Parkers overall rating: 4.6 out of 5 4.6
  • Minimalist interior design dominated by touchscreen
  • All functions handled from the screen
  • Build quality is improved over the Model S and X 

It’s quite an event sliding behind the wheel of a Tesla Model 3 for the first time. First you unlock the car by waving a key card around on the car’s door pillar (or using your smartphone, once you’ve downloaded the Tesla app). This is about as minimalist as car interiors go, and the modernist cabin is distinguished by a near total absence of buttons and switches.

The dashboard is dominated by a single, giant touchscreen (arranged horizontally here, like an iPad on its side, rather than in portrait like on the bigger Tesla Model S and X). It is your control panel for everything. Where are the adjusters for the mirrors, the steering wheel and the climate control system, you ask – they are all located in the central screen's top-level menu system.

The centre console therefore becomes a supremely-roomy depository for your phones and wallets and coins, with piano black trim panels lifting to reveal cubbies below. A lot of thought has gone into these, so the area you place your phones opens up to reveal USB ports. You thread the cable through the hinged lid, plug in your phone and close the lid – so you don't see the phone or its cables once set-up and on the move. Although, while designed ergonomically, it doens't look elegant, or upmarket, or even mid-market. The plastics for the centre console do feel, and sound, very cheap.

The steering wheel itself has a fat, chunky rim; it’s comfy enough to grip when driving, and you’ll find a pair of roller switches designed to scroll through a variety of services, from audio controls to the adaptive cruise control and Auto Pilot systems. The control wheels work vertically and horizontally, so take your time to acclimatise to them.

Apart from window switches and traditional controls to move the electric seats, all other functions are operated by the touchscreen infotainment system. Thankfully, the logic is impeccable and if you can use a smartphone, you’ll be absolutely fine with the interface in here. Traditionalists may prefer more old-fashioned switches – but if you’re the kind of target customer interested in a Tesla, we figure you’ll be just fine.

The interior can come in a very light shade, and some family owners might find this off-putting. The good news is that this is easy-to-clean and hard wearing. This is 'Black and White', and is one of just two interior colour and trim options.

You'll be pleased to know that the other is known as 'All Black', for those who don't want to take the risk…

Is it comfortable?

  • Supportive front seats in a variety of trims
  • Lots of legroom upfront, not so good in the rear
  • Glass roof and panoramic windows make it very airy inside

The seats in a Tesla Model 3 are comfortable and supportive. The cheapest models come with the so-called Partial Premium interior, which brings 12-way electric adjustment and a simpler leather upholstery. If you order the Long Range Plus or Performance model, you automatically receive the Premium Interior package, with upgraded seat material and other niceties such as an improved 14-speaker stereo, streaming services for music, internet browser and other services.

As usual in an electric car, there is no transmission tunnel (reflecting the lack of a propshaft taking drive from a combustion engine to the wheels and an exhaust system). So, there is plenty of space for feet and limbs, especially in the rear passenger compartment. It’s not as roomy as a Ford Mondeo or Skoda Superb, but compared with other premium players, such as the BMW 3 Series, it’s more than acceptable.

We love how they’ve managed an entirely flat floor and sculpted space for a third rear passenger’s feet under the front middle armrest. However, on the Model 3 we reviewed this area of the floor made a tinny booming sound when stepped on, audible from outside the car - a small child would find this impossible to resist drumming their feet on.

You really can get five adults in a Model 3, and that’s quite a feat in this market sector, although they'll still need to be good friends. A full-length glass roof is also standard in the UK, bathing the interior in light all day long. It’s a clever trick that makes this cabin even more appealing.