Test Of The Tesla Model 3 Propulsion 2022
Aug 16,2022 | Chloe Lacour
The test in summary
- A potential main vehicle for the household
- A car you love to drive
- Controlled consumption
- Interface with unparalleled fluidity
- Appreciable comfort elements as standard
- Frequent remote updates
- A rate that exceeds the maximum ecological bonus
- Unusable self-driving options
- Updates that may displease
- The trunk opening is sometimes unsuitable
- Windshield wipers that are anything but smart
Tesla's entry-level Model 3 Propulsion benefits from numerous improvements. What is the cheapest version of the American sedan worth? Here is our full test.
A real hit in 2021, the entry-level Tesla Model 3 has become a must-have for anyone with the budget for it. But with a price revised sharply upwards for 2022, it is now dangerously approaching the symbolic bar of 50,000 euros and has much fiercer competition than before. Between an increased autonomy, the performance of a small sports car, high-level comfort elements, and a new super-powerful onboard computer, the firm Elon Musk clearly announce the color: the entry-level is not a whole vehicle at a discount.
With a promise of possibly being the only vehicle for a household, able to carve the road on a daily basis as well as on long journeys, what do we think of the Tesla Model 3 Propulsion in version 2022? Is the difference in autonomy in favor of more expensive models justified? Despite the price increases, is it still the obvious choice for a majority of buyers? We will try to answer these questions with the help of a test of a few days and several hundred kilometers of what remains the cheapest Tesla on the market today.
TESLA MODEL 3 REAR-WHEEL DRIVE (2022)
|Model||Tesla Model 3 Rear-wheel Drive (2022)|
|0 to 100 km/h||6.1 seconds|
|Level of autonomy||2|
|Max speed||225 km/h|
|Main screen size||15 inches|
|Car side sockets||Type 2 Combo (CCS)|
|Entry-level price||46990 euro|
A trained eye will differentiate a 2021 or 2022 Tesla Model 3 from older versions with the help of a remarkable element: the disappearance of the chrome elements which are now black around the windows and mirrors, but that's it. Indeed, the 2022 version of the American sedan incorporates all the elements of its predecessors: you don't change a winning team. The full grille at the front reminds us that Tesla does not make thermal vehicles: there is therefore no great need for cooling there.
The vehicle's sophisticated aerodynamics can be seen in its bullet-shaped form. We will see later that this is one of the enormous advantages of the Tesla Model 3, which knows how to be energy efficient. As a good American, the Model 3 Propulsion of 1,752 kilograms is not a small car: 4.69 meters long and 1.85 meters wide without mirrors, and 1.44 meters high. Underground car parks and tight slots will not be friends with your rims, as many owners unfortunately testify.
Note the glass roof provides a nice feeling of space and light on board, which will be particularly amplified by the white interior (which we did not have on our test model). The different choices of exterior colors have not changed since the arrival in Europe of the Model 3 (white, black, blue, red, gray). The test model we had was adorned with the same multi-layered red as the one dressing the Tesla Model Y that we had tested when it arrived in France.
Finally, among the latest exterior novelties, LED matrix headlights now equip the compact sedan. Also, a heated wiper system appeared. In this way, in the event of snow or ice accumulating on the vehicle during parking or a night out, the wipers can help defrost the windscreen, also avoiding damaging the blades.
The Tesla Model 3 is a sports sedan, and "getting in the car" is an expression to review to characterize the arrival on board. It is a vehicle in which we go down more than we go up because we are relatively low. For people used to SUVs and a driving position that dominates the road well, this will be a game changer, no doubt. Anyway, once on board, we find a feeling of space in the front that we do not necessarily expect.
Indeed, with minimalism taken to the extreme, the driver and passenger will have very few elements in front of them, thus giving the impression that there is a lot of space available. No button is visible, except those on the door whose purpose is to manage the opening of the windows. The large center console offers two wireless smartphone chargers separating the driver from his passenger.
Everything, or almost, because we must not forget the huge 15-inch central screen in landscape format, which we will come back to below. In this most minimalist atmosphere, Tesla knows how to put the driver and passenger at ease with vegetable leather seats that are electric (with profile memory for the driver) and heated.
