Tesla Model 3 Highland Unveiled: New Design and Surprising Features Revealed
After leaked photos caused a buzz, Tesla has officially revealed its highly-anticipated facelifted Model 3, codenamed “Project Highland,” in Europe. This significant refresh has been long-awaited, as the Model 3 remained relatively unchanged since its 2017 debut.
A Departure from Tradition
Tesla has always challenged conventions by favoring continuous incremental improvements over traditional model cycles. However, the 2024 Model 3 refresh marks a notable departure from this approach.
The most striking change is the revamped front-end design, shedding the bulbous bump for a sleeker look. The leaked photos from April turned out to be genuine, and Tesla has now officially unveiled the updated design.
Tesla introduces the “Ultra Red” color, replacing the previous red multi-coat option. While this color is available in the US on other models, it’s expected to become an enticing choice for Model 3 enthusiasts.
The headlights have been redesigned, appearing narrower and more aggressive, aligning with the overall goal of enhancing the front-end’s streamlined appearance.
The rear end now features “TESLA” badging instead of the previous Tesla “T” logo, further distinguishing this updated version.
Tesla claims that the refreshed Model 3 will offer increased range, with WLTP ratings of 344 miles for the SR RWD version and 421 miles for the LR variant, both equipped with 18″ aero wheels. These figures represent an impressive 11-12% improvement over the current Model 3’s WLTP ratings. It’s important to note that these are WLTP numbers and not US EPA ratings, which tend to be slightly lower.
The improved range is primarily attributed to aerodynamic enhancements, with the redesigned front end playing a pivotal role. These changes result in a drag coefficient (Cd) of .219, Tesla’s lowest yet, contributing to a 5-8% range improvement.
The interior undergoes a significant overhaul, introducing several noteworthy improvements:
- An 8-inch touchscreen for rear passengers, providing climate controls and entertainment.
- Elimination of stalks on the steering column, similar to the Model S and X, with the gear selector now on the touchscreen and turn signal buttons relocated to the left side of the steering wheel.
- Ventilated front seats, controllable via Tesla’s mobile app, allowing pre-conditioning of seats.
- Plusher rear seats, now perforated for added comfort.
- An upgraded sound system featuring 17 speakers, up from 14.
- Improved Bluetooth microphone performance.
- Enhanced Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity for smoother interactions with routers and phone keys.
- A quieter interior, achieved through various aerodynamic and material changes.
- Customizable ambient interior lighting.
- A more capacious rear trunk, expanding to 594 liters from 561.
The refreshed Model 3 is already available for order on Tesla’s European websites, with deliveries set to commence in October in left-hand drive markets across Europe and the Middle East. North American and other market availability is yet to be announced.
While the Model 3 refresh was highly anticipated, it has turned out to be more extensive than initially expected. The exterior and interior changes are substantial, with some mixed reactions to the new steering wheel design. However, Tesla’s dedication to continuous improvement remains evident, and this refresh is set to maintain the Model 3’s status as an exceptional vehicle.