motor power exactly at the point where slip begins to occur - ie it gets an idea of how much torque the road conditions allow to be deployed, and deploys just a little less than that. If you mash the pedal in the wet then the model 3 will accelerate as quickly as conditions physically allow. Many other EV traction control systems are a bit stuck in ICE thinking, and the Kona has a reputation for spinning up the fronts very easily (I understand the e-niro to be a bit less so, but worth checking out).

It's really nice to see thorough and objective approach you're taking to this.
Cheers for these points.
The build quality isn't important to me, like the comfort would be. And I certainly agree that any car can have build issues. I just want to be sure I can drive 2 to 2 1/2 hours before having a break, and feel fine, and the test drive gave me confidence that it should be good for that.
I should have said that I'd probably be looking to get the awd LR non performance version, but the points about the RWD version are helpful.
Thanks 👍
 

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Cheers for these points.
The build quality isn't important to me, like the comfort would be. And I certainly agree that any car can have build issues. I just want to be sure I can drive 2 to 2 1/2 hours before having a break, and feel fine, and the test drive gave me confidence that it should be good for that.
I should have said that I'd probably be looking to get the awd LR non performance version, but the points about the RWD version are helpful.
Thanks 👍
Obviously we are all different but my experience may offer some reassurance. I have a SR+ and have driven several times in it from Scotland to the south of England. 465 miles in one day. I usually drive for about 2 to 2.25 hours, plug into a Supercharger and go for a coffee etc. The car is usually ready before I am, about 25 mins, then I drive for another 2 to 2.25 hours. Usually have five in the car so this routine fits with everyone's needs and also the car's need for charging. We arrive in good shape and could easily do far more in one day. I have completed the journey about 40 times over the last 17 years in a variety of cars. I find the SR+ the best car so far and particularly appreciate Autopilot (inc Traffic Aware Cruise Control). It just works for me and has improved with updates over the 9 months that I have owned the car.

I think there are some in this forum who drive 800+ miles down towards Italy in one day.
 

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Obviously we are all different but my experience may offer some reassurance. I have a SR+ and have driven several times in it from Scotland to the south of England. 465 miles in one day. I usually drive for about 2 to 2.25 hours, plug into a Supercharger and go for a coffee etc. The car is usually ready before I am, about 25 mins, then I drive for another 2 to 2.25 hours. Usually have five in the car so this routine fits with everyone's needs and also the car's need for charging. We arrive in good shape and could easily do far more in one day. I have completed the journey about 40 times over the last 17 years in a variety of cars. I find the SR+ the best car so far and particularly appreciate Autopilot (inc Traffic Aware Cruise Control). It just works for me and has improved with updates over the 9 months that I have owned the car.

I think there are some in this forum who drive 800+ miles down towards Italy in one day.
That is encouraging, especially with people in the back feeling fine after a long trip. I'd want to be doing long trips up to Scotland and down into France so it's useful to know others have done similar. Despite an open mind to several cars, the supercharger network does keep crossing my mind.
Thanks v much.
 

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That is encouraging, especially with people in the back feeling fine after a long trip. I'd want to be doing long trips up to Scotland and down into France so it's useful to know others have done similar. Despite an open mind to several cars, the supercharger network does keep crossing my mind.
Thanks v much.
It's worth bearing in mind long journey performance. Range isn't the whole story!!!

Take the e-niro, which I know is another car you're seriously interested in. It has longer range than the 3SR+, and Kia have done a fantastic job of making a REALLY efficient car with great range - no argument at all. However, if you want to take a trip from southern England up to Scotland then the 3SR+ will be quicker than the Kia as you'll spend about 30-45 minutes less on charging stops. The 3LR is a little bit quicker than 3SR+ but not as much as you might think (check out Bjorn's 1000km challenge results tables). Have a play on ABRP (Abetterrouteplanner) with different cars on different routes you might take because it will show the differences. The 38kWh Ioniq and the Jaguar I-Pace are two cars with really great range, but poor long journey performance due to charging, as examples. Now the e-niro isn't that, it isn't bad, but Tesla have cracked the long-journey performance pretty impressively.
 

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@Stevedoz - I'm just back from an M3 test drive and agree with your own initial observations. This is a superb EV and if the configuration suits a drivers needs I would find it hard to recommend any similarly priced alternative. It has everything. Smooth and rapid. Quiet and refined. Technically able yet user friendly. The complete package in a small sedan. Then when you add the benefit of supercharging in the mix it's almost irresistible if you have the budget.

The most impressive feature to me was the steering and handling although the grunt was up there too. That came in useful on a motorway as I moved out in good time to overtake a lorry in the first lane. Then just at that point, a car entered at speed from a slipway and made to zoom between me and the lorry - despite the gap closing rapidly. However, a quick squirt of power shut that door in a split second and I completed the overtake much sooner than originally planned and he had loads of room to slot in behind me instead.

Without that instant burst being available I would have been forced to brake hard to allow that numpty the room to complete his dangerous move. Instead, the instant power resolved a potentially dangerous situation and turned it into a mundane and minor incident.

I now just need a quick course in man maths.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
@Stevedoz - I'm just back from an M3 test drive and agree with your own initial observations. This is a superb EV and if the configuration suits a drivers needs I would find it hard to recommend any similarly priced alternative. It has everything. Smooth and rapid. Quiet and refined. Technically able yet user friendly. The complete package in a small sedan. Then when you add the benefit of supercharging in the mix it's almost irresistible if you have the budget.

The most impressive feature to me was the steering and handling although the grunt was up there too. That came in useful on a motorway as I moved out in good time to overtake a lorry in the first lane. Then just at that point, a car entered at speed from a slipway and made to zoom between me and the lorry - despite the gap closing rapidly. However, a quick squirt of power shut that door in a split second and I completed the overtake much sooner than originally planned and he had loads of room to slot in behind me instead.

Without that instant burst being available I would have been forced to brake hard to allow that numpty the room to complete his dangerous move. Instead, the instant power resolved a potentially dangerous situation and turned it into a mundane and minor incident.

I now just need a quick course in man maths.
Nice one.
There is a lot to like. It may be just me, but I couldn't buy any car without being able to test a few others, to compare and that is proving very difficult so I'm having to hang fire at present.
I am seriously thinking about hiring one for a few days though so we can both drive it and try it over slightly longer distances.
Will be interested to see what you decide to go with.
All.the best
 
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