Australian Tesla Model 3 RWD review from 2022

Do you like a new Tesla Model 3? Find out what it’s really like to own one as we put the best-selling electric car in the nation to the test.

Despite the arrival of several new rivals, Tesla sold more than 12,000 Model 3s in 2021, establishing its dominance of the electric car market.

Here are five things you need to know about the Tesla Model 3 rear-wheel drive.

1. New name, (mostly) the same machine

The Model 3 is the only Tesla currently on sale in Australia and is available in three forms. It’s the most affordable model we’ve tested here, a car formerly known as Standard Range Plus but now simply referred to as Rear-Wheel Drive.

As the name suggests, it only drives the rear wheels using a single electric motor. The other two models – Long Range and Performance – each have a second electric motor to drive the front wheels, bringing a great deal of extra pace.

The changes are for Tesla faithful (there is no shortage) and include slightly revised taillights. In true Tesla form, most of the changes involve software and technology.

2. Prices have gone up

The Model 3 rear-wheel drive sells for around $ 70,000 in cars, which is $ 4,000 more than at the start of the year.

Compared to the Standard Range Plus, the RWD has a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats (including the center seat).

Other standard equipment includes electrically operated steering wheel and front seats and a panoramic glass roof (there’s no cover, so things can get hot on a sunny day).

There’s also a crystal-clear camera with front, rear, and side views, as well as Tesla extras like built-in arcade games and Sentry mode, a security measure that uses cameras to record activity around the car.

3. It is slower, but still fast

Tesla doesn’t cite the horsepower figures, but in certifying the car for sale, the company listed its maximum output of 208 kW. There is a clean pulling force at any speed.

The updated Model 3 is said to take 6.1 seconds to reach 100km / h and our tests showed it took 6.3 seconds. Even though it is slower than before, you will be pressed hard to select it.

The RWD has a great pickup and we found it to be slightly faster than the older 60-100km / h model. It is also faster than its main rivals, the single-engine (two-wheel drive) Kia EV6, Polestar 2 and Hyundai Ioniq 5.

The claimed range has increased from 448km to 491km and is also quick to load. It will add around 50km of range per hour using a single-phase wired home wallbox or up to 1000km / h with a Tesla Supercharger.

4. Get ready to learn the controls of the car

Driving a Tesla requires reprogramming.

The giant 15-inch touchscreen that breaks up the minimalist dashboard and houses most of the functions, from infotainment and mapping to opening the glove box, trunk and hood (or “frunk” as Tesla calls it). But it’s all intuitive and quickly becomes second nature.

Some of the features make traditional cars look like old school. You can pair your phone as a key, for example, and that’s all you need to drive the car.

There is no start button, the car instead recognizes the weight on the driver’s seat and the proximity of your phone to activate.

5. It’s good to drive

For all its great performance and driving on electricity only, the Model 3 does many normal things in a car surprisingly well.

The compact steering wheel adapts to its direct responses. The suspension is firm but not jarring and the 18-inch Michelin tires provide grip. You will feel bumps, especially when they come in quick succession, but the body is well controlled so there is a sense of security.

Our biggest complaint is the aggressive regenerative braking, which cannot be adjusted. But since Tesla is red-hot about over-the-air software updates, adding infotainment or tweaking driving functions as easily as you update your smartphone, there are every chance that could change in the future.

Originally published as an Australian Tesla Model 3 RWD review of 2022