Model 3 or Model Y? How to Decide Which Affordable Tesla EV Is Right for You

  • Based in Los Angeles, Warren Clarke loves providing readers with the information they need to make smart automotive choices. He's provided content for outlets such as Carfax,, Credit Karma and the New York Daily News.

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By leading the way when it comes to driving range, Tesla’s electric vehicles (EVs) have turned zero-emissions transportation in a practical choice for a wider group of car shoppers. And the brand’s modish, minimalist take on design has made its products lust objects for car lovers who appreciate fresh styling.

Early Tesla best-sellers weren’t exactly priced for the masses. The brand’s first big hit was the Model S, and it has a base price of over 70 grand. Tesla followed this success with the launch of the Model X, a crossover that starts at over $80,000.

After the Model X, Tesla introduced the Model 3 sedan, and it has a much more accessible price tag than the brand’s previous two vehicles. The same is true of the latest addition to the Tesla family, the Model Y crossover.

This means if you’re an EV lover who’s looking for reasonably priced transportation, you now have two Tesla models to consider: the Model 3 and Model Y. Which of these two is an ideal match for you?  To help you make an informed selection, we’ll take a look at how these EVs measure up in certain crucial areas.


With a base price of $35,000, the Tesla Model 3 sedan is slightly more affordable than the Model Y crossover. (Tesla)

Price is a key consideration for many car shoppers, and accessible pricing is the factor that separates the Model 3 and Model Y from other vehicles in the Tesla stable.

With the Model 3’s initial rollout, the base version – which has the most affordable price tag in the range – wasn’t available. Recently, that version has been offered for purchase, and it starts at $35,000.

The Model Y crossover has a slightly more expensive starting price. Base model is $39,000.

Passenger Capacity

Since it seats up to seven passengers, the Model Y is a better match for car shoppers who need maximum passenger capacity.

Are you single, or do you have mouths to feed (and chauffeur)? The answer to this question will likely inform your needs when it comes to the passenger capacity of your next vehicle purchase.

All Tesla Model 3 sedans seat five. Those who need a bit more room may want to consider the Model Y. Though this crossover comes with standard five-passenger seating, an optional third row boosts passenger capacity to seven.

Cargo Space

Need lots of room for your stuff? The Tesla Model & provides up to 66 cubic feet of cargo space.


A vehicle’s cargo capacity can make all the difference in the world on road trips or drives to the airport.

Relative to other compact sedans, the Model 3 offers a respectable amount of cargo space. Including both its rear cargo hold and its front trunk, this Tesla provides 15 cubic feet of room for your stuff. Keep in mind, though, that since this space is divided between two areas, the Model 3 may not accommodate larger items as easily as some rival sedans.

There’s a lot more cargo room available in the Model Y. This crossover provides up to 66 cubic feet of cargo capacity.

Driving Range

With its standard battery, the Model 3 can travel for up to 220 miles between charges.

Tesla has almost single-handedly changed consumer expectations regarding EVs and driving range. As with other models the Tesla lineup, the Model 3 and Model Y can travel long distances between charges.

With the standard battery, the Model 3 has a driving range of 220 miles. Tesla claims that the Model 3 can travel for 325 miles between charges when equipped with the most highest-capacity battery offered.

The Model Y offers 230 miles of range with its standard battery. Driving range jumps to 300 miles with the top battery option.

Delivery Time

Delivery for the Model 3 sedan can take anywhere from two to eight weeks.


Tesla buyers know a thing or two about patience. In the past, there have been long wait times between vehicle purchase and delivery.

For Model 3 sedans equipped with the standard battery, delivery will take two to eight weeks after signing on the dotted line. All other Model 3 sedans are delivered within two weeks of purchase.

Deliveries are expected to begin in early 2021 for Model Y crossovers with the standard battery. All other Model Y variants begin deliveries in fall of 2020.

Bottom Line

The most significant differences between the Model 3 and Model Y concern cargo space and passenger capacity. Also, the Model 3 sedan currently has much shorter delivery times than Tesla’s latest crossover.

Keep these points in mind when deciding which of these two Tesla EVs is the right choice for you.

About the Author

  • Based in Los Angeles, Warren Clarke loves providing readers with the information they need to make smart automotive choices. He's provided content for outlets such as Carfax,, Credit Karma and the New York Daily News.

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