Welcome to Tesla Motors Club
Discuss Tesla's Model S, Model 3, Model X, Model Y, Cybertruck, Roadster and More.

Thinking of trading my 2018 for 2021 Model 3. What would you do? [op moved to another brand]

Not open for further replies.


May 15, 2019
You appear to be infighting between the competing priorities in your automotive world.

These are my opinions as I haven't reached the senior age threshold yet.

Comfort - I value Comfort over Performance in general. As I get older, ease of entry/exit is becoming more important. This might drive me towards a Y moreso than another 3.
Style - Unimportant within a "normal" range. I too was/am a Nissan Leaf owner, so I understand the abnormal range of style that can be a negative. I group interior materials and quality in with style.
Cost - I can see you're concerned with a $36k offer for your existing car probably being a long term peak. I'd suggest that there will be a floor in values in the $25k range for many years, so your financial loss for holding on a while isn't significant compared to the cost of jumping now. Beyond initial cost, your cost to own whatever EV you choose won't be much different, as I'm sure you're aware with your history.
Impact - Another poster alluded to it with the couch cushion money concept. There's a spectrum between "couch cushions" and "maybe we shouldn't eat out until after the first of the month" or worse. You don't indicate, but I'd never suggest you upgrade if you're closer to the second category.
Differences - Are there really enough differences between yours and this new one? The legacy automakers are sure to ensure the answer is a resounding YES to keep a tie into your wallet.

After these considerations, if there's not financial impact to your world, do what you want. It will never pencil out as cost savings, so don't try to fool yourself or others by trying to justify it as such. If driving the latest tech is important to you, that's worth something.

Enjoy your choice!


Active Member
Dec 19, 2019
Not my money, so I say:


But you'll be disappointed about the improvements in ride and noise. Get yourself some quieter tires, put the alignment at 0 toe front and rear, and put on some coilovers. You'll get a lot better results than upgrading to a 2021 and spend a lot less money.
  • Like
Reactions: TBrownTX


Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
Riverside Co. CA
Thanks for the replies, and the varied opinions, they are all welcome. As has been pointed out there aren't major differences between the 18 and 21 versions, but that's not the only consideration. My prior car was a BMW 335 which has one distinguishing characteristic, at least for me, a high quality suspension that is engaging when you drive "with gusto". My Tesla lacks that. My car is also pretty noisy on most roads, especially those that aren't well maintained or have any texture to them. The BMW wasn't perfect on those roads either, but it was better than the Tesla.

The 2021 M3, from what I've read about it, may address some of these issues with more sound deadening material (dual pane windows, more sound insulation) along with a suspension upgrade made in 2019 and carried forward. I also wonder if the 18" standard wheel/tire combination would ride a bit smoother than my upgraded 19" wheel/tire combo.

The extra range of the newer car is welcome, but is also the result of redesigning the electric motors, which is further optimized by dual motors, a feature that my car lacks. Add to that the little upgrades - the 3.0 computer, minor interior changes, and the differences, while minor individually are more impactful overall.

I also will have about $1,000-1,200 in tire replacement costs coming up soon, and while my battery is "OK", the range has been reduced as a normal consequence of aging and cycling. I called Tesla service two months ago and they told me to "rebalance" the battery. Run it down to under 10%, charge up to 90%, repeat often. I've done that a few times (I'm not driving as much as I had been), but the range tops out at 270-280 miles or so. Again, not life changing, but enough that I occasionally have to make an extra charging stop when visiting family.

On the other hand, $15K is still more than "couch money" (I love that analogy). And since the changes are not overwhelming that's why I was considering moving to the Model S when they lowered the price below $70K. My thoughts there were that for $35-40K I'd be moving into a different car with a better suspension, more space, greater range, etc. With the price now running back to $80K that seems less of a bargain than it was, so I've decided against it. I also agree that the battery pack in the S is somewhat less sophisticated than the 3, and the inability to accept the full power of Tesla's new 250KW charging power is a bit disappointing, especially for a road car that has a range beyond 400 miles.

The CT is too far away, at least for now, to be part of the conversation, and even if it were here today I'm not really a truck guy. The other reality is that I'm a "senior citizen" with all that that implies. And, to be blunt, there is a timeline at my age that is part of my thought process that wasn't present 20 years ago. As the clerk in Walmart said when I asked: "Where are the LED lightbulbs?" "Why bother, get the regular ones." he replied. The point was clear, even if unspoken. Comfort, quiet, gentle has replaced fast, aggressive and sporty in my priorities. The Tesla sedans seem targeted for that market, the CT less so.

My friend's MB is quite a car, beyond what I'm willing to spend, but it has a very nice understated interior, rides very well and is quiet and solid. I don't expect that from the M3, nor really from the S, but the S is far closer than the 3 to that feeling/ride, and that is one feature missing, IMHO, in a Tesla. The new plaid version will be a wonderful car for those who are looking for what it offers. I've moved away from those priorities, and that's a large part of the reason for considering the switch to the newer 3, or even the S. By the way, I tried the Y and while I can appreciate what it offers, I'm more of a sedan guy than a SUV guy.

Finally, my wife just replaced her BMW 335D with a 330E - the plug in electric. That car is severely compromised as an EV with a range of 20 miles (!), but that's not the reason for buying that car. It's the combination of torque and seamless integration of the ICE and EV motor. The 335D turbo-diesel had 430 lb/ft of torque - a wonderful push in all driving conditions. That's one great feature of the Tesla, which I truly enjoy. The new 330E has that same mountain of torque on demand, but it also has a far more refined suspension than my M3, and is quieter and smoother in all driving settings. Since much of our driving, especially in COVID, is short range, her battery pack has been sufficient to represent over 80% of her driving miles. The charger plugs into a standard 120V plug and fully charges overnight, or in 3 hours of so on my J1772 Clipper Creek EVSE (I bought that when I bought a Nissan Leaf and BMW i3 long before the Tesla) which powers my M3 with the adaptor.

