Cars

Published on August 6th, 2017 | by Zachary Shahan

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Tesla Model 3 vs 22 Competitors (The Straight Specs)

August 6th, 2017 by  



Now that we have several official specs for the Tesla Model 3, I wanted to do a thorough update of how the Model 3 competes against comparably priced offerings from BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Toyota, Acura, and Jaguar. Last week, I commented at length about subjective features of the Model 3 that I think will make it a much more attractive offer for drivers and passengers — openness, torque, serenity, and 21st century controls. I honestly think these are the core factors (along with the convenience of home charging) that will lead to the Model 3 dominating its market segment. However, I know many people just want to see the numbers and I am sometimes in search of specific numbers for various comparisons, so this article is primarily aimed at providing several key specs across a few variations of the Model 3, the Tesla Model S, and 22 gas-powered competitors.

Following the tables are summaries about where the Model 3 stands in each of the core categories. I’m not mentioning the Model S in those summaries since it’s clearly in a very different class, but I’m including the Model S in the table since I know plenty of people have been debating whether to get a new Tesla Model 3 or a used Tesla Model S and that also gives us some useful context if we are familiar with the Model S from real-world experience.

Since I know people have different viewing preferences, I’m giving you two table options below — an image with a color scale for some of the categories and two text tables with no color scale (the text tables have to be split into two to fit in the column). Enjoy!

Price (without Extra Features) Price After US Federal Tax Credit 0–60 mph Cargo Space (cu. ft.) Length (in.) Width, w/ Mirrors (in.) Fuel Economy (City/Highway MPG)
Tesla Model 3 Standard $35,000 $27,500 5.6 15 185 82 Insane
Tesla Model 3 Long Range $44,000 $36,500 5.1 15 185 82 126 MPGe
Audi A3 $31,000 $31,000 6.6 12 175.5 77 24 / 31
Audi A3 e-tron $39,000 $34,400 7.6 14 170 77 83 MPGe or 34 MPG (combined)
Audi A4 $35,000 $35,000 6.1–7.1 13 186 80 24 / 31
Audi A5 $43,000 $43,000 5.7 12 182 80 22 / 32
Lexus ES $39,000 $39,000 7.1 15 193 72 21 / 30
Lexus ES Hybrid $42,000 $42,000 8.1 12 193 72 40 / 39
Lexus IS $38,000 $38,000 6.9 11 184 80 19 / 26
Toyota Camry XLE $28,450 $28,450 7.9 15 191 72 28 / 39
Mercedes C300 $39,500 $39,500 6 13 184.5 80 23 / 29
Mercedes C350e $46,050 $35,000 5.8 12 184.5 80 51 MPGe or 30 MPG (combined)
BMW 230i Coupe $33,150 $33,150 5.3 14 185 78 23 / 36
BMW M240i Coupe $44,450 $44,450 4.4 14 185 78 20 / 30
BMW 330e $44,100 $40,099 5.9 13 183 80 71 MPGe or 30 MPG (combined)
BMW 320i $33,450 $33,450 7.1 13 179 80 23 / 35
BMW 328d Sedan $40,250 $40,250 7.4 13 179 80 32 / 45
BMW 330i $38,750 $38,750 5.5 13 179 80 23 / 34
BMW 340i $47,900 $47,900 4.8 13 179 80 21 / 32
BMW 430i $43,300 $43,300 5.5 16 183 79 23 / 34
BMW 440i $49,700 $49,700 4.8 16 183 79 21 / 32
Acura ILX $28,850 $28,850 6.6 12 182 71 25 / 35
Acura TLX $33,000 $33,000 6.9 14 191 73 24 / 35
Jaguar XE $35,725 $35,725 6 16 184 82 21 / 30
Tesla Model S $69,500 $62,000 4.3 30 196 86 97 MPGe / 100 MPGe
Price (without Extra Features) Price After US Federal Tax Credit Headroom Front / Rear (inches) Leg Room Front / Rear (inches) Shoulder Room Front / Rear (inches)
Tesla Model 3 Standard $35,000 $27,500 39.6 / 37.7 42.7 / 35.2 56.3 / 54.0
Tesla Model 3 w/ Premium Package $40,000 $32,500 40.3 / 37.7 42.7 / 35.2 56.3 / 54.0
Audi A3 $31,000 $31,000 40.3 / 37.7 42.0 / 35.1 55.1 / 55.1
Audi A3 e-tron $39,000 $34,400 36.9 / 37.5 41.2 / 35.4 54.8 / 52.9
Audi A4 $35,000 $35,000 38.9 / 37.4 41.3 / 35.7 55.9 / 54.5
Audi A5 $43,000 $43,000 37.5 / 36.0 41.3 / 31.7 54.3 / 52.8
Lexus ES $39,000 $39,000 37.5 / 36.9 41.9 / 40.0 57.6 / 55.0
Lexus ES Hybrid $42,000 $42,000 37.5 / 37.5 41.9 / 40.0 57.6 / 55.0
Lexus IS $38,000 $38,000 38.2 / 36.9 44.8 / 32.2 55.9 / 53.4
Toyota Camry XLE $28,450 $28,450 38.8 / 38.1 41.6 / 38.9 58.0 / 56.6
Mercedes C300 $39,500 $39,500 37.1 / 36.9 41.7 / 33.4 54.7 / 55.0
Mercedes C350e $46,050 $35,000 37.1 / 37.1 41.7 / 35.2 N/A
BMW 230i Coupe $33,150 $33,150 40.1 / 36.5 41.5 / 33.0 54.4 / 53.4
BMW M240i Coupe $44,450 $44,450 40.1 / 36.5 41.5 / 33.0 54.4 / 53.4
BMW 330e $44,100 $40,099 40.3 / 37.7 42.0 / 35.1 55.1 / 55.1
BMW 320i $33,450 $33,450 40.3 / 37.7 42.0 / 35.1 55.1 / 55.1
BMW 328d Sedan $40,250 $40,250 40.3 / 37.7 42.0 / 35.1 55.1 / 55.1
BMW 330i $38,750 $38,750 40.3 / 37.7 42.0 / 35.1 55.1 / 55.1
BMW 340i $47,900 $47,900 40.3 / 37.7 42.0 / 35.1 55.1 / 55.1
BMW 430i $43,300 $43,300 39.9 / 36.9 42.2 / 33.7 54.8 / 54.3
BMW 440i $49,700 $49,700 39.9 / 36.9 42.2 / 33.7 54.8 / 54.3
Acura ILX $28,850 $28,850 38.0 / 35.9 42.3 / 34.0 55.6 / 53.5
Acura TLX $33,000 $33,000 37.2 / 36.7 42.6 / 34.5 57.5 / 55.4
Jaguar XE $35,725 $35,725 38.2 / 37.3 41.5 / 35.0 56.8 / 54.7
Tesla Model S $69,500 $62,000 38.8 / 35.3 42.7 / 35.4 57.7 / 55.0

