New in-depth video review compares Model 3 with Model S

Tesla’s Model 3 is floating in a strange sort of scarcity-induced stealth mode. Mainstream auto mags can’t seem to get their hands on units to review, but video reviews from owners and internet-era citizen journalists are starting to appear: Doug DeMuro, writer of the Oversteer column on Autotrader; Trevor Page and Kenneth Bokor, the founders of the Model 3 Owners Club; and The Tesla Show podcast have all posted first-drive reviews.

Our friends at EVannex are among the fortunate few who have been able to conduct an in-depth evaluation of the new sedan, and they’ve taken a slightly different tack, comparing and contrasting it with its elder sibling, Model S.

Most of the differences fall into two categories: some are due to the fact that Model 3 is a smaller and cheaper vehicle, and others have to do with new features that Tesla developed since Model S went into production (some of these may be designed to enable driverless car-sharing).

EVannex’s Matt Pressman points out that the mid-size Model 3 can’t compete with Model S in interior volume, which is 30 cubic feet in Model S, compared to 15 cubic feet in Model 3. Furthermore (an issue dear to this writer/musician’s heart), Model S’s hatchback design is superior when it comes to loading large items of cargo, although Model 3’s trunk opening, combined with second row fold-down seats, does make it easy to carry long objects. Model S also has a larger frunk.

Pressman finds that Model 3’s novel interior design gives it exceptional driver visibility, and also notes that “Tesla has improved its interior design chops.” Model 3 has a well-designed and functional center console, as well as a number of handy little things that are absent from Model S, including coat hooks, a rear-seat armrest, small storage compartments and back-of-seat kangaroo pockets (this may be a mixed blessing for EVannex, which has built a good business selling such items as aftermarket accessories).

EVannex did have a few small quibbles with Model 3. The push-rotate-grab door handles of Model 3 achieve the desired aerodynamic qualities (and are probably a bit cheaper), but “they pale in comparison” to Model S’s famously cool auto-presenting handles.

Pressman’s conclusion is that Model 3 and Model S are different vehicles for different demographics. “Both will turn heads, and both are the epitome of current automotive technology.” There’s no question that you want a Tesla, but which one is right for you?

While some of Model 3’s interior design cues are superior, when it comes to performance. premium feel, interior space and exterior aesthetics, the more expensive Model S “wins going away.”


  • Mark Schwietz

    The Model 3 certainly has its chops. Yes, as is mentioned there are some small convenience features that are not in the S (console, coat hooks, storage pockets, cup holders), but for my money, I think the HVAC system is the real star of the show. The ability to move the air around effortlessly was super cool, and without vents that every car since the AC was invented has. Not a button to be had, and it is quite interesting to have actually nothing in/over the steering wheel. It truly is like driving the future. How about the ability to log in an address from across the US and have every charger stop pop up, how long for you to charge at each station, etc.

    The 2014 Model S I drive is a more advanced car than when I bought it. There is simply no car company on the planet that compares to Tesla. None. They make it fun to drive again. They take pride in their workmanship. They care deeply about what their customers think about the product. They over deliver in product and service. They have gotten no help by the auto industry or big oil and yet they continue to blow away the odds that have been stacked against them since day 1.

    No car company has the infrastructure, support, knowledge, or has a clue when it comes to the electric vehicle. The future really is today.