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A Lessee's Dilemma: Would you buy? I love my '17 90D but does it love me?


Apr 28, 2020
Queens, New York
Hi all - as you can see, first post here. Excited to learn from you all and get more active on the forum.

Here's the dilemma: Should I buy my '17 90D out? Or buy a new, non-S Tesla?

I have to assume I am joining other fellow 2017 MCU 1 / AP 2.0 lessees (lease-to-own) in trying to make a decision right about now.

Some facts!
  • I will have a Tesla. No going back now. The question is whether it is my beloved 90D or a new Y or 3.
  • Car is not a daily driver, really used for weekend getaways
  • AWD w all-season tires a must
  • I owe about $60k on my S, if I buy it out
  • Lease is up late July
  • I am not considering a new S, but only for financial reasons. If I buy a new car it will be a Y or 3
  • Hopefully this won’t cause most of you to turn away: I charge quite a bit on Superchargers (I am respectful and don’t hog, but the reality of charging in New York City makes charging difficult)*
Keeping the S, I like:
  • how my S looks, including its size, design, and paint quality
  • 19” Slipstream wheels (not a huge fan of any of the Y/3 non-Performance wheels)
  • my real leather
  • to open my moonroof
  • the higher-quality materials, even compared to what I read about new Model S/Xs today
  • my unlimited supercharging
  • my unlimited in-car internet
  • my Thule Aeroblade cross bars (used for ski and bike attachments when needed), unclear if I can port those over
  • my Enhanced Autopilot: I think for what it is, it’s a good value (it has all the features I care about like Navigate on Autopilot, lane changing, parking, and even the gimmicky Advanced Summon
  • my air suspension
  • my dual on-board chargers, maybe I’ll use them someday :) *
  • heated everything, particularly the steering wheel
  • MCU 1 doesn’t bother me that much
  • AP 2.0 isn’t really limited (yet) in its core duties as an automatic pilot, so that also doesn’t bother me that much (I was thankful to get lane correction, even if it was months after others!)
Factors for a Y/3:
  • better range
  • faster! (I would get a Performance model)
  • new car + new warranty seems smarter, financially
  • new battery: my tendency towards Supercharging has, I believe, hurt my battery (100% charge at new was 294 miles, now it’s 275-280 @ 21,000 miles, unless this is consistent degradation with what you all see?)
  • Supercharging speed
  • though I love my leather, my S is showing signs of stress on the front seats. For how infrequently I use the car, this is frustrating
  • quieter cabin
  • better build quality (minus paint job, of course), including doors that don’t sound like I just slammed shut a ’98 Honda Civic when I close my door
  • better rear headroom, fold down center arm rest
  • MCU 2 would be nice
  • AP 3 is safer (making an assumption, based on the redundancy factors baked in)
  • Latest MCU/AP means more future proof for future software updates
  • sportier suspension could be fun vs. my pre-Raven air suspension
What it boils down to:
  • Assuming price will be roughly equal (upgraded Y or 3 with taxes, delivery, etc.) vs. buy out my S, it’s hard to argue paying so much money for a three-year-old car is worth it. Plus, I’d probably have to go for the Extended Warranty, given I’ve had two repeaters, a door handle, and my charging port replaced in just under three years
  • Given software/hardware improvements, $60k provides more value with a new Tesla than an old one
  • If I buy out now, I could trade in later when a new S is more attainable for me, or any Tesla model
Thank you for your thoughts/debate!

*Note about charging: I hate that I need to rely on the Supercharging infrastructure, but in New York City the only real other option is to pay to use a garage that has a valet. I really don’t like using valets ever (regardless of what kind of car I own), but I’ve also had mixed charging experiences with attendants unplugging after a few hours, being charged extra to use electricity on top of astronomical garage prices, etc. I am fortunate to rent a one-car garage in my neighborhood, where I operate my own car 24/7 with nobody else in the space .. but charging not really an option. I often use the 72 kW Superchargers on a Thursday night/Friday afternoon by me before I leave for the weekend, get to my destination and charge there for the return.


Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
I don’t think I could bring myself to pay $60k for a 3 year old 90D, even a very well kept one.

