4.7 out of 5
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Tesla has had a huge success with its Model 3, but rival manufacturers are chasing the popular EV, so it has made some changes for 2021. The key revisions relate to the 2021 Model 3's range and efficiency, and Tesla has addressed criticism of interior and exterior trim quality by replacing it. There's also a new standard integrated wireless charger, but your smartphone will only connect to your Model 3 via Bluetooth®. Tesla doesn't offer smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay® and Android Auto™. That’s arguably one of the biggest tech failings in the otherwise tech-laden Model 3.
The Standard Range Plus model now has an EPA-estimated range of 263 miles (up from 250 miles), while both the all-wheel-drive Long Range and Performance models boast estimated ranges in excess of 300 miles. Add the accessibility to Tesla's Supercharger infrastructure, and the Model 3 is ready for a road trip. Every Model 3 is quick and enjoyable to drive, and the cabin is spacious and comfortable. The huge 15-inch touchscreen, meanwhile, bundles everything except the driving controls for a sleek look and relatively simple operation. But it can be a touch distracting to use while you're driving. While there's more competition now from cars like the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Kia Niro, and Volkswagen ID.4, the Tesla Model 3 remains a firm favorite.
F 42.7"/R 35.2"
F 40.3"/R 37.7"
At the heart of the 2021 Model 3's interior is a huge 15-inch touch screen. It's from here you can control most of the vehicle's features, keep an eye on your range, and find convenient charging stops. The software running the screen is designed to be continually updated, meaning you'll have access to the latest updates and new features without having to lift a finger. The rest of the cockpit is just as well thought out with a panoramic glass roof to let in lots of light and a zen-like minimalist interior that's a pleasure to spend time in.
Electric vehicles have come a long way in the last five years and the 2021 Tesla Model 3 is no exception. With an EPA-estimated range of 263 miles on Standard Range Plus models (when fully charged), daily errands and trips out for work are covered.
Now with the option of a second motor powering the rear wheels, Tesla Model 3 owners can get all-wheel drive as standard on Long Range and Performance models. This dual-motor setup means superior grip when cornering or when tackling inclement weather. This is particularly useful on the Performance model when you're taking advantage of its sport suspension and incredible acceleration (3.1 seconds to 60 mph, according to the manufacturer, when new).
Not only do you get 15 cu-ft of trunk that is ready to swallow up all your stuff—you also get a 'frunk'. This front trunk gives you additional storage space in the area where your engine would normally go. If that's not enough, you can fold the rear seats for more useable space and could even use the 2021 Model 3 for car camping if that's your style.
All Teslas are classed as software-defined vehicles. This means the 2021 Model 3 is built with tech in mind — and it shows. The optional self-driving abilities are just one example of this but you'll love clever features such as the built-in dashcam and Sentry Mode — when enabled, this uses the cameras all around the vehicle to record while it's parked. You'll also get parallel and perpendicular park assist as standard but you can upgrade this to allow the car to park itself.
If you're interested in the 2021 Tesla Model 3, you should also check out these similar vehicles from Previous generation years.
With a 64-kWh battery and a 201-hp electric motor, the 2019–2021 Kia Niro EV is a great small electric SUV. On a full charge, you'll get an EPA-estimated 239 miles of range, which is plenty for life's little adventures.
The 2019–2021 Kia Niro EV EX base trim features as standard:
Android Auto™ and Apple CarPlay® connectivity
Rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot detection
Touchscreen infotainment system
If you need seating for five and an exterior design that'll turn heads, the 2021 ID.4 is a great choice. The 82-kWh battery model is available with either rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, so you can find the one that fits your needs as a driver. 2021 Pro models will do an EPA-estimated 260 miles of range (when fully charged) but no matter how far you go, you'll love the high-tech interior and comfortable seats.
