So now that I've had my Model 3 for over a week and successfully experienced my first medium distance trip (250 miles each way) in it, I'd like to share some impressions:
1) As everyone has said, it doesn't take long to get used to the center screen and lack of binnacle. Except maybe at night. At night, with the dark center screen and lack of any light from behind the steering wheel I've caught myself looking down and seeing nothing and thinking that the car must be broken. So that may take another week or two to get used to. I will say that turn signals being on the center screen is a bit hard to adjust to as well.
2) Speaking of turn signals, I'm not a fan of how they work on the Model 3. Not a major issue because I am getting used to it, but unlike in a traditional turn signal how the stalk will remain in "left" or "right" turn position and it's fairly obvious when it clicks back into the neutral position, the Model 3 immediately swings back to the center position, but the turn signal is still active until you complete your turn or you cancel the turn signal (by moving the stalk a half setting in the opposite direction). There is also a "temporary" detente (similar to pushing the stalk "half way" on a traditional stalk) for lane changes that auto-cancels after 3 blinks, or you can simply hold it and release to cancel. That much is fine, but I've noticed that sometimes I mean to just do a lane change signal but accidentally move it to the full position for a simple lane change and then I have to cancel the signal. But because the stalk isn't in the left or right positions and the turn signals are not right in front of my eyes, I sometimes forget about it. Or conversely, I THINK that I accidentally went to the full left or right for a lane change (but really didn't) so after my lane change I go to cancel, but I'm really activating the opposite turn signal. Not sure I'm describing it well, but this could take awhile to get used to (although I do think I've improved).
3) Efficiency: for one leg of the return trip I achieved 199 Wh/mile. For LEAF and former LEAF drivers like me, this is 5 mi/kWh. And this was at highway speeds, part of which was faster than I typically go (I was traveling with someone who gave me a head start, but once they passed I sped up to follow them--I had the cruise set to 79mph (which wasn't fast enough for him). Granted, there was a nice big downhill section that I gained 3 miles of range back, so that didn't hurt my numbers, but this was a 133.7 mile leg through rain. Average speed was 69mph. This car is amazingly efficient at highway speeds. I am truly blown away by this. In my 24kWh LEAF at this time of year I could get 4.2-4.4 mi/kWh. In my 30kWh LEAF I pretty much got 4.0. I made the entire 250 mile trip home and still had 78 miles estimated range left. Wow!
4) Charging: Supercharging is amazing. Pulled 118kW from the Supercharger (470 miles per hour).
5) Road/wind noise: I was a bit concerned about this. I don't spend a ton of time on long trips in my LEAF (obviously), but I have taken the 2016 on a few trips (150 miles). I've been concerned that without the bulbous headlights, the Model 3 would have a lot of wind noise. And my wife's Volt has horrible road (tire) noise on long highway trips. But the Model 3 is at least as good as the LEAF (if not slightly better).
6) Ride (suspension): after hearing a lot on the forums about how "stiff" the suspension is, either the fix that they applied early this year did the trick, or I'm just not very sensitive to the ride. Either way, I'm very happy with the ride.
7) Auto-wipers: Another concern I had was with the auto-wiper function. Granted, I haven't yet been splashed by a big truck, but I did (unfortunately) get a chance to try out the auto wipers yesterday. I think they do just fine. And my wife is the big critic when it comes to keeping the windshield visible and no complaints from her.
8) Auto-pilot/auto-steer: Definitely takes some time to build trust in this system. It does seem to center itself a bit to the left for my taste, but it always held itself just fine, even on some parts of North Carolina highways that are really bad. On one section (before it had won my trust completely) I had a hard time seeing the lane markings myself, but it had no problem with it. In the almost 450 miles of highway driving that I had autopilot engaged (my estimate) I didn't experience a single "what the hell is it doing" moment. By the end of the trip my comfort level with the system had grown considerably. I still don't really know how far out it's looking for stopped traffic ahead. I chickened out once or twice and hit the brakes myself, but even that I had grown to trust more and more.
9) Phone as key: similar results to most. It works fine 90-95% of the time (although it is strange to just walk away from the car and "hope" it locks--I wish it would toot its horn or something a bit more noticeable than a simple flick of the lights and folding mirrors). The other 5-10% it's not quite as big a deal to reset Bluetooth on my phone to get it working again, but I really would prefer that Tesla do the right thing and offer a fob. I have not yet set up a Tasker profile to reset Bluetooth hourly (which is likely to help), but it seems like that is above and beyond what a mainstream customer should have to do.
Overall impression: it's a really great car. There is a learning/comfort curve associated with it--probably more so for people brand new to EVs--but I think I am climbing it.
Deep Blue Metallic 2018 Tesla Model 3 (31849) (delivered: 7/13/18)
Coulis Red 2016 SV (312310) (bought: 12/23/16 sold: 7/5/18)
Glacier Pearl 2012 SL (016138) (delivered: 12/9/11; traded in 12/23/16)NOGA$4ME Blog