2022 Tesla Model 3

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The Car Connection Expert Review

Brian Wong Brian Wong West Coast Editor
February 2, 2022

Buying tip

The base model has a new battery pack that increases the Model 3’s minimum range to 272 miles.

features & specs

Long Range AWD
Performance AWD
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The Model 3’s combination of efficiency, range, and performance makes it a standout sport sedan. Full stop.

What kind of car is the 2022 Tesla Model 3? What does it compare to?

The 2022 Tesla Model 3 is an electric compact sedan that offers a stirring combination of performance and efficiency. It also possesses a sparsely decorated interior devoid of nearly all buttons and gauges in favor of a single, large touchscreen. Rivals include the Hyundai Ioniq 5, Nissan Leaf, Kia Niro EV, and even some crossovers like the Ford Mustang Mach-E.

Is the 2022 Tesla Model 3 a good car?

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The Model 3’s combination of performance and efficiency can’t be matched by other electric vehicles and its technology remains impressive. It is only held back by build quality concerns, earning a TCC Rating of 7.5 out of 10 (read more about how we rate cars).

What's new for the 2022 Tesla Model 3?

There’s a big change underneath for the Model 3’s base model, which changes to a lithium-iron phosphate (LFP) battery in contrast to the lithium ion batteries found in the other Model 3 variants. These batteries are unique in that Tesla recommends charging them to 100% regularly, compared to the 80-90% recommendation for the lithium ion batteries, giving the new pack greater usable energy potential.

With the new battery, the Model 3’s rear-wheel-drive base version now offers 272 miles of estimated range, which is a 10-mile increase over the outgoing Standard Range Plus. It is slower however, with a 0-60 mph time of 5.8 seconds compared to 5.3 seconds, but those looking for real performance are better served by other Model 3 variants.

Inside, the Model 3’s minimalist interior highlights its nervous center: a 15.0-inch touchscreen that rolls the instrument panel, infotainment hub, and climate controls into one spot. The menu structure is easy to navigate and the screen is fast and snappy, though it lacks Android Auto or Apple CarPlay connectivity.

Crash-test scores are stellar and standard safety features include automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. A Full Self-Driving package is offered, though it doesn’t offer self driving – just automated lane changes, automatic parking, and a summon feature among other tricks.

How much does the 2022 Model 3 cost?

The new base model increases the Model 3’s starting price to $47,690 (including a $1,200 destination charge) without any incentives or rebates. Standard features include heated front and rear seats, a glass roof, wireless phone charging for two phones at once, four USB-C ports, and a heated steering wheel.

It is followed by the Long Range model at $53,690 and the Performance at $60,190.

Where is the Model 3 made?

The Model 3 is made in Fremont, California.


2022 Tesla Model 3


The Model 3’s exterior gets a bit too swoopy, but the decluttered interior is a real treat.

Is the 2022 Tesla Model 3 a good-looking car?

Debate over the Model 3’s exterior will never cease, with its curved hood and slightly futuristic sleekness seeming to cause some divisiveness over whether its attractive. There are no such caveats about the sedan’s interior however, where its pared-back design is attractive in its minimalism. That earns the Model 3 a point to make it a 6 out of 10.

The front lacks a grille and the hood of the “frunk” dips low to meet the front bumper. The roofline follows a curved shape and terminates with a decklid so short that it appears the Model 3 may actually be a hatchback but it is not. Like several over EVs, the Model 3 seems to have been designed with aerodynamics at the forefront as evinced by the door handles that sit flush with the body when not in use.

Inside, even the air vents appear to be hidden to give the dashboard a seamless look that is only interrupted by the large screen. Overhead is a standard glass roof that makes it feel more spacious than it actually is.

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2022 Tesla Model 3


The Model 3’s fantastic acceleration happens silently and feels effortless.

The Model 3 is a legitimate sports sedan, with incredible acceleration and some handling bona fides to match.

Is the Tesla Model 3 AWD?

The Model 3’s base model is single-motor rear-wheel drive, but both the Long Range and Performance versions offer a dual-motor all-wheel drive setup. Tesla’s traction and stability systems are also well calibrated for wet and slippery roads, with a set of winter or snow tires it can be driven even in winter.

How fast is the Model 3?

The quickest Model 3, the Performance model, can accelerate from 0-60 mph in just 3.1 seconds – a number that puts many other performance sedans to shame. Even the Long Range version of the Model 3 can do it in just 4.2 seconds, impressive given its range and efficiency. The base model is more deliberate, at just 5.8 seconds from 0-60 mph though it has one fewer motor. 

