Independent, Expert EV Reviews & Advice Since 2006

Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive 2024 Review

The Tesla Model 3 has been updated for 2024 and Green Car Guide has lived with one of only a few pre-production right-hand drive Model 3s that exist on the planet. So how was it to drive, with the complete elimination of stalks on the steering column for indicators, wipers and gear selector?

  • Tesla Model 3 2024
  • Tesla Model 3 2024
  • Tesla Model 3 2024
  • Tesla Model 3 2024
  • Tesla Model 3 2024
  • Tesla Model 3 2024
  • Tesla Model 3 2024
  • Tesla Model 3 2024
  • Tesla Model 3 2024
  • Tesla Model 3 2024
  • Tesla Model 3 2024
Green Car Guide Rating: 9/10

Key stats

  • Model/Engine size:     Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive Standard Range 2024 Model Year
  • Fuel:     Electric
  • Electric Range (WLTP):     318 – 344 miles
  • Maximum ultra-rapid charging rate:    170 kW

Summary

  • Interior updates include the total removal of stalks on the steering column for indicators, wipers and gear selector
  • Overall driving experience, refinement and ride comfort improved
  • Minor exterior design tweaks
  • Model 3 drivers have access to the excellent Tesla Supercharger network

BACKGROUND

Here at Green Car Guide we get asked what we think about Tesla on a regular basis. Our answer usually starts with talking about Tesla coming along from nowhere and disrupting the established automotive industry, resulting in all other car manufacturers having to transition to electric cars. We’ve had the Tesla Roadster, the Model X, the Model S and the Model Y. But the Model 3 is probably the most important of the lot, because it’s the most affordable, and we need affordable electric cars. It’s six years since the first Model 3 rolled off the production line, and it’s now been updated for 2024, so what changes can you expect?

Tesla Model 3 2024

Tesla Model 3 2024

DESIGN & ENGINEERING

The headline news about the 2024 Model 3 is that Tesla has completely eliminated the stalks on the steering column for indicators, wipers and the gear selector. We’ll come back to that in a moment.

There are also other changes in the interior, which aim to make the car feel more premium, and which include higher quality materials, new seats, and an ambient lighting strip around the cabin. Rear passengers have their own 8-inch display screen with integrated climate control and entertainment.

There are also changes to the Model 3’s exterior, which are mainly intended to make the car even more aerodynamic (it now has a Cd factor of 0.219), and therefore extend its range, but there are only minor visual changes, such as new, slimmer headlights, and new tail lights. The wheels and tyres have also been redesigned, to improve aerodynamics, extend range, and reduce noise. To make the most of the quiet interior environment, there’s a Tesla-designed premium audio system.

The Model 3 is 4,720 mm long, with a boot rather than a hatchback, but the boot is 594 litres in size, which is large for this size of car, and there’s also an 88-litre front trunk. The Rear-Wheel Drive model has a 57.5 kWh battery and a 245 bhp electric motor (the Long Range version has a 75 kWh battery). The Model 3 has a towing capacity of 1,000kg.

Tesla Model 3 2024

Tesla Model 3 2024

TESLA MODEL 3 DRIVING EXPERIENCE

We tested the 2024 Model 3 on some of the best roads in Wales (ones without a 20 mph speed limit) and we can report that it’s fun to drive. There’s a relatively small steering wheel, and the steering is responsive to inputs. The rear-wheel drive chassis provides a rewarding driving experience, and there’s a decent amount of performance.

The big improvements with the 2024 Model 3 in terms of the driving experience are better ride comfort, thanks to changes to the suspension, and less road noise, thanks to a range of measures including acoustic glass, improved suspension bushes, seals and sound-dampening materials. These changes combined with the reasonably agile feel of the car mean that this is definitely an enjoyable car to drive on A and B roads, and life on the motorway is now much more ‘premium’.

You can also get a decent driving position thanks to the range of adjustment of the driver’s seat which, amazingly, is done by real physical controls on the seat, rather than a button on the touchscreen.

Which leads us on to… physical controls – or more specifically, the lack of them. The 2024 Model 3 has no indicator stalk. And no windscreen wiper stalk. And no gear selector stalk. So how do you indicate, remove rain from the windscreen, and change gear? Perhaps it wasn’t thought possible that these controls could be moved to the touchscreen, but that’s exactly what Tesla has done.

Let’s start with the gear selector. On the right-hand side of the central touchscreen there’s a vertical strip, with a graphic of a car in the middle of it. You push the car up to go forward. You push the car down to reverse. And there’s a Park button at the top. Getting rid of the physical gear selector sounds crazy, but pushing a car forwards on a screen to go forwards doesn’t actually sound as much of a crazy replacement idea as it should do.

What about indicators? There are two arrows on the left-hand spoke of the steering wheel – one facing left, one facing right. You press the left arrow to indicate left, and the right arrow to indicate right. Again, getting rid of a physical indicator stalk sounds like madness, but pushing a left arrow or a right arrow actually works OK. The exception to this rule is when you need to indicate when you’re turning the steering wheel, when it can get a bit confusing.

The windscreen wiper situation is dealt with by a windscreen wiper button on the steering wheel. This gives you an initial burst of the wipers, with water jets, and it also brings up some buttons on the touchscreen to allow you to choose the wiper speed.

Pressing the button for the lights on the steering wheel brings up light options on the touchscreen. If you need to flash your lights, you press the lights button once. If you need the lights on main beam, you press and hold the lights button.

