Tesla model 3

15 min read

Game-changing EV gets a refresh after seven years, but is it enough?


Price £49,900 Power 491bhp (est) Torque 364lb ft (est) 0-60mph 4.4sec 30-70mph 3.4sec Economy 3.7mpkWh Max DC charging 219kW 70-0mph 46.2m

Say what you like about Elon Musk and his wireless brain chips, but when future historians chart the development of personal transport, the Tesla Model 3 will rank alongside Ford’s Model T and the VW Beetle in its significance. Admittedly, when this entry-level Tesla arrived in 2017, electric cars already weren’t too unusual a sight, with BMW, Nissan and Tesla itself all having footholds in the market. However, seven years later, they are simply everywhere you look. Musk and Tesla can take credit for this not only directly – after all, so many of the EVs we see day to day are Model 3s – but also indirectly because this car was a brutal wake-up call for legacy manufacturers. The bug-eyed, California-made EV with a cabin of near-monastic restraint has been a catalyst for change.

And the Model 3 now comes in for a facelift. This update seems long overdue when measured by typical industry standards, but then Tesla isn’t a typical car company, and the product has proved novel enough to justify a delay between launch and update usually only witnessed with supercars. Still, it is now necessary. In recent years, the Model 3 has been joined by the Polestar 2, Hyundai Ioniq 6, BMW i4 and BYD Seal, and these are merely what you might consider the most direct rivals in terms of size and capability. It means that although Tesla now prices the Model 3 more keenly than ever, its excellent driving range, charmingly uncluttered interior and access to the brand’s Supercharger network no longer guarantee success. Comfort and perceived quality now matter more.

So let’s find out what exactly has changed for this unmistakable EV, and how well those changes future-proof a car that – who knows? – may well soldier on for seven more years.


For the facelift (dubbed ‘Highland’), the car’s slightly bulbous headlights have disappeared, replaced by much more piercing – if also more traditional-looking – units similar to those seen on the new Roadster, for which Tesla is taking deposits but hasn’t yet established a firm date for first deliveries. These quickly set the updated Model 3 apart from the pre-facelift car and sit above a resculpted bumper now devoid of intakes or lighting. Exterior changes are otherwise limited to

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