Buy a Model S over a Model 3?

ng0

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#1
Hi all,

There's a lot of talk these days about whether it's really worth spending $58k+ for a Model 3 (with LR, PUP, color, 19" wheels and EAP), when you could buy a supposedly superior Model S for "not that much more". Ben from Teslanomics created quite a stir with one of his latest videos where he points out a bunch of faults in the Model 3 and why he whole heartily believes people should drop their Model 3 reservations and just purchase a Model S or at least a used Model S.

These claims just blow my mind, especially coming from a numbers guy like Ben. I understand the Model S is bigger and generally more advanced, but when you compare apples to apples, the Model S is outrageously expensive! So let's take some points one by one:

1) I know Ben points out his suggestion to get a used Model S, but I'm basically gonna immediately remove that as an option. The cheapest one I found was $42k+, it's 5+ years old, 60k miles, 60kwh battery (200 mile range?), no autopilot, no premium sound, etc, etc. Not to mention I think the old front looks ugly and outdated. Ok so, you get a Model S for a little less than a Model 3, but that doesn't even seem in the realm of comparable.

2) When pricing out a new Model S, the base price comes out to $74.5k before tax!!! So you get no upgraded color, no premium sound, textile seats, 259 mile range, no EAP. You do get a bunch of other nice features like dual motor, air suspension, and faster 0-60 time. You can also make the argument that all the extra features the model S provides makes up for not having longer range, vegan leather, premium sound, EAP, etc, but you're still paying over $15K (plus the extra tax difference) for the Model S.

3) When pricing out a car with all the same features as the model 3, plus arguably some better features, the car is priced at a whopping $108,300 + tax!!!!! Ok, again, not quite apples to apples because at this price point there's no question the Model S is superior in many ways. Longer range, larger, air suspension, much faster, dual motor, etc etc, etc. Realistically this would be the closest comparison, but is anyone really going to argue that a $116K car (taking into consideration tax) is not better than a $62K car (again including tax)?

So there you have it... (as Ben likes to say quite a bit in his videos. :p ) I get where he's coming from, but I just absolutely don't see a situation where the Model S would be financially viable in my mind. On top of that, I actually like the size, and many of the features like the minimalism, A/C, no key-fob that the Model 3 has to offer that the Model S doesn't have at all. Do you guys feel I'm off base here?
 
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Michael Russo

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#2
(...)
3) When pricing out a car with all the same features as the model 3, plus arguably some better features, the car is priced at a whopping $108,300 + tax!!!!! Ok, again, not quite apples to apples because at this price point there's no question the Model S is superior in many ways. Longer range, larger, air suspension, much faster, dual motor, etc etc, etc. Realistically this would be the closest comparison, but is anyone really going to argue that a $116K car (taking into consideration tax) is not better than a $62K car (again including tax)?

So there you have it... (as Ben likes to say quite a bit in his videos. :p ) (...)Do you guys feel I'm off base here?
Agree with your analysis, in every way... with one minor twist... if I had the budget for the S100D, I’d probably consider it despite the less practical size (and imagine in Europe!), mostly for the hatchback, the second binnacle in front of my eyes, and, what the heck, our Citroën-loving friend has convinced me, for the SAS!! ;)

Yet I don’t have the €, and, today, don’t think I want to spend them on a car, however desirable it may be... So (normally) Midnight S≡R≡NITY will be an LRB 3...

Now... what will life bring me in one year...? :D
 
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#3
I feel exactly the way you do. I want to get a Tesla soon and more than once I have been close to pulling the plug on a Model S. No matter how I try to rationalize it, the $25K difference between the 3 LR PUP and the base 75D does not make sense. My comparison below is done based on these two.

Model S ($74.5K) is faster, bigger, has a hatchback, AWD (+5K), air suspension (+$1K), two screens, power liftgate and wiper and AP stalks.
Model 3 ($49K) has better range, faster processor on the single screen, better interior console layout, vegan leather seats ($+3.3K) and premium audio.

On a subjective note, I like the 3 better than the S in terms on looks and size, but that is all subjective. Also, I posted something about this on reddit, and got at least two people saying that the S seats are more comfortable than the 3's, but I cannot speak to this.

As it is, I feel the Model S is overpriced (to my needs and when compared to the value on the model 3) by $10K-$15K.

Also, agree with you on not wanting a used one, I have yet to find a used one with a price that makes sense to me.
 

RunCycle

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#4
I agree, but I think throwing out all the used Model S's right off the bat is a little unfair. If we look at a more reasonable and comparable used car example maybe it might be a closer race?

For example, I spotted an 85D with original autopilot and premium seating for $73k. If you can do without the premium seating, there is another used 85 that is priced at $66.6k. These are still more than a 3, and much more considering that there is no federal tax credit after purchase. But the price is closer, and you get your Tesla now instead of 6 months from now.

