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The Model 3 AWD — First 1,000 Miles Review

Discussion in 'Model 3' started by Kermee, Sep 6, 2018.

  1. Kermee

    Kermee It's Not Easy Being Green

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2018
    Messages:
    494
    Location:
    WA, BC & HKG
    First and foremost about this review, I decided to write a review that was more of a comparison to what I've driven before so people can get a feel for what my perspective is. That being said, my review will probably run a bit long, but I will be as short as possible just hitting the main points. Also note that my review will be pretty much all subjective so here goes.

    Previous Daily-Driver Vehicles:
    • 1986 Ford Bronco II (4x4)
    • 1989 Toyota Van (2WD version)
    • 1992 Toyota Previa LE (AllTrac)
    • 1999 Mitsubishi Galant (V6)
    • 2006 Lexus IS250 AWD
    • 2008 Lexus IS250 AWD (Current)
    • 2004 Lexus GX470 AWD (Current — Purchased in 2012)
    Miles driven to date on personal vehicles: Just over 770,000 miles

    I do not keep track of my rental vehicle mileage, so I'm probably a little over 800,000 miles. I've driven in the UK & Europe and across Asia. From major city centers in the U.S. and Canada to vast areas of small rural areas. Snow, sleet, ice, rain, mountain passes, deserts, etc.

    I've driven plenty of hybrids as rental vehicles, but only until I got my Tesla Model 3 last week, I've only driven a BEV once about six years ago. That was a friend's brand new 2012 Tesla Model S in Denver, CO along I-25 and I-70. So you can say I basically have ZERO experience with BEV vehicles. Up until now.

    My favorite things so far about the 2018 Tesla Model 3 AWD after 1,000 miles:

    1. Instant hard-hitting torque on demand

    Until everyone is driving BEVs on the roads, my confidence level at passing vehicles, especially long semi-trucks pulling two fully loaded trailers, in a timely manner on roads is extremely high. Most of the time, I'm Morgan Freeman in "Driving Miss Daisy"... But sometimes, there are people driving slower than Mr. Freeman way under the speed limit.

    2. TACC (Traffic Aware Cruis Control) and EAP (Enhanced Autopilot)

    This was the major game-changer for me. Heck, even TACC by itself would have been. After driven many different brands of "Adaptive Cruise Control" with "Lane Keep Assist" (LKA), I knew this would be feature that would have to be in my next purchased vehicle. I know there are multiple threads on whether EAP is worth it or not. But in my opinion, it's a "quality of life" option for someone who might drive as much as I do. Within' the first few hundred miles or so, I've determined the basic "limitations" of EAP (i.e. Staying in the far-right lane of a freeway in British Columbia with EAP engaged works much better than stretches of freeway in Washington State due to B.C. actually dash striping the on-ramps and off-ramps — There's an entire book that covers the differences in EACH INDIVIDUAL U.S. State. There's NO consistency at the Federal level.) Obviously, everyone will have different expectations and different experiences. However for speaking for myself, I've been extremely pleased with it and glad I purchased it.

    3. No more gas.

    Yes, I know this isn't model or brand specific to the Tesla Model 3. But as someone who spends anywhere between $500 to $700 USD a month on petrol, I could have technically put down around 20% on the purchase vehicle of the price and my gas budget would basically cover the entire monthly finance payments. I'm surrounded by free L2 6kW J1772 chargers, but I do charge at home every so often with my UMC2 on a 6-20 recepticle (240V @ 16A for about 4kW). My PUD rate is $0.10/kWh.

    4. Autopark

    Autopark has worked perfectly for me so far. Although the sample size is quite small at this point. 8 parallel parking jobs and 2 perpendicular jobs. It's definitely slower than if I manaully do it, but fast enough where most people where I drive have enough patience before they start holding down their horns if I'm blocking traffic.

    5. It's basically a smartphone on wheels

    I'm a techie by trade and a hobbyist. I've been impressed by the level of technology that went into this car. To me, and it may mirror many others, is that Tesla operates more like a technology company than it does a traditional automobile company. I think if more people viewed Tesla more as a technology company, it might make more sense in how Elon Musk and Team, holistically operates.

