...holy shit.

Disclaimer: I’m long TSLA, and increased my position after the drive (although I had submitted the limit order beforehand, so...)

I mean, this is based on maybe half an hour of walking around and looking at, and about 10 minutes of driving a friend’s LR Dual Motor car (not Performance) with the 18" aero wheels, with a shorter (and much faster) ride back, but...

No photos, either. It’s a Model 3. They all look the same except for the wheels and the color. This one was red.

Interior impressions

The center display is... honestly fine, surprisingly. I’ve got amblyopia in the right eye, so I’m nearly the worst case, and it worked fine for me. (Of course, I do drive a Prius, which has center instrumentation as well, but not as extreme as the Model 3.) I didn’t actually operate many functions in it (the owner was doing that), but touch targets looked quite large, so I suspect I’d get used to it no problem. Would I like more buttons? Yes. Do I need more buttons? No.

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Seating felt fine, the back seat was fine (which is a massive improvement over the Model S, where the back seat ergonomics are completely fucked), interior ergonomics seemed fine (I could’ve done with a thinner steering wheel, but the small diameter was nice), what more is there to say? I didn’t notice any glaring issues (although I did notice that the turn signal stalk wasn’t latching, which is not my favorite thing).

The frunk is nothing like a pre-refresh Model S RWD frunk (that’s ridiculous, but also awesome), but it’s a nice touch.

The trunk is... fine for a compact sedan, but I wish it were a liftback.

Edit: Forgot to mention, outward visibility seemed perfectly fine, I didn’t notice any glaring issues. And, one thing I liked - the armrests were about equally spaced, meaning I could actually use both while driving, whereas on my Prius, the door-mounted one is too far away...

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Powertrain

I’ve driven a Model S 90D a couple years ago, so I knew roughly what this was going to be like, but I wasn’t disappointed. Driving slowly, it was weirdly... gently tugging at the leash, completely controllable, but it let you know that if you let it, it was going to go for it, right now. Slight variations in position caused immediate changes in power, but it was still easy to drive smoothly at low speed.

And then I got out of the gravel driveway, stepped on it, and held on. The phrase “an iron fist in a velvet glove” comes to mind, it’s powerful, it comes on with all of the torque right now, but it’s smooth about it too somehow. Lifting off and going into regen is buttery smooth, and fast, but not brutal. (I recall this being more sudden on the Model S 90D that I drove.)

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Suspension/Handling

So, I didn’t push it hard at all, even though I had a twisty back road at my disposal. Unfamiliar car, rather narrow road with things to hit on both sides, I took it easy. (In fact, I took the same route back home in my Prius, and drove it significantly harder in the Prius, just because I’m familiar with how it behaves.) However, the steering was quite direct, very quick ratio (Motor Trend has claimed 10.3:1, which is crazy fast, but Tesla says it’s variable ratio, so who knows), and it felt like it was quite nimble. I did also note that it was quite compliant on rural Ohio roads.

The owner drove it back, and attacked the road. Holy shit, the thing just stuck. Almost no drama (there was one point where from the passenger seat I felt the front end lose a bit of traction, but still), excellent body control, A+, would drive again (especially on a road or track where I can play with it a bit more comfortably).

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Conclusion

If the damn thing were a liftback, I’d be seriously considering dropping the Prius for one, as soon as standard interior becomes available (I don’t like leather interiors, and I’d rather not have the all-glass roof).

It’s not.

So, in under three years, the Prius will be paid off. At that point, I’d seriously consider a used Model 3, or maybe if the Model Y isn’t too tall (there is a trend of small crossovers being barely taller than cars lately, I’d tolerate, say, 60"/1.524 mm tall), one of those.

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I’d get RWD if possible, as I don’t need the dual motor’s added performance, and the ~12% added real-world range (as Tesla derated the RWD cars’ claimed range to make the dual motor cars look better) and reduced weight of the RWD car is relevant to my interests.