The visible materials are now of very good quality on this Tesla Model 3 leaving the Shanghai factory. If the first models of the manufacturer sometimes sinned by their level of finish, this is no longer the case today. The plastics are foamed and inspire confidence, and the wood edging visible on the dashboard and continuing on the doors is perfectly adjusted. The center console sports a satin gray that leaves no room for fingerprints: nothing to say.
The door pockets allow you to easily slide a bottle of water or a few personal effects to empty your pockets, but we will still remember Tesla's pettiness in no longer providing storage bins for the center console, which is transformed from easily made into a small mess full of stuff, so deep are the compartments.
The rear passengers will be comfortably seated, but it must be admitted that adults will find it difficult to be comfortable if they are tall enough. Indeed, where the Tesla Model Y is the champion for rear passengers, the Tesla Model 3 cannot defy the laws of physics: being very low, there is no room to slide your feet under the comfortable seats. The headroom is quite good, with enough space even for people over 1.80 meters tall.
In terms of trunks, the Tesla Model 3 is a good student on paper. Indeed, as usual with the manufacturer, there is a small trunk at the front of 88 liters, allowing you to slip a backpack and some business or charging cables. The rear trunk (now motorized) has a maximum capacity of 561 liters (425 liters of trunk, and a large under-trunk compartment), which is excellent for a compact sedan.
However, it should be remembered that this is not a tailgate: opening the boot will not allow you to store bulky objects there. On the other hand, to slip suitcases in and go on a mop with the family, there will be no problem. The rear seat can only be folded down in 2/3-1/3: there is no ski hatch. Thus, if you wish to transport very long objects, it will not be possible to use the two seats behind the front passengers.
In 2022, Tesla had an excellent idea of getting rid of the Intel Atom processor that was responsible for managing infotainment in favor of AMD's Ryzen, and what a difference in use! The responsiveness of the central screen is simply stunning at all levels. Whether for a task as simple as displaying the air conditioning controls or for scrolling web pages on the integrated browser, we do not feel the slightest slowness: it is a pleasure to use.
Let it be said, previous versions were anything but slow, but this AMD Ryzen makes a real difference on a daily basis. In terms of functionality and what Tesla allows, there is (unfortunately or fortunately) no change. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are still absent subscribers, but we must salute the on-board software and its management of all the features present, which for the moment is only equaled by Android Automotive.
Indeed, the management of long journeys on board a Tesla is always at the level of what is best on the market: you indicate your final destination, and all possible stops at Superchargers will be automatically added if necessary. , with an instant view of the number of places available at each site, as well as associated prices and other nearby amenities. The manufacturer then proudly displays its independence and shows that it is possible to do without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto if the features a driver wants are present.
In terms of infotainment, the central 15-inch screen splits into two main areas. On the left side, a real-time representation of the car and its surroundings is displayed (from the Stop sign to passing bicycles, to the garbage cans on the sidewalks). On the right side, you will find the navigation, the music management, or any other integrated application that you want to use (web browser, drawing board, or even karaoke to make the passengers sing).
As far as music is concerned, the Spotify and Tidal streaming services are available (you will need an account to take advantage of them). High-fidelity sound will be very well reproduced using the audio system with immersive sound. As we mentioned above, two inductive chargers are available under the central screen, and four USB-C ports are distributed between the front and the back of the center console to recharge devices in the rear in particular.
Tesla of course offers a companion mobile application that is very complete and which offers real-time visualization of the status of the vehicle. The latter also makes it possible to do without a physical key. The owner's smartphone becomes his key, and as soon as the driver's door is opened, the seat and mirrors adjust according to the associated profile. It is a notable comfort element, which Tesla offers as standard across the range, as is one of the key elements to which we will return: the Autopilot.
The simplicity of driving a Tesla has, to this day, still not equal. We get behind the wheel, we press the brake pedal, we operate the right stalk down, and off we go. No key, no button, nothing to do to cut the road. This comfort and ease of use offered by the American manufacturer are very significant.
