The interior is all about millennial luxury
Tesla seems to understand what millennials are looking for in luxury. In stark contrast to the costly-but-sparely appointed Model S, the Model 3’s interior feels downright plush. The all-white interior of the demonstration prototype is more Soho than Silicon Valley, featuring seats wrapped in glove-soft leather and a similar material covering the dashboard. You could call Tesla’s approach to interior design minimalist, but even that would be generous: there’s really nothing there. After all, buttons are so last century.
It has a cockpit built for, well, not driving. A dead giveaway that this Tesla is meant for autopilot is the center-mounted screen that pokes out of the dashboard like the onboard laptop in a cop car. A high-res screen basking in the interior spotlight is a signature Tesla move, but in the Model 3, that’s everything you get. It’s not exactly a 2018 Toyota Echo or Nissan Quest, which also had instrument panels in the middle, but the concept is similar.
Without traditional gauges mounted in the driver’s field of view, the Model 3’s interior was clearly designed without a driver in mind. Even the steering wheel, which is more of an oblong discus than a round wheel, seems more like a utilitarian tool than an instrument of pleasure. I didn’t have a chance to see what the screen can really do besides provide readouts for speed and navigation, but it's a Tesla, after all: clever things on widescreen display are a given.
The front seats are wide, and the back seat was wide enough for two people, and a third, thinner person would have good knee room but not a lot of hip room. One last point on the interior: the materials that you don't constantly touch, like the door panels, the window switches, and the center console, didn't feel high quality. This was a prototype, though, so I'll cut it some slack there.