You have to watch the video to see what this is all about.

New Tesla Model 3 Highland Is Worlds Better Than My 2019 Tesla Model 3

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David Havasi and I both have 2019 Tesla Model 3s. He’s got a Long Range one and I’ve got a Standard Range Plus (SR+). We recently went to our local Tesla store and tested out the new Tesla Model 3 Highland. (Side note: David set up this store, and this whole region, when he worked at Tesla — between 2012 and 2019.)

The overarching takeaway: the new Model 3 is faaaaaaaaaaaar better than ours are. The biggest differences are in the suspension and sound insulation, which were clear issues with the Tesla Model 3 in its early years. Frankly, it’s something we couldn’t capture on video, but the degree to which the new “Highland” Model 3 is much smoother and quieter to drive is shocking. It’s worlds better than ours in those regards. I didn’t consider for a second upgrading before this test drive, but my goodness, it sure is tempting now! (But I’m still likely to just rough it out and save my money.)

Perhaps the difference isn’t as dramatic compared to a 2021 or 2022 Tesla Model 3. I don’t know. But compared to a 2019 Tesla Model 3, it’s like a whole different class of vehicle.

New Tesla Model 3 Highland. Photo by Kyle Field | CleanTechnica.

Funny enough, when I got home from our test drive and went in to edit articles on CleanTechnica, one of the first things I saw were photos of a grey Tesla Model 3 Highland like the one David and I test drove. It confused me for a split second, but it turned out Kyle Field had also just test driven the new Model 3 and uploaded pictures to our media library. When I went through his first-impressions review of the upgraded Model 3, I was heartened and felt vindicated to see that he had the same impressions! He even basically said some of the exact same things we said during our test drive (watch the video).

“Having owned a 2018 Tesla Model 3 for 4 years, the new Tesla Model 3 is a fully refined version of its predecessor from top to bottom. It is clearly from the same family but brings an entirely new level of luxury, refinement, and power to the game, and all that at a lower price point. Let’s jump in,” Kyle said. “The wide array of small improvements make the updated Model 3 feel like it’s actually a luxury vehicle for the very first time,” he added later in the article. David and I fully agree.

In fact, David and I tested out the suspension and sound insulation quite a bit, including taking the car off-road temporarily and driving over some very bumpy materials and dips in the road. Unfortunately, we couldn’t capture how much different the experience would be in our cars, but we can assure you it was dramatic enough that it truly shocked us.

New Tesla Model 3 Highland. Photo by Kyle Field | CleanTechnica.

In terms of the interior, there are also now ventilated seats (yay!), a better center console and wireless phone mount, a screen in the back for the kids to watch movies or shows on a road trip, play video games, or at least control the air conditioning in a fun way.

Then there’s the lack of stalks. Frankly, I figured I would hate this, but I found it much easier than anticipated and could see myself quickly getting used to it. The extra space is quite nice, too. However, I do worry about the screen getting laggy or acting up and then not having a way to change between Park, Drive, Reverse, and Neutral — so I’d still rather buy a car with stalks for that. The turn signal buttons on the steering wheel are in an extremely easy place, though, and are actually easier and quicker to control than on a normal car. You just have to rewire your muscle memory and will find yourself moving to adjust ghost stalks in the meantime.

Also, for the time being at least, the touchscreen is much more responsive — much less laggy — than it is in my Model 3. Unfortunately, I don’t really recall how responsive mine was 4½ years ago when it was brand new, but it has definitely degraded to some extent over since then. How much better the new Tesla Model 3 touchscreen will hold up and stay pleasantly responsive, I don’t know. Maybe some computer experts reading this could provide some commentary and help with expectations on that.

There are several other little design differences David and I discuss in the video. Watch it if you haven’t yet!

Is it worth the money to upgrade? Well, that demands on how much money is worth to you and how much you appreciate these upgrades. Your mileage may vary.


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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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