Tesla Model 3 updates improve styling, range, and refinement
Facelifted 2024 Tesla Model 3 gets a fresh look inside and out, while better aerodynamics and detail improvements enhance both range and refinement
- Priced from just under £40,000
- Styling updates
- New infotainment system
The Tesla Model 3 is getting a fresh look and a whole package of technical improvements – and the updated model is now on sale in the UK costing from £39,990.
Tesla launched the Model 3 in the UK in 2019 and it’s been a consistently strong seller since then, but as the car itself went on sale in the United States back in 2017, it was due a refresh – and Tesla’s latest updates have both refined the styling, and addressed some areas on the original that could have been improved.
Visual changes are minor, as you’d expect from a facelift, but quite effective. Most of the bodywork has remained as it was, but the nose has a smoother, more refined look, with slimmer, more horizontal headlights that give the front a wider, lower appearance. There are tweaks at the rear too, with new C-shaped tail lights that are now integrated into the bootlid, something Tesla says improves their fit – fit and finish being a weak point on the current car.
The changes also improve the Model 3’s aerodynamics to make it the brand’s most slippery shape, according to Tesla. It also contributes to lower wind noise and increased range, along with new aero-optimised wheel designs and lower rolling resistance tyres. Last of the visual changes are a pair of new paint hues: a deep multi-coat Ultra Red, replacing the old Red Multi-Coat, and Stealth Grey, a dark metallic that replaces Midnight Silver Metallic.
Tesla has paid even more attention to the cabin, with what it calls a full redesign. You’d struggle to tell at a glance, with the same minimalist layout and a large, landscape touchscreen, but the changes are deeper than they appear.
The dashboard now has a wraparound design that blends into the doors, and while the screen is the same size at 15.4 inches, it has a thinner bezel, so the effective area is larger. Both the front and rear seats are all new, and all heated, while the front seats are now cooled too. Rear-seat passengers also get an 8-inch display with their own climate control and entertainment functions.
The centre console has also been redesigned, with more storage, dual wireless phone chargers, and an aluminium finish. You can charge laptops too, courtesy of a USB connection in the front and a pair in the back, all rated at 65W of power. Capping it all, there’s also ambient lighting in different colours.
While the improved aerodynamics may reduce wind rustle, Tesla has also given the Model 3 acoustic glazing all round, better door and window seals, more sound-deadening materials, and improved suspension bushes. Together, the company claims lower wind noise, road noise, more isolation from ambient noises, and impact noise improvement – the latter being noise isolation from bumps, potholes, and other things that send a shudder through the suspension and bodywork. That should make it easier to hear Tesla’s premium audio systems too, with nine speakers in the Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive, and a 17-speaker system in the Long Range.
Unlocking the car, powering it on, and disengaging the electric handbrake is now completely automatic, and selecting forward or reverse is now achieved by swiping up or down on the driver’s side of the screen. A mode currently in beta (in other words, available but still being tested) will even select drive or reverse gears based on your surroundings once you press the brake pedal.
Other controls are now on the steering wheel, so there are no more stalks on the steering column. It remains to be seen how well all this works in the real world, but Tesla buyers are nothing if not open-minded to new tech, however dubious its real-world benefits.
The Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive now has an estimated range of up to 344 miles and a 5.8-second 0-60mph time, and is on sale now from £39,990. The Model 3 Long Range starts at £49,990, with a range of 421 miles, and a 0-60mph sprint of 4.2 seconds. Both can be specified now via Tesla’s configurator, with deliveries starting in January 2024.
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