REVIEW: Tesla Model 3 Highland facelift in Malaysia – superb EV and great value, it’s better but not perfect

This is the reference point for EVs, and that’s unfortunate for all the other carmakers selling EVs in Malaysia. Their plans were sound, and so were their electric cars, but many playing in the RM150k to RM300k range woke up to find their products become ‘poor value’ overnight, next to the Tesla Model Y and the Model 3 you see here.

It’s not fair, because a good EV is not exclusive to Tesla (research and test all before committing to one), but Elon Musk’s car company has strong branding and a direct sales model that doesn’t require a local partner or dealers. After the first salvo that was the Model Y, the Model 3 ‘Highland’ facelift upped the ante with more appealing looks, newer tech and an even lower price.

The Model 3 facelift is offered here in two variants, the Standard Range rear-wheel-drive priced from RM189,000, and the Long Range all-wheel-drive priced from RM218,000. It’s the latter that Hafriz Shah reviews in the video below.

The Model 3 Long Range AWD gets a dual-motor powertrain as well as a larger capacity battery, enabling a WLTP-rated range of 629 km, compared to 513 km range for the Standard Range. The LR can also be recharged at a higher DC rate of up to 250 kW, whereas the SR takes in 170 kW max. Both versions have a top speed of 201 km/h, but the dual-motor LR is much faster from 0-100 km/h – 4.4 seconds versus 6.1.

For me, more important than the blistering performance is the much improved looks of the Highland. Small changes, big effect. This is a facelift that’s immediately recognisable, with slimmer headlamps, more prominent LED DRLs and a revised rear end with new tail lamps. The Pearl White tester sits on 19-inch alloys, which look perfectly sized.

Inside, a new steering wheel houses the indicator signal controls in place of stalks, while the transmission is now controlled via the touchscreen; a physical set of gear selector buttons on the front of the ceiling serve as backup controls. Did they really have to reinvent the wheel in this manner? The main touchscreen itself is now brighter and faster responding, and rear occupants now get an 8.0-inch unit at the back of the centre console.

REVIEW: Tesla Model 3 Highland facelift in Malaysia – superb EV and great value, it’s better but not perfect

The Model 3 is very well-equipped, with ventilated seats and a 17-speaker sound system with dual amplifiers and dual subwoofers, up from 14 speakers on the pre-facelift. The SR RWD gets a nine-speaker, single-amplifier set up. As for driver aids, all Malaysian-spec Model 3s come with Autopilot as standard, though this can be upgraded to Enhanced Autopilot for RM16,000, or Full Self-Driving for RM32,000.

So, is the Model 3 facelift the best EV you can buy for around RM200k? “It’s a superb electric sedan. It’s far more comfortable and refined than the previous version, with a higher quality interior too. But, it’s far from perfect,” our man says. For the full review and verdict, watch the video above.

GALLERY: 2024 Tesla Model 3 Highland Long Range AWD

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Tags: Tesla Model 3 Highland

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