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Thinking of trading my 2018 for 2021 Model 3. What would you do?

lencap

Member
May 27, 2013
147
467
Raleigh, NC
Greetings!

My 2018 RWD LR Moedl 3 arrived in mid November 2018, among the last of the rear wheel drive cars. I now have over 28K miles on the car, likely requiring new tires soon. My range is down a bit from new, as expected, but overall the car still does everything I need.

With the current chip shortage delivery times for new models are extended, and Carvana made a $36K offer to buy my car. It has autopilot, but not FSD, 19 inch wheels/tires.

I’m strongly thinking of taking their offer and ordering a 2021 M3 with 18” wheels and no other options except maybe adding the automatic garage opener. The 2021 is AWD, has added range, a bit of updating and the newest internal computer. The 2021 would cost just about $50k all inclusive for the base car. That would make the upgrade roughly $15k and gives me a new car warranty and fresh battery. I’m kinda ticked that I didn’t buy the model S when the price fell below $70k, but at 480k it’s a non starter.

I’m on the long list for the Cybertruck, but don’t expect to see one for another 2 or more years. The $15k upgrade equates to about $500/mo ownership/upgrade cost sine my purchase.

i‘m seriously thinking of making the swap, and we have another car that will be good enough to survive with one car for the 3 months or so until the new 3 is ready.

‘’what do you think of my plan?
 
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jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
7,810
8,638
Riverside Co. CA
.....

‘’what do you think of my plan?

You mention the change will cost you 15k.

Would you pay 15k on your current car at the service department if Tesla said "we can give you 20 more miles range, a heat pump, laminated glass, and hardware 3.

Note, I dont have an opinion one way or the other, but the question boils down to why you want to swap, and what you get for it. If you would pay 15k for those things above at the service center, then you likely want to swap. If you wouldnt, you probably wont. There is not that much difference between the vehicles.
 

polyphonic54

Member
Aug 29, 2019
293
222
USA
IMHO, unless your car has unresolved issues I would definitely hold it, at least for the Cybertruck that you want. Think about what you can do with $15,000. A minor upgrade isn’t worth that kind of money.
 

jjrandorin

Moderator, Model 3, Tesla Energy Forums
Nov 28, 2018
7,810
8,638
Riverside Co. CA
IMHO, unless your car has unresolved issues I would definitely hold it, at least for the Cybertruck that you want. Think about what you can do with $15,000. A minor upgrade isn’t worth that kind of money.

The thing about this is, for some people, 15k is an unfathomable amount of money that they would never see in one place. For others, its the equivalent of money they have in their couch. So, focusing on "how much" money it is doesnt work. Thats why I asked the OP would they pay for those upgrades on their own car.

Only they know how much (relatively) 15k is for them, and whether its "worth it".
 

Uncle Paul

Well-Known Member
Nov 1, 2013
6,181
6,681
Canyon Lake,CA
Trading in not only gets you an updated vehicle, but fresh new tires, latest wheels, new brakes, and a new warranty. Also fresh paint job, new windshield, fresh seating etc.
 

RayK

Active Member
Apr 5, 2016
1,855
1,814
San Jose, CA
Trading in not only gets you an updated vehicle, but fresh new tires, latest wheels, new brakes, and a new warranty. Also fresh paint job, new windshield, fresh seating etc.
And the possibility of getting some bugs in the new car that might take some time to resolve. Not trying to dissuade the OP from throwing out another $15K but if your current car is headache-free then this would be one of the things that could happen.
 
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El joe

Member
Jan 29, 2019
340
224
Bay Area, CA
Very similar to my predicament, though I’m thinking of upgrading to a Performance Model Y for $15k, but I really can’t reason myself into paying for that upgrade to hold me over till my CT reservation is realized.
 

showbbq

Member
Jan 8, 2021
71
52
Houston
I'd be more inclined to make the switch if it were to something like a Model Y or Performance. If it's not a financial stretch for you, why not. Otherwise I'd hold on to it til the CT comes out. Throw some new wheels on your car if you just want something different.
 

JD M3

Member
Aug 31, 2018
85
98
Los Angeles
What will happen is that you drop $15k+ for what ultimately amounts to minor upgrades. You'll be super happy with your brand new car...for about 6 months. Then tesla will release a new version with 50 miles extra range. You'll contemplate upgrading for just $15k. Then 6 months later they'll release a new version with a new steering wheel and some minor updates. Just $15k and those could be yours...

