Model 3 vs Model Y: Which Tesla Is Better?
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Few electric cars available today, new or used, combine style and cutting-edge technology like a Tesla.
The Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are particularly popular in the EV market. And it's easy to understand why.
Both models offer many features that cater to a variety of lifestyles. From long-distance performance to lower fuel costs, simple maintenance, and a luxurious interior, the Model 3 and Model Y have it all.
However, as similar as both cars are, there are key differences that may make one model a better fit for you than the other.
In this piece, we'll review the differences between the Model 3 and the Model Y in terms of performance, price, design, and range. You can then use that information to make your choice with confidence.
After you've decided on which of these models would suit you, contact us about our used car specials to own a Tesla at a low cost.
Model 3 vs Model Y: specs
How do the Model Y and Model 3 prices compare?
As the most economical car in Tesla's portfolio, the Model 3 beats the Model Y right off the bat in the price category. That said, brand-new Model 3s and Model Ys are still pricey enough to be termed “luxury” cars.
Despite this, neither model is prohibitively expensive when compared to other options in the EV market, either foreign or domestic.
Please keep in mind, though, that the costs are estimates, as prices will vary depending on the Model Y or Model 3's year and variant. The same applies for used Tesla prices.
Here's a breakdown of the costs:
Off the line, the Model 3 costs an average of between $44,630 and $55,630, before taxes and Tesla service options.
On the used car market, the resale value of the Model 3 can range from $20,000 to $41,000, depending on the vehicle's mileage, battery health, and overall condition.
The Tesla Model Y, on the other hand, costs between $52,990 and $66,000 brand-new, excluding taxes and other Tesla services. With no options, the Model Y’s resale value ranges between $41,000 and $56,000.
In general, the Tesla Model Y and Model 3 have roughly the same maintenance costs — which isn't much given how minimal the maintenance requirements for these EVs. Say goodbye to tune-ups, oil changes, and belt replacements, among other things.
However, if you have to replace your tires, this will likely cost more in the Model Y than the Model 3 due to its larger wheels.
The high-ticket item for Teslas are battery replacements — especially without Tesla insurance. This cost can range anywhere between $10,000 and $20,000 — which isn't surprising, given that battery power is a major consideration for EV owners.
Not to worry, though. Teslas come with a 100,000–150,000-mile coverage guarantee as well as a minimum of 70% battery capacity retention during this time. Also, the chance that you'll ever need to replace your Tesla's battery during its lifetime is slim.
What about the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y designs?
At first glance, the Tesla Model Y and Model 3 appear very similar. Upon close inspection, however, a few differences are revealed.
First off, the Model 3 is a sedan with a flatter hood and a lower center of gravity. This gives it a sportier and sleeker profile than the Model Y — better suited to city driving.
Early Model 3s have a distinct chrome trim on the front fender, side camera, and door handles.
2018 Tesla Model 3 Long Range (from $47,350)
The Model Y, on the other hand, features a hatchback design, albeit with taller doors, and an egg-like shape similar to Tesla's larger SUV, the Model X. It rides higher and has more clearance, making it ideal for doing things that an SUV would normally do.
Unlike the Model 3, both earlier and later Model Ys have a dark trim theme.
The only flaw in the Model Y's exterior design is that it doesn't include a trunk cover. Fortunately, its dark tint does provide some cargo privacy.
And what the Model Y lacks in a cover for its trunk area, it makes up for in size — with 36 cubic feet of rear trunk space to spare. The Model 3, by comparison, has only 15 cubic feet of space. Both cars have additional storage space where the engine in a traditional vehicle would normally be.
These models' interior layouts share a similar design with slight variations in the overall theme. Some notable design elements of both include the following:
- Advanced UV protection
- An all-glass roof that covers the cabin ceiling
- A low-slung dashboard with no gauge cluster to obstruct the driver's view of the road
- A 15-inch touchscreen display that shows vehicle control options and driving data or can be used as an entertainment center
- Multi-zone climate control
So, what are the interior design differences between the Tesla Model 3 vs Model Y?
The Model 3 can only accommodate five adults (three in the back seats and two in the front).
The Model Y, on the other hand, has more legroom and headroom in its seven-seater cabin. The tall roof, wide-opening doors, and low step-over height make it easier to get in and out.
So if you need to transport more people, the Model Y is the way to go.
The only other significant difference between the two vehicles' interiors is that the Model Y has a fold-flat back seat and a power liftgate, whereas the Model 3 doesn't.
Comparing on-road performance: the Model Y vs Model 3
Teslas are known for being fast, and both the Model Y and Model 3 live up to the hype. Still, its the battery range variants that determine performance.
For example, the Model 3 Performance and Long Range variants have battery ranges (on a single charge) of 315 and 358 miles, respectively. The Standard Range Model 3 only delivers 272 miles.
The Model Y's Performance model, on the other hand, can travel 303 miles on a single charge, and the Long Range model can travel 330 miles. This difference is due to the models' respective battery sizes. The larger the battery, the greater the range.
Speaking of battery power, Model 3s offer a battery capacity of between 50 kWh and 82 kWh, depending on the model option. The Model Y, on the other hand, has a battery capacity of 75 kWh in both its Performance and Long Range options.
The battery in the Model 3 recharges faster than the battery in the Model Y. Tesla claims a charge time of only 15 minutes (for a range of 175 miles) for the Model 3 and 162 miles in the same amount of time for the Model Y.
The Model 3 is the faster car of the two, averaging 0–60 mph in just 4.4 seconds. In comparison, the Model Y delivers an average of 0–60 in 5.0 seconds. We can attribute the Model Y's slower acceleration to its extra weight.
However, at slower speeds, both of these EVs are easy to drive.
Overall, the Model 3 is a joy to drive thanks to its responsive and intuitive steering, strong off-the-line performance, and nimble handling.
The Model Y's steering and handling are also impressive. Despite its heavier weight, the steering feels light, and the vehicle responds quickly. There's also very little body roll with this model, which is unusual for an SUV.
Seasoned EV drivers will appreciate these vehicles' adjustable regenerative braking that allows you to drive almost exclusively using just the accelerator pedal.
Best buy: the Model 3 or the Model Y?
In the perennial “Model Y vs Model 3” battle, your Tesla choice should depend on what you expect from your EV.
In other words, there is no “wrong” choice — but there is a right choice for you. So consider all these vehicles have to offer:
- The Model 3 easily wins in terms of performance and range, but it comes at the expense of interior space.
- So, if performance is your thing and you don't need the additional trunk space, the Model 3 is the vehicle to consider.
On the other hand:
- The Model Y has a factory option to include a tow hitch, which means it can haul up to 3,500 pounds, increasing its utility.
- So, if you have a large family who would benefit from an SUV's larger size, the Model Y may be the better choice for you.
Regardless of which model you choose, your Tesla experience is sure to be a great one!
If you're ready to experience the power of a Tesla, contact us today! Our expert team is here to help you find the perfect used Model 3 or Model Y for your driving needs.
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All prices are based on vehicle availability and pricing as of
April 20, 2023
Pricing shown is not guaranteed and does not include taxes or other product fees.