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

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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Danny Tan

Danny Tan loves driving as much as he loves a certain herbal meat soup, and sweet engine music as much as drum beats. He has been in the auto industry since 2006, previously filling the pages of two motoring magazines before joining this website. Enjoys detailing the experience more than the technical details.

 

Comments

  • Gallardo Owner on Nov 25, 2023 at 8:49 am

    0-100 km/h in 4.4 secs. Gonna replace my current ride..

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 19
  • PitStop on Nov 25, 2023 at 9:21 am

    Tesla cars are great and far ahead in terms of EV technology, but too far behind in terms as a car manufacturer. Panel gaps, sub-standard interior assembly are some of the issues that keep plaguing them.

    With the vast choices of EV sold here, Tesla have the benefit of their current sales model, thus the lower pricing compared to other EV.

    Still, there are first time EV buyers who want a smooth transition between using conventional car to EV. Tesla lack of buttons,switches,and all command baked into that one large screen maybe off-putting for prospective buyers.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 33
    • Matti on Nov 25, 2023 at 11:55 am

      They’re actually worse than you think;
      https://www.autoevolution.com/news/tesla-model-3-is-the-car-that-failed-the-most-in-germany-s-mandatory-vehicle-inspection-224595.html

      Also read tons of stories where Teslas get a lot more rattles as the car ages. This is why I take all their claims about improved ride quality with a huge pinch of salt. When new everything will feel nice. What matters is how it holds up 3 years down the line. I’ve rented a Model Y overseas that was horrible in that regard.

      Technology wise they’re great (as long as you can live with spyware), but in terms of build they still have a long way to go. Perceived quality is not the same as actual manufacturing integrity.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 7
  • ROTI CANAI on Nov 25, 2023 at 10:42 am

    dei, test la tesla vision how horrible or useful it is

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 4
  • t333son on Nov 25, 2023 at 2:27 pm

    perfect car for ones who like to syiok sendiri racing fr traffic light to traffic light (burning tyre & money)… whilst sitting Infront of a telly under the sun trying not to indicate left or right because it is high IQ territory .. must admit the perk of having nice parking spaces in shopping malls…. (until the day when too many Tesla’s start hogging the same space during public holidays)

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 5
  • EV Car Mafia on Nov 25, 2023 at 4:31 pm

    The center console is quite terrifying. if someone damages the center console intentionally, you are doomed and I suppose the only option is towing the car. *Andry Wifie !! lol. Have they done any crash tests? how safe is his car in an accident?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 6
    • Boh tah ceh on Nov 26, 2023 at 12:46 am

      Sour grape

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 8
    • tesla salesman on Nov 26, 2023 at 3:42 pm

      there is a gear selector on the roof if the screen fail and the model 3 has been in production since 2017 and has 5 star euroncap and was awarded iihs top safety pick plus for its safety performance so yes the car is safe.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 14
 

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