Tesla’s Model 3 has just had a facelift, there’s loads of new changes and we’re going to go through as many as possible. While over-the-air updates mean that the Model 3 has had regular technical upgrades since its European launch in 2019, in fact it’s had more than 20 of those updates, this is the first time that there’s been any physical changes to the car.
Special mention : So different to the majority of auto manufacturers. Great electric range and impressive fast charging. Quality feel materials. Excellent stereo with connections to Spotify and other music apps.
Needs work : Takes time to adjust to how Tesla do things. The touch screen has lots of options but not much personalisation within the options. Rear view is restricted due to the height of the boot. At night vision is reduced due to the glare dimming effect on the rear view mirrors. High beams can activate whether it’s necessary or not, when turning them off, they don’t stay off.
|BHP 241 – 449||Electric / Auto|
|0-100 km/h in 4.4 seconds||Road Tax €120|
Long range €58,990
(Includes €5,000 SEAI grant)
|Boot space 649 litres|
The main thing you notice on the outside is the trim around the window line where it used to be chrome; it’s now satin black. It’s the same for the flush door handles and also up front where the cameras are. There’s also said to be more efficient tyres with lower rolling resistance fitted to every Model 3 across the range .
If you go for 18 or 19” sport alloys then you get a slightly different design. Go for a Model 3 Performance and you can now also get 20” Uberturbine wheels. The boot now has a power assisted tailgate so it means you can remotely lift it all the way up via your phone, the touchscreen or just the button itself and it’ll do all the hard work for you. You’ll also be able to see some holes put into the piping around the boot which means that on rainy days the water just drains away a bit better than it did before. There’s also new dual layer acoustic glass which makes it even quieter inside. There are some pretty big physical changes inside including new scroll wheels on the steering wheel. There’s also a graphite finish to the seat controls although they do still feel a little bit cheap and plasticky. A nice touch added to the sill plates is that they are now black to match the exterior.
The sun visors are also a little bit different, there’s a slightly odd magnetic ‘iPad cover’ that hangs over the mirror. What’s new is that there’s a magnetic strip in it which means when you close it, it snaps back into place. The biggest change inside is the center console, a piano black glossy finish which would attract a lot of sticky finger prints to it used to irk some Tesla owners, has now been completely redesigned, they’ve replaced the piano black glossy finish with some new plastics and synthetic leather. In the back you’ve still got a central armrest with loads of space underneath. Up front, the cup holders have lost the chrome outline from before and now there’s a sliding plastic lid instead which has a high quality feel and underneath it you’ve still got absolutely loads of storage space. On the top dash there’s space for two smartphones which are both able to wirelessly charge. You might also remember there used to be a couple of usb ports under the flip lid in the center console where you could plug in an external hard drive.
If you’re wondering where you can do that now, there are ports in the glove box and a recent software update means you can assign a pin code to lock it. There are still a couple of USB ports in the center console itself but now they’re USB-C. The front trunk, is a little bit smaller than it was before but is still a usable size. With front trunks the reason it’s smaller is because the new facelifted Model 3 has a heat pump, a more efficient way of heating the interior of the car that requires less energy from the battery. So if you’re in cold conditions and you’re driving when you’re heating the interior of the car then this facelifted Model 3 should have a longer electric range than the pre-facelift Model 3 in the same conditions. You also now can travel further from a full charge in every version of the Model 3. With EVs every mile counts so being able to add a little bit more on top is very good indeed.
The double glazing makes for a slightly quieter interior but it was already a quiet car to begin with. The center console is really going to be the main talking point of this refresh and really it does lift the interior quality because the piano black finish from before would get messy quickly. The lids felt a bit flimsy and now feels really solid. The matte plastic doesn’t feel cheap at all, it’s all got a nice solid action to it and it’s all screwed together solidly.
This isn’t part of the facelift but something useful has been updated in the Model 3 recently and is worth pointing out are the side repeater cameras. You get your reversing camera you’ve always been able to have that but now you effectively have a view of your blind spot and it’s really useful. You can set it so that when you’re on the motorway and you indicate, it gives you an extra view and effectively becomes a blind spot monitoring system. Although not officially a blind spot monitoring system, it’s useful to have.
The Model 3 is a really interesting car to drive and an easy car to live with as well. This is mainly due to the near 600 kms range and also crucially because of the unbeatable supercharger network with fast charging speeds on offer. It remains the case that the standard range plus isn’t the best version of the Model 3 that’s still the range topping performance version.
It’s not quite as quick as the Performance but when you put your foot down. If you’ve jumped out of a BMW 320d then the acceleration is still massively quick but the range-topping performance model is way more capable than the standard range plus so it’s definitely worth the extra no matter what version you go for.
The facelift hasn’t completely revolutionised the Model 3 but it totally didn’t need it. It’s a really brilliant electric car. These little changes here and there improve things even more and give it a slightly different cosmetic look to which some people might prefer, and so really it remains one of the very very best electric cars out there.