But, like you said, the old style of the Model S is UGLY. And big. And too buttony. And doesn't have the potential for self-driving. Model 3 is my choice.
 

oey192

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#5
I’m generally in the same boat. I want the latest and greatest and to get that in a Model S it either has to be barely used or new and at that point the price difference is significant. If late 2016 Model S 100Ds were in the $60-65K range it would be a different story but that’s just not the case…
Also I find that both the official Tesla used inventory and the TeslaInventory website rarely have many options (often none) that I would get if I splurged for a used Mode S

And at this point, I’ve waited so long it feels wrong to jump to a Model S. If I had a time machine I’d go back to June 2017 and tell myself to buy a used Model S (even a really outdated one) to bump my Model 3 reservation and then last month I could have traded the Model S for a new 3, but alas, I don’t have a time machine…
 

ng0

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#6
if I had the budget for the S100D, I’d probably consider it despite the less practical size
yea, absolutely. But then again, Would I really want to spend $100k+ on a car!? Probably not. If I had a 100k+ to spend on a car, there'd be a lot of dream cars I could start considering. I'd also have to consider waiting a year or two until the Porsche EV comes out. That thing looks sweet!

As it is, I feel the Model S is overpriced (to my needs and when compared to the value on the model 3) by $10K-$15K.

Also, agree with you on not wanting a used one, I have yet to find a used one with a price that makes sense to me.
yup exactly. 10-15k is really being generous. It'd be a minimum of 15K + the difference in tax.

I agree, but I think throwing out all the used Model S's right off the bat is a little unfair. If we look at a more reasonable and comparable used car example maybe it might be a closer race?
Good point. I guess I should've looked into the $60k+ used Model S' but the truth is there are probably zero in that price range with the new look and definitely won't have the features I want that I'll be expecting in the Model 3.

And at this point, I’ve waited so long it feels wrong to jump to a Model S. If I had a time machine I’d go back to June 2017 and tell myself to buy a used Model S (even a really outdated one) to bump my Model 3 reservation and then last month I could have traded the Model S for a new 3, but alas, I don’t have a time machine…
seriously! If I only knew, this would definitely seem like a good option. I'm not sure how much the used Model S would have depreciated in a couple years, but I bet it wouldn't have been that bad if it was still in great shape and with not a crazy amount of miles on it. The truth is, 2 years ago I wouldn't have considered a $60k car, but after 2 years of drooling over the Model 3 and my financial situation getting better, I can finally justify it.
 

Michael Russo

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#7
Since some of you may not have actually seen Ben’s video referred to by @ng0 , and I just happened to bump on it on Twitter, I thought I’d post it here...


Feels kinda weird actually; mostly because Ben kinda gives us the impression he’s trying to impersonate your friendly T≡SLA rep at the nearby Store, trying to sway you away from the 3 to the S... as if money wasn’t a consideration (incl. some lamenting about lack of free SC for a car that comes at close to half the price... :rolleyes:). OK, as stated above, I concur on the 2nd binnacle & the hatchback... yet overall, IMHO, this is not Ben at his best here...

Sorry, @Ben Sullins ...
 

ng0

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#8
Since some of you may not have actually seen Ben’s video referred to by @ng0 , and I just happened to bump on it on Twitter, I thought I’d post it here...


Feels kinda weird actually; mostly because Ben kinda gives us the impression he’s trying to impersonate your friendly T≡SLA rep at the nearby Store, trying to sway you away from the 3 to the S... as if money wasn’t a consideration (incl. some lamenting about lack of free SC for a car that comes at close to half the price... :rolleyes:). OK, as stated above, I concur on the 2nd binnacle & the hatchback... yet overall, IMHO, this is not Ben at his best here...

Sorry, @Ben Sullins ...
Thanks so much for posting that! I absolutely appreciate and respect Ben. Love his videos, and am proud that he's a fellow San Diegan. That being said, I do agree with you. It definitely felt more like a Tesla anti-selling campaign. Honestly, it's kinda been bothering me lately that he's been pushing his referral codes for Tesla and the wheel manufacturer so much. I understand that he has to make money and get invited to Tesla events to keep the channel going, but I really feel that the genuineness of his channel is diminishing over time. During some of his latest live Q&A videos, he almost seemed a little annoyed that people would bother asking him questions related to things he's already talked about (almost getting a bit of an attitude). Again, I hope he continues to make videos and be successful at it, but I really hope he goes back to his roots.
 

iluvmacs

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#9
Supposedly better indeed. We fell into that trap 8 months ago and bought a CPO Model S 85 for the same price as a Model 3 (after tax credit), thinking it was a way better value for the same money. It's been great to drive, but honestly there's a lot that my wife and I don't like (mostly its enormity, relatively low efficiency, and a few seriously poor design choices). We are selling it and taking delivery on a Model 3 in just two days. We've been so blown away by all the reviews of it that we are convinced we will like it better than the S in almost every way -- we are even doing this trade without ever having seen a 3 in person! It seems terrible to me to keep a car for only 7 months, but on the upside, we got our 3 way faster by buying the S and also guaranteed ourselves the tax credit that way. Bonus: I'm selling the S to another family member so I will still get to drive it on occasion :).
 
