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Car news, 24 Apr ’24: facelifted Tesla Model 3 Performance priced, BYD confirms Shark ute name, and more

Olek Novak

Every important car news story breaking today, one convenient read

Thanks for joining us this Wednesday April 24th 2024. Notably in car news today: the Tesla Model 3 Performance has been revealed and priced for Australia, and BYD has confirmed its ute will indeed be called ‘Shark’.

Browse this issue:

Facelifted Tesla Model 3 Performance revealed and priced for Australia

The updated Tesla Model 3 Performance will be cheaper than its predecessor
  • Tesla overnight revealed a facelifted and upgraded version of its Model 3 Performance electric sports sedan with more power, bucket seats, aesthetic changes to reflect the standard Model 3’s recent ‘Highland’ mid-life update, and a sticker price of $80,900 before on-road costs – $2500 cheaper than its pre-update iteration.

  • The US EV specialist broke from tradition by providing at least a general guideline as to the power on offer: “more than 500 horsepower (373kW)”, generating a US-market 0-60mph (96km/h) time of 2.9 seconds.

  • That should translate into a 0-100km/h time of around 3.0 seconds flat, while a Track Mode allows the driver to customise regen braking, front-rear balance and stability control to their liking, echoing a similar mode in the Hyundai Ioniq 5 N.

  • New adaptive dampers make their debut in the Model 3 Performance – a suspension uplift over the standard passive (but frequency-selective) dampers in the regular models.

  • The previous Model 3 Performance was not differentiated from Long Range models outside, but the new version gets its own front and rear diffusers and an exclusive wheel design. Inside, performance sports seats are now fitted.

BYD confirms its ute will be called the Shark

2024 BYD ute, Credit:
This is our best look yet at an uncovered version of the BYD ute
  • Chinese automaker BYD has confirmed that its first ute will be called the Shark, following on with other ocean series names such as the Seal sedan, Seagull hatch and the Dolphin small car. 
  • While the Ford Ranger and Toyota Hilux rival has not yet been officially revealed, the confirmation of the name comes as anticipation grows for the much-hyped new vehicle.
  • To be launched as a plug-in hybrid first, with a full-electric version to follow later on, the Shark has been spied extensively in recent months in camouflaged form, and also more recently completely undisguised. 
  • It’s possible the Shark – a crucially important vehicle for the Chinese brand as it continues to expand in Australia – could be officially unveiled in full at the upcoming Beijing Motor Show which opens on April 25th, with the pickup expected to launch locally in Australia before the end of 2024. 

Next-generation Honda Accord price revealed 

Honda’s 11th-generation Accord launches next month with a $64,900 driveaway price tag
  • Honda’s 11th-generation Accord will cost $64,900 driveaway when it launches in Australia next month.
  • The price is a $3000 increase over the outgoing 10th-generation model which retailed for $61,900 driveaway, and also puts the new Accord in Tesla Model 3 territory.
  • Launching exclusively with hybrid power, the new Accord will be available in a sole e:HEV RS grade which is likely to share the same powertrain as the CR-V midsize SUV’s e:HEV powertrain that makes for 135kW/335Nm.
  • The new Accord will debut in a long-declining midsize sedan segment in Australia dominated by the Toyota Camry, with the Accord shifting only 144 units locally compared to 7808 for the brand’s highest-selling vehicle, the midsize CR-V SUV.

Audi A3 35 TFSI 2024 reviewed

  • Chasing Cars deputy editor Curt Dupriez’s video review of the 2024 Audi A3 35 TFSI sedan was published, taking an in-depth look at one of the more pragmatic Audis that you can buy. 
  • Dupriez noted that the small sedan measured up favorably against competitors like the Mercedes-Benz A200 and BMW 220i Gran Coupe, however he questioned its overall effectiveness at delivering a genuine premium experience when viewed in isolation.

  • Perhaps controversially, Dupriez found that the Toyota Corolla ZR sedan would make a decent rival for this car – significantly cheaper, equally and potentially more substantially packed with features, and delivering a significantly more compelling and fuel-efficient hybrid system.
  • Overall, Dupreiz found that the 35 TFSI sedan was still a pleasant car to drive, with sound dynamics. Ultimately, however, he found that the higher-spec 40 TFSI Quattro could be the better and more “premium” buy, as well as noting that it may be worth waiting to see what changes a soon to debut facelift on the nameplate will bring

WATCH: Audi A3 35 TFSi Sedan 2024 video review

Skoda Octavia RS wagon reviewed

  • Chasing Cars journalist Olek Novak’s review of the 2024 Skoda Octavia RS wagon was published, revisiting the well-regarded fourth-generation vehicle before an incoming facelifted version debuts later this year. 
  • Novak found that the RS wagon – which was crowned Chasing Cars 2022 Car of the Year – still delivers a compelling all-round proposition, noting its dual ability to deliver strong performance credentials on a spirited drive, but also perform strongly as a daily family runabout.

  • While Novak’s sentiments were positive, he also covered off all the changes we can expect to see in the facelifted model – which includes more power and tech – and whether the updated version would be worth the wait for buyers. 
  • As well as this, Novak noted the ever-diminishing segment the Octavia RS wagon operates in – applauding the fact that the vehicle continues to fly the flag for a segment which many other automakers have long since abandoned. 

WATCH: Skoda Octavia RS wagon 2024 video review 

The next issue of Car News Today will be published on Friday 26th April at 4.30pm Sydney time.