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Initial Views of the Tesla Model 3 Highland: Exterior and Interior Analysis

Though it has garnered a lot of attention—including our own—the Tesla Cybertruck isn’t the company’s most significant recent release. Additionally, Tesla unveiled the first major update to its revolutionary model 3 highland automobile last year. I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with one at the Chicago Auto Show; it’s known as the Highland. Some of the largest modifications are only to the outside and interior, which is covered here, even though I didn’t get a chance to drive it.

There’s not a lot of information available on the Model 3’s body. The front fascia has undergone significant modification, with new headlights and a bumper. Instead of the cleft nose that has been seen on the 3 and Y for years, the Highland receives a much more typical, straightened out nose. Along with losing their boomerang design, the headlights now have sharp tiny corners at each end. It’s far less noticeable than before, but it also feels more attractive; if anything, it’s a lateral move. C-shaped taillights are another minor change to the tail. In terms of design, they’re a little more intriguing, but they’re also very simple to overlook.

Now it’s time to enter. The interior of the tesla highland can be seen by simultaneously pulling and pressing the flush door handles, which unmistakably resembles that of its predecessor. But after a little while, you begin to notice the changes, which are really pretty pleasant. The ambient light strip that extends from one door panel, circles the dash, goes to the base of the windshield, and then returns to the other door panel is the most obvious alteration. It reminds me of a similar arcing Jaguar XJ trim item that was discontinued. Additionally, the lighting is customizable. Instead of being a boring shelf, it all gives the dash some much-needed visual flair. This is most likely the best use of Tesla’s unwaveringly simple interior design to date.

Strangely enough, though, Tesla doesn’t appear to be carrying the wood grain dash trim anymore. Instead, they’ve chosen a panel covered with fabric. It’s very cool, and we always enjoy seeing upholstered panels in other vehicles, especially when they have interesting textiles. However, the removal of the wood grain option is a little disheartening because it added a much-needed touch of coziness to Tesla’s otherwise chilly design.

The steering wheel is another modification made to the Model 3 Highland. Tesla has eschewed stalks in favor of steering wheel buttons for features like turn signals. We love buttons, but not for turn signals. Disregarding the fact that turn signal stalks are automatic; their benefit is that they stay in one place while rotating the wheel. You’re always aware of their location. The turn-signal buttons on the Highland, on the other hand, move continuously. We also discussed this with the Cybertruck, although that’s less of a problem because of fast-ratio steer-by-wire, which reduces the likelihood of repeatedly turning the wheel over and allows you to probably keep your hands in the same location most of the time. It’s basically a dumb choice made in the name of minimalism—which is really a cost-cutting measure—that makes little to no difference to that concept. To be fair, they also don’t make sense in a lot of different Ferraris.

The rest of the interior, while still having its ups and downs, is essentially unchanged. There are some amazing views from the driver’s seat. There is amazing visibility forward. An incredible view out is made possible by the narrow pillars, door sills, low hood, and dash. The unusually elevated seating posture supports it. For those in front, there is an abundance of room in all directions, and the chairs are fairly supportive and have many of adjustment options. However, because to the design of the thumbwheel controls that are used to alter the steering wheel position, there is still an unpleasant lack of fine adjustment.

A mixed bag is the large 15.4-inch touchscreen located in the center of the dash. It’s a great screen with outstanding response time and brightness. It’s vital that this screen is so good because it manages everything, including instruments. It does have fixed shortcuts at the bottom. Having driven a Model 3 previously, I can tell you that the center screen’s instruments are more useful than you might think. However, the Model 3’s continued lack of a head-up display remains a pain.

The Model 3’s rear seat is more of a drawback. Adults find sitting near to the floor uncomfortable since there isn’t enough room underneath the front seats for their feet to drop into. This causes the legs to become somewhat tucked in and elevated off the seat base. There’s not a lot of headroom either. It almost seems like you need the glass roof back there to make it suitable for adults. However, the seats themselves are fairly comfy, with good support and padding, if you can get into the back seats.

Another peculiar feature of the Highland is its new 8-inch rear touchscreen. This is another excellent screen that gives rear passengers control over the infotainment, entertainment, and climate systems. It even allows you to play various mobile games. But it’s mounted very low and is rather modest for entertainment purposes. It would be awkward to look at for extended periods of time, and adults would need to bend quite a bit to get at it. Given that turn signal stalks were removed for cost and minimalism, it’s funny that Tesla included a second screen even if its functionality is limited and passengers can amuse themselves with their phones.

The Model 3 retains much of the same cargo capacity but adds a trunk and a frunk. There are a good 21 cubic feet in the trunk. Conversely, the car’s frunk is smaller than what one might assume from the outside. Since it only has 3.1 cubic feet, you should probably use it for little items like emergency supplies and charging connections rather than using it for ordinary luggage.

Acoustic glass, a better sound system, increased range, blind-spot detection, and other improvements have also been introduced to the Model 3 by Highland makeover. We go into greater detail about that in our narrative of the original reveal. It appears that the suspension has been adjusted for increased sportiness. But without getting behind the wheel, we are unable to inform you of the impact of that. Furthermore, as you may be aware, Tesla does not lend press cars for testing. That will therefore need to wait until we are able to rent or borrow a Highland Model 3. We would love to talk to you and maybe work something out if you have one and are ready to let us try it. We pledge not to violate it.

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