Consumer Reports says Tesla Model 3 is fun to drive, but has some flaws

  • Consumer Reports has begun testing the Tesla Model 3.
  • On the first drive, testers praised the car's acceleration and handling.
  • Some features disappointed, such as door handles and the keyless entry system.
  • The Model 3's center console screen is impressive, but forces drivers to look away from the road.

The Tesla Model 3 is an enjoyable car to drive, but some features disappoint, said Consumer Reports on Wednesday, after testers drove the car for the first time.

The Model 3 offered taut handling, a "fantastic" driver's seat position and the quick acceleration electric power trains are known for, the publication said in its report. The car's "glued-to-the-road handling" impressed testers, and its driver assistance system, Autopilot, did a good job of keeping the car between lane lines.

But testers criticized certain features, such as an "overly stiff ride," and door handles that are "unnatural and awkward" to use.

The large screen over the center console that controls nearly everything in the car also forces drivers to look away from the road, the report said.

"If ever there were a car that needed a head-up display, it's the Model 3," Consumer Reports said.

Further testing may tell whether the screen is the future, or just a gimmick, it continued.

As it usually does when reviewing cars, Consumer Reports anonymously purchased a test car from Tesla, which, at $59,000, is much more expensive than the vehicle's $35,000 base price. This is in part because Tesla began early production with more expensive versions of the sedan, and because Consumer Reports prepaid for added features Tesla plans to roll out.

Consumer Reports will continue to test the car in the coming weeks and will provide a full review and rating once complete.