Tesla is delivering its entry-level 2022 Tesla Model 3 sedan a host of enhancements for 2021, including exterior styling elements that have swapped bright chrome for satin black trim.
Three new wheel designs give the rolling stock a fresh look, and the trunk lid is now power-operated
EV MOTOR AND IMPLEMENTATION
As with most EVs, the 2022 Tesla Model 3 gains speed smoothly and almost silently, with the electric motor providing strong power from a stop. And it’s fast—extremely so in some trims. The rear-wheel-drive Long Range model we tested sprinted from zero to 60 mph in 5.1 seconds.
The 2022 Tesla Model 3 Performance rockets to 60 mph in just 3.5 seconds—0.5-second faster than our long-term Model Long Range. Like all Teslas, the Model 3 carries its battery under the floor, resulting in a low center of gravity. This helps it change direction crisply and feel planted and stable in corners.
The steering is accurate and well-weighted, with three different settings that adjust the level of steering effort. The ride is firm without being harsh; without the noise of a gas-powered engine, however, you do hear plenty of noise inside the cabin as the tires thwack and thrum over pavement imperfections.
Three distinct 2022 Tesla Model 3 trims are offered, each with a different estimated driving range. The Standard Range Plus model is the most affordable, with a claimed range of 263 miles.
Upgrading to the Long Range or Performance models increases the Model 3’s estimated range to 315 miles for the Performance and an impressive 353 for the Long Range. Of course, this distance isn’t easy to achieve, as we’ve found in our long-term Long Range Model 3 test vehicle.
The 2022 Tesla Model 3 offers several different options for charging: Tesla’s network of fast-charging stations called Superchargers, adapters for DC public-charging stations, 240- and 120-volt outlets, and a home-charging station.
ENERGY AND REAL-WORLD MPG
The various versions of the 2022 Tesla Model 3 are rated between 113 MPGe and 141 MPGe by the EPA. However, our test vehicle managed only 84 MPGe when we took it on our 200-mile highway fuel economy test.
The Model 3 comes standard with aluminum wheels covered by plastic aerodynamic hubcaps. We wanted to know how much impact those hubcaps have on the car’s driving range, so we tested it and were surprised to find that they helped more than expected.
INTERIOR, CONVENIENCE, AND BOOTH
We’re not exaggerating when we say that the Tesla Model 3 has an interior unlike any other car on the market today. It’s shockingly simple inside, with nearly everything controlled by the monolithic touchscreen in the dashboard’s center.
The Tesla’s low, flat floor makes for a spacious and airy feel inside. The front seats are supportive and comfortable, but the rear seats are cramped and uncomfortable; don’t expect adults to be able to spend time in them.
Folding the 60/40 split-folding rear seats is simple and expands the trunk considerably. The Model 3’s seatbacks fold flat, too, providing an uninterrupted cargo floor for hauling larger items. With the rear seats folded, the Model 3 provides enough room for 15 carry-on suitcases. There are also generously sized bins and cubbies throughout the cabin.
IN-VEHICLE INFOTAINMENT AND INTERCONNECTIONS
Navigation, Bluetooth, and USB connectivity are standard, but the 2022 Tesla Model 3 is oddly not available with AM radio or SiriusXM satellite radio. Several internet-streaming radio options are standard. It also can’t be equipped with Android Auto or Apple CarPlay. To make charging station layovers more bearable, the Model 3 offers plenty of entertainment options on its central display, including Netflix, YouTube, and a host of arcade games.
PROTECTION AND DRIVER-ASSISTANCE ASPECTS
Although we question whether the name Autopilot might be misleading, the driver-assist system has one of the best feature sets in the industry, with smooth operation and impressive capabilities such as automatic lane changes. For more information about the Model 3’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites