New Tesla Model 3 versus used Tesla Model S: which should you buy?

The Tesla Model 3 has few if any direct rivals, but what about a used Model S? We put a Model 3 Standard Range up against a secondhand Model S 75D

The Tesla Model 3 represents another step change for the electric car. A more affordable way into Tesla’s trademark blend of long-range driving, low-cost performance, a high-tech interior and access to the Supercharger network that has helped establish the brand as a trailblazer in electric vehicles. The Model 3 is the Model S for the masses.

But what about the Model S itself? It’s been in the UK since 2013, and was the equivalent of a vehicular moon landing, such was its significance. We still rate it as one of our favourite electric cars, so what about a used one? You can get an early Model S from as little as £40,000 in the UK, although later, four-wheel-drive cars with bigger batteries, including the 75D that we have here, can cost tens of thousands more than that.

2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus

Pros

  • Great to drive and faster charging
  • Long warranty and low monthly cost

Cons

  • Tight rear passenger space
  • Not as quick as Model S

2017 Tesla Model S 75D

Pros

  • Masses of passenger space
  • Bigger touchscreen

Cons

  • Real-world range
  • Fussy infotainment interface

At a glance

Car 2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus 2017 Tesla Model S 75D
Price £37,340 (after grant) from £45,000 (estimated)
Estimated monthly cost* £403 £950
Energy consumption / real-world range 4.3 miles/kWh / 230 miles 3.1 miles/kWh / 230 miles
At-home charge cost (13p/kWh) £7.00 £10.50
Fastest 20-80% charge time 15mins (200kW) 35mins (120kW)
0-60mph (on test) 5.8s 4.3s
Boot capacity, litres (seats up/down) 660/1,725 557/1,176

*PCP estimate, based on a 48-month contract with a £6,000 deposit

So how has the Model S aged? How far will it go with a few thousand miles on the clock? Is it really worth risking a secondhand Model S instead of settling for a brand-new Model 3? We put a Model 3 Standard Range Plus up against a 2017 Tesla Model S 75D with 25,000 miles on the clock to find out.

Read on for our verdict...