The thing about tesla is that they are constantly updating their cars. The ones being sold now are much different than when I bought mine. If you really feel the need to trade in for a newer version, my recommendation would be to wait until there are some new features that really excited you, otherwise this will just be a perpetual cycle.
 

The_Observer

Member
Feb 14, 2020
682
408
Los Angeles
I would probably keep the car if I were you. Personally I don't think the changes from 2018 to 2021 model is big enough for it to "feel" like a new car. I would at the minimum, wait for the new 4680 batteries to be in the model 3s, and possibly HW 4.0/MCU 3 that should be here in about a year or so.
 

Mr X

Future Martian
Jan 18, 2013
2,117
1,618
Simi Valley, CA
I have an SR+ with a realistic on average ~150 mile range and I'm keeping it for a few more years. Stick with the OG LR until 4680. Especially if there's nothing wrong with it.


And I'd invest any extra money into TSLA in the meantime.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,000
4,617
MA, NH
Greetings!

My 2018 RWD LR Moedl 3 arrived in mid November 2018, among the last of the rear wheel drive cars. I now have over 28K miles on the car, likely requiring new tires soon. My range is down a bit from new, as expected, but overall the car still does everything I need.

With the current chip shortage delivery times for new models are extended, and Carvana made a $36K offer to buy my car. It has autopilot, but not FSD, 19 inch wheels/tires.

I’m strongly thinking of taking their offer and ordering a 2021 M3 with 18” wheels and no other options except maybe adding the automatic garage opener. The 2021 is AWD, has added range, a bit of updating and the newest internal computer. The 2021 would cost just about $50k all inclusive for the base car. That would make the upgrade roughly $15k and gives me a new car warranty and fresh battery. I’m kinda ticked that I didn’t buy the model S when the price fell below $70k, but at 480k it’s a non starter.

I’m on the long list for the Cybertruck, but don’t expect to see one for another 2 or more years. The $15k upgrade equates to about $500/mo ownership/upgrade cost sine my purchase.

i‘m seriously thinking of making the swap, and we have another car that will be good enough to survive with one car for the 3 months or so until the new 3 is ready.

‘’what do you think of my plan?
I like the way you think, just like I do :)

Besides working the numbers the way you have, I do this.

Amortize the total cost of what the old car would cost TODAY over 10 years. After 10 years car is relatively speaking worthless.

Say an LR RWD would cost, what about $40K today new.

That’s only $333/mo

Now how much are you getting in trade? $36K. That’s only $4000.00 Now Amortize that over how long you have owned it. 28 months. That’s only $142/mo

It doesn’t matter what you paid for the ok’d car. If you paid $80K and Tesla dropped the price to $40K, that is gone no matter if you trade the car or keep it, it’s gone. You need to use today’s replacement cost to make apples to apples numbers

Even though your spending $15,000, your getting a better CAR. But your not taking a bath on trading now at all.

You have to factor in taxes. Which if traded to Tesla would only be the difference in most states (taxes on $15K).

Even if LR RWD was $45K today, I think your not losing anything by trading.

You’re getting Warranty Reset, new tires, new 12V battery, fresh main battery, upgrades, AWD, new FSD computer all for $15K.
 

Xebec

Member
Mar 20, 2019
46
43
PA
You’ve caught the upgrade bug :)

Wait a little longer, these things are getting better every year. When you get the new tires handling will improve...

edit: of course as a shareholder you should buy a new one every year...
 

lencap

Member
May 27, 2013
147
467
Raleigh, NC
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.
 
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bjrosen

Member
Apr 19, 2019
63
58
Westford MA
If it were like for like I'd say no but you will be trading a RWD for an AWD plus you'll get the heat pump and greater range. I'd consider doing it. Where do you live? If you have a winter then I'd absolutely do it, if you live in California then the AWD isn't a big benefit and I'd be less inclined to do the upgrade.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,000
4,617
MA, NH
It’s not so much the Rim size that quiets the ride but the tire design and materials.

The new S/X with active noise cancelation could bring the S/X up a notch. I was not happy with 3 for road noise either and a big reason I moved to the X and not disappointed.
 

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