From behind the wheel, each still offers the snappy instant torque that has been a Tesla signature. Any quick stabs of the accelerator pedal should be accompanied with a warning to passengers. The Performance outputs 450 hp and 471 lb-ft of torque, enough to get the tires spinning at each corner but the electronics keep things in line. The Long Range model’s total output is 346 hp and 389 lb-ft of torque. Power figures for the base model were not available as of this writing. 

Beyond the acceleration, the Model 3’s low-mounted battery pack gives it some handling acumen as well. The steering is weighty and on the firm side, as is the ride. It keeps body roll in check, but can be a bit jittery for day-to-day driving. One pedal driving is offered in the highest regen settings, accessible via the screen.

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2022 Tesla Model 3

Comfort & Quality

For a compact sedan, the Model 3’s interior space is impressive.

The Model 3’s interior giveth and taketh away, with very comfortable seats and impressive cargo room that is hampered by inconsistent build quality and materials. That averages out to a down-the-middle 5 out of 10 when it comes to comfort.

Sport sedans aren’t known for having spacious interiors, but the Model 3 breaks that mold with spacious seating for adults even in the backseat. Its 35.2 inches of rear legroom matches the BMW 3-Series exactly, but sitting in both of them is an entirely different experience and the Tesla feels much roomier. The curved roofline makes for excellent head room and there is 19.8 cubic feet of trunk space in the rear, in addition to 3.1 cubic feet in the frunk. With the seats folded down, you can fit an impressive amount of cargo inside the Model 3.

Where the Model 3 disappoints is quality. Materials don’t match other sport sedans at this price and Tesla continues to struggle with build quality issues, such as panel gaps and color mismatches. The cabin also gets noisy at highway speeds (despite the lack of a gas engine), which exacerbates those issues.

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2022 Tesla Model 3


The Model 3 has excellent crash-test scores.

How safe is the Model 3?

The Model 3 pulls an impressive double with a Top Safety Pick+ designation from the IIHS and a five-star rating from the NHTSA. Along with that, the Model 3 comes with a strong set of active safety features including automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors. That gives it a 9 for safety.

Our biggest quibble with the Model 3 is that some of its features are misnomers. Autopilot isn’t really what its name would suggest and neither is the Full-Self Driving package, a $12,000 option that can change lanes and park automatically, but falls short of any kind of self-driving. The confusion has resulted in fatal car crashes.

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2022 Tesla Model 3


The simplicity of the Model 3’s interior hides the fact that it is very well equipped in any form.

The Model 3 pioneered Tesla’s foray into ultra-minimalism with its lack of buttons and controls throughout the interior, but the orientation period is surprisingly quick thanks to smart interface choices and a well laid-out infotainment screen. It earns a point each for its easy-to-use screen and strong standard features, giving it a 7 out of 10.

The 15.0-inch touchscreen is instantly responsive and most of the car’s commonly used features can be found at the top layer, or only one step down making it intuitive and easy to operate. Continuous over-the-air updates also mean that the Model 3 evolves as Tesla makes design and feature updates. One recent update included better rear climate controls and the ability to autopark in perpendicular spaces.

Which Tesla Model 3 should I buy?

The base price of the Model 3 has gone up significantly from last year, by $8,000, but at $47,690, it’s still the best deal in the lineup. It comes standard with heated front and rear seats, a glass roof, wireless phone charging for two phones at once, four USB-C ports, and a heated steering wheel. If you can make do without AWD and don’t need the maximum range, this is the one to go with.

How much is a fully loaded Model 3?

The Performance tops off the range at $60,190 and can go up into the mid-$70,000 range with the addition of the Full Self-Driving package and paint/interior color choices. Upgrades include 20-inch alloy wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero tires, better brakes, a carbon fiber spoiler, and other performance enhancements. 

All Model 3’s come with a good 4-year/50,000-mile warranty, and an 8-year/100,000 or 120,000 miles for the battery and motors.

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2022 Tesla Model 3

Fuel Economy

Even the Model 3’s bonkers Performance model offers well over 300 miles of range.

Each of the Model 3 variants can go far beyond 200 miles on a charge and that earns it a full 10 out of 10 in this category.

The base model has the lowest range rating at 272 miles, with its smaller LFP battery pack. Both the Model 3 Long Range and Performance break the 300-mile mark, with 358 and 315 miles of range, respectively. Base and Long Range models are also remarkably energy efficient, with 132 combined mpge for the base model and 131 mpge for the Long Range. The base model only uses 25 kwh of energy per 100 miles of driving.

Tesla’s network of Superchargers is a big bonus for those planning longer trips, on its fastest V3 chargers the Model 3 can add 170 miles of range in just 30 minutes.

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2022 Tesla Model 3 Pricing Insights

  • 2022 Model 3 is made to order
  • Lease: From $499/month (est.)
  • Rebates: $750 for CA residents
  • Financing: From 3.24% APR
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