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The Ultimate Tesla Showdown: Tesla Model 3 vs. Tesla Model Y

If you’re in the market for a Tesla right now, the decision just got a bit tougher. Sure, if you’d like a fancier option, you could always go pick a Model S or Model X. But most car buyers out there looking for a Tesla are deciding between the Model 3 or Model Y.

Originally published on EV Annex.

If you’re in the market for a Tesla right now, the decision just got a bit tougher. Sure, if you’d like a fancier option, you could always go pick a Model S or Model X. But most car buyers out there looking for a Tesla are deciding between the Model 3 or Model Y.

Without a doubt, the Model 3 has been a runaway hit. Even better, Tesla just reduced its price. So, why go with Y? The team at Motor Trend recently looked at both vehicles in order to determine which Tesla is tops on their list.

When it comes to looks, Motor Trend‘s Alan Lau admits, “[Model Y] looks like a chubbier Model 3, which makes it a little cute to my eyes.” He also likes the chrome-delete look on the Model Y. In addition, “Following its darker trim theme, the Model Y also comes standard with darker (way darker) rear windows and rear windshield than those on Model 3,” notes Lau.

Inside the Teslas, both vehicle interiors are fairly similar. However, “The Model Y comes standard with a wireless charging pad in the phone docking area,” says Lau. This can be purchased as an aftermarket accessory for Model 3, but it’s not standard (yet). In addition, “Model Y is the first Tesla that makes the switch to a USB-C port. There is one USB-C and one USB-A for the front and two USB-C ports for the rear. Currently, the Model 3 comes with only USB-A ports.”

Motor Trend’s Miguel Cortina goes inside the Model Y in order to provide his thoughts on the interior (YouTube: MotorTrend Channel)

“In terms of roominess, the Model 3 and Model Y both are about the same in the front. The second row is where you see a noticeable difference. The Model Y has 1.7 inches more headroom and a vast 5.3 inches of legroom compared to the Model 3,” says Lau. Spaciousness is clearly more evident in the trunk, “the Model 3 has 15 cubic feet of trunk space, while the Model Y can swallow 68 cubes of total cargo space.” In short, “The Model Y can hold more stuff than the Model 3.”

Okay … so what about driving? According to Motor Trend, “It seems Tesla had the intention to tune the Model Y to drive as agile as the Model 3, like a sedan instead of an SUV. The two vehicles’ acceleration also share a close resemblance. And given that they share the same powertrain, you get the same instantaneous Tesla experience in day-to-day driving.”

A hot lap in the Tesla Model 3 Performance with Motor Trend’s Randy Pobst (YouTube: Tire Rack)

So, which Tesla is better? Lau says, “if Track mode is a must-have for you, the Model 3 Performance is your only choice. Tesla’s representative told us there is no plan to introduce Track mode for Model Y Performance. So there, if you want Track mode, stop reading and go order a Model 3 Performance.” Watch Motor Trend‘s Randy Pobst show off Model 3 Performance’s impressive driving characteristics (see above) for more proof on the Streets of Willow.

But if Track Mode isn’t a must-have, Motor Trend appears to lean towards the Model Y as the winner. Lau concludes, “Unless you hate a higher seating position or cannot have a taller vehicle or are on a tight budget, go with the Model Y. It offers almost everything the Model 3 can provide along with more usable space and utility. Not to mention you can lie down in the back to snuggle with the person you like while viewing the sky through the seamless panoramic glass roof.”

Featured photo by Dick Amacher

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Written By

Matt is all about Tesla. He’s a TSLA investor, and he loves driving the family's Model 3, Model S, and Model X company cars. As co-founder of EVANNEX, a family business specializing in aftermarket Tesla accessories, he’s served as a contributor/editor of Electric Vehicle University (EVU) and the Owning Model S and Getting Ready for Model 3 books. He writes daily about Tesla and you can follow his work on the EVANNEX blog.


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