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Is the Model S now priced appropriately (vs the 3/Y)?


Active Member
Dec 17, 2012
Cary, NC
When the 3 came out, it seems that most buyers (and forum members) thought the 3 was the better value. While they are not the same car, the 3 came with features very close to the Model S and in some ways exceeding it. The price delta was too large for the S and many flexible people purchased the 3 if they were cross shopping.

I know we did. My wife wanted a smaller footprint car and the value equation was a no brainer. We got a M3-LR RWD with a $3750 tax credit.

Now, fast forward to today, and the S seems to be a comparable value.

First the proper comparison vehicle is the Y. The lack of the hatch on the 3 (and overall small opening/size) would be challenging for us if it was the big car in the family. So to replace my S, I would feel like I had to get the Y.

Current Price for a Y is $50k and the S is $70k.

The S has a good bit more range, better acceleration (the comparable Y is $60k), air suspension and significantly better ride quality, 2nd screen, better handling(?), and a bit more upscale interior(?) and better looks.

Is that worth $20k? Perhaps. Definitely closer than $25k or the $30k from earlier this year.

For me - the looks, range, acceleration are icing but not really worth a chunk of money (perhaps $5k). The extra screen ($2k). It really comes down to the suspension and whether that is worth the difference in price.

I definitely prefer the ride height of the S. I maybe in the minority on that so I am not placing a dollar value on it.

Any other S advantages I am missing? Seat comfort, stereo? Noise level?
You're asking this in the MS forum, so responses will be biased. I say it is definitely worth it for all the reasons you mentioned. It is quieter, more comfortable, more cargo capacity, and it has a heated steering wheel. Some like the stereo in the 3/Y better, but that's always upgradable anyway. Most other features are fixed. If you can swing the price delta, get the S.
Old designs get discounted. That's very normal in the auto industry. A traditional OEM may raise the MSRP every year but if you dig deeper, the old products are getting lots of incentives thrown at them or they get sold at a discount to fleets like rental agencies. Tesla is just advertising the price drops instead of doing it quietly by discounts. Since Tesla has very little fleet business, so this is their option to drive demand.

They don't want to spend the R&D (as far as we know) on a major refresh, so the S gets incremental updates that preserve most of the older tooling for the interior and exterior. If the volumes get too low it's hard to justify keeping the production lines going, so you're forced to discount. It's standard auto industry stuff.
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Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
I thought the S was a bargain once they had the huge price drop on X/S last year. I considered upgrading from Model 3 Perf to S LR. But for the S to be the “big car” in the family it had to tow. I was so disappointed the S didn’t tow. So I went with a Model X. Absolutely night and day over a 3. I would have been happy with an S if it towed or I didn’t need it to tow.
We had a Model Y test drive this summer to compare to our 2015 S. Items you didn't mention:

Rear seat room - my wife was able to fit between our (booster seat using) kids in the Y. Not able to do so in the S.
Door handles - the Y handles felt slightly flimsy to me - I can just envision my kids yanking too hard. But I've gone through 5 S handle swaps so far, so who knows.

Personally we'd go the Y if something happens to the S, but ride height is a key point in my wife's decision.
The ride is probably the most noticeable difference. I know a few 3/Y owners who are coming from BMWs that just can't tolerate it. I actually think the Y looks far superior to the 3 but I found the 3 funnier to drive during my weeks of testing.

A new MS is still an expensive car but if you have that type of dollar to throw around I would not choose a loaded 3 or Y over a base S.
Rear seat room - my wife was able to fit between our (booster seat using) kids in the Y. Not able to do so in the S.

That's actually REALLY interesting, as the vehicle width and hip width suggest the S should fit a bit more.

Maybe it's how the Model S seats are molded?

Model S - Rear hip Room 54.7 in.
Model Y - Rear hip Room 50.6 in.
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It probably depends on the configuration of the seats. When we had one forward facing seat and one that was rear facing, my husband could fit between the seats. When they're both forward facing seats--a convertible and a highback booster--the top portions of the seats didn't allow my shoulders to fit between the seats.

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
Canyon Lake,CA
3 is the nimble city car. Easy to park, but rough riding.
S is the Grand Touring with comfortable air suspension and tremendous carrying capacity due to hatch back design. It looks world class and gives a great impression pulling up. Easiest to go long distances and greatest range between charging.
Y kinda splits the difference with better utility but still rough riding. Least good looking of the group.
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the model Y is much more roomy for sure. i dont know what the numbers say, but its shocking how much larger the Y is to the S. I adjusted the front seat to how i normally sit for both cars and then sat in the back seat.
The Y, being an SUV, has much more leg and head room.

As for the hip room, I don't see stats about the center seat (maybe more space is allocated to the side seats in the S) and nobody lists the precise positioning of the seatbelts either. Even if the Model S rear bench is wider at the hips, it's easily conceivable that carseat placement isn't optimal for center seat room.
That's actually REALLY interesting, as the vehicle width and hip width suggest the S should fit a bit more.

Maybe it's how the Model S seats are molded?

Model S - Rear hip Room 54.7 in.
Model Y - Rear hip Room 50.6 in.

For our boosters, I believe it's the rise in the back on the ends of the rear bench in the S that push/slide the seats inward. As I remember from the test drive, the kids were happy with how much easier they could buckle themselves in the Y. That said, they would have to buckle themselves before the middle spot could be used, and it was tight for my wife to get buckled with the boosters present.


Infamous Fat Sweaty Guy
Dec 3, 2017
Pennsylvania, USA
The X seems to be the King of kiddie seating. Falcon Wing doors make manouvering those bulky safety seats the easiest.
They do provide a nice, large opening for people and "stuff" like car seats, boxes, etc.
Not an issue for me (I'm kind of short) but taller people might have head-banging issues when standing under them.

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