The 2021 Volkswagen ID.4 Pro base trim includes these standard features, and more:
Heated front seats
Forward collision mitigation
If you want to stick with a gasoline-powered vehicle but still want quick acceleration and good looks, the BMW M3 might suit you. Look out for the revised six-cylinder engine on 2021 models for up to 503 horsepower, depending on the trim you choose. The standard 2021 M3 will do zero to 60 in 4.1 seconds but you've got the option to go for the Competition model, which brings that down to 3.8 seconds (according to the manufacturer, when new).
The 2017–2021 BMW M3 standard model includes these standard features:
Traction and stability control
Harman Kardon® sound system
Keyless ignition and entry
4.7 out of 57 customer reviews
Standard Plus: Includes 18-inch wheels, simulated leather upholstery, heated front seats, power trunk lid, panoramic glass roof, 15-inch touchscreen, navigation, four USB ports, wireless device charging, forward collision warning, pedestrian detection, blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, surround-view parking camera.
Long Range: Adds all-wheel drive, heated rear seats, immersive sound 15-speaker premium audio system
Performance: Adds 20-inch wheels, aluminum-alloy pedals, performance-tuned brakes, carbon fiber rear spoiler, sports suspension, track mode.
The Model 3 Standard Range Plus with rear-wheel drive can produce 283 hp. The 2021 Long Range Dual Motor AWD Model 3 achieves 449 hp, while the range-topping Performance Dual Motor AWD Model 3 can deliver 480 hp. That's more than enough for most drivers.
Tesla's Ludicrous mode increases peak torque by approximately 60%. And while it is not currently available on the Model 3, you can still expect it to deliver some stunning zero to 60 stats. The 2021 Performance Model 3 can achieve zero to 60 in 3.1 seconds (according to the manufacturer, when new).
Running errands and visiting relatives across town are the kind of journeys that rarely require the power and acceleration that a Tesla typically delivers. Try Chill mode instead. Selected from the touchscreen's driving options, it will smooth out your ride by limiting acceleration for a more modest ride experience. When else to use it? It's useful for inexperienced drivers, teens, and when weather dictates the road conditions.
All 2021 Model 3s comes standard with heated front seats. Choose the Long Range or Performance Model 3 for heated rear seats too. If the hardware is already fitted, then heated rear seats are also available via an over-the-air upgrade activation for the Standard Plus Model 3.
Deep Blue Metallic
Midnight Silver Metalic
Pearl White Multi-coat
The 2021 Tesla Model 3 doesn't look like anything else out there. The cutting-edge interior is minimalist with a focus on driving. The entire roof is made of glass, which brings you that much closer to nature and lets plenty of light into the cabin. All tasks are controlled through the center touchscreen, which also includes satellite navigation and other handy features.
The Model 3 has two full sets of LATCH anchors for the second-row outboard seats, with a further upper tether only for the slim middle seat. The exact location of each lower anchor is identified by a child safety seat identification button. While easy to identify, the bars are set quite deeply between the seat cushion and backrest. The upper tether points are on the rear shelf and easily identified. The outboard seats can accommodate convertible, booster, and infant seats.
As with all electric vehicles, the 2021 Model 3 offers quick zero-to-60 times, even from the base model. The Standard 2021 Tesla Model 3 will do the sprint in 5.3 seconds; the Long Range model in 4.2 seconds; and the top-of-the-line performance in just 3.1 seconds (all according to the manufacturer, when new).
If top performance is your goal, it's the Performance model you should look out for as it has all-wheel drive for increased grip, sports suspension, and a track driving mode. This model gets an EPA-estimated 315 miles of range on a full charge.
2017–Present Tesla Model 3 (First Generation)
Tesla doesn't distinguish its vehicles by model year in the way many other manufacturers do. This is because it regularly offers over-the-air software updates, which can add new features, upgrade current ones, or unlock dormant components.
Notable hardware and trim changes do happen of course, including the introduction of the Standard Plus trim in 2019 and a boost to range figures in 2020. The most significant updates are noted for the 2021 model include a style refresh for the interior and exterior, further range increases, and a new noise-reducing window design.
For 2022, the Model 3 Standard Range Plus is renamed to Rear-Wheel Drive. Heated rear seating also becomes standard.