For people who have never driven a vehicle of the brand, however, it will be necessary to think about changing its automatic mechanisms, given that there is no classic gear lever, and that you have to change gears via the switch behind the steering wheel. Once this little habit is taken, however, it quickly becomes a reflex.
Silence is on board the Tesla Model 3 Propulsion. We note that the defects of the first models have been brought to the ears of the decision-makers: the acoustics are better, the air noise is less present and the double glazing is probably not for nothing. Driving with one pedal is perfectly managed thanks to the "tightening" mode available in the settings: it makes it possible to dispense with the left pedal in almost 100% of cases. Handling on dry pavement is excellent, thanks to perfect control of the powertrain that will send the vehicle from 0 to 100 km/h in just 6 seconds.
The Tesla Model 3, even in the Propulsion version, remains more sporty than a comfortable car. In addition to the very low driving position, there are rather firm suspensions, which will have a hard time erasing all the roughness of the road, and where the speed bumps will have to be taken at a reduced speed under penalty of heckling all the passengers. But who says sports does not necessarily mean crazy consumption, quite the contrary. The Tesla Model 3 Propulsion acts as the first in the class in this field, where it will benefit from the triple combination of worked aerodynamics, an efficient powertrain, and relatively controlled weight.
This allows this vehicle, equipped with a battery of only 60 kWh, to be able to carve the road without any problem, going as far as to travel more than 300 kilometers of motorway in many conditions. In town, it will also be able to play the sobriety card with consumption that can easily fall below 120 Wh/km, whereas large electric SUVs struggle to stay below 200 Wh/km. On the motorway, in spring conditions, the average consumption remained around 190 Wh/km while driving at legal speeds, which makes it a reassuring car, even on long journeys.
DRIVING ASSISTANCE: STANDARD IS YES, OPTIONAL IS NO
One of Tesla's strong points, and one that CEO Elon Musk actively communicates about, is autonomous driving. Let it be said, today we are a long way from the car that drives itself without the need for human intervention. However, as standard, Tesla's famous Autopilot is offered: it remains terribly effective today. Indeed, the combination of adaptive cruise control and active lane keeping is relatively standard on vehicles in this range, but their implementation and their actual skills differ from one manufacturer to another.
With Tesla, it is very easy to supervise the vehicle to make very relaxing journeys as soon as you are on a fast lane or a highway. Lower the right stalk once, and you engage the adaptive cruise control, which will maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you. Lower it twice quickly, and you're on Autopilot: the car accelerates, brakes, and turns following the markings on the ground. When you activate the turn signal, line keeping is deactivated, allowing you to maneuver. And once the lane change is complete, you need to turn Autopilot back on, it doesn't happen automatically.
If that bothers you, Tesla has thought of everything: in exchange for 3,800 euros, all you have to do is turn on the turn signal and the vehicle will make the lane change itself. This option called "Enhanced Autopilot" also includes some additional additions, such as Autopilot navigation which can allow you to exit the highway in an assisted manner, or even the auto exit, via the mobile application, which allows you to move forward or backward the vehicle.
If that's not enough for you, Tesla also offers fully autonomous driving capability as an option for 7,500 euros, which adds to the improved Autopilot the consideration of traffic lights and stop signs. In the current state of these software options and the legislation in force, we can only advise you to go your way, the benefit provided is clearly not worth the asking price.
AUTONOMY, BATTERY, AND CHARGING
Displayed with a range in the WLTP cycle of 510 kilometers (491 kilometers with the optional 19-inch rims), the Tesla Model 3 Propulsion impresses with its efficiency, as we reported above. If the WLTP estimate often remains a sweet dream, we can salute the real autonomy which, in mixed conditions, can come very close to it (450 kilometers is not unachievable on the secondary network). On the approximately 800 kilometers of our test, which had more than 700 on the highway at 130 km / h, the consumption displayed was 190 Wh / km, which gives a range of 315 kilometers.
Our first big trip linked the Tesla dealership in Chambourcy to the Supercharger in Anger, 290 kilometers away. This mostly motorway journey consumed 93% of the car's battery, at an overall average speed of 120 km/h, so it was perfect for testing the performance of Supercharge. As usual with a Tesla to a Supercharger, all you have to do is park the vehicle, then approach the cable attached to the Supercharger by pressing the button at its end so that the charging hatch opens automatically, and it just plugs in.
