10 things about our Tesla Model 3 LR that have surprised me after driving it for 22 days (Note: my daily driver is a 2016 Model S 90D).
- The seats are uber-comfortable. I was expecting to have at least some back issues as the car is less expensive than my relatively luxurious Model S and we had some really long driving days. However, this was not the case. These seats are very comfortable, though not plush, and provide great back support. After driving three particularly long routes—Boulder, Colorado to Park City, Utah; Canyon Village, Wyoming to Whitefish, Montana; and Jasper, Alberta to Whistler, British Columbia, I had zero fatigue and no neck or back strain.
- Acceleration is smooth and powerful. I did not expect such an even flow of power, especially on steep inclines. Pressing the accelerator pedal to the floor is a thrilling experience on any Tesla, but the Model 3 LR is especially rewarding and zero to 60 MPH is understated at 5.1 seconds. Driving the twisty 7 percent grade Hurricane Ridge Road in Olympic National Park was pure thrill. Though no Pikes Peak, the 5,000 feet elevation change was great fun.
- The Model 3’s regenerative braking allows one to drive swiftly down steep roads without ever touching the foot brake. Driving down the 7 percent grade Hurricane Ridge Road was a thrill in itself. The smell of brake fluid was prevalent but not from our Tesla Model 3. Once you get the hang of it, driving with Tesla Model 3’s regenerative braking means you might never need to touch the brake pedal. By the way, upon descending, we recaptured 9 miles on our battery from regenerative braking.
- I thought I would get used to not having a driver’s GPS display with directions directly in front of me, but I was wrong. Having the only GPS map far to the right means taking my eyes off the road. Perhaps if the map or a screen-within-a-screen were flush to the left, thus moving the MPH part of the screen flush right is the answer. The GPS map is more visual, however, bringing the map closer as we approach a transition and providing which lanes to be in. But I really miss having those next GPS directions just below the front driver’s view like on my Model S.
- Screen reboots do not turn off the air conditioning. This is not the case on the Model X and S and it makes a big difference, especially on those hot Arizona summer days.
- The battery range is far better than advertised. Over the course of the trip, we are getting much better range than promised. The range on the Tesla Model 3 Long Range is advertised at 310 miles, but we are getting more like 350 miles. Some of this might be the Aero Wheels, which, according to Tesla engineers, could add up to 10 percent to the total range but it also might be a case of under-promise and over-perform. Either way, I am delighted.
- The exterior roof turns bright orange in the rain. This is a cool effect caused by the coatings on the exterior glass that block UV and IR causing a dichroic filtering. Whatever that is, it is a neat effect.
- Voice command to report bugs. According to a Tweet by Elon Musk, “To report a bug or ask for a feature, press voice button, say ‘bug report’ followed by issue description.” Tried this yesterday and it works! What kind of car company does this? Only Tesla.
- Door and seat pockets. Why these are not on the Model S and X is perplexing. Big improvement here, providing door space for water bottle and snacks while coffee cup resides in center console.
- Cruise Control Functionality. I love being able to change speed in Adaptive Cruise Control and Autopilot using the steering wheel scroll buttons—so much easier than the stem on Model S and X.
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