HomeVehicleCarsPre-owned Tesla Model S vs New Model 3 - Which to Buy?

Pre-owned Tesla Model S vs New Model 3 – Which to Buy?

The Model 3 is finally here, and we thought now we have some details about the pricing, it’d be good to see how it actually stacks up against a used Model S. Likely the biggest factor when comparing these two cars is gonna be the utility of the vehicle itself. let’s dive into the differences between these cars and how they really stack up and see if we can crown a champion here.

Used Tesla Model S vs New Model 3

Pre-owned Tesla Model S vs New Model 3


When it comes to performance, both cars are pretty amazing though. The Model S 75 clocks in with 0 to 60 miles/hr of 4.3 seconds, and a top speed of 140 miles per hour. Now, this is what you’re gonna find in a used model typically, although you may be able to find a 60-kilowatt-hour battery, which is slightly slower. Now, if you were to buy new, you can get a P100D that goes 0 to 60 in 2.5 seconds, with a top speed of 155 miles per hour. And the Model 3 is pretty quick as well, but definitely a step behind the Model S. The three clocks in with the standard battery coming in at 0 to 60 in 5.6 seconds, with a top speed of 130 miles per hour, and the long-range battery with a 0 to 60 time of 5.1 seconds, and a top speed of 140 miles per hour. So the point here has to go to the S, as you would expect. But again, both cars perform really well.


Tesla Supercharger

Now let’s talk about Supercharging. First, you’ll likely not use Superchargers that often unless you happen to live or work right next to one. All of the used Model S on the site currently come with free Supercharging for life, whereas the Model 3 is listed as pay per use. In November of 2016, Tesla did put out a statement saying that-

“for Teslas ordered after January 1st, 2017, 400 kilowatt hours of free Supercharging credits, roughly 1,000 miles, will be included annually so that all owners can continue to enjoy free Supercharging during travel. Beyond that, there will be a small fee to Supercharge which will be charged incrementally and cost less than the price of filling up a comparable gas car. All cars will continue to come standard with the onboard hardware required for Supercharging”.

Then they went back on that temporarily and offered it for free retroactively in late May of 2017. So currently, according to the site as of September 2017, in order to get free Supercharging on a Model S, you need to use a referral code. But since we’re comparing a used Model S, We would say it’s safe to say that in the near term you’re gonna get free Supercharging for life with that vehicle. So, for this one, We are gonna give the point to the Model S, since we don’t know for sure if the Model 3 will get the same 400-kilowatt hours for free, and that currently, a used Model S will come with free Supercharging.


Both the Model S and Model 3 have excellent range. The lowest We have seen for a used Model S is about 200 miles. And if you were to go with the new 100D, you could get 335 miles on a single charge. So pretty good, and really shouldn’t be an issue for anybody on most of their days that they’re commuting. The Model 3 is also well equipped with a standard battery starting at 220 miles, and the long range going up to 310 miles. Again, enough for you to get back and forth on your daily commute no problem. So technically the Model S can go a bit further, but honestly they’re so close in range and the Model 3 just has EPA estimated ranges at this point we are gonna call this one a draw because really the difference between 10 miles or so shouldn’t make much of a difference to you at this point.



When it comes to the delivery time, if you order a Model S today, depending on your location you should have it well within a month. Even new ones might only take a month or so from scratch. Of course, if you order a Model 3 today, you could wait upwards of a year or more (recently Elon Musk has announced Gigafactory 3), which for most people is just too long to wait. Surprisingly, that hasn’t stopped nearly 1800 people per day who have been ordering Model 3 since the handover event in late July. So when it comes to availability, there’s really no contest. The S wins this category hands down.

