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  • Edmunds ranks the Tesla Model 3 as the best EV of 2022
  • We take a look at independent reports to find out if the Tesla earns that praise
  • The Tesla Model 3 is an excellent car hampered by reputation and quality issues

Tesla is home to a great deal of controversy. However, it’s impossible to argue that the brand hasn’t changed the scope of the EV landscape as we know it. For a brief moment, Musk made sedans cool again. So, it’s no surprise that someone was going to bestow the Tesla Model 3 with some kind of award. That someone was Edmunds. Now, we’re going to find out if all the controversy, build quality issues, and reliability we all hear so much about outweighs the good. Once and for all.

The Tesla Model 3 is the cheapest Tesla

A white Tesla Model 3 EV shot from the 3/4 angle
The Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

As you may well know, the Model 3 sits at the bottom of the Tesla lineup. Currently, there’s three trim levels on offer: the base Model 3, which starts at $39,940 and offers around 267 miles of range, the “Long Range,” which starts at $45,940 with 334 miles of range, and the “Performance,” starting at $53,940 with 315 miles of range.

Those are all impressive numbers at competitive price points, something that no doubt contributed to Edmunds’ ruling. Unfortunately, there’s an asterisk. Literally. There’s one on Tesla’s website. See, the manufacturer’s site defaults to the state of California, where EV incentives are factored into the price. So, the MSRP on Tesla’s site isn’t really the MSRP. The numbers change based on the current incentives in the state you live in. Colorado, for example, offers a $2,500 rebate for new EV purchases, and the price changes to reflect that. Tesla also factors in estimated gas savings on their site.

Is a Tesla Model 3 worth the money?

The white interior of a Tesla model 3 shot from the passenger seat
The Model 3 gets a sleek minimalist interior | Tesla

So, is the Tesla Model 3 worth the money? For an answer, we turned to Car and Driver and Consumer Reports. CR listed Tesla at the bottom of its reliability list. For reference, brands like Toyota and Mazda topped the list. If you visit the model page for the er, Model 3, you’ll find it has an overall rating of 79 of 100. Not too shabby. Predictably, the lowest-ranked categories are both ride and predicted reliability at a 2 and 3 of 5 respectively.

Car and Driver have yet to test a 2022 Model 3, but we took a look at their test of a 2021 model. In short, what the Tesla Model 3 does well, it does extremely well. The Model 3 Performance is faster than just about anything at this price point with a claimed 0-60 of 3.1 seconds. The tech predictably works well, FSD and the NHTSA controversy aside. It should also be noted that C&D ranks the Ford Mustang Mach E above the 3 on their top six EVs.

Are Teslas expensive to fix?

A profile shot of the Tesla Model 3
EV maintenance costs are still a huge unknown | Tesla

To touch on reliability for a bit, it’s rather difficult to tell how well the Tesla Model 3 will hold up. Detailers have blasted the Model 3 on TikTok for build quality issues, but repair estimates vary wildly depending on where you look, something true of a good number of EVs. We simply haven’t lived with them long enough to have a sense of how expensive they really are.

As for our little investigation, it’s hard to agree with Edmunds’ verdict here. Even if you disregard the current NHTSA and video game controversy, build quality issues are far too rampant to be ignored. Until that gets fixed, EVs like the Mach E will continue to earn our favor.


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