Tesla Model 3 Highland refresh offers a ridiculous level of improvements but kills the Performance spec in Australia

    Talk about bittersweet. Tesla’s updated its website with the official details and specs of the updated Model 3. The stunning 0-100km/hr time of just 3.3s is one of the things I love the most about my Model 3, but with the updated Model 3 configurator, you won’t find a Performance option, just standard and long range options.

    Now to the good parts.

    Prices and Specs

    The new Model 3 ‘Highland’ refresh is available to order now, with deliveries slated from Jan 2024 – Mar 2024.

    The Standard Model 3 offers a new range of 513km, while the Long Range variant offers an impressive 629km.

    When it comes to cost, the new, updated Model 3, despite all the improvements starts at A$61,900 for the SR (A$69,282 driveway) while the Long Range option is $10,000 more at A$71,900 – LR (A$79,702 driveway).

    The standard colour remains as white, with black and blue available as a A$1,500 option, with the new Stealth Grey costing $2,300 and new Ultra Red first seen on the Model S, priced at $2,600. This replaces the previous multi-coat red option.


    Ultrasonics are no longer with the new design, following Tesla’s move to leverage computer vision for detecting distances to objects.

    Gone are the fog lights, but the redesigned headlights are now LED Matrix lights that should provide all the brightness you need at night.

    When it comes to wheels, Tesla offers new aero-efficient 18’’ Photon Wheels or 19’’ Nova Wheels, an $1,800 option.

    We still have a default black interior, with an option for a black/white combo priced at A$1,800.

    Optimized for aerodynamics with sharper body lines and aero-optimized surfaces to reduce drag, improve wind noise and increase range. Bold new lights transform Model 3.

    Wing-shaped headlights with integrated fog lamps set a new design benchmark while improving night driving safety. Unlike its predecessor, the new taillight is designed into one piece, and integrated into the liftgate to improve fit. 

    The T logo at the rear.. is now T E S L A lettering.


    Internally, there’s a major change to the interior of the Model 3. There’s new ventilated seats, better audio, a better screen, new wheel, new console a new rear display, there’s so much new here, it’s almost a new car.

    As much as 50% of the part count of the Model 3 changed with this refresh.

    The interior now features softer, more sophisticated materials, a response to criticism it didn’t feel premium enough. Tesla says they are executing with a new level of precision.

    The centre console has been re-designed to offer more versatility, space and convenience for driver and passenger. There’s now a bi-direction sliding cover, one of the storage bin and one over the cup holders. I’m not sure I’d use the cup holder cover personally, but I would certainly use the new 65W USB-C port in the console that can charge a laptop. Problem is, there’s not really a great place to stow a laptop, I had hoped Tesla made space in the door storage for one, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

    The cabin is quieter than ever thanks to 360˚ acoustic glass technology, increased suspension bushings, improved seals and the addition of sound-dampening materials. 

    Ambient Lighting has been introduced to the upgraded Model 3. The customisable lighting allows you to select from over 200 different colour combinations – adding another layer of personalisation and fun to the in-car experience. This is implemented in a way that runs the full wide of the cabin, running through the doors, and under the front windscreen. It’s a nice touch, although would be interesting to see if it’s too bright at night.

    Like the Model S/X, the Model 3 now gets a rear 8” touchscreen for passengers. This means those in the back row can access climate controls and entertainment from the rear seats. This exciting addition highlights Tesla’s commitment to creating innovative products while elevating the overall in-car experience.

    The rear seats are now a little more reclined, making it more comfortable for passengers.

    While it looks the same at a distance, the front 15” touchscreen has improved brightness and responsiveness with customisable UI that gets better over time with Tesla’s over-the-air updates. The way it attaches to the dash appears to have changed, but there has been no confirmation of rotation at this stage.

    Perhaps the most driver-centric change is the remastered steering wheel, offering an uncluttered driving experience. The Model 3 now also adopts Smart Shift from the Model S/X which automatically selects the correct driving direction to start your trip. If you’re parked nose to a wall, the car would know you’ll need to reverse and automatically select it for you.

    You can override by swiping up on the screen. On the Model S/X they offer a larger screen which affords more space for the Smart Shift channel, so I’ll be keen to see how this impacts the UI when active.

    The functions typically offered by stalks are replaced with on-wheel controls including both haptic switches and physical buttons. 

    The passenger air vents can now be disabled which means if you’re driving solo, you’re not wasting power cooling people who aren’t there.

    There’s also a change to the door sill in the Tesla Model 3 highland.. not sure what the black section is.. almost looks like a button.

    With the change to the website, Australia’s only option for a new Tesla this year is the Model Y. It is likely we’re about to reach a new sales record for EVs and Tesla in August, but no additional Model 3s (outside those in the channel) leaves all the heavy lifting to Model Y for the remainder of the year.

    Jason Cartwright
    Jason Cartwright
    Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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