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Detailed review of my M3LR after the first three months of ownership and a few cosmetic modifications

It’s been about 3 months since I bought a Model 3 Long Range. I started my EV journey in 2018 with a Volt, loved that car but became addicted to being in EV mode and was honestly annoyed whenever the ICE kicked in. So in 2020 I took advantage of crazy low prices and traded for a Bolt. I’d always wanted a Tesla but figured the Bolt would be good enough. It mostly was but road trip charging speed was annoying. After I got some raises at work and took a closer look at my finances, I realized I could comfortably afford what I’d always wanted. So I took delivery of this beautiful car! Here’s a list of things I like, don’t like, quirks that don’t go either way, and the small list of modifications I’ve done:

Things I Like:

Speed. I know it’s a cliche (with EVs in general, but specifically Teslas) but the first time I put the hammer down I was in love. Considering prior to this the quickest car I’d owned was the Bolt I traded for it, being impressed was inevitable.

Styling. I know this is subjective, but I really do love the exterior and interior. The butt is I guess just ok, however the nose is very much my jam. Just a great looking sedan. I do like the aero covers, but the wheels hiding underneath look even more amazing. Inside I’m just as happy. I thought I’d hate the wood grain but it’s subdued enough to where I don’t mind it. The seats feel great, but I thought my Bolt was comfy too… 🤷‍♀️ Apparently I’m just easy to please.

I love the tablet display. Was worried about missing a dash but turns out nope! Everything feels pretty fluid (even on my non-Ryzen cpu) and responsive. I’ve not had any trouble figuring out where to go for something or having it screw up. Auto brightness works pretty well. I don’t know what else to say, it just runs great.

Build quality. I was terrified when I picked it up because of everything I’d been led to believe. So here I am, waiting for the sales guy to get things straight with my bank and I’m going over everything with a fine tooth comb. Realized two things. First, I’ve never done this with literally any car I bought, I just looked for obvious stuff and went. Second, everything was fine, I didn’t need to freak out. It looked like… a car.

One pedal driving. Feels way better than in my Bolt. Knowing my brake lights are on is reassuring and the click when the hold engages is oddly satisfying.
General driving. It honestly just feels nice to drive. Quieter than the Bolt, having an unobstructed dash, and comfy seats make me long for summer and long trips. The combo of the dash and something about the hood design makes it feel like you can see everything in front of you.

Autopilot on interstates or the stroad to my work. It’s so magical when it works. Granted my route to work is literally a 2.5 mile straight 4 lane road with stop and go traffic, but throwing it in autopilot and just monitoring things is really cool. The few interstate trips I did were equally cool, it’ll definitely make coming home after a long day trip easier.

App is fantastic. Especially coming from the awful MyChevy app. Being able to set temps, individual seat heaters, and the steering wheel heater is great. I wish it loaded a bit faster but considering what I came from I’ll take it.

Phone key. God this is so convenient. I have the key card in my wallet but it’s so handy walking up to my car, getting in, pushing the brake and shifting to go. Get in and go. Same with leaving, though it did take getting used to shifting to park and just getting out.

Sentry mode. It’s just handy knowing I can always see what’s going on around my car. Even if it’s turned off I can flip it on through the app and check on things.

Lastly, seat heaters. Jesus they’re toasty. Much more so than the Bolt and Volt

Things I Don’t like:

Autopilot on two lane highways. It’s finicky here. Not the most fun experience. Maybe helped by software in the future but who knows. The vast majority of my driving is either city or interstate so this isn’t a giant deal.

V11 software layout. I would’ve loved to had the layout of the versions before. Not super unusable but definitely inferior.

Reverb. It’s definitely present, but I got used to it. Seems to go away with more than two passengers. And randomly it goes away when I’m alone so idk.

Turning. Coming from a Fiesta, then a Focus, then a Bolt (can’t remember how the Volt handled for whatever reason) this thing is a pig. Obviously I’m not used to bigger cars but damn this turning circle is huge

Meh/Other:

Sound system. Like, it’s good. But not really better than what I’m used to. The subwoofer is a nice addition but I wasn’t blown away.

Stock interior lights. Weak as all hell. I honestly didn’t realize I had footwell lights until I was browsing accessories.

Fans. I really wish there was a fan-only mode for the awkward temps between winter and summer when I want airflow but don’t need any climate. I’ve since learned to just use auto settings

Set charging speed. Unless I’m crazy this thing never sticks. It literally doesn’t matter since I’m running off the mobile connector with a 14-50 plug on a 40A fuse but it’s odd that whenever I look at charging settings they’re at the default 48A.

Reduced/no regen in cold weather. Even without the snowflake icon it seems very common I have no regen in coldish temps. I guess Tesla knows better than me on battery health but it’s so odd coming from the Bolt where it was happy to take in regen literally any time but at full charge.

The frunk exists.

Modifications:

Replaced footwell lights with brighter and purpler ones (Abstract Ocean)

Replaced trunk lights with brighter ones (AO)

Lighted door sills (Hansshow)

Matte black emblems and lettering (EV Pug on Etsy)

And that’s really it. Haven’t really found a need for the millions of accessories I normally see recommended on YouTube/Reddit/Anywhere

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Nice write-up, thanks. I get what you're saying about lighting, but it's ok for me. I used to drive an M1 Miata with almost no interior lights, so anything is an improvement there. :)
Ah yes, the old tiny incandescent bulbs under the dash. On my '91 I removed the fairly useless sun visors and replaced them with cool white LEDs in the same spot. Helped a lot with interior light at night.
 
OP

I was wondering why you put in a 14-50 outlet with a 40a circuit breaker vs. a 50a?
Smarter minds than me may argue you would get faster charging times with the 50a.
Then again if you put in the 50a, you also have to change the wiring if you did not put in #6 copper.
My garage’s sub-panel is 50A, and I wanted to leave room for running other miscellaneous stuff. At the time I had my Bolt and the EVSE I used used dipswitches to change amperage. 32A continuous is plenty for what I need. I honestly can’t think of a situation where I’d need more
 
A decent review. I’m new to the car too and as a “Miataguy” would hardly call it a pig as far as handling goes. It’s heavy, sure. But I’m reminded a bit of a Subaru with the way it sticks, and the delivery of torque is astounding. It’s not a tossable car, so comparing it to a Fiesta is more than an apples to oranges situation.
 
I will stand corrected by more electrical minded people but I think impossible for the Tesla connector to put out 48a on a 50a breaker. In the US, breaker will trip when it reaches 85% of capacity.
You should have a 60 amp breaker to run the Tesla wall connector at 48A, I am sure you can tell it to run at 48a mind you but I would not recommend it unless you know for sure the awg wire and breaker is suitable for it.
 
I will stand corrected by more electrical minded people but I think impossible for the Tesla connector to put out 48a on a 50a breaker. In the US, breaker will trip when it reaches 85% of capacity.
Not at my house. No issues with breakers charging to higher capacity. I was sold the Tesla unit over its ability to negotiate the double GFCI issue, as well as needing permits, and ultimately needing a licensed electrician.
 

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