2016 S or 2019 3?

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#1
Hello,

I am new here and about to purchase my first Tesla. I cannot decide between a 2016 S with under 25k miles or a new 3. Can anyone tell me what changes exist between 2016 and now on the S? I’ve test driven and like it but not sure how to decide. I like the comfort of the S and the luxury of the interior. I like the 3 also but prefer the S and will not spend $80k+ on a car again.

I am married and a 7 year old and a Great Pyrenees so we do fit better in the S but can transport the dog in my husband’s truck when necessary if we go with the 3.

Any helpful thoughts?

Thank you,
Jessica
 

MelindaV

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#2
biggest difference will be the full self driving computer (FSD) and the user interface computer (MCU) that have both recently been updated on the Model S (and 3). a 2016 S will for sure have the lesser MCU and depending on when it was built may or may not be FSD capable (does it have the side cameras?) generally speaking, if it has the side cameras, its AP computer can be upgraded to the new FSD computer. if it only has the front and backup camera it can not be upgraded and will be lacking a lot of the current (and future) AP features.

Having also driven the S and own the 3, I don't think the interior cabin area is all that different (as far as fitting the big pup) between the two. While the exterior of the 3 is smaller on the inside, it is not all that different, plus the 3 has more headroom than the S. Biggest interior difference may be that with the Ss seats folded down, you have the extra headspace of the hatch that you don't get in the 3 because of the shelf behind the rear seats.

Personally, for a car as tech as Teslas are, I would not want the 3 year old model.
 

SoFlaModel3

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#3
2016 will not have the side cameras so it is at end of life as far as it’s AP capability is concerned. It should also have the original nose cone.

Can you tell us which S you are looking at versus which 3?

As an aside, new for new if price didn’t matter I would take the 3. The reason is that I prefer the size which could be something to consider. Pros and cons to each.
 

Bigriver

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#4
Aside from autopilot issues mentioned above (which are huge to me) and other technology, the range of the 2016 S is going to be less than a new model 3. The S is less efficient and will cost more to fuel up for the same number of miles.

Tesla used to separately price features so it’s really important to look at what any specific older S or X actually has. They vary a lot and even “the premium package” varies a lot.

I have an X (with same dash layout as S) and a 3 and while there are features I like better in the X, if I had to choose just one to keep, it would be the 3. The uncluttered view out the front (I feel like I could touch the road) and its nimbleness leave me speechless. I didn’t immediately get it - I thought the display looked goofy and too extreme. But I now fully appreciate the Model 3 interior style.

I’m a little confused about your mention of $80k.... a 2016 model S should be nowhere near that and a new model 3 can be had for half.
 
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#5
As to which S, I have no idea which one, I was trying to pick one around $60k on the used car inventory site and they don’t provide much info. While not ideal, and for no particular reason, I don’t like the idea of 245 range but was willing to make that sacrifice for the upgraded feeling of luxury. I also like the instrument panel but that is likely just due to being used to it.

For the 3, I selected an upgraded color and long range and not the full auto driving option. I was not provided any additional options.

Thanks for all your thoughts. I am coming from a $70k Volvo so I am used to the luxury that comes with that. Sounds like I will be happy with the 3 and I am sure, in no time, will adjust to the cosmetic differences.

Bigriver, regarding the price, if you price a new S on the website with nothing selected, the cost is $79,990. I was meaning new with the $80k and a 2016 is about $60-75k.

Thanks again and feel free to share any additional thoughts as this is a big purchase.
 

MelindaV

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#6
upgraded feeling of luxury
I've heard many comment on the S/X interior being more 'luxurious', and not really see why that would be. beyond some cars that came with the various upgraded wood trims, the only other significant interior finish difference is more alcantara. the cup holders (not particularly a luxury trigger) are horribly placed, the layout of the buttons/levers on the steering wheel are not intuitive, the seat appearance is about the same as the 3 (albeit, likely genuine leather instead of 'vegan' leather).
but overall, I wouldn't consider the S/X interior significantly more luxurious than the 3. coming from other cars in the same price range, can you say what it is about the S/X interior you view as luxurious? I hope that doesn't come off as critical of your view, just really curious because I've heard this multiple times and I just don't see it.
 
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I think that it is just that the 3 is so sparse. I like the display panel that is in the traditional place in the S and I like the wood paneling. I don’t like the knobs, as you mentioned, they don’t seem intuitive.

Also, since it is different and a lot of money, it is a bit of a scary purchase for me. 🙂

I had a Honda Civic Hybrid when they were brand new for 9 years and 180k miles and loved it. I haven’t loved a car so much since then. Im hoping to repeat that love with this purchase.
 

MelindaV

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I think that it is just that the 3 is so sparse. I like the display panel that is in the traditional place in the S and I like the wood paneling. I don’t like the knobs, as you mentioned, they don’t seem intuitive.

Also, since it is different and a lot of money, it is a bit of a scary purchase for me. 🙂

I had a Honda Civic Hybrid when they were brand new for 9 years and 180k miles and loved it. I haven’t loved a car so much since then. Im hoping to repeat that love with this purchase.
maybe rent both an S and a 3 for a long weekend from a local Turo owner and see how each works for you and your family - having a couple days to get used to the car makes a huge difference (like with the displays - to quote Elon "you won't care").
When I was in Phoenix last spring, I rented a 3 from 'Richard" for something like $65/day and he has at least 3 different Model 3s listed on Turo (not sure if he has any Ss as well).
 

