Refreshing or Revolting: Tesla Model 3 Part Deux


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Tesla has finally revealed the Model 3 in all of its glory, and we know exactly how big it is and what changed from the last time we saw the car back in March 2016. At 184.8 inches long, 72.8 inches wide, and 56.8 inches tall, the Tesla Model 3 lands directly into the compact sport sedan segment, which means it has to do battle against the likes of the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4. Perhaps the biggest news is that we finally get to see the Model 3’s interior, the part of the car that was a secret until now.

Not much has changed regarding the Model 3’s exterior design, and the final product looks similar to the car revealed last year, which was featured on a previous Refreshing or Revolting story that focused on the exterior. The updated Model 3 (pictured here in red) features the same fast, swoopy roofline, short rear decklid, and a long nose. However, Tesla altered the front fascia ever so slightly, and now it has softer lines that dial back the “frowning” look of the first prototypes. As for the rear end, there are now air separation lines near where the bumper panels meet the taillight clusters to help improve the Model 3’s ability to cheat the wind.

Then there’s the Tesla Model 3’s interior, which breaks from the norm and is extremely minimalist. The dash is pushed forward away from occupants to enhance the sense of space inside the cabin. Even the air vents are integrated neatly as part of the dash, making it look like there’s one giant vent. Wood trim with a matte finish adorns the dash, providing a modern look without straying from the minimalist theme.

A 15.4-inch screen is the centerpiece of the Model 3’s minimalist interior, and unlike most cars with a free-standing screen, this one is mounted on a stalk so it’s closer to the car’s occupants. With the absence of traditional gauges and a head-up display, the screen is essentially the nerve center of the Model 3’s interior, and it’s where you’ll find everything from multimedia selection, navigation, and the trip computer to HVAC controls and vehicle settings.

Right below the massive screen is a more conventional center console, but instead of a shift lever, there are cubby spaces and cupholders. The gear selector is one of the stalks on the steering column. The car’s steering wheel is free of buttons and has only two scroll wheels that have multiple functions, including the tilt and telescoping adjustment. Both stalks on the steering column also have multiple functions, with the right one used for shifting between the drive modes and managing the Autopilot system. The left stalk, on the other hand, integrates turn signal and headlight functions all into one, eliminating the usual cluster of buttons and/or knobs found to the left of the steering wheel.

Clean and uncluttered is the overall theme for the Tesla Model 3’s interior, and that extends from the dash to the rest of the car. Even the door panels are minimalist, and you won’t see traditional door handles; they’ve been replaced by small electronic switches on the grab handles instead. The key fob has also been removed, so in order to start the car, the owner must use the Tesla app on a mobile phone (or the credit card–sized valet key), eliminating the start/stop button on the dash.

The Tesla Model 3’s interior adopts a clean look that’s modern, simple, and approachable. With its lack of buttons and a massive screen, it will likely appeal to more consumers since it’s like having a massive tablet in the car instead of a sea of buttons, touch-sensitive surfaces, and knobs.

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