A compact all-electric 4-door passenger car capable of seating five, the 2022 Tesla Model 3 is the latest iteration of a Tesla model that’s held the crown of the global electric car best-seller since its 500,000th sale in March 2020. Designed as an affordable EV sedan with a luxury feel, the Model 3 mixes performance, range, and features that have garnered significantly positive reviews both from ordinary drivers and professionals.
The base model features a single motor providing rear-wheel drive (RWD) power. The other two trims, the Model 3 Long Range and the Model 3 Performance achieve their more than 300-mile ranges with an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system driven by dual motors. The 2022 Tesla Model 3 is a mileage powerhouse with sporty traits, outdistanced on the highway by only a few other EVs – all of which are much pricier, giving the Model 3 a decisive lead in this year’s bang for your buck.
2022 Tesla Model 3: Specs
Tesla’s Model 3 4-door midsize seats five people inside its 113.2-inch wheelbase and its 184.4-inch overall length. Featuring an automatic transmission, it is propelled by either one or two electric motors depending on the trim level. Stopping is achieved by four-wheel regenerative disc brakes backed up by four-wheel ABS.
One of the most significant changes to the 2022 Model 3 compared to previous model years is that it no longer uses a nickel-cobalt-aluminum battery. Instead, it includes a lithium-ion-phosphate cell. While this change marginally reduces range, it is a considerably cheaper option helping to keep the EV affordable by the standards of long-range electric luxury sedans. Unlike earlier batteries, this type can safely hold a 100% charge rather than being capped at 90%, helping to offset lost mileage.
The 2022 Tesla Model 3 charging from empty to full using a standard charger takes between eight and 12.25 hours depending on the specific version, with the Performance requiring the longest charging. Using a Tesla Supercharger can take a low battery charge of 10% to 15% to around 80% in 20 minutes to 35 minutes, again depending on the variant. The Long Range has the longest quick charging time. The car can use third-party charging stations if it’s fitted with the same converter used by other Tesla vehicles.
As a high-tech modern passenger vehicle, the Model 3 is packed with additional comforts and conveniences alongside its driving and performance features. Many features were originally standard only the two higher-end trims are now fitted as standard to the base Rear-Wheel Drive model also for the 2022 model year. These bonus fixtures include:
- A heated steering wheel and heated front seats and rear seats on all trims.
- Power adjustable front seats.
- Heated side mirrors with powered adjustment and an automatic dimming feature for nighttime driving.
- The high-quality sound system on all trims, with a further upgrade including 14 speakers, a pair of amps, and a subwoofer in both all-wheel-drive trims.
- 19.8 cubic feet of cargo room in the trunk.
- USB and Bluetooth connectivity.
The 2022 Tesla Model 3 also has Rear-Wheel Drive and is protected by a four-year, 50,000-mile warranty overall, while the powertrain warranty doubles these warranted periods to eight years and 100,000 miles. The powertrain warranty on the Long Range trim is upped to 120,000 miles. All Model 3 variants are also covered by Tesla’s universal 12-year, unlimited warranty against rust.
Athletic, fast, and nimble, the 2022 Tesla Model 3’s performance is sporty enough to please drivers who want a more exciting road experience than a Nash Rambler milk run. The top speed maxes out at 140 mph in the base model and rises slightly to 145 mph for the Long Range. The Performance trim’s speedometer tops out at 162 mph
The Model 3’s motors develop plentiful torque, and, since they’re connected directly to the wheels rather than relying on an ICE transmission and driveshaft, that flings the car off the starting line with considerable power.
Acceleration from 0 to 60 mph takes 5.8 seconds in the RWD-only base model, which, for perspective, is only 0.5 seconds slower than a 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429. The dual-motor AWD used on the other trims cuts several seconds off, with the Long Range accelerating to 60 in 4.2 seconds and the Performance achieving 3.1 seconds.