Update: The width of the Tesla Model S originally posted here was with mirrors folded. It has now been updated.

Price: After the US federal tax credit, the Model 3 is cheaper than any other car on this list. Frankly, if that means the Model 3 could legitimately be compared to plenty of cheaper cars if you are eligible for that tax credit. There are also state and city incentives available. Furthermore, there are often fuel savings and maintenance/service savings that come with electric cars, which could just further broaden the Model 3 competitor list, depending on your situation.

Also note that some features of the base Model 3 are not available in base models of many of these other vehicles. For example, you have to get various BMW packages to get keyless entry (part of the Premium Package), rear-view camera (part of the Driver Assistance Package), and speed limit info (part of the Driver Assistance Plus Package). Of course, the Tesla Model 3 has a Premium Package you have to pay $5,000 more for in order to get certain features, but I think all of these features are typically an extra cost (no matter the brand or model). In other words, the base Model 3 seems to have more features than these competitors’ base models.

0–60 mph: As far as acceleration — an extremely important metric for some people and a negligible metric for others — the $44,000 Tesla Model 3 Long Range (5.1 seconds to 60 mph) is only beat by a few more expensive BMW options — the $44,450 BMW M240i Coupe (4.4 seconds to 60 mph), the $47,900 BMW 340i (4.8 seconds to 60 mph), and the $49,700 BMW 440i (4.8 seconds to 60 mph). However, to repeat a point that should be obvious to anyone who has driven an electric car, the Model 3 will probably still feel quicker because of its instant torque. Also, you lose leg and shoulder room in the BMW options compared to the Model 3 options, and you have to pay extra if you want keyless entry, a rear-facing camera, and speed limit info in one of those BMW models.

