The car was rock solid. I had read varying reports of the Model 3’s reliability so I was half expecting to end up stranded in the middle of nowhere hundreds of miles from a Tesla service center, but I didn’t have a single problem with it.
It was also a joy to drive. Quiet, smooth, and glued to the road around corners. And when you need to go, this baby goes. I had no fear pulling out to pass slow trucks on small two-lane highways thanks to the car’s instant torque and linear acceleration. And when I found myself stuck in the slow lane in a multi-lane traffic jam and needed to zip into another lane to get to my exit, it was no problem to jump from a dead stop into the narrowest of openings in moving traffic.
I also found myself really loving the massive display, and in particular the huge, always-visible map, which made navigating unfamiliar cities a breeze. Being able to see my route and all the streets in a huge area around me was a huge step up from the narrow slice you see when using maps on a phone or a GPS device.
I let Tesla’s navigation system do all the routing for the trip and compared it to Waze on my phone. The car’s routes and ETAs mostly matched Waze except when it diverged a bit to route me through superchargers. Traffic data was surprisingly fresh, though perhaps not quite as fresh as Waze. I was surprised to find that in a number of places the car’s navigation system knew about construction detours that Waze had no idea existed.
My only big complaint is that, inexplicably, Tesla’s routing system doesn’t actually do a very good job of getting you all the way to a supercharger. It would often get me within a few hundred meters and then announce I had arrived, even when the actual supercharger was still hidden out of view somewhere behind a building or something. But I found that switching to satellite view often enabled me to spot the supercharger and figure out how to navigate parking lots to reach it.
I also found that Tesla’s routing tended to be a little optimistic and would often want me to skip superchargers and do long stretches where I’d arrive with as little as 5% charge remaining. After a scary stretch from Colorado across New Mexico to Texas in stormy weather where for a while it looked like I might not make it, I stopped trusting the car’s optimism and manually chose my own supercharger stops when necessary to ensure that I’d always have a reasonable buffer of charge remaining (I felt most comfortable arriving with at least 10% to 15% charge left).
To be fair, the car was right and I did finish that scary stretch with about as much charge as it had initially predicted, but I wasn’t eager to take any more risks like that. I’d like it if Tesla added an option to let me specify how much charge I want to have on arrival, since the default value doesn’t seem to leave much room for error.