Overall performance is also good. The car offers a firm ride with precise, responsive steering. Like all other Tesla EVs made in recent years, the Model 3 features a trio of driver-selected steering modes. The three modes, accessible through the Controls menu on the touchscreen, include Comfort, Standard, and Sport. Comfort provides a light steering feel, Standard is exactly what it sounds like, while stiff steering is offered by Sport. The low center of gravity created by the Model 3’s battery placement, which also provides excellent rollover resistance, makes the Tesla stable for fast cornering.
2022 Tesla Model 3: Range
Turning to the range, the basic Tesla Model 3 RWD drives an estimated 272 miles on a full charge (267 miles if optionally fitted with 19” sport wheels). Things get more exciting with the two high-end trims, both of which can cover well over 300 miles of pavement before they need to be plugged in again. The top-end Model 3 Performance’s range clocks in at 315 miles according to EPA estimates. The mid-priced Model 3 Long Range lives up to its name with a sizzling 358 miles per charge (334 miles with 19” sport wheels), nearly equaling the approximate 400 miles a typical ICE car gets per fill-up.
These results are under optimal conditions and practice ranges could be 6% to 10% less, depending on conditions, driver habits, and vehicle condition, among other variables. However, these stats catapult the Tesla Model 3 very close to the front of the pack when compared to other 2022 EVs.
The 2022 Tesla Model S Dual-Motor AWD beats the Long Range with its 405 miles per charge, but it also costs 172% of the Model 3’s price tag. The 520 miles of the Lucid Air Dream Edition R adds another 186 miles of range, but its $169,000 showroom sticker shock is triple (301%) of the Model 3’s base cost. When it comes to thrifty delivery of far-ranging travel or solid commuting chops, the Tesla Model 3 is currently in a class of its own.
- Tesla Model 3 RWD: 272 miles range (267 w/19” wheels), 140 mph top speed, 0-60 5.8 seconds.
- Tesla Model 3 Long Range AWD: 358 miles range (334 w/19” wheels), 145 mph top speed, 0-60 4.2 seconds.
- Tesla Model 3 Performance AWD: 315 miles range, 162 mph top speed, 0-60 3.1 seconds.
2022 Tesla Model 3: Safety
Despite blaring headlines and online melodrama about the occasional, extremely rare battery fire, the 2022 Tesla Model 3’s safety features make its users some of the best-protected people on the road today.
Shielding occupants from harm in the event of a crash is handled by several structural components along with an array of airbags. The passive safety features begin with strategically placed steel reinforcements to the aluminum structure, including buttressed central pillars and shock-resistant rails. The protective rigidity these parts create for the passenger compartment is enhanced by the battery pack, which is also tough and rigid, while crumple zones outside the compartment absorb and dissipate impact energy. Placing the battery pack low in the chassis puts the center of gravity close to the road, making rollovers unlikely.
Active safety features include multiple airbags throughout the passenger compartment. The driver and front-seat passenger have both front and knee airbags, and seat-mounted side airbags are built into the front seats. Curtain airbags run the full length of the cabin just under the roofline.
Both American and European safety testing agencies found the Model 3’s safety features to be effective. In the USA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA rated the 2021 Tesla Model 3 with an overall five-star rating, with perfect scores for frontal and side crashes and for rollover resistance, with a 6.6% chance of rollover. In 2018, the NHTSA safety testing indicated an approximate 5.7% overall chance of significant injury in a serious crash, the safest of the vehicles tested that year.
2022 Tesla Model 3: Price
The 2022 Tesla Model 3 currently sells for a base price of between $46,990 and $62,990 depending on the trim. Specific base pricing is as follows:
- Model 3 RWD, 18” wheels: $46,990.
- Model 3 RWD, 19” sport wheels: $48,490.
- Model 3 Long Range dual-motor AWD, 18” wheels: $55,990.
- Model 3 Long Range dual-motor AWD, 19” sport wheels: $57,490.
- Model 3 Performance dual-motor AWD, 20” Überturbine wheels: $62,990.
Tesla offers several options, including additional colors, for several thousand dollars more. One of the most expensive add-ons is full self-driving capability with a price tag of $12,000. This includes autopilot navigation, summoning the vehicle, auto parking, stop signs, and traffic light control. City street autosteer is not yet available as of May 2022 but is said to be “coming soon.”