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Model S or Model 3

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  • Model S or Model 3

    I know, I know, this is a completely superfluous question and that the WCI would tell me to just buy a 5000 dollar car and spend this money on an experience, but I can't shake the Tesla urge. My current car has over 140k miles on it and it's probably got another year of consistent use on it. I've driven the Model 3 and loved it. However, the Model S has a nicer interior and seems like a slightly nicer ride. For those that have either owned both or have a lot of experience with both, is the Model S really worth the extra 30k? Should I just buy the Model 3 and dump that extra money into my taxable account. I don't know many people in my area with either, so I will gain my wisdom from the forum.

    Just to pre-empt the questions, I will save >20% of gross pay for retirement this year, am funding my kids 529s and am putting extra payments own my mortgage which is approximately 0.6x my annual salary.

  • #2
    I want an S. But 3 is probably the play.


    • #3
      How about lightly used S? Should be some deals?


      • #4
        Which one do YOU like better? Get that one.


        • #5
          Where is the best marketplace for used Teslas? I'm in a 2011 Subaru Forester with 130K miles.  I have 7 years left on my home debt and plan to get a Tesla of some sort when I've made my final mortgage payment.


          • #6
            Still driving my beater as well. When it dies tempted to get used S or new 3. But will probably buy a crappy Toyota/Honda since I always want my wife with kids to have the nicer car.


            • #7
              Model 3 looks so ugly. And it has this awkward screen sticking out. I would rather have a used Model S than a new mode 3.


              • #8
                I actually like the styling of the 3 better. And definitely like the smaller size.


                • #9
                  To each their own -- 3 is definitely a spartan interior.  Comfortable and utilitarian.  Not going to win styling awards, but that wasn't the goal either.

                  S is the flagship and lux sports segment -- totally different cars.   Just ask yourself what are the comps you'd drive not Tesla?  That's your answer as far as the car goes.

                  BUT if you're getting into a Tesla because of the tech - that's a whole different answer depending on what you're into and have to be a little more careful on choice.

                  Straight driving fun?  3 AWD-P.  You won't be sorry......or just wait a year for the S-Plaid --- and $60k more.


                  • #10
                    I drive an X performance and my dad drives a model 3 mid range. I agree with above that 3 looks ugly. But, remember if you get a a 3 you’re getting a newer battery technology meaning faster charging at the super charger as well as probably more longevity. You also get federal and state tax incentives on the new model. I personally don’t like the S coming from the X. No automatic doors, not even front door pockets. For family, kids, nothing beats the X. Prices have come down significantly on used X models so I urge you to take a look at that as well.


                    • #11
                      Go to and use their advice on which used model s to buy.

                      I'd easily pick a used S over a model 3. The 3 is ugly. Or just buy the new S!

                      Im hoping tesla redesigns their interior due to the Porsche, but since Porsche totally blew it with their pricing and lack of specs, I'm no longer hopeful.


                      • #12

                        Model 3 looks so ugly. And it has this awkward screen sticking out. I would rather have a used Model S than a new mode 3.
                        Click to expand...

                        I like the styling of the model 3 compared to some of the other cars, especially the newer Toyota and Lexus with their ugly front grilles. Anyway, after 3 days who looks at a car other than how it drives and how reliable it is.

                        As to the screen, I was also in the same boat and now I like the clean look with one screen with all controls. My Acura has tons of useless displays and touchscreens for AC, direction of vents, fan speed, seat heating and so on that it is difficult to do anything while driving. And the entertainment system is also a pain. The navigation is useless and after 2 years they want you to buy a CD with updated maps. On the model 3 the speed, drive, state of charge, range navigation are all on the main screen. And audio and other features are just one touch away. Many of the functions like wipers and lights are automated well and I leave it in that position.

                        I have become a minimalist.


                        • #13
                          The plight of the tesla buyer.

                          Model S is too old and overdue for refresh/replacement.

                          Model 3 is too econobox.


                          • #14
                            I know someone who has owned both an S and a 3.  He said the 3 is the "most fun" car he has ever owned.


                            • #15
                              test drive the S as well and see what you like. I have the dual motor model 3 and love mine. it's so much fun to drive. it really comes down to personal preference and what you need out of the car.