#1 most loved electric vehicle, solar, & battery news & analysis site in the world. Support our work today!


Published on May 25th, 2019 | by Paul Fosse


Tesla Model 3 Rewrites The Rules Of What A Sport Sedan Can Be, Motor Trend Reflects

May 25th, 2019 by  

I was so glad to see this Motor Trend comparison of the top 3 sport sedans you can buy for around $50,000, and to see that it included the Tesla Model 3, I’m tired of reading reviews comparing the Model 3 to other electric cars. Everyone knows where it stands compared to other electric cars (it beats them for the most part, unless you have special requirements, like you need an SUV), but as well as Tesla has sold car over the last year, there are still places where people have no idea about Tesla or any electric car.

(If you are not interested in reading about my trip to Iowa, skip to the next section, “The Comparison”). As I frequently do, I’m going to go on a small tangent and talk about my recent trip to Iowa where I spent 4 days and didn’t see a single EV (and you can bet that I was looking). Talking to my friends from the state (I grew up in Iowa), I’m increasingly convinced it is just a chicken and egg problem.  They don’t have any EVs because they have never seen or heard of them. But how do they see or hear about them if nobody they see or know has one? Well, one way is social media, and another way is when they pick up a magazine (such as Motor Trend or Car and Driver) filled with ads about gas cars and they read that an electric car was compared not just to other electric cars, but to the newest and best gas cars the industry has to offer.

It also may have to do with the heavy influence of the corn ethanol lobby, which is centered in Iowa and has far-reaching effects. Almost every presidential political candidate competes to say how much they love corn ethanol, simply because Iowa holds the first president caucus in the nation and has tremendous influence because of that. I may do a future article on this subject.

Photo by Paul Fosse of Vintage Shell Gas Station called “Jimmy’s Station Museum.” See http://www.roadarch.com/gas/iaice.html for more photos

The Comparison

What I loved is they didn’t pull any punches in this comparison. Even though the magazine gets paid for ads from gas cars, Motor Trend did a great job looking at the “12 automakers that offer a spirited, premium, well-equipped, four door in the $50,000 range” and focused on the 3 standouts of the class.

The BMW 3 Series is the car that started it all and has been the standard bearer for decades. They test the new 7th generation of this legend, as I covered in this article last year. Second, the Korean automakers Hyundai and Kia have been a real success story over the last 20 years and the Genesis G70 marks a car that pulled a real upset by winning the Motor Trend Car of the Year award.

The Tesla Model 3 needs no introduction to readers of CleanTechnica, but for the benefit of any new readers, this car is the culmination of Tesla’s 10 year plan to bring electric cars from the laboratory to the world’s mainstream auto markets, and many (including myself, a Model 3 owner) think Tesla pulled it off.

BMW 330i with Track Handling Package

Photo from BMW press kit

Picture from BMW

The BMW was the most expensive of the three cars and although it had the track handling package that gave it a punishing ride, it didn’t get a payoff in great handling for the cost in dollars or ride quality. Motor Trend felt the sedan was at a confused crossroads, trying to improve handling, but also trying to remain a luxury vehicle.  It’s exterior styling is almost cartoon-like, as BMW made its signature kidney grill even larger.

The BMW’s performance was uninspiring, and I find 30 mpg for a small sedan to be poor. As we have covered in several total cost of ownership (TCO) articles, but most directly here, Teslas may be priced in the same range as the BMW, but the total cost of ownership is substantially lower with the Tesla Model 3.

Genesis G70

Picture from Genesis

Genesis did a great job with this vehicle. Motor Trend notes that Genesis “built a better 3 Series.” The company didn’t just copy BMW — it took the possibilities to the next level.

Unfortunately, it did have a little turbo lag, which is especially noticeable when comparing the G70 to an electric car’s instant torque. Motor Trend claims that the “G70 represents the pinnacle of a segment … just as that segment is poised to charge in a completely new and uncharted direction.”

I found the acceleration at 6.2 seconds from zero to 60 slow — that’s more than 2 seconds behind the Tesla — and the combined fuel economy of 25 MPG while requiring expensive premium fuel looked especially poor compared to Tesla’s 115 MPGe. I was impressed with the warranty and the price as tested of under $45,000.  Keep in mind, you will spend over $10,000 over 5 years to fuel the Genesis, more than eliminating any savings you get on the initial purchase or repairs.

Tesla Model 3 Dual Motor

Photo from Tesla

Motor Trend found the Model 3 greatly improved over the last couple years. The reviewing team members were impressed (as everyone is) by the acceleration, instant torque, handling, ease of one-pedal driving, and of course the Autopilot was miles ahead of the competition.


Please go to the article to get the Motor Trend rankings and specs, but whether the Tesla places first or third, it is important that the car is included in these articles to get the word out to the millions of people who would never consider a Tesla or other electric car because they have never seen an ad for them and they don’t know anyone who has one.

If you want to take advantage of my Tesla referral link to get 5,000 miles (hurry, 5,000 miles goes back to 1,000 miles on May 28) of free Supercharging on a Tesla Model S, Model X, or Model 3, here’s the link: https://ts.la/paul92237 (but if someone else helped you more, please use their code instead of mine). 


Latest CleanTechnica.TV Episode

Latest Cleantech Talk Episode

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

About the Author

A Software engineer for over 30 years, first developing EDI software, then developing data warehouse systems. Along the way, I've also had the chance to help start a software consulting firm and do portfolio management. In 2010, I took an interest in electric cars because gas was getting expensive. In 2015, I started reading CleanTechnica and took an interest in solar, mainly because it was a threat to my oil and gas investments. Follow me on Twitter @atj721 Tesla investor. Tesla referral code: https://ts.la/paul92237

Back to Top ↑