Tesla Model Y or Model 3 propulsion: which model to choose?

The launch of Model Y propulsion in France is relaunching reflections on the choice faced by the Model 3, Tesla’s two most affordable models. Which one takes advantage of the different criteria? In other words: the price, the efficiency, the habitability, the comfort, the style…

Tesla has just placed orders in France for the Model Y propulsion. At the same time, it dethrones the Model 3 as the cheapest electric car in the Tesla range. This pricing positioning is relatively unexpected. It puts the choice between Model 3 and the entry-level Model Y into perspective.

We put ourselves in the shoes of a buyer when faced with this choice. We have elaborated the pros and cons of each of the candidates on various criteria.

The Model Y vs Model 3 Price: The Sinews of War

If we’re targeting the entry-level model, it’s usually for its price. Launching the Model Y propulsion at €49,990 against €53,490 for the equivalent Model 3, there is no doubt that the Model Y takes the lead.

It’s not all that simple, however, because small price differences have crept into the model’s customizations. The gap can therefore be reduced as per your wishes.

In addition to white, which is standard on both models, there are differences in the additional cost of some body colors. For the Model 3, all colors cost €1,190. On the other hand, in the Model Y configurator, just the “smooth black” paintwork is €1,190, the other colors are €2,100.

It’s the same observation on the wheel selection side. Model 3 offers 18-inch wheels as standard and an optional 19-inch version for €1,190. For the Model Y, the standard rims are 19-inch, and if you want the optional 20-inch rims, they’re €2,100.

The other customizations are the same price: tow hook, interior color, advanced autopilot, etc.

Tesla Model Y and Tesla Model 3 // Source: Louise Audry for Numerama

About efficiency and autonomy: the Model 3 dominates

If you’re worried about your budget, efficiency is an important consideration. The more you drive, the more energy you spend recharging your car. There are too few cases where electricity is free to be able to base reflection on this principle.

Buying a cheaper but more expensive car than a slightly more expensive car only gives you a financial advantage for a limited period of time. This is also valid for all vehicles, thermal and electric. That’s why companies think above all about the “cost of use” and not just the “cost of acquisition”.

In terms of efficiency and autonomy, Model 3 dominates:

  • Model 3: range from 491 to 510 km – average consumption of 14.9 kWh/100 km (WLTP standards)
  • Model Y: range from 430 to 455 km – average consumption of 15.7 kWh/100 km (WLTP standards)

Inevitably, a sedan will have an aerodynamic advantage over an SUV.

On livability and storage: Model Y takes the lead

At this point, unfortunately, there aren’t many arguments for flying to the Model 3’s rescue. With its trunk and interior space, the Model Y SUV necessarily does better. The sedan has no weapons to fight with.

Model Y can reach up to 2,158 liters of load capacity. For a vehicle that is often family oriented, this is a definite plus.

Model Y – Space for rear passengers // Source: Raphaelle Baut for Numerama

For comfort: it’s harder to cut

The criteria become a little more subjective. As far as comfort goes, especially when driving, we want to put the Model 3 ahead of the Model Y. It’s a question of how the suspensions feel, especially on rougher roads. But as far as vehicle accessibility goes, getting in and out of it, it’s the Model Y that does best. It will always take a little more contortion to get into the sedan than into the SUV.

A tie is declared, but if you’re 30 or 60, you can tip the scales one way or the other.

By style: a tie so as not to offend anyone?

Since the Model 3 and Model Y are very similar, it is difficult to decide between them in the overall appearance of the exterior design, let alone the interior. The match will primarily pit sedan advocates against SUV enthusiasts. In the Numerama newsroom, we have a slight preference in the match between sedans and electric SUVs.

For the sake of fairness, we will say tie and ball in the center.

Tesla Model 3 (2022)
Tesla Model 3 (2022) // Source: Maxime Claudel for Numerama

Match results: no choice is really obvious

There is no really striking difference in the comparison between the two vehicles. The Model Y will generally be acclaimed by families with children, for very practical aspects: its trunk and its accessibility. For those more sensitive to performance and efficiency, the Model 3 sedan will be the most suitable solution.

match summary :

  • Price: slight advantage of Model Y (except in certain configurations)
  • Efficiency: Advantage of Model 3
  • Habitability: Model Y Advantage
  • Comfort: very small advantage Model Y (for the practical side)
  • style: draw

At the moment, Tesla Model Ys, like the Model 3, are produced in China. If production of this version of the Model Y starts at Tesla’s factory in Berlin, it would bring an added advantage to this model.

Maybe it’s time to receive your vehicle that can also guide your choice. At time T, there is a better chance of getting a Model Y propulsion before a Model 3. This is still an argument in your favor, but delivery times can change quickly. Meanwhile, for the final choice, the ball is in your court.

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