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Tesla Model 3 - cinch Weekend Wheels

We're taking our passion for electric cars to the Fully Charged Live show this weekend. And to get us in the spirit, here's one of our favourite EVs...

When you think about electric cars, one of the first brands that will pop into most people's heads is Tesla. And this is no surprise, not only is the company headed by high-profile owner Elon Musk, it's also been building market-leading EVs for the best part of a decade, leaving other manufacturers to play catch up in recent years. And arguably the car best equipped to illustrate Tesla's success story is the Model 3, because it is so very good. Let us explain.

On paper, this is an 'entry-level' car, but Tesla has taken no shortcuts with the Model 3. It's packed full of gadgets and gizmos, and its headline-grabbing performance - namely rapid acceleration - will make you feel like you're in a supercar. We don't doubt that many motorists have been tempted not only into a Tesla, but also into buying their first electric car, after driving a Model 3.

This will be especially true if the one they drive is a top-of-the-range Performance Model 3, which can do 0-60mph in just 3.1 seconds. That's proper supercar territory. It's easily one of the quickest five-door cars on sale, and - this is what really secures it as our favourite in Tesla's line-up - the handling is also excellent. With power and control, it's incredibly fun to drive - and, should you behave, it's also very efficient, too. You can expect around 290 miles of range between charges in the Performance variant.

The car's effortlessness also makes for a composed motorway cruiser. Tesla's driving assistance technology, Autopilot, doesn't do what it says on the tin because it's not a fully autonomous system. But it is a very handy helper, taking some of the steering load away from you, and managing the cruise control on motorways. Set your destination on the satnav and the car will work with you to make the drive that much more effortless.

The exterior design of the Model 3 is fairly minimalistic, and this straightforward theme continues into the cabin. There are only a handful of buttons across the cabin, including two on the steering wheel, but most controls are digitally housed within a huge 15-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The tech is quick to respond and has an effective voice command system to save you tapping away at the screen, which is very handy (excuse the pun).

Tesla also makes a Model 3 Long Range, which has a claimed range of 360 miles. But for most people, the standard battery car will be more than enough. Certainly, it's a lot of car for the money in all forms. Case in point: the 'standard' Model 3 we've chosen here, which costs £35,400, has enough punch to get you to 60mph in 5.1 seconds and, when it's plugged into a 120kW charger (like Tesla's Superchargers), it's capable of going from 10% to 80% battery in around 35 minutes. That's very good going.

Want more proof? You can read our five-star review of the Model 3, or - even better - come and see one in the metal on the cinch stand at Fully Charged Live in Farnborough this weekend. We hope to see you there!

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