Tech inside the car

Now the point where most of you are very interested in the tech that lives inside of them. To recap what the Model S has going on, there are two screens inside, one massive 17-inch center display, and another screen that’s behind the steering wheel telling you what’s going on with your speed, navigation, anything like that. And the S comes with auto presenting door handles, which have to be one of the favorite design elements of the entire vehicle. And of course, if you were to buy a new one, it has all of the latest autopilot hardware and full self-driving capabilities. But since we’re talking about a used Model S, it’s unlikely that you’re gonna find one with any autopilot capability for under $70000. Of course, the Model 3 being brand new will include all the autopilot hardware you need and have the ability to become fully self-driving in the future.

Model 3 Touch Screen Model S Touch Screen

Inside has a minimalist interior with just one center console screen which controls literally everything inside the car, even which way the air vents are pointing. In our experience riding in a Model 3, that center console screen is surprisingly perfectly positioned so you can see exactly what’s going on without having to take away too much from what you’re looking at straight ahead, and it’s easy to find everything on there. We were actually really impressed by that, and the designer did a great job, and it’s one of those things where we are sure they spent countless hours deciding exactly how far away and the size of the screen and all that. But when we rode in one and saw it, we were really surprised at how easy it was to use. One big advantage of having the full self-driving is that in the future, Tesla has stated you’ll be able to send your car off to make money for you as an autonomous taxi on the Tesla network. Now, this is still a ways away, as it’s currently not legal in the United States. but it could be a big benefit to those with this option in terms of subsidizing the cost of the car. So when it comes to the tech, the Model 3 wins this category, because obviously it’s brand new and has all the latest and greatest. we would say though, that if you don’t have a Tesla now, there aren’t really any other cars out there that compare to it when it comes to how advanced everything is.


Now, of course, there is a downside to being a slimmer version of a Model S, and that is storage. The Model 3 has a slightly below average amount of storage at 14 cubic feet, still more than the BMW 3 Series, but compared to the S, it’s not even close. The Model S, in contrast, has around 30 cubic feet of trunk space, so more than double what the Model 3 offers. And many of the used Model S doesn’t have the HEPA filter in the front, meaning that the frunk itself is even bigger. So while the three is slim and sporty, the S is bold and beautiful, offering tons of space in the trunk and in the frunk.

Design and Looks

Now prior to seeing a Model 3 in person, we were pretty skeptical about the looks of it. you would love how my Model S looks, we weren’t really excited about some of the angles we saw in the spy shots of the Model 3 online. After seeing it up close and getting to ride in one, however, we can attest, it is sporty and sexy. So in our opinion, the Model 3 has a better look, although the S is a classically beautiful car that has really stood the test of time quite well.


Many were surprised when Elon unveiled the price for the different options of the Model 3. Some were even upset that to go from the standard with the 220-mile range to the 310-mile range option was an additional $9000. As many have pointed out, however, that is still by far the best deal per mile of any other EV. You might be surprised to find though that some used Model S are going for as little as $35,000. So when you compare that to a new Model 3, which it’s looking like the average price is gonna be around 50000, these two are very similar. So for the price, we are gonna call it a wash as well, since they’re both in the same ballpark, and depending on what options you choose, either one could become more expensive.


Another advantage of being a slimmer version of its big brother the S is that the three will fit into parking spaces better. Now, for some of you this might not be a concern, but considering roughly 50% of all Teslas live in California, a lot of us here can attest that parking a Model S in a tight spot can be pretty tough. So the Model 3 definitely gets a point for being easier to park merely because of its slimmer size, although we need to mention that the S comes with the summon feature, which will auto park in really tight spaces.

So in the end, We think that it’s really hard to say one is better than the other, and most people are gonna decide based on the utility of the vehicle, these last three factors we just talked about. The ability to park it, the look and whether or not they like one over the other, as well as the storage, and whether or not that fits their needs. we are curious what you think. Are you looking at maybe getting a used Model S instead of a Model 3? Leave a comment down below and let us know what you decide and why you chose one or the other.

Saurav Revankar
Saurav Revankar
Saurav is a distinguished expert in the electric vehicle (EV) industry, known for his in-depth knowledge and passion for sustainable technology. With a particular focus on Tesla, he provides insightful analysis and comprehensive reviews that make complex EV topics accessible and engaging.


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