So driving a car without a physical gear selector or stalks for indicators and wipers isn’t as weird as we thought.

However, there is one thing that we were hoping would be improved with the Model 3 update: the introduction of some driving information directly in front of the driver. But this hasn’t happened – there’s absolutely nothing in front of the driver apart from the steering wheel and the windscreen. So you’re left with all the car controls and car information on the touchscreen, which is in the centre of the car. This means that you have to look away from the road to the middle of the dashboard to view your speed, satnav directions, and everything else. Tesla may have come up with some bright, fresh ideas that are revolutionising the industry, but for driving information, you can’t beat cars such as the BMW i4, which shows a map and other important information such as your speed in the instrument display directly in front of the driver, and this information is also projected onto the windscreen via a head up display.

Of course there’s also lots of other information on the Model 3’s central 15.4-inch touchscreen, and most of it, including items such as the shortcut buttons, climate controls, volume controls and driving range, is very small.

The Model 3 has no drive modes, but you can adjust the acceleration (Chill or Standard) and steering (Comfort, Standard or Sport) as well as the level of brake regeneration. And of course if you want to adjust the position of the steering wheel or the mirrors, you do this using the touchscreen. Let’s just hope the touchscreen never breaks.

As is conventional with Tesla, you don’t need to unlock or start the Model 3, you just get in it, select gear (ie. move the car on the screen) and you’re off. Except that you don’t even need to move the car on the screen; the Model 3 can decide if you want to go forwards or backwards and drive off itself.

That leads us onto Tesla’s Autopilot system, which can drive the car for you on motorways, although from a legal point of view you need to rest your hands on the steering wheel. While you’re driving (or being driven), the touchscreen shows images of vehicles and other objects around the Model 3 to prove that it’s safe to drive itself.

Tesla Model 3 2024

Tesla Model 3 2024

TESLA MODEL 3 RANGE AND CHARGING

The Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive Standard Range 2024 Model Year has an official WLTP combined electric range of 344 miles if fitted with standard 18-inch wheels, or 318 miles with the optional 19-inch wheels (as per our test car, and these look better than the wheels with grey covers on the previous Model 3). During our time with the Model 3, in December, our real-world average was 252 miles – we would expect this to improve in summer.

The all-wheel drive Long Range Model 3 has an official WLTP combined electric range of 421 miles if fitted with standard 18-inch wheels, or 390 miles for the optional 19-inch wheels.

The rear-wheel drive Model 3 can DC charge at 170 kW, and the all-wheel drive Model 3 Long Range can ultra-rapid charge at 250 kW. Up to 175 miles of range can be added in just 15 minutes.

Driving a Tesla has one massive benefit – you’ve got access to the Tesla Supercharger network. While many non-Tesla EV drivers have been struggling to find available rapid and ultra-rapid chargers over recent years, Tesla drivers have been able to turn up at Superchargers, find lots of availability in the vast majority of cases, plug in, and start charging automatically at a reliable, ultra-rapid rate without any hassle with payments. Tesla’s Supercharger network makes a huge difference to the EV ownership experience if you regularly drive long distances around the UK.

There are 12,000+ Supercharger locations across Europe with competitive kWh costs, 99.95% uptime and trip-planner integration.

The Model 3 can AC charge at up to 11 kW.

How to charge an electric car

Tesla Model 3 2024

Tesla Model 3 2024

PRICE AND MODEL RANGE

The 2024 Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive Standard Range is priced at £39,990. Our test car featured the options of a new colour, Ultra Red Paint (£2,000), 19-inch Nova Wheels (£1,500) and Enhanced Autopilot (£3,400), taking the total price to £46,890.

The Model 3 Long Range, with a 0-60 mph time of 4.2 seconds, costs from £49,990.

Prices and specifications correct at time of review

Tesla Model 3 2024

Tesla Model 3 2024

Conclusion

The 2024 Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive Standard Range feels more premium than the previous model thanks to its improved ride quality and better insulation from road noise. The updated Model 3 is also a fun car to drive, with a good range, and being able to use the Tesla Supercharger network makes it really easy to charge quickly on long journeys.

If you love clutter-free car interiors, then you’ll no doubt be delighted by Tesla’s decision to remove the indicator stalk and instead add buttons on the steering wheel, and to remove the gear selector stalk and to instead put the gear selector on the touchscreen. We can live with both of those changes, but the one improvement that we’d like to see with the next Model 3 is key driving information in front of the driver rather than on the central touchscreen, so you can see critical information such as speed and directions without having to divert your eyes away from the road. The Model 3 is a good seller anyway, but we wonder if it would sell more in the UK with a more practical hatchback rather than a boot (acknowledging that if you want a hatchback you could opt for the Model Y SUV).

The 2024 Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive Standard Range gains a Green Car Guide rating of 9 out of 10.

Car facts and figures Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive 2024 Review

  • Test electric driving range: 252 miles (winter)
  • Consumption (WLTP): 212.5 Wh/mi
  • CO2 emissions (WLTP): 0 g/km
  • Vehicle tax rate (VED):    £0
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) company car tax liability (2023/24): 2%
  • Price:     £39,990
  • Insurance group:    48-50
  • Power:     245 bhp
  • Torque:     443 lb ft
  • Max speed:     125 mph
  • 0-60 mph:     5.8 seconds
  • Weight:     1,765 Kg
Paul Clarke

Review by:
Paul Clarke, GreenCarGuide Editor