Subscribe to Modern Dad on YouTube!

Priorities shift as we get older — and also when price tags shift exponentially. The need-it-right-this-second feeling you get from a smartphone — even one that costs a ridiculous $1,000 or so, as is the case with today's top-shelf devices — just isn't quite as pressing when you're paying mortgages and starting to give serious thought to your kids' college costs.

Getting old sucks. Don't do it.

But every now and then you get something that takes a look at that veil of responsibility, takes a peek inside, and then threatens to take both hands and just rip it the hell open. I remember that feeling with the Treo 750 in my late 20s. (Which, long story short, is the reason you're even reading this in the first place.) And for the past couple years I've had that same sort of feeling with a much more expensive toy — the Tesla Model 3.

I'm only on my second car. My first was a 1985 BMW 325e that had more wrong with it than I care to recall. (But you've never really lived until you've driven a car with a busted odometer and a brake master cylinder that, shall we say, was a bit of a trickster.) My current literal daily driver is a 2005 Honda Civic (stick!) with a mere 84,000 miles. It no longer has the car seats in the back, but it does show the stains of being the first vehicle your kids grew up in.

Eventually, it's going to be time for something new. And I really want that to be a Tesla Model 3.

The Model S is just too damned expensive. I can't buy a car that costs nearly as much as my house. But the Model 3? It's not inexpensive. But it's also not out of the realm of possibility. That's workable.

This is the perfect car for me — even if it's not the perfect car for me right now.

So much has been said about the Model 3 already that I'm not going to rehash it too much here. It's a fun drive. It's heavy, but bottom-heavy because of the batteries. So it sticks to the road, even while you feel every last one of those 3,800 pounds — a good 1,300 or so more than what I'm used to driving. You notice.

And that 15-inch touchscreen. I wasn't sure I'd dig it. But it pretty quickly became second nature, even if there's still plenty of room for improvement. (To say nothing of my almost never needing the option to heat the seats or the steering wheel in Florida.) It's half car info, half map, with a fairly intuitive UI. Things pop up over the map, which is always. Underneath as a point of reference.

Obviously there's no Android Auto on board. While AA isn't perfect, I'm still convinced it's the best UI in a car for minimal distractions. But the Model 3 handles multimedia and contacts through Bluetooth just fine, which is to say it's still better than so many other infotainment systems out there.

That the car is electric is a huge selling point for me. First, just the idea of getting off fossil fuels and all the environmental (and political) headaches that come along with that. But also because sending that much power straight to the wheels is just something you have to experience before you die. No, there's no Ludicrous Mode, but doing zero to sixty in (more or less) 5 seconds is more than enough acceleration pretty much any everyday circumstance. It'll get you out of as much trouble as it might get you in.

The rest of the car? Interesting, if not overly exciting. The interior actually is a little ho-hum, even if I think it's improved on the Model S only by getting rid of those trash cans that they called door handles. (Whoever designed those never had a kid in a car. Ever.) A frunk is fun. The buttons instead of door handles are actually kind of cool, and I got used to them quick enough.

So why did I ultimately cancel my reservation? The math just wasn't lining up for me right now. I don't need a new car right this second. And then there's the thing with the federal tax credit. I still needed to come in on the low end of the options here — the car I drove was $56,500, and not the $41,000-spec'd version I'd actually order — and I just don't know when I'd be able to order, or if the credit would be available when that time comes. And I'm not going to force myself to buy this car before I can afford it.

Do I still want it? Hell, yes. And I'm still going to try to get one at some point. I think Model 3 — and Tesla — will still be around when that time comes. In the meantime, I'll be saving. And I'll be ready.

Be sure to check out MrMobile's video, too!

I drove the Model 3 in the Tampa Bay Area along with the one and only MrMobile. Be sure to watch his video below for even more hot frunk action!

Modern Dad

Main

Subscribe to the Modern Dad newsletter!