Which Is the Best Tesla Model for You?

by Denis Gurskiy
Tesla Models Compared

All Teslas share a few similarities. Alongside their striking looks, they each receive a steady flow of over-the-air updates keeping them fresh and more advanced than their closest competitors. Each model (by far) holds the best-in-class electric range. For a while now, Tesla has been in a league of their own. As such, they can only be compared with one another. Let’s take a dive and see which Tesla is the best for you.

The Bachelor/Bachelorette

For those of you who are living a free lifestyle, your choice of Tesla will be just as free. With very little requirements, essentially any Tesla listed above will be suitable for you.

If you are into making an impression, then either a Model S or X might be the car for you as their impending size and price tags draw attention. Due to how long they have been produced, both of them have been the Teslas that many people associate with the brand. The Model X might be a tad overkill for a single person given its size, but for those who like to drive big cars, it’s certainly a good choice.

For those that don’t need their car to make a huge statement or maybe want to save their money for other things, like maybe a house, going with a Model 3 or Y could be the better option. While the 3 and Y might not make the same impression as the giant Faberge egg of a Model X, you will still get head nods from other Tesla owners and EV enthusiasts.

The Model 3 has been very popular for a reason and people have been trading anything from Honda Civics to BMW 3-series to get into the popular electric car. It has been outselling basically all of its German competition for years, so that must mean something. Given the Model Y shares over 70% of its parts with the Model 3, it is most likely just as good as the Model 3, but in a slightly larger package.

Verdict: The world is your oyster, pick whatever you want. I mean, maybe not the X, it’s kind of big for one person, but who am I to tell you what to do. Want something that makes more of a statement? Take the Model S/X. Looking to save your money on other nice things in life? Take the Model 3/Y.

The Family

For those that maybe have a kid or two, your choices aren’t really that much more limited.

It is now easier to justify going towards the Model X, but basically, any of the Tesla models will work. The 3, of course, will be the smallest and the most cramped of the four options, but plenty of people have car seats in cars of equal size or smaller, so I’m sure you will be able to make due.

The Model Y is once again a happy medium and will provide more than adequate space for a child or two in the back without committing to a much larger vehicle.

Verdict: As before, take your pick. It’s now easier to recommend going with the X, but the Y will probably be the most sensible option if you aren’t a Falcon Door-fanatic. The Model 3 will also work, but it will be the most cramped option.

The Larger Family

So what happens if you have more than two kids or frequently just travel with a lot of people? Well, now your options have been limited.

If you are planning to buy at Tesla at this very moment you only have one choice. The Model X is currently the only model that Tesla has with third-row seating. You can either have a 6-seat arrangement which makes the middle row have two captain chairs or a 7-seat arrangement that retains the bench seating in the middle row with two foldable seats in the back.

However, if you are patient, your options are a little more abundant. First off, the Model Y does have a 7-seat option, however, it will not be produced until 2021, so there is a bit of a wait. Given my kind of cramped experience sitting next to someone in a Model X’s third-row, I do not know how spacious the third-row of a Model Y will be and at what age you children may outgrow them. We, unfortunately, we will have to wait for the production version of the 7-seat Model Y to assess how much space is available. Tesla does claim that 7 adults will fit in the Model Y but at what comfort cost?

Surprisingly the Model X and Y are not your only option. With the Plaid powertrain version of the Model S looking to launch later this year, Tesla thought it would be a good time to bring back their 5+2 seating that was available in the older Model S. This seating arrangement will have the standard 5-seats but with an additional two rear-facing seats in the back. You give up the entirety of your trunk space when you do this, but it is an option, and you always have the frunk. Musk has stated that they will update the design to accommodate larger passengers better than the original seats but we have yet to see them. We do not yet know if the rear-facing seats will be an option of other none-Plaid Model S.

Verdict: Need it now? Model X. Can wait another year? You can add the Model Y or Model S to your list of considerations. Model 3? Only if you are okay with stuffing people in the trunk (please don’t).

The Bargain Hunter

This is probably the most subjective section of an already pretty subjective list. In our opinion the Model Y provides the best value of any currently available Tesla.