    My least favorite things so far about the 2018 Tesla Model 3 AWD after 1,000 miles:

    1. It's basically a smartphone on wheels.

    Like an iPhone or Android smartphone, consistency and reliability can be an issue. I haven't experienced any of the issues most of the threads here on TMC have brought up. Even after 1,000 miles, my Android Phone (Google Pixel XL 2, "Phone as a Key") has unlocked my vehicle 100% of the time. But I can understand that I'm basically driving a piece of software. Compared to the amount of code that goes into a Tesla Model 3 versus say the MCU in my 1989 Toyota Van that runs the ECT, I'm a firm believer on a variation of "Keep it simple, stupid." that any increase of complexities can often exponentially increase the chances of a major issue that could result in major consequences. I'm certain the Tesla engineers will continue to improve and refine everything. — Side Note: As of v8.1 2018.32.2, the "dim" left brake light during braking on the Model 3 UI still bugs the heck out of me.

    2. Cabin noise

    I know... I know... I know... It's not a Tesla Model S. Subjectively speaking, the Tesla Model 3 has a quieter cabin than my Lexus IS250 AWD, but it's still not as quiet as a Lexus ES300h (The "Baby" LS). I've sort of been spoiled by the ride comfort of the Lexus ES300h for long trips and when the 2019 Lexus ES redesign was announced, I was close to cancelling my Model 3 reservation and springing for a 2019 Lexus ES300h instead. I'm still glad I didn't but maybe once SAS is available for the Model 3, I might have to give that version a test drive.

    3. Door handles

    If I have to explain one more time how to open the doors to someone... (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

    4. Lack of an AM radio

    AFAIK, though I could be wrong, this is a limitation due to EMI from either the actual motors in the Tesla Model 3 or other electronics located within the vehicle. There's of course TuneIn and many station operators/owner which has an FM presence in the same market running HDRadio and will run a simulcast on an HDRadio sub-channel. But sometimes, I DO want to listen to the DOT traffic information (i.e. WSDOT HAR) on AM 530 or AM 1680 or whatever frequencies they're on when I'm on the mountain passes or where ever I am.

    5. Seat-belt nag as soon as I hit the brake pedal upon entering vehicle

    This is really more of a UX issue than anything else and could easily be resolved by just training myself. My order of operation for decades is:

    1. Get into vehicle.
    2. Press and hold the brake.
    3. Put the key into the ignition.
    4. Put on my seat-belt.
    5. Turn the ignition.
    6. Go into Drive or Reverse as needed.​

    I'm almost at the point where if I'm aware enough to fight my old habits:

    1. Get into vehicle.
    2. Put on seat-belt while restraining to put my foot on the brake pedal.
    3. Finally, put foot on brake pedal.
    4. Go into Drive or Reverse as needed.​

    I'm about 80% there now. ;)

    Anyway, that's my review so far. To conclude, I would basically say the Model 3 might quite be at the cusp of the tipping point for BEVs. I almost bought a used Nissan LEAF a couple years ago just so I could get into BEVs, but the range wouldn't last half a day for me. If and when the day ever comes where people can purchase a $35,000 USD version of the Tesla Model 3, I think it has the potential to become a major game changer.

    I welcome any questions, comments, criticisms, etc. and thanks for reading if you made it all the way down here!

    [​IMG]

    Drove up to Richmond, BC the same day my Model 3 was delivered
     
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  2. AnarchyEOD

    AnarchyEOD Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2018
    Messages:
    273
    Location:
    Magnolia, DE
    Great review, I just put 1k on my AWD and I must say EAP has taken the stress away from driving, particularly traffic jams. Great review, maybe when I get my car back I’ll write one as well!
     
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  3. Kermee

    Kermee It's Not Easy Being Green

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2018
    Messages:
    494
    Location:
    WA, BC & HKG
    Thank you! — And yes, EAP is absolutely wonderful in traffic jams, especially in stop-and-go situations. It took me a couple days before I felt comfortable enough with EAP, but I think that will be nearly everyone's initial experience until EAP is virtually ubiquitous across all vehicles of makes and types.

    Would be wonderful if you wrote a review too! I would look forward to reading it!
     
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  4. AnarchyEOD

    AnarchyEOD Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2018
    Messages:
    273
    Location:
    Magnolia, DE
    I’ll write something up, probably later tonight after work or while the kid is at hockey practice.
     

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