That seems to be a good $5k-ish above Tesla used retail for a similar car, and most of those used cars will come with a fresh 4 years of warranty (though that will likely be offset by them stripping the car of niceties like enhanced autopilot and free supercharging and forcing you to re-buy).

I love my S and plan to drive it into the ground - but when the time comes it will get replaced with a 3 or Y.
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SoCal Buzz

Early Adopter
Supporting Member
Oct 9, 2018
OC, Calif.
The economics of buying out a lease, especially a Tesla given the manner in which they handle the federal tax credit, are not great. Also, the Model S went through substantial base price reduction in early 2019. How much would your car be now from a private party seller? That’s another option for you to consider. PS, look for March 2018 or later to pick up MCU2.


Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Oct 10, 2019
Unless your 90D has a 'must have' feature that you just can't get anymore, I agree that I would let your car go. Personally I am very happy with my MS R LR.

To bring your car up to even late 2018 spec ap2. 5 MCU2 you would be adding some hassle and a few $$$. If the single screen works for you is obviously a personal thing, but I am firmly with the IC camp. A new or 'not CPO' from Tesla gets you longer wty. and ex. demo's probably sold as 'new' with unlimited Supercharging for first owner. (I think that is still the case). Raven suspension is great, and extra 50 miles range must be worth something.

Very hard to justify keeping your car imo.

You are very close to ex demonstrator MS money. I feel that for a weekend / non daily drive, you want something special and while the Y might fit that now, I think long term the S will retain a special status. Of course a new model might (probably will) displace the S, but I'm sure it will be in the $100k + bracket.

I don't think buying your car and trading later will have any benefit, and in fact more likely the opposite.
Last edited:


Infamous Fat Sweaty Guy
Dec 3, 2017
Pennsylvania, USA
Since you say this will not be a DD but a weekend car, you will probably want faster SC than your S allows, to not waste time on longer trips.

If you pack light, or really enjoy cornering/handling, buy a 3.

If you pack heavy, or handling doesn’t matter as much, buy a Y.

That said, if you have already SCed a lot, prior to 2019.16.x firmware, your S battery as you said may have more degradation than similar batteries with 21K.

Personally, I find the 3 trunk difficult to use due to the mail-slot design, but my pre-Tesla car was a Chevy Impala, which is actually a couple inches longer than an S and has a large trunk opening.

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
Canyon Lake,CA
Forget about the $. Turn it back into Tesla and buy or lease a new RAVEN+ Model S. There are tons of improvements, the prices have come way down.
You will get a 100 kWh battery (400 miles range), smoother riding adaptable suspension, quicker charging, faster computer, updated interior, etc.
Also get Free Supercharging, new tires, brakes, etc.
You will be amazed at just how much better the Model S becomes with the Raven package.

Bonus...your roof racks will transfer :)
  • Disagree
Reactions: ahhlun


May 31, 2019
I had the same choice with my 70D two years ago. My buy out was around 57K, which I chose not to pay. I saved my VIN number and watched the tesla used inventory. My car showed up in about two weeks around 43K. If I had been patient enough, I might have repurchased at the lower price.


Let's play jeopardy
Feb 6, 2018
Get rid of it. Not worth the 60k. I see you've got the sunroof...if that's a must have then start scouring the CPOs (not really CPO, but you know what I mean), for March 2018 and up that have a sunroof. Many a deal to be had there. Plus Mcu2.


Active Member
Oct 4, 2013
Seattle(ish) WA
The 3 and the y will NOT be quieter than the S. In fact I found them to be the opposite. And a really rough ride coming from air suspension.

don’t get me wrong. I love the y. My next Tesla will be a y. But I’d recommend test driving them back to back against your s.

I also wouldn’t pay 60k for a non P.


Apr 28, 2020
Queens, New York
Thanks for your feedback, all. You have confirmed what I deep down knew I should do.

I had the same choice with my 70D two years ago. My buy out was around 57K, which I chose not to pay. I saved my VIN number and watched the tesla used inventory. My car showed up in about two weeks around 43K. If I had been patient enough, I might have repurchased at the lower price.

What did you end up doing, instead?


Jun 15, 2020
San Francisco
All thanks for sharing, we have the same decision to make come September. My wife is leaning towards the Y or the X, but perhaps rebooting another 2021 Model S.

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