Since its unveiling in late August, the updated 2024 Tesla Model 3 — aka Project Highland — has injected a ton of renewed attention into Tesla's game-changing sedan. It's currently on sale in several European markets, the UK, Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand, and more recently, China. One big question remains, however: when will it come to the United States?
While most Americans wait for it, the lucky journalists at Motor Trend got their hands on not one but two brand-new Model 3 sedans: the base RWD single motor variant and the AWD dual motor variant.
Let's start with arguably the most important stuff: range. Motor Trend drove the new Model 3s with the batteries at 95 percent state of charge at a constant 70 mph. The Model 3 RWD covered 211 miles, while the Model 3 Long Range returned 250 miles. Expect significantly higher EPA figures as cars reach a maximum of 60 mph on the agency's test cycle.
Mind you, MT also tested the old Model 3 Long Range, which did 258 miles on the same cycle. However, the old car rode on smaller wheels than the new one, so it wasn't exactly a fair comparison. That said, this doesn't suggest a big range improvement from the new model, but who knows what tweaks Tesla might do when the car goes on sale in the U.S. or what the final EPA numbers will be.
But the rest of new Model 3 offers some nice upgrades. Reviewers Joe Berry and Kristen Lee found both cars to offer a far more cohesive and refined driving experience, largely thanks to the revised suspension that features updated dampers and bushings, which work well with the new wheels with revised brake rotors.
The chassis feels pretty balanced in corners, and the car is said to ride far better now than it once did; it doesn't bump as much over uneven pavement. That alone addresses a major criticism of the original Model 3 (and Model Y, for that matter.)
Gallery: New Tesla Model 3
The steering gets a special mention from Lee, who says the 2024 Model 3 has some of the nicer steering out of all the electric cars she's driven. While on many EVs the steering feels kind of dead or numb, on the new Model 3 is quick, intuitive, and very linear. She also liked the "very smooth" regenerative brakes and "real nice" one-pedal driving.
Refinement seems to be a key word when referring to the facelifted Model 3, as it is shown at every level and in every department. The cabin is quieter and more comfortable than before thanks in part to the acoustic glass used by Tesla, among other cabin upgrades.
Interestingly, Motor Trend also measured the performance of the new Model 3 and found that the Model 3 RWD does 0-60 mph in 5.6 seconds while the Model 3 Long Range does it in 4 seconds. The Model 3 LR also does the quarter-mile in 12.3 seconds at 114.4 mph.
Overall, the 2024 Tesla Model 3 doesn't feel like a new car but an improved car overall according to this review, which is probably what the EV maker was going for with this mid-cycle update in the first place.
Despite all of that, there's still no word on when the refreshed Model 3 will become available in the United States, and Tesla executives who attended the company's Q3 2023 earnings call on Wednesday did not shed any light on this topic. When asked about this, Tesla's Senior Director of Investor Relations Martin Viecha said the company doesn't answer "product-related questions and timings on an earnings call."
The Highland Model 3 is clearly a nice upgrade. It's just one that may require a little more patience from Americans.