No other authentication is necessary, the vehicle communicates directly with the terminal via its CCS port. The means of payment linked to your Tesla account is then debited automatically at the end of your charging session: the whole process is very simple. At today's rates, which are 0.46 € per kilowatt hour on average in France, it takes around 17 euros to add 60% of the battery, which will allow you to drive around 200 kilometers on the motorway.
This, therefore, amounts, in classic cases of long motorway journeys, to around 8.5 euros per 100 kilometers. On average over a year, of course, this will be much lower, since the majority of recharges will be made at home, at work, or elsewhere, where the price is lower than at fast charging stations.
During our Supercharging test, in ideal conditions, the maximum power reached capped 170 kW on a V3 Supercharger, which is very close to the theoretical maximum of 175 kW announced by Tesla. So, to go from 7% to 70% battery, only took 22 minutes, as you can see in the graph below.
The 60 kWh battery that equips this Tesla Model 3 Propulsion is an LFP (Lithium-Iron-Phosphate) battery, which has a major advantage: it is possible to charge the vehicle to 100% daily, without risk of accentuated degradation of the battery. The negative point will be in return its sensitivity to temperature. To obtain optimal charging speeds, you must not forget to preheat the battery, by adding a fast charger at the destination (Tesla or Ionity Supercharger in particular).
As for the on-board charger, it is 11 kW and allows a full charge in about 6 hours, i.e. a passage from 0 to 100% in off-peak hours at home when electricity is less expensive, subject to owning a suitable Wallbox. If this is not the case, a domestic outlet will still allow you to recover around 5% of the battery per hour, and thus a full will take around 20 hours.
PRICE AND AVAILABILITY
The pain is much more so today than a few weeks ago, the fault of the threshold effect of the ecological bonus. Without any options, the cheapest Tesla Model 3 Propulsion in the catalog is now displayed at 49,990 euros. The ecological bonus of 2,000 euros is to be deducted, which makes a price to pay of 47,990 euros, for a white Tesla Model 3 Propulsion, black interior, equipped with 18-inch rims.
Before the recent successive increases, this precise model fell to 37,800 euros for 1 year and two months, which undoubtedly explains its colossal success in 2021 in France. This year 2022 will certainly be very different, with more than 10,000 euros more to pay for the same car. Of course, it remains very competitive, even as the first vehicle of the household, to be used not only in everyday life but also on long trips.
But approaching the symbolic bar of 50,000 euros, the potential buyer may wonder if it is still today the best purchase possible. In addition to models from competing manufacturers such as the Renault Mégane e-Tech, the Volvo C40 Recharge, or even the Kia EV6, there are two other major competitors, offering more autonomy, and better performance, and which are regaining interest. : these are the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y in the Long Range version.
The first is displayed at a starting price of 56,990 euros (ecological bonus included), or 9,000 euros more than the entry-level Model 3 Propulsion. This additional cost of 19% brings a second engine and an all-wheel drive, much better performance, and an increased range of nearly 130 WLTP kilometers. This may be worth considering given today's high entry ticket to access a Tesla.
Finally, the Tesla Model Y Grande Autonomie is offered today at 62,990 euros, which naturally places it above the entry-level Tesla Model 3 Propulsion. But it offers a useful volume, comfort, and a place on board the passenger compartment which will undoubtedly correspond much more to families. In addition, its WLTP range of 565 kilometers will make it possible to travel long distances with a little more serenity than a Model 3 Propulsion.
Anyway, if prices had not recently exploded, this comparison with models titillating 60,000 euros would probably not have taken place. In the current state of things, with a starting price of 49,990 euros, it can make sense when many purchases are made on credit or via LLD and LOA.
Finally, pay attention to delivery times, which fluctuate from one period to another. The choice of options will also have an impact. For example, a white Tesla Model 3 Propulsion (standard) with 18-inch rims (standard) will not arrive before February 2023. When a black Model 3 (+ 1190 euros) with rims 19 inches (+ 1190 euros) is expected in August 2022.
Do not hesitate to play with the configurator.