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TrevP

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#10
I know Ben personally and while he's not talking about it, he's had a LOT of problems with his Model 3 so I think he's trying to let people know these are early days and to expect problems and issues. I can say first hand that Model 3 isn't perfect and that Tesla is going through some growing pains getting the quality up to snuff so if you're wanting a car ASAP there's some merit in waiting a bit.
 

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#11
(...) so if you're wanting a car ASAP there's some merit in waiting a bit.
Except, respectfully, that is not what he is saying... he’s actually clearly and unequivocally telling his audience to get an S...
Again, most of us would want to yet can’t afford it or have other priorities... o_O
 

ng0

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#12
I know Ben personally and while he's not talking about it, he's had a LOT of problems with his Model 3 so I think he's trying to let people know these are early days and to expect problems and issues. I can say first hand that Model 3 isn't perfect and that Tesla is going through some growing pains getting the quality up to snuff so if you're wanting a car ASAP there's some merit in waiting a bit.
Good to know. I guess from the perspective I could definitely understand why he wouldn't be recommending the Model 3, but to tell people you can get a comparable Model S for not much more than a Model 3 just doesn't seem very genuine to me. Again, I'm not trying to attack his opinions or thoughts on the subject, but Teslanomics really should be more about the "data" and when analyzing the numbers, I just can't wrap my head around what he's saying.
 

Michael Russo

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#14
Ben addressed this video at 17:56 and clarified his position. I actually agree with all of his points.
Thanks, Roderick, this is a good add.
It doesn’t help me unfortunately - and likely won’t help @ng0 and a few others either, who don’t feel comparing a ‘low end’ Model S at 60 grand (assuming you can even find those - which as I stated before, in my neck of the woods, can be tough) to a ‘high end’ Model 3 is a good apples to apples comparison... or that it necessarily would favor the S... ;)

Now a $100-110k S...? That’s a different story...
 

ng0

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#15

Ben addressed this video at 17:56 and clarified his position. I actually agree with all of his points.
I saw that video yesterday and yea he tried to clarify his position, but honestly, it doesn't address my points above. First he tries to shoot down people's opinions on getting the Model 3 instead of a used Model S because we have our little "belief system". I dunno about others, but that really rubbed me the wrong way. Then he says that we're comparing a 35-40K Model 3 vs an 80K model S, and no like I said above, that's not what I'm comparing. I'm actually comparing a fully loaded $60k model 3 to a $75K model S. Even then I feel a $75K is in a whole different price range than a $60K car. Lastly he says if you don't care or aren't interested in LR, PUP, upgraded wheels, dual motor, etc, etc, etc, and willing to wait for a $35K version then that would make sense, but otherwise, it makes more sense to get a used Model S. Again, numbers-wise, I don't feel this is an accurate or fair comparison. So yes, he tried to clarify, but I feel it just made it more confusing.
 

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#16
@ng0 , obviously had not seen your response yet s’pose I guessed your reaction right... :D
We seem fully aligned... ;)

Oh well, let’s thus keep patiently waiting, and saving some money... (or buying lottery tickets? :p)
 

ng0

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#17
@ng0 , obviously had not seen your response yet s’pose I guessed your reaction right... :D
We seem fully aligned... ;)

Oh well, let’s thus keep patiently waiting, and saving some money... (or buying lottery tickets? :p)
haha yea. Sounds like we were thinking very alike. :p I'll buy more lottery tickets when powerball gets back up to 500 mil. :D
 

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#19

Ben addressed this video at 17:56 and clarified his position. I actually agree with all of his points.
I feel like he has a logical fallacy. If someone wants Enhanced Autopilot and other features that come with a fully-loaded Model 3, they aren't going to be satisfied with a Model S that doesn't have those features. The used Model S' in the $60k price range don't have the newer autopilot, the potential for self-driving, or the milage efficiency.
 

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#20
Understood gents. Last thing I want to do is come across as sounding down on the Model 3 (God knows I’ve obsessed over that car, as we all have), but the Model S makes more sense for me for many of the reasons Ben mentions, as well as a few others he hasn’t (YMMV).