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In-depth reviews

Tesla Model 3 review – ride and handling

For what it lacks in finesse, the Model 3 counters with impressive handling characteristics and raw grip

Evo rating

The biggest surprise with the Model 3 is not the acceleration, rather the way it handles at high and low speeds. It feels like the engineers really understood how to tailor the handling balance to the Model 3’s technical makeup. It doesn't ride with the calmness of a Volkswagen ID.7 – smaller intrusions aren't isolated as well – but body control is impressive considering the Model 3’s sometimes violently rapid movements.

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Tesla’s engineers have installed a very quick steering rack, which combined with the acceleration makes driving quickly in pretty much all scenarios spookily easy. The steering itself is accurate, but it feels far too gloopy and heavy in anything other than Comfort mode, and it's lacking the crisp, transparent feel of a BMW i4's rack.

Still, the Model 3's chassis can live with the pointy, alert responses, and it takes a lot of effort to unstick it. Admittedly, that's partly due to the fact that the stability control can't be fully disengaged in the Long Range model we tried (the forthcoming Model 3 Performance should offer a Track Mode to allow this), but the Model 3 always feels secure and obedient to your commands. 

The only time it feels slightly wayward is if you're aggressive on the throttle out of tight corners, which pitches the weight on the rear axle and sends ripples through the steering as the front tyres hook up. Aside from that, you simply turn and the Model 3 sticks with minimal roll, fuss or drama – even on efficiency-oriented Michelin Primacy tyres. 

Comfort and refinement has improved with the facelift, although the Model 3 still doesn't tackle a road with the composure of an i4. It can still thump over imperfections and feels more hollow than its German rival, but it's still very liveable and takes the edge off the worst surfaces.

Our experience of the previous Model 3 Performance suggests that the car has a more playful and expressive side, which can be unlocked with different chassis and electronic tuning – we're eager to find out whether this will translate to the new model.

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