Best-Selling Electric Sedan Updated: The Model 3
The Tesla Model 3, one of the best-selling electric cars in the world, and a perennial top-10 seller in the U.S., has just received some major updates for 2024. The sleek, four-door electric sedan, which regularly outsells premium gasoline vehicles like the BMW 3 Series, now has a refreshed exterior, a completely redesigned interior, and a number of technical enhancements that boost range and performance.
Tesla Model 3 Range and Performance
Detailed specifications for the updated Model 3 have yet to be released for the U.S., but in Europe, where the new Model 3 was first unveiled, the company is claiming range increases of between 11 and 12 percent. On the European WLTP testing cycle, which typically reports slightly higher estimated range figures than the EPA, the Standard Range rear-wheel drive model now has an estimated range of 344 miles*, while the Long Range model’s estimated range has been extended to 421 miles*. Performance is good, as well, with the Standard Range model zipping from 0-60 mph in about six seconds, while the Long Range, which has two electric motors, takes just 4.4 seconds. So far, no specs have been announced for the even faster Model 3 Performance.
Some of that increased range no doubt comes from improved aerodynamics. The already-sleek body of the Model 3 has a drag coefficient of just 0.219, down from 0.23. It’s likely that Tesla has also made improvements to the Model 3’s battery and to its control software to improve range and performance.
Redesigned Interior and Controls
Much like the updated Model S and Model X, which were introduced about two years ago, the Model 3’s interior has received numerous changes to improve quality and comfort. Some of the controls have been redesigned as well, which will please some drivers and will displease others. For instance, the gear shift control is gone, and you now choose park, neutral, drive, and reverse using the vehicle’s touch screen. There are no longer control stalks for the turn signals and windshield wipers; you now control these functions with buttons on the steering wheel.
Less controversial in the simple, minimalist interior will be a new dashboard and door panels made of better materials. The Model 3 now has integrated ambient lighting that runs across the cabin and flows into the doors. An optional 17-speaker sound system offers an improved entertainment experience, and ventilated front seats are also available. Tesla has also enlarged the trunk, from 19.8 cubic feet to 20.9 cubic feet.
The Model 3’s main infotainment display still floats off the simple, elegant dashboard, but has been enlarged from 15 inches to 15.4 inches. Almost all of the vehicle’s controls require use of the touch screen. Many adjustments require digging through menus to reach, which can be frustrating when originally setting up the car to your preferences, but which keeps the cabin clean and uncluttered. In the rear, riders get a smaller 8-inch touchscreen to offer individual climate control and infotainment options.
Tesla Model 3 Exterior Design
While the exterior of the Model 3 retains its familiar sleek teardrop shape with large windows and high roof, a number of changes mark out the new model. The front and rear bumpers have been redesigned, and look smoother and more elegant. Slimmer LED headlights up front incorporate new daytime running lights, and the rear end has new light graphics as well. Redesigned 18-inch and 19-inch wheels also distinguish the new 2024 EV.
Pricing for the new Tesla Model 3 hasn’t been announced for the U.S. yet, but in Europe, the latest model costs slightly more than the 2023 version. Expect the new Model 3 to be built in America for our market, which will make it eligible for the $7,500 federal tax rebate. The company says the first models will be delivered before the end of 2023.
*All mileage is EPA-estimated.