Tesla Owners Share Their First Model 3 Highland Impressions, and Two Things Stick Out

Tesla Model 3 Highland has no stalks 7 photos
Photo: @TeslaNieuws_ via X
Tesla Model 3 Highland in the NetherlandsTesla Model 3 Highland in the NetherlandsTesla Model 3 Highland in the NetherlandsTesla Model 3 Highland in BelgiumTesla Model 3 Highland in BelgiumTesla Model 3 Highland in Belgium
Tesla started deliveries of the refreshed Model 3 in October, and the first owners who got their new toys are ready to share their impressions. Although many praise the new design and improvements, two things stick out like sore thumbs when asked what they hate the most about the Model 3 Highland.
Tesla Model 3 Highland has already been delivered to customers in Europe, Asia, and Australia, although it's still unavailable in North America. The revamped model brought many improvements, starting with the design, which looks more focused and exciting. It also features a new cabin that brings two significant changes: a second screen for the rear passengers and the stalkless cockpit. As I've predicted, the missing stalks will not win many European fans, although the Americans are more likely to embrace it.

Tesla first removed the stalks from the Model S and Model X when it launched the refreshed models in 2021. It also fitted a yoke instead of a classic steering wheel. Faced with backlash, the EV maker first offered the steering wheel as a retrofit, then as an option, and later made it the default. Unfortunately, it didn't budge on the stalkless design despite many arguing that steering wheel buttons are impractical.

This is less of a problem for North American owners because most roads are straight or intersect at a straight angle. It's a different story in Europe, where big and small roundabouts are everywhere. Until now, the Model S and Model X have been sold in very limited numbers in Europe, so many people haven't used the stalkless design. However, the Model 3 is a mass-market EV, and its missing stalks are likely to annoy a lot more people.

Even before the deliveries started, the first Europeans who test-drove the Highland model as prospective buyers complained about this flaw. One Dutch considered that the lack of the indicator stalk is "annoying in city driving and an absolute nightmare on roundabouts." Many replied to his post on Reddit, saying people would get used to the buttons on the steering wheel. Some even considered the buttons superior because you don't have to take your hands off the wheel to touch them. Instead, you must take your eyes off the road to find them.

Tesla Model 3 Highland in Belgium
Photo: @TeslaNieuws_ via X
Only those who don't have to navigate roundabouts all the time are OK with the stalkless cockpit. Things are now even more obvious, as the first owners have already spent time (and miles) driving their new Model 3s. One shared their impressions after driving the Highland about 2,000 kilometers (about 1,250 miles). This might seem too little, but it's about as much as the average European drives in a month.

Reddit user Yaenne loves their Tesla and, having driven other older Model 3s in the past, appreciates the improvements in the new model. Chief among them are the suspension and sound isolation, which make the new model more upscale than the one it replaces. Still, Yaenne hates the stalkless design and the Tesla Vision, which they consider "useless."

"I live in a country with loads of roundabouts. In those situations, the blinkers are really inconvenient. The first exit is usually no problem as you have to indicate anyway before entering the roundabout. Exiting at 270 degrees (usually the third exit) is a nightmare. I am starting to get used to it, but you have your steering wheel upside down, so you have to do some mental gymnastics to hit the right button. I have, on multiple occasions, hit the wrong one, which kind of sucks."

Other Model 3 Highland owners admitted they have the same issues with the new design. Some said that they resigned themselves and became "Tesla assholes" by not engaging the blinkers when exiting the roundabouts. Another owner called Tesla removing the stalks "the dumbest decision they've made."

With Tesla Vision, owners are more at ease, although they don't find it normal for a 40,000-euro car. Some owners experimented with sticking tape on the wall of their garages, which they claim makes Tesla Vision better estimate distance than a white wall. You learn new life hacks all the time, but Tesla should not force its customers to do that.
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About the author: Cristian Agatie
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After his childhood dream of becoming a "tractor operator" didn't pan out, Cristian turned to journalism, first in print and later moving to online media. His top interests are electric vehicles and new energy solutions.
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