In-depth reviews

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

Tesla is one of the world’s hottest brands right now, admired by many for its futuristic interiors and impressive electric powertrains. Even with Elon Musk’s occasionally strange outbursts and numerous Tesla drivers taking its ‘Full Self-Driving’ tag rather too literally, there’s a lot to like about Tesla’s product range. Here, we examine Tesla’s two executive models and see which you should pick.

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? Well, it seems to keep its value well; even a four-year-old car tends to cost over £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. It is possible to get an early car with less than 80,000 miles on the clock for under £30,000.

2019 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus

Pros: Great to drive and faster charging, long warranty and lower 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

2021 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus

2017 Tesla Model S 75D

Price

£40,990

from £40,000 (estimated)

Estimated monthly cost*

£403

£750

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...

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