We spend a lot of time in our Tesla Model 3. Aside from driving approximately the US average, we generally spend about an hour a day sitting in a student pickup line (45 minutes some days, up to an hour and a half others). And then there are various times when I might be working in the car for a while — for example, while the girls enjoy the beach and I have to get articles published on CleanTechnica. 😛
The point is: we spend a lot of time in the car, and a lot of that time involves actually doing stuff, not just driving. That leads into the thing I love about our Tesla Model 3 that gets very little attention — and when it does get attention, often gets negative attention!
The Model 3 has a supremely minimalist — yet premium-feeling — design. With out white & black interior, it feels like what a car interior designed by Apple would look and feel like. The open, clutter-free space is the perfect balance to a life with two young monsters and hectic traffic. Sitting on the comfy white seat, resting my arm on the smooth, black center armrest, and gazing across the empty dash in front of me feels almost like coming home and plopping myself down on the couch to watch tennis. (If I had free time, I think that’s what I’d enjoy doing.)
Everything I need for the car is on the touchscreen, which I can let slip out of my direct view but then can easily check or use as needed. Aside from my phone sitting under the touchscreen and a bottle of water or coffee, my vicinity is clean, clear, and ideal for a peaceful ride. I couldn’t ask for more.
Some people criticize the interior of the Model 3 as basic, simple, or bare. I honestly can’t imagine wanting it to be different, as anything more would be adding clutter. The vegan leather is so smooth and premium. I recall renting a Mercedes a couple of times that had a somewhat similar center console. It was an enjoyable “little thing” that I appreciated at the time. The Model 3’s smooth black center console fits into its surroundings much better (and it feels slightly better as well). The space in front and to the other sides of me fit the elegant and thick right armrest. I don’t have all the clutter the Mercedes swarmed me with.
This all may seem like a little aspect of the Model 3, and perhaps I’m overdoing it. To the contrary, though, I think this is one of the biggest daily benefits of a truly magical car. Minimalism is often, ironically, under-appreciated. Minimalism done well is difficult, but then so complete and fulfilling.
The drive quality, the interior feel of the car, and the look of the model from the outside as you walk up to it — these are three aspects of a car that an owner regularly notices. Each of them is critical in its own right to a fully enjoyable ownership experience. Everyone should know by now that Tesla nails #1 and is highly regarded for #3, but the superb implementation of #2 is equally if not more important. It is one reason it’d be so hard to switch to any other vehicle.
I will bring up one issue I have on this topic, though. If I sit in the passenger seat, it’s comfortable to move the seat back a bit and work on my laptop. If I have to sit in the driver’s seat and do this, I have to put the seat much further back due to the steering wheel, and I then lose a comfortable position for my elbows. I don’t have anywhere to rest them and I’m too squeezed in to have them hang in space. Now, I don’t expect Tesla to design a solution for such an edge case! However, this review wouldn’t be complete without noting that that’s the one place in which I could see the interior design being much better for my personal use case.
Oh yeah, there’s also the glossy black console between the armrest and touchscreen. I don’t know if it’s Franz, Elon, or both of them who love that glossy black plastic, but I’m yet to meet an owner who loves it and I’ve met several who hate it. I don’t understand the rationale for putting it in a Tesla. I imagine I’ll get mine turned into a matte trim eventually. (Aftermarket suppliers and detailers must appreciate it, since they must make a lot of money hiding the gloss for Tesla owners.)
Have any other thoughts on the wonderful, smooth, elegant Tesla Model 3 interior? Think I’m fully off my rocker? Your comments are welcome … but I’ll spam them if you don’t agree with me! (jk, ofc)
If you’d like to buy a Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X and get some free Supercharging miles, feel free to use my special, magical, unicorn-blessed referral code: https://ts.la/zachary63404. You can also get a $100 discount on Tesla solar with that code. There is currently no use for a referral code when putting down a reservation for a Cybertruck or Model Y.