FRC

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#9
I think that it is just that the 3 is so sparse. I like the display panel that is in the traditional place in the S and I like the wood paneling. I don’t like the knobs, as you mentioned, they don’t seem intuitive.

Also, since it is different and a lot of money, it is a bit of a scary purchase for me. 🙂

I had a Honda Civic Hybrid when they were brand new for 9 years and 180k miles and loved it. I haven’t loved a car so much since then. Im hoping to repeat that love with this purchase.
I drove a 2011 Civic Hybrid for 225,000 miles. It absolutely does not compare with any Model 3. The Model 3 may cost 3 times as much, but it's at least 10 times the car!!
 
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I drove a 2011 Civic Hybrid for 225,000 miles. It absolutely does not compare with any Model 3. The Model 3 may cost 3 times as much, but it's at least 10 times the car!!
I understand they are not at all the same...just hoping I love the 3 as much as I loved the HCH. 🙂
 

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#11
While not ideal, and for no particular reason, I don’t like the idea of 245 range but was willing to make that sacrifice for the upgraded feeling of luxury. I also like the instrument panel but that is likely just due to being used to it.
Be aware that the batteries do degrade some, so if a 2016 S was initially 245 miles range that may be more like 225 range now. And people don’t run them 100% to 0%, more like 90% to 20%. There is also some use of the battery just as it sits; Tesla says to expect about 1% a day. And not all conditions get full efficiency (just like in a gas car). So there are lots of reasons that actual miles driven before needing to charge is less than the rated range. I say these things not to be negative, but just to be informed. There are those who say not much range is needed because of home charging and the phenomenal supercharging network, but it does all depend on your needs for the car. I personally like range; it provides more options. (BTW the model 3 can supercharge at a faster rate than the S and X’s, especially the older ones.)

There are things that I think are less luxurious in the 3 than the S. It is a bit noisier and the ride is a bit rougher. No heated steering wheel - but I see you are in Phoenix so that probably is no issue for you. Much less cargo space in the 3 and the trunk is not a hatchback, further limiting it. And the 3 sparse look doesn’t come across as luxurious to most, at least not as first. On the plus side for the 3, tho, is the layout of the console and cup holders. 1000% times better than the S. Another huge advantage that the 3 has is the responsiveness of the screen. It can be painfully slow for the screen to refresh in pre-2018 (-ish) S’s and X’s.
 

Frully

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#12
For me it's half down to 'you bought a computer with a car around it' and half down to 'the car is a rocket ship'.

Both the 3 and the S will have subjectively similar driving experiences at that price range.
The 3 will have a far superior technology feel (newer infotainment, probably better autopilot as others say).
3 will have new warranty.
3 is higher efficiency.

It's a no brainer unless there is a massive price difference in my mind.
 

Spiffywerks

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#13
Model S Pros:
  • More cargo space
  • Hatchback with power lift gate
  • Ventilated Seats?
  • Free Supercharging for life (may not be as big a deal depending on your charging situation)
  • Insurance maybe less since it’s older. Get quotes.
  • Soft close doors
  • More manual buttons (mirror controls, Cruise has its own stalk, wiper controls, headlights, steering wheel adjustment, glove box)
Model S Cons:
  • Older technology (slow MCU, AP1) - can be upgraded for $$
  • Slower than M3P ($55k). M3LRAWD ($48k) about the same.
  • If it has 21” rims, tires wear faster from what I understand.
  • Range difference will be noticeable. I’ve had 75D loaners and felt way more range anxiety vs my 3. M3@325 miles, normally charge up to ~280 miles. S@245 miles will normally charge to ~200 miles. You’ll definitely be visiting charging stations more often. If you get on it often, I fell the S uses much more energy when doing quick take offs.
Model 3:
  • More headroom
  • New with new car warranty
  • Newest Tech
  • Sportier driving experience - more nimble (Car is lighter than S and it drives that way). Think Civic vs Acura RL.
  • Better views - M3 has much larger windows all around. Smaller blind spots.
  • Smaller dimensions, fits a little better into places and would feel closer in size to the Civic.
I came from a 2006 Dodge Charger R/T and got a 3LRRWD. M3 is definitely faster. Front interior space on the M3 feels bigger. The rear is smaller. Trunk space is surprisingly close between the two. You can get a lot more than you think into the back of an M3.

Once you drive around a bit in an M3, you may not care anymore there is no front instrument cluster - I don’t and prefer the middle screen now. Instead of looking down between the steering wheel, a speed check is a glance to the right while your eyes still look forward.

I’m 6’3” and find it easier to get in/out of the M3. Sitting position feels better, but I prefer sportier types. I like the M3 seats more.

But like other have said, rent both, find your preference. Best way to do it
 
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MelindaV

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#20
Thanks for all your help. I bought the 3 and took delivery on Wednesday. I love it and know I made the correct choice.
and I know you said your big white dog would be in the other car when needed, but if interested, we have a Model 3 dog thread in case you need to take a pix of him(her) in the 3 :) and also a kids in the 3 thread. it mostly is talking about multiple kids/car seats in the 3, but may have some bits you would find interesting.