The Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus is the entry-level Tesla offered in Australia. It has the least range and performance of the three Model 3 variants offered but offers many of the Tesla tech features that buyers love at an attractive price.
Tesla’s small sedan is roughly the size of a BMW 3-Series or Mercedes-Benz C-Class, and will undoubtedly tempt those shopping around in the junior exec segment.
The interior space is average, but the Tesla scores a homerun when it comes to the infotainment system. Comprising of an oversized centrally-mounted touchscreen, the Model 3 routes all control through it. The only buttons present are on the steering wheel. This means you have to adjust mirrors, air conditioning, and even the opening of the glovebox via the screen. While we appreciate the minimalistic approach, we wonder whether this aversion to physical buttons, for even the most basic of tasks, is in a driver’s best interest.
With a 0-100km/h time of 5.6 seconds, it doesn’t quite have the neck-snapping off-line acceleration Tesla’s other models have become renowned for. Yes, we’re nitpicking, but for Tesla — who are known for their 2-point-something launch times — anything over five seconds will be considered slow.
Range, as you may have guessed by now, is pretty standard too. That’s because the Model 3 Standard Range Plus has only a 54kWh battery. Although one of the most efficient EVs in Australia, our research shows a real-world range of around 350km — 90km down on the claimed 460km. In practice, this is less driving range than the cheaper Hyundai Kona.
In terms of price (at $72,300 drive away), the Model 3 is offered at a cost point hitherto unknown for a Tesla product. And with that, you’re getting a decent amount of kit. You may miss out on heated rear seats, the premium audio system, and Tesla’s “Premium Connectivity” subscription — all of which are available on the higher tiers.
But the base Model 3 gets power front seats, a full-length sunroof, and all the hardware needed for Tesla’s Level-2 autonomy (the latter requires an optional $10,100 add-on to activate).
Make no mistake; the Model 3 Standard Range Plus is a great way to hop onto the Tesla bandwagon. However, we can’t help but feel that if you could stretch your budget, you’d be better served with the Model 3 Long Range.
While the Standard Range Plus offers good value, the Long Range model has more of what makes a Tesla a Tesla: extraordinary range and scintillating performance. Food for thought.