The 330E is similarly priced to the Tesla, but still has an EV credit bringing the cost down below the Tesla. I still prefer the Tesla, but not by very much. The autopilot is the winning difference, very helpful when returning from a visit the kids and driving for 3 hours on the interstate in all weather conditions.

And that is why I'm asking my original question. It's not just the upgrade, it's the comfort/noise/gentleness that I miss in other cars, the quality of materials, etc. Does that mean Tesla has missed the market for me - clearly not, but it does help explain why I haven't been 100% happy with the M3 in 2.5 years of ownership. As long as my 3 grandsons can continue to play games, watch Netflix, and enjoy autopilot I'll still be the "cool grandpa", but there is still an itch I haven't fully scratched for myself.

Again, thanks for the help as I sort through all of this - the forum is much less expensive than a session with a psychiatrist.
So, OP, THIS post is a LOT more than "should I replace my 2018 model 3 with a 2021 model 3. After reading it, its fairly clear that the model 3 does not "tick all your boxes", which is fine. I certainly would not advise spending what sounds like its a decent amount of money for you on an upgrade to a car where you are not 1000% in love with the model.

Yes, tesla added laminated glass, but from reading various posts from people here, some say it makes a little difference, some say it doesnt make any difference. I would expect " a little difference" at best from that and whatever additional sound deadening they put in.

I have a 2018 model 3 performance, and the suspension is "fine". I know I could make it better with one of the aftermarket solutions that are available (I have been eyeing the adjustable one from @MountainPass). I dont think you will find the suspension more compliant in a 2021 model 3, certainly not as compliant as simply replacing suspension bits in your current car would be (for a lot less than 15k).

The real issue is, you want more "luxury" from your vehicle, and the model 3 is not going to give that. My wife and I have been driving BMWs exclusively (prior to my model 3 performance) for like 18 years. I am really familiar with that brand. My wife has a X3 M40 in the garage right now that we ordered with basically every option. BMW has a lot more "luxury" than tesla, and Mercedes is more "luxurious" than BMW.

Your post does not say "I should trade in my 2018 tesla model 3 for a 2021 tesla model 3" to me. It says "I should re open my car search to find the right vehicle for me, electric or otherwise".

Based on your post, it makes more sense to me for you to take that 15k and put it toward a mercedes (which it sounds like you really like) than it does for you to put it toward swapping to a new version of the same car. That is usually reserved when one is completely in love with the brand, model, etc, and while you like it, you dont love it.


Aug 29, 2019
Noise was easily the biggest annoyance for me in my Model 3. I test drove multiple new cars and found the 3 with laminated glass to be no quieter than my early 2019 car. Further, I couldn’t find any evidence or testimonials claiming it was quieter either.

if you want quieter, Model S. If you want incredibly quiet, Taycan.


Aug 16, 2019
Well we all were waiting for the 3 year itch. Some with partners some with cars.
Now 15k is not a big amount of money if you have a good job.
Trading wife_v1 for wife_v2 may cost much more bucks. I would like to have
a 100 miles more range, but really do not need it. I would like to have custom paint,
but after all the wear and door dings. Some people get a new car when the ash
tray is full, so why not. Go for it. If I quit all my vices years ago I would be well ,
still drinking Jack and coke.. What was the issue?


Technical Maven
Mar 24, 2014
NE Georgia
Remember that there are taxes and a number of other charges that may make the difference larger than 15K... Personally, I can easily afford it but don't see the ROI...


Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
Riverside Co. CA
Remember that there are taxes and a number of other charges that may make the difference larger than 15K... Personally, I can easily afford it but don't see the ROI...

There is no "ROI" (return on investment) on almost all car purchases, with the exception of some classic cars / porsche's etc. You probably mean you dont think its worth it, but most cars are not an "investment" that provides a return.


Dec 3, 2018
NorCal, Bay Area
I think the model 3 has exhausted it's excitement for you. Its time to move on. The model y will get old fast.
I got the Sienna Hybrid instead of the Tesla X. Love it and its so smooth. My Model 3 P is sitting and collecting dust.
  • Like
Reactions: NpOverspeed


Dec 17, 2019
Cape Coral, Fl
My mind locked on the 28k miles on original tires. You aren’t having enough fun with the car :). I’m at the wear bars at 18k now. Have they offered any Stealth options at end of quarter lately or is that fun over with? If so that would be worth the switch...or find a used one for sale.

Bought mine for the long haul so happy to keep hoping my FSD purchase pays off for at least another 10 years or so 🙂.


May 3, 2021
I did this but I went from a 19 SR+ AP and now waiting delivery on 21 LR FSD. Carvana gave me a lot of money for the car and it made sense to upgrade, since I could wait for the new one.


Jul 2, 2019
I think the model 3 has exhausted it's excitement for you. Its time to move on. The model y will get old fast.
I got the Sienna Hybrid instead of the Tesla X. Love it and its so smooth. My Model 3 P is sitting and collecting dust.

I have a minivan...an Touring Elite Odyssey. It sits collecting dust until the kids need to be moved around in or I need a butt dyno reset. In all other instances, the M3P is million times better to drive.
Not open for further replies.

About Us

Formed in 2006, Tesla Motors Club (TMC) was the first independent online Tesla community. Today it remains the largest and most dynamic community of Tesla enthusiasts. Learn more.

Do you value your experience at TMC? Consider becoming a Supporting Member of Tesla Motors Club. As a thank you for your contribution, you'll get nearly no ads in the Community and Groups sections. Additional perks are available depending on the level of contribution. Please visit the Account Upgrades page for more details.