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New Model 3 (2021) or Used Model S (2017/2018)


New Member
Apr 22, 2021
Thinking of getting a Tesla but I wasn’t sure which one to go with. A new 2021 Model 3 SR+ (color, wheels, and interior included) costs around $44k that’s around the same price as a used 2017/2018 Model S 75 (also around $44-46k) which has got better range and acceleration. What do you think would be a better decision?
Have you tried any? I never drove an S but was passenger in a few (and X) but I drove an SR+ before ordering a LR. The SR+ has plenty of acceleration IMO. So it feels more like a smaller car vs larger car with extra range decision from my perspective. The S has a more traditional dash than the 3.

I looked at used S when I made my decisions and in the LR price range I felt I got more "car" with a new LR than a used S but I prefer the M3 minimalistic design to the larger S although I really like what they did with the refresh, aside from the K2000 steering "wheel".
Thinking of getting a Tesla but I wasn’t sure which one to go with. A new 2021 Model 3 SR+ (color, wheels, and interior included) costs around $44k that’s around the same price as a used 2017/2018 Model S 75 (also around $44-46k) which has got better range and acceleration. What do you think would be a better decision?

Model S if you need a bit bigger boot space or if you frequently transport rear passengers.
Model 3 definetely if you do frequent traveling and supercharging.
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Hi All! I recently traded my 2021 Model 3 AWD for a 2018 Model S75D. Like many, I weighed the pros and cons for awhile before I pulled the trigger. What pushed me over the edge was the trade in value of my M3 was $4,000 more than I paid for it. I had 19,000 miles on it as well! My M3 did have quite a few problems with it too. I had the windshield replaced twice because of a factory sealant issue. Water would get into the car and it also wrecked the headliner and mirror. That was all replaced. I also had the center console break within a couple of weeks. I also was a victim of the heating element recall and my car didn't provide heat on Xmas last year when it was 10 degrees outside. These were all fixed at no cost of course but still had to go through the hassle of many service appointment visits. Putting the above aside, here is a list of the pros and cons I came up with. These could help others if they are pondering the same decision.

Pros for Model S
-2 displays. Some people like only having the center display, not this guy.
-Buttons and Levers. I might be old fashioned, but I like having levers and buttons to control the car. Especially the windshield wipers. On my 3 you had to use the touchscreen to turn on anything. I know future cars won't have this (I am on the wait list for the Truck and will be upgrading to a new S in a few years).
-Suspension. Even though I don't have the Raven model, the air suspension is amazing. It feels like I am driving on a cloud compared to the M3.
-Luxury finishes. My MS has the premium interior and its great. My M3 had a lot of plastic. The steering wheel felt cheap, the dashboard was hollow, the designer wood dash element looked super fake. My MS has much better seats, headrests, heated steering wheel, etc.
-Space! - some say the space difference isn't that much. I don't agree. I have way more room in the cockpit and my two kids (6/3) have much more room in the backseat. The car is wider and does have more legroom. In addition, the cargo space is way bigger in the S. I can easily fit two sets of golf clubs along with other items. My 3 was a struggle just to fit in one set of clubs.
-Autopilot. in 2018 they had three levels of AP. Luckily mine has 2.5. I get NAP, lane changing, etc and don't have FSD. In the 3, you need to spend the 10k and then you get NAP and lane changing. Then you still are waiting for more AP features. Also, my 3 felt like it has a shorter time limit for hands being off the wheel. It would beep at me ALL the time. My S seems more patient.
-Door Handles. I have heard some MS owners have problems with their door handles. Hopefully I will not. I love how they auto present and how easy it is to open the car. My kids love them and it is much easier to open than the awkward M3 handles.
-Car sits Higher. I know this is petty, but being slightly taller this is a bonus for me. Getting out of the 3 was more taxing than getting out of the S.
-My S has unlimited premium connectivity. Newer cars give a 1 year pass then you have to pay.
-QUITER. My M3 was super noisy. Wind noise was awful. Road noise was terrible too. No lie, it felt like I had my window or door open when I drove the 3. The doors are hollow and the frameless windows made for terrible noise cancellation. The Model S is easily 2x more quite. This is my favorite PRO.
-Style / Design. - The S exterior design is far superior in my opinion. The 3 is cool looking but the S makes you turn your head!

Cons for Model S
-Stereo. Even though I have premium sound in my S, the software and speakers in the newer 2021 models is superior by quite a bit.
-MCU1. Unfortunately, my S was pre MCU2. I am going to upgrade for $1500 however. MCU1 is very clunky. Voice commands barely work, loading the screens is laggy, you can't use the browser, etc. Also, I haven't received a software update for almost two years now. It looks like they stop supporting MCU1.
-Less Regen Braking. It took me awhile to get used to the MS free rolling. The M3 had excellent regen braking and I never used the brakes. The S is heavier and I need to apply the brakes often. It also doesn't Hold unless you firmly press the brake and the car comes to a complete stop.
-No door Cubby for storage!
-No phone key. This is neutral for me. Having to carry a key is a bummer, but I had so many issues with my phone key. I would have to disconnect and reconnect often. The phone key would also lag and I would have to wait to open my trunk or doors. I never have an issue with the key fob.
-RANGE! - of course I could of bought a 100D but the cost was out of budget for me. I honestly traded my 3 in for the S and only had to pay an extra few thousand in price difference. The range on the 75 is about 220 on 90%. My 3 was getting close to 300. I feel like I have my car on my home charger 2x as much as the 3.
-Maneuverability. The 3 is zippier, easier to park, and had better responsive steering.

Yes, I over analyzed the hell out of this decision. Yes, there are more things I could add to the list. But, if you are contemplating going from a 3 to an S or deciding which one to buy, maybe I helped a bit?

In the end, I would trade my 3 in for an S again and again!

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New SR+ (now just called the Model 3 in the US) vs. 17/18 Model S, probably the M3 unless it was a really killer deal on a lightly used MS.

M3 Long Range? No question, regardless of the deal, the M3LR all day (especially with Performance Boost)

I'd question if the real effective range is better on the MS, especially vs. the a [used] car with 3-5 years of battery degradation. I also greatly prefer the landscape orientation of the M3 display vs. the portrait setup in the older Model S.

FWIW, I even briefly considered a new Model S LR vs. a new Model 3 Performance, and for our use, and my driver preferences, it was a no-brainer for the M3P for the ~$30K-35K difference.
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