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3 compelling Tesla Model 3 alternatives from brands that value the driving experience

The Model 3's design is stale and the company's tech advantage is slipping fast. (Image source: Tesla)
The Model 3's design is stale and the company's tech advantage is slipping fast. (Image source: Tesla)
The Tesla Model 3 is one of the company's most popular cars, but there are still plenty of issues with the vehicle. Common owner complaints include build quality issues and ridiculously long repair wait times. Not to mention the company's controversial CEO, anti-right-to-repair policies, or the many recalls that Tesla has had to issue over the years. Fortunately you don't have to buy a Tesla to enjoy electrification.

1. The Hyundai Ioniq 6 is an aerodynamic throwback

The Hyundai Ioniq 6 is the Korean marque's latest stab at making an electric sedan, and almost everything on the vehicle is in the name of aerodynamics. Everything from the polarising swooping form and twin rear spoilers to the side-view cameras in place of mirrors contribute to the incredible drag coefficient of just 0.21 — the lowest in Hyundai's lineup, and slightly lower than the Tesla Model 3's 0.23. The RWD, long-range model of the Ioniq 6 is rated for 316 miles (~508 km), compared to the Model 3 Long Range's 374 miles (~600 km).

While the Tesla Model 3's minimalist interior and elegant lines seem to be shooting for the future of automotive design, the Ioniq 6 seamlessly blends futuristic and retro to make something a little more practical and interesting to look at. The swept, aerodynamic body of the Ioniq 6 contrasts well with the square elements scattered throughout the lighting elements, while the interior is clean, but employs a combination of a touchscreen, steering wheel dials, and capacitive buttons to achieve a balance between practicality and minimalist aesthetic.

The entry-level, Ioniq 6 with 360 miles (576 km) of range has a starting MSRP of US$45,500, with the high-end Limited trim starting at US$52,600.

2. The Volkswagen ID.3 is an RWD compact hot hatch

Volkswagen earned its reputation in the car market largely thanks to its Golf hot hatches that deliver on the promise of a fun driving experience on top of the practicality you'd expect from a hatchback. The Volkswagen ID.3 embodies the same ethos of practical performance. The rear-wheel-drive ID.3 might look a little goofy from the front, but the rest of the design is rather handsome — sort of a less aggressive modernisation of the VW Polo that's so popular in Europe and emerging markets. 

The 206-hp VW ID.3 is available in three trims, with WLTP estimated range and comfort features being the biggest differentiator between the three. The £39,425 (~US$49,000) ID.3 Business delivers a reasonable 264-mile (~424 km) range estimate and a run-of-the-mill list of standard equipment, while the £42,560 (~US$52,900) Style trim offers more features, like a heads-up display and ergoActive seats but drops down to 200 miles (~321 km) of range. The top-of-the-line Tour trim steps up the range to 339 miles (545 km) and includes all the bells and whistles for £47,470 (~US$59,000). For comparison, a Tesla Model 3 Long Range, with 374 miles (~600 km) of range, comes in at £50,990 (~US$63,383).

The ID.3 unfortunately isn't available in the US, so if you want a rear-wheel-drive VW EV, you'll have to turn your eyes towards the US$38,995 VW ID.4 SUV instead.

3. The Polestar 2 is an affordable premium fastback with style

Polestar is a Volvo subsidiary dedicated to producing premium, high-performance electric vehicles with a focus on the driving experience. The Polestar 2 is a large fastback sedan with up to 470 hp at its disposal, allowing it to blast through the 60 mph (102 kph) mark in just 4.2 seconds. Polestar also shirks the soft, organic looks of the likes of Tesla and other EV manufacturers, opting instead for a futuristic muscular look that embraces the company's roots as Volvo's performance and racing division. The driving experience echoes this ethos, with reviews ranking it highly for its engaging, responsive driving experience

The Polestar 2 is practical, too, with up to 270 miles (432 km) of range, depending on the trim you choose. The interior of the Polestar 2 isn't quite as traditional and practical as what you'd find in the Hyundai Ioniq 6, but it isn't the minimalistic hellscape that Tesla ships, either. Many of the buttons in the Polestar 2 are replaced by capacitive control surfaces, but there's ample storage, and the infotainment system is powered by Android Automotive, as they all should be. The Polestar 2 isn't cheap, at a starting MSRP of US$48,400, but it's solidly in the premium EV segment.

Charging EVs outdoors in adverse weather is a questionable decision, so get a charger port cover, like the LZSTEC EV Charger Plug Cover, available on Amazon.

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 04 > 3 compelling Tesla Model 3 alternatives from brands that value the driving experience
Julian van der Merwe, 2023-04-21 (Update: 2023-04-22)