Tesla Model 3 drive reports, reviews: raves for sporty electric car

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2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 Tesla Model 3

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The first, earliest production versions of the Tesla Model 3 electric car were delivered to their owners in a splashy "Handover Party" late last week.

A few journalists got short drives at the event, but only one outlet was granted a Model 3 before the party to enable a more comprehensive review.

That means lots of "Tesla Model 3 review" articles have appeared over the last 48 hours.

DON'T MISS: 2017 Tesla Model 3 prices, features, details, specifications

But they're not all based on the same depth of experience—so what's the best way to sort them out?

One approach is a roundup of reviews, provided by Fortune magazine, which listed six separate pieces following those short drives.

As Fortune noted, many of those drives produced heady praise from the technology press, suggesting that the Model 3 was the most important car in a century, the only electric car worth considering, and so forth.

2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 Tesla Model 3

Enlarge Photo

More measured commentary came from business outlets like Bloomberg, whose Tom Randall wrote, “I came away thinking that CEO Elon Musk has finally delivered an electric car for the everyday road tripper like me."

Not every test drive went off flawlessly: the Wall Street Journal's reporter described hiccups that he viewed as possible software glitches. (The article is paywalled unless you're a Journal subscriber.)

Specifically, the Model 3 twice wouldn't shift from Drive into Park, which a senior Tesla executive riding along attributed at the time to software error. Both times, the problem was solved by resetting the car, akin to a reboot.

After reviewing the car's logs, Tesla said the next day that the driver was to blame. A company spokesperson said the logs showed the parking button on the shifter paddle had been pressed in both cases, apparently negating the effort to shift into park. The Journal review didn't further clarify the point.

By far the most comprehensive review, however, came from longtime auto magazine Motor Trend, which got a Model 3 for an extended drive through twisty Los Angeles canyon roads 36 hours before the delivery event.

2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 Tesla Model 3

Enlarge Photo

Testing editor Kim Reynolds had Tesla designer Franz von Holzhausen as his ride-along, but focused much of his review on the Model 3's acceleration and handling.

"Have I ever driven a more startling small sedan?" Reynolds wrote. "I haven’t. At speed, it gains a laser-alertness I haven’t encountered before."

He notes that his test car was a high-end Model 3, with a likely pricetag of about $60,000.

That puts it in the same league as compact sport sedans from makers like Audi and BMW, as well as newcomer Alfa Romeo—whose Giulia sedan doesn't come off well against Tesla's new electric car, in Reynold's eyes.

He also praised the car's sense of openness, assisted by the optional glass roof panel and, in remarkable language for the usually sober Reynolds, referred to the car's "hors d’oeuvre tray of software delectables."

2018 Tesla Model 3

2018 Tesla Model 3

Enlarge Photo

"It’ll take a lot more miles than this to decide if the single off-center screen completely substitutes for a conventionally located gauge cluster," he wrote, "but I’m already adapting to it."

In the end, Motor Trend calls the Tesla Model 3 "the most important vehicle of the century," at least thus far.

Not a bad way to start.

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