Tesla tends to play by their own rules, and one of the mainstream automaker rules they’ve been quite good at ignoring is the rule about regular, even frequent styling updates. We cool kids in the biz tend to call these “facelifts” or “mid-cycle refreshes” and it’s when a carmaker makes some minor tweaks, usually to easily swappable parts like bumper skins and lighting equipment, to update the look of their cars. Tesla has only really done this in a significant way once so far, when the Model S got a new face in 2016. There’s been minor tweaks since then, but that’s the major one. Now it looks like the lower-priced and Tesla best-seller Model 3 is getting a chance for a new face, the first real visual update since the car was released in 2017.
The re-designed Model 3 was spotted during testing, and photos taken with a car cover pulled back, revealing the front end of the car. These pictures, shared by a redditor named ffiarpg, showed up on Reddit forms and via tweets:
Looks like the first leaked photo of the redesigned Project Highland Tesla Model 3.— Drive Tesla ???????? (@DriveTeslaca) April 13, 2023
The one new, subtle design feature on this car that makes us know it’s real is the side repeater that flows into the door, as seen on the Highland Model 3 spotted by @klwtts. The current side… pic.twitter.com/3jW8ExB7IB
The “Project Highland” mentioned there refers to the term Tesla has been using for a re-vamped Model 3. The major changes seem to be to the headlamp units, front bumper skin, front fenders, and side mirrors, which do add up to a quite different look for the front end:
There’s also some evidence of cost-cutting going on, too. There are no longer separate foglamp units in the bumper – it’s possible the new headlamp units will incorporate them – and ultrasonic sensors look to be gone, too. The hood sheetmetal appears unchanged, but the fenders will need to be new to accommodate the new headlamp shape. Based on the cutlines, I think the bumper skin section is now larger than before, saving perhaps on some fender aluminum, and I can’t see a front-mounted camera anywhere.
The side camera/indicator repeater unit on the front fender looks to have been relocated a bit and redesigned as well.
Overall, I think the new front end looks pretty good, quite clean and sleek, though I’ll admit I always did like the Model 3’s face because it reminded me of what a modernized version of a Renault Floride may have looked like:
You see it, don’t you? Of course you do.
Based on the camouflage seen on other test cars, the rear end will likely be updated as well, though that has yet to be uncovered. Speaking of uncovered, all the squished bugs on the face of this car do suggest it had been driving without camo, which is interesting.
An interior update of some kind is likely as well; there’s no actual pictures of that yet, but I wouldn’t be surprised. Tesla, of course, never talks to any press about anything, and they likely wouldn’t even comment if they did, so while this seems a likely Model 3 facelift, we can’t say for absolute certain.
Anyway, Renault, you’re now clear to make a modern Floride, I suppose.
- Here Are All The Things We Do To Not Get Sued Out Of Existence: Tales From The Slack
- Ford Will Now Sell You A Basic F-150 With A 700 Horsepower Supercharged V8 And A Warranty
- Here’s Why The Rare Mauck MSV 1120S Is The Supercar Of Buses
- It Turns Out You Can Still Buy Brand New Rad Kaminari Body Kits From The ’80s And ’90s
Looks more like a modernized Renault Caravelle.
Tesla’s “refresh” is about as convincing as a middle school student pointing out that he made edits to punctuation on an essay and it is now “revised” completely. The lack of teacher joy is equivalent to my emotions here with a Tesla.
It looks fine; I’m not mad at it. I think I prefer it to the current design.
Honestly, I’m just glad they didn’t try to use any Cybertruck design language on the refresh.
It definitely looks promising.
Actually the part i’m most curious about is whether the front still looks awkwardly low.Like it’s squashed into the road.
I only started noticing this about a year ago and now cant unsee it.
It looks a lot sleeker, less cutesy than the current model. I like it. Hoping they will add a heads up display, i don’t like not having instruments in front of me.
Maybe it’s because I’ve only seen a handful of Model 3s in real life, not ever needing to drive during rush hour and being in Alaska or rural New England, but I like old one better. I always like larger headlights because they look like bigger, friendlier eyes, and don’t like the narrowed angrier eyes of the modern slit design.
I agree, I like the old cutesy look better. Just like the prior generation of Fiat 500! I’ve got a 2018 Model 3 in suburban New England, and wow, it’s shocking that you don’t see many Model 3/Y regardless of where you live! I can see another Model Y out the window and there’s another Model Y just out of view, and an S and X just down the street. I see a couple every time I leave the house, basically
Honestly, this is more like how I always thought the Model 3 should have looked in the first place, always thought the ghostly grille shape was an awkward touch
I think it looks good… a bit of an improvement over the existing one. Seems that Tesla is taking the ‘Porsche-evolutionary’ approach to styling updates.
But no doubt the anti-Tesla crowd are gonna react like Jeremy Clarkson reacted to an updated 911:
Tesla’s head start is over. Other than the Supercharger network, they have very little over the legacy MFGs who are coming to steal their lunch.
They had the right product but stopped with serious product development.
Judging by their sales I don’t think Tesla’s too worried yet about anyone stealing their lunch. Tesla is still the 900 pound gorilla in the EV room.
They dropping prices every other day, they are very worried.
This is it?
Needs more red accent stripes.
Those cost $8 a month.