For most people, a range of 300 miles or more is already more than enough for most people’s daily driving, so the extra range allowed by the Model S/X are not the biggest of pros given the extra cost. The materials used in the Model S/X interior are not particularly more robust than what can be found in the 3 or Y, again, at least not for the price difference.

The numbers speak for themselves and the Model S/X are making up a smaller proportion of sales as time goes on andpeople see more value in the 3 and now Y. Elon Musk himself has stated that the S/X “are really of minor importance to our future”. They are both great cars, but when it comes to value, Tesla has beaten itself.

That now leaves the 3 and Y. Given that the Y is largely the same car as the 3, but with just more room, it’s easier to justify the Y because it provides a little more utility than the 3 does for a few extra thousand dollars.

Verdict: Model Y.

The Businessman

Needing a car for work can range from needing it for travel, lugging around goods, or simply wanting to make an impression. Regardless of you scenario, Tesla will have a car for you.

The Model S is arguably the best looking Tesla. It’ll certainly draw the attention of any potential clients and make you look like you mean serious business. It’s built for comfort, so great for those long business trips. Getting some laptop work done while supercharging is easy in the S’s spacious interior. But don’t expect too many work breaks, the Model S is fit with a ludicrous 391 miles of range.

The Model X sacrifices some range for an even larger interior. But forget the $7,500 rebate other EV’s offer, with the stated “hummer tax” you can save tens of thousands on a brand new Tesla Model X. In the right scenario, Tesla’s most expensive vehicle could actually come out as the most affordable. I’m no accountant nor am I qualified to speak on the situation but if you have a business, ask your accountant about Tax Code 179.

The upcoming Tesla Cybertruck could potentially be the best of all worlds. A utility vehicle designed for labor intensive work, a look that no one will forget, a spacious interior and range for comfort. We might just have to revise this verdict one day.

Verdict: While the Model S certainly strikes a pose, the Model X is comfortable for travel, great with storage, and comes with a nice tax break.

The Thrillseeker

Now to my favorite section, Performance. Each Tesla model has a performance version that will put cars many times your price weep in a race.

Make no mistake, whichever performance Tesla you get, you will smoke basically any other car in your class. But of course, not every one of these Tesla’s will have the same driving dynamics as some will handle better than others. It would just make sense that something more compact like a Model 3 would take a corner better than a lumbering Model X.

Tesla Performance Models Compared

Once again, if you have more than two kids and want to smoke some tire too, your choice is limited to the Model X Performance. If you can wait a year you can go with the Performance Model Y 7-seater or opt for the absolute bonkers Plaid Model S which will feature their new tri-motor setup and will be the most powerful Tesla made to date. But you probably shouldn’t be tracking your car with your kids in the backseat.

If you are only interested in having drag races, then the Model S should be your choice as it has the fastest acceleration of the bunch. With Tesla’s newest launch control update incorporating a “Cheetah Stance,” your Model S will be ready to pounce on essentially any stock car short of a Porsche 918 or Dodge Demon. Who knows, the upcoming Plaid model might even beat those.

For those that actually plan to take their Tesla onto the track, or maybe just want the Tesla that takes corners the best, the company has already pointed its finger at the car for you, the Performance Model 3. It is the only Tesla model that comes with a Track Mode, which focuses on providing optimum performance in a track scenario such as increased regenerative braking and increased corning power. A recent update to the system also allows you to use the Autopilot cameras to record your lap along with analytic data showing your speed and g-forces. Additionally, it is the only model that Tesla has made a Track Package for, which includes the following track day gear:

  • 4 x 20″ X 9″ Zero-G Performance wheels
  • 4 x Tesla logo center caps
  • 20 x Lug nut covers
  • 4 x 245/35ZR20 XL Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires
  • 4 x tire pressure sensors
  • 1 x front and rear high-performance brake pads
  • 1 x brake fluid replacement

The Model 3’s small sedan body style lends itself well to better handling than the other models Tesla offers, at least until the Roadster comes out.

Verdict: Lots of kids/need space, need now? Performance Model X. Lots of kids/need space, can wait? Consider Performance Model Y or Plaid Model S. Just need something for the straight line? Model S. Will take on track or sharp corners? Performance Model 3.

Still undecided? Take our quick Tesla Quiz to see which model best fits your situation.

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