2021 Refreshed Model 3: All Changes, Outlined

Jan 13, 2021   

Tesla has made the most changes to Model 3 for 2021 that it’s made to the vehicle since it was introduced in 2017. The list of what Tesla has uncharacteristically done for the 2021 model year is quite comprehensive:

Aesthetically, the most obvious difference is the chrome delete that makes the 2021 Model 3 stand out from previous generations of Tesla’s mass-market sedan. All of the chrome on the vehicle, including the door handles, has a dark coating that brings its design language in-line with Model Y. Tesla carries the chrome delete to the door sills, which are now a black plastic.

The Aero wheels are sleeker, with a cover that’s more difficult to remove. We find this to be a positive change since the Aero covers tended to pop off with enough impact, or even in some rare cases be stolen off of the vehicle.

Tesla made the frunk smaller to accommodate the new heat pump, which improves range and efficiency. It also takes less force to close the hood. The heat pump system is significantly more efficient than the previously-utilized resistive system at heating the battery as well as the cabin.

The windows have a new double pane glass that’s designed to reduce road noise, based on customer complaints. Meanwhile, the trunk has improved weather stripping and a redesigned gasket that prevents leakage. Additionally, the trunk can open and close automatically.

Later this year Tesla is planning to update the headlights with an improved design that has been introduced in Europe and Asia.

Model 3’s center console has been redesigned with a matte finish and a new opening mechanism, along with wireless charging support for two smartphones. Furthermore USB-C has replaced all of the USB-A ports in the vehicle. Updated stitching makes it more stylish.

To our surprise Tesla now includes a USB drive in the glovebox that’s pre-formatted and setup for Sentry Mode.

There are new metal scroll wheels on the steering wheel that feel more premium.

The seat controls now have a new graphite design that looks more high-quality.

A new magnetic sun visor clip taken from Model Y is also a welcome change.

There’s now a graphic on the door release buttons that indicates that the button is intended to open the door, rather than an ambiguous line.

A heated steering wheel is included, although the software doesn’t yet support enabling it.

The 2170 battery cells used on the 2021 Model 3 are slightly more energy-dense, with a total capacity of 82kWh on the Long Range models compared to 78kWh prior. The improvements to the battery pack and efficiency enables a range of 353 miles, an improvement of 31 miles.

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