Similar to other controversial topics such as Democrats vs Republicans, meat eaters vs vegetarians, there are strong feelings for or against EV’s (electric vehicles).
In my small group of friends who love the right to bear arms, travel freely, and choose to do or not to do any pursuit in their life, they also have a huge bias against against EV’s. You see, thanks to my brother that exposed me to muscle car’s back in the 80’s, I’ve loved the smell and the visceral power of a huge V8 with a lumpy cam and loud exhaust. I still love that today.
But in this ever changing world of cars, I’ve since “grown up” and became a BMW nut, first with an 1983 BMW 320i and many after that including an M3 along the way. The last car I owned I sold about a year ago which was a 2016 BMW 3-series, not because it was in need of repair, but because I was, well, just bored of it.
Like any car enthusiast, we love cars. My dream home would be a 3 bedroom house with a 6 car garage and a large opening for a 2 post car lift. Oh yeah.
After I sold that 3-series, I had a desire to get into overlanding and bought me an old 2000 Land Cruiser (actually the cushy version of that in the form of a Lexus LX470). With a tractor like 4.7L V8 engine in it. Indestructible is a word often associated with this vehicle and it’s legendary 4 wheel drive drivetrain. I’ve been slowly baselining it and getting to all the deferred maintenance by the previous owners. But one thing about this vehicle is it’s really slow, I mean turtle slow!
I’ve been driving that Land Cruiser for a little over a year now. And my history with cars, about once a year I get an itch to get another. I really missed a small sporty car and went on the hunt for my next vehicle.
Why I Chose a Tesla?
So I liked the idea of a Tesla, but didn’t like the unknowns of living with a fully electric vehicle. So when I put together my list of cars, I jotted down a few requirements for this daily driver of mine:
- 4 Doors (I have a kid so need this)
- Compact Sports Sedan
- Sport Luxury class car (yeah, I’m old, I like all the comforts)
- 0-60 under 6s
- Good MPG
- Manual Transmission
- Rear Wheel Drive
- Available to be ordered or purchased at MSRP or less
Not a crazy list, I think pretty common except for the Stick Shift requirement. The cars I wanted but didn’t make the cut:
- 2022 Subaru BRZ / Toyota GR86
- Love the sportiness of the car
- They say they solved the torque curve flatspot
- But it was only 2 doors
- 2022 Honda Civis SI
- Fantastic reviews, upscale almost luxury feel
- I got to see it in person at SEMA 2021 and found the fit excellent and body lines very nice
- But it was front wheel drive
- 2022 Chevy Corvette
- Incredible sports car
- Awesome bang-for-buck!
- But it’s impossible to buy one at MSRP and it has only 2 doors
- There are several more that I could put on this list, but this gives you an idea of what was going on in my head
Here’s my short list:
- 2022 BMW 330i
- Fantastic car, I’ve owned something like nine 3-series in my lifetime
- To get a manual transmission, I’d have to special order it and wait, and wait, and wait
- But, I’m ready for something different
- 2022 Lexus IS
- Super reliable
- Great body lines except I don’t really like the front grill design
- But, it only comes in automatic transmission
- 2022 Acura TLX
- Super reliable
- Great engine
- But, it only comes in an automatic transmission and is front wheel drive
- 2022 Audi A4
- I have friends that own this car and love it
- One of the finest interiors on this list
- But, I couldn’t find an option here in the USA to get it in a manual transmission
So as you can see, I had no Tesla on my short list. The only car that really fit my list was another BMW 3-series. After talking with friends and co-workers about my car hunt, five of them told me they own a Tesla and love it. After hearing the fifth testimonial, I decided I should at least give them a look.
I went to tesla.com, looked at Model S vs Model 3, and definitely the Model 3 fit the compact sedan category. But, still, it’s an all electric vehicle. So I put it against my list and came to this conclusion:
- 4 Doors > check!
- Compact Sports Sedan > check!
- Sport Luxury class car > check!
- 0-60 under 6s > check!
- Good MPG > check!
- Manual Transmission > it doesn’t have a transmission!?
- Affordable > check!
- Rear Wheel Drive > one model is, check!
- Available to be ordered or purchased at MSRP or less > check!
Ok, so I had to seriously consider this Tesla thing. It fit all the requirements except for that manual transmission.
Does a Tesla Need a Manual Transmission To Be Sporty?
I perused the Tesla website and found there was’t nearly enough detailed information I needed. So I went to YouTube and watched a dozen or so owners talking about it, the sportiness of the Model 3, and what it’s like to live with one. No deal breakers here.
Here’s a video I found very helpful:
Since there aren’t any Tesla showrooms near me, I went to the website and asked for a Test Drive and wanted to see what options I had. The very next day, I get a phone call, and it was the Tesla Service Center in my city and the SA asked if I was still interested in a test drive. What?!
The Tesla Service Center had a couple of cars available for test drives. Great!
I drove a 2021 Model 3 Dual Motor for about 20 minutes. Long story short, no, I don’t need to have a manual transmission in this car. That “direct” connection you get between the motor and the throttle were all there for me. Different, but close enough to make it very fun to drive.
In summary, I’ve owned my Model 3 for about a month now. It took nearly 6 months from time of order to delivery, which from what I hear is pretty common in 2021 – 2022.
Removing all decisions of ICE vs EV, the Model 3 fit the bill for what I’m looking for at this point in my life and driving style.
Some of my friends think I made a spontaneous decision due to $5 gas, but that’s far from reality. Gas was “normal priced” 6 months ago when I placed my order, if I recall it was around $3 a gallon. It had zero impact in the decision.
Overall, there’s zero regrets in going to an all EV car. I really don’t drive or treat the car any different, other than I plug it in at night at home. Everyone wants to talk about the EV part, but I keep steering them back to the fact, let’s discuss the car and leave out the EV part out of it. That’s what’s really exciting about this vehicle.