Tesla Model 3 vs. Tesla Model Y

By

Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


, Automotive Editor - July 2, 2021

The Model 3 and the Model Y form the affordable half of Tesla’s ‘S3XY’ EV model lineup. The Model 3 is Tesla’s smaller sedan, while the Model Y is a compact crossover SUV.

Both offer all-electric efficiency and dollops of tech. So which is the better buy? Here's a brief comparison of key specs and features to help you decide which one is worth the money.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Tesla Model 3 & Model Y »

What the Model 3 Gets Right

The Model 3 is lower and slightly shorter than the Model Y, and it’s also substantially cheaper. In equivalent trim, the Model 3 costs $3,500-$4,000 less. Currently, the Model Y isn’t available in a Standard Range trim, which means that the Model 3 has a much lower starting price.

Both models offer multiple battery sizes, but the Model 3 gets the most range out of each. In Long Range form, the Model 3 boasts 353 miles of range to the Model Y’s 326.

If performance is a priority, the Model 3 comes out ahead. It’s lighter than the Model Y and its center of gravity is lower, which provides improved handling. The Model 3 Performance trim has a dedicated Track Mode, which the Model Y lacks.

What the Model Y Gets Right

The Model Y’s biggest advantage is its hatchback body, which opens up 68 cubic feet of cargo capacity. Although the seats in the Model 3 also fold down, the Model Y’s wider opening makes it easier to load large items. The Model Y even offers a third row, although it’s tiny and we wouldn’t recommend adding it.

Second-row passengers do benefit from extra space. The second row of the Model 3 offers only 35.2 inches of leg room, while rear passengers in the Model Y enjoy 40.5.

Both models come with standard all-wheel drive, but the Model Y has 1.1 inches of extra ground clearance over the Model 3. Neither is an off-road warrior, but the Model Y is slightly more capable over rough terrain.

Same Treat, Different Flavors

Although these two models belong to different segments, they share nearly 70% of their parts. That means they also share many advantages (like stellar efficiency) and a few disadvantages (like inconsistent build quality).

The differences come down to size vs performance. The Model Y is slightly more practical thanks to its extra clearance and interior space. The Model 3 is smaller, but offers better performance and range at a better value.

Our Verdict: Tesla Model 3

There’s no great loser here. These models are variations on a theme, and both serve their purpose well. We like the Model 3 for its affordability, especially while the Model Y lacks a true base model.

Take a closer look at the Tesla Model 3 »

Take a closer look at the Tesla Model y »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


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