Compared to the base Model 3 (Tesla Model 3 Standard), in addition to the models above, the cars that are quicker to 60 mph are the $33,150 BMW 230i Coupe (5.3 seconds to 60 mph), $38,750 BMW 330i (5.5 seconds to 60 mph), and $43,300 BMW 430i (5.5 seconds to 60 mph). The same notes mentioned above apply again for these models vs the Model 3 Standard.

Cargo space: When it comes to cargo space, it seems that the only models here that have more space than a Standard or Long Range Model 3 are the $43,300 BMW 430i, $49,700 BMW 440i, and $35,725 Jaguar XE, each of which edge out the Model 3 with 16 cu. ft. of cargo storage capacity instead of 15 cu. ft.

Head room: With the Premium Package (which includes the glass roof), no other car on this list beats the Tesla Model 3’s front head room, and only the Toyota Camry XLE beats its back head room (by 0.4 inches).

If you’re familiar with the Tesla Model S, note that the Model 3 actually beats the Model S in head room, even without the glass roof.

Leg room: In the front seats, only the Lexus IS beats the Model 3 (with a sort of insane 44.8 inches of leg room), but that model cuts rear leg room significantly (to 32.2 inches compared to the Model 3’s 35.2 inches, which seems like a super odd tradeoff.

As far as rear leg room, the Model 3 (35.2 inches) is barely behind by the Audi A3 e-tron (35.4 inches) and Audi A4 (35.7 inches), but it is handily defeated by the Lexus ES & ES Hybrid (40 inches) and Toyota Camry XLE (38.9 inches).

Shoulder room: The above-mentioned Lexus and Toyota models again have a couple of inches on the Tesla Model 3 when it comes to shoulder room. (By the way, these models are extremely slow compared to the Model 3 — reminding us again that these purchasing decisions are about tradeoffs and depend on the unique values of each individual buyer.)

Aside from those models, the Jaguar XE and Acura TLX have half and inch and an inch, respectively, on the Model 3 in the front seats.

Again, the purchasing decisions of car buyers are based on a large number of factors that vary quite a lot based on individual use, needs, desires, and purchasing power. Our preferences here are largely subjective. Nonetheless, acceleration, interior space, exterior dimensions, and price are common matters of interest for people.

All of the numbers aside, though, two of the most important factors for many buyers are generally the look of the exterior and the feel of the interior. I’ll repeat one more time that I think the openness, torque, serenity, and 21st century controls of the Model 3 are some of the factors that make the Model 3 such a better consumer option than other cars in its class. Additionally, I think the exterior styling is stunning and will attract the love of a huge portion of the public.

The zero emissions benefit is clearly something that some of us care a tremendous amount about as well, but that’s still a niche segment of our society, imho. Additionally, only the Model 3 includes hardware that will one day allow for fully autonomous transport (and will presumably be able to use a Tesla app to operate as a robotaxi and make the owner money). That’s a pretty big factor for many buyers.

Survey results from our new EV report. Responses came from over 2,000 EV drivers across 26 European countries, 49 of 50 US states, and 9 Canadian provinces. Responses were segmented according to region — North America vs Europe — and type of electric car — plug-in hybrid vs Tesla vs non-Tesla fully electric car.

Last but not least, safety is a critical matter for many people. Tesla highlighted during the final Model 3 reveal that the Model 3 would be the safest car in its class, and Elon showed a quick clip of the Model 3 side-pole collision impact test compared to the Volvo s60 side-pole collision test. He indicated that the Model 3 would easily surpass the Volvo S60 as the safest car in this price range. Have a watch to make your own judgement:

Related:

Our Tractor Keeps Shaking Violently … & Has A Sore Throat

4 Highlights From Motor Trend’s Tesla Model 3 Test Drive

Tesla Model 3 Minimalism vs Buttons & Stuff

20 Gasmobiles Tesla Model 3 Will Body Slam

Tesla Model 3 Review From EV Annex (Exclusive Video Interview & Review)





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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.



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