Tesla buying guide: Comparing Tesla Model 3 vs. Model S

It is nearly second nature of any car user to upgrade to the latest car models. Definitely, it is somewhat easy to become brand loyal without considering the specification and features from other brands. For instance, since Tesla began its operations in 2003, the electric motor industry named Nikola Tesla has transformed the automotive industry. In only 16 years, many individuals have expressed their interest in Tesla, making it one of the most essential automakers in the business.

Declaration of Tesla model 3 vs. Model S

Model 3 is one of the auto models that promise long-range and cheap electric cars to hundreds and thousands of potential buyers across the globe. As customers continue to wait for this model to be available in the market, many potential buyers are looking forward to trying Tesla Model S that is already available as either a new or used car.

Individuals experienced in using both Model S and Model 3 can attest that the two possess a unique perspective on how the two compare in real life.

Their differential market segment

To begin with, it is critical to understand that the two models are geared towards different audiences. Basically, Model S is a large expensive car with 5 seats including 2 optional seats, making seating capacity of 7. Built with crème de la crème, Model S is a large classy electric car, similar to Mercedes S-class or BMW 7 series. Surprisingly, Model S is the leading large classy car segment in the market, holding market share from the rest car manufacturer in the segment.

On the other hand, Tesla Model 3 is geared towards a higher volume segment and low price, competing with other classy models like BMW 5 Series and Mercedes C-class on the higher edge of its pricing range.

It is interesting that these potential competitors feel that model 3 has something unique and probably will enjoy similar market share success that Tesla Model S enjoyed.

Related article: Electric Car Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Charging


The most straightforward difference between Model 3 and Model S is their size difference. While Model 3 comes in 185 inches long X 73 inches wide X 57 inches high, Model S comes in 196 inches long X 77 inches wide X 57 inches high. This set a difference of close to a foot more room in the parking area or in the garage. This is arguably a great difference for individuals living in towns or countries with small streets that don’t accommodate large cars, hence becoming a liability. Furthermore, Model 3 is approximately 4 inches narrower than its counterpart, and this tightens the interior space, although it is a minor difference that isn’t noticeable by many people. Considering the height, the two models are the same, with similar headroom for easily getting in and out of the car.

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3

Function wise, Model S is a large car that can accommodate a large area in the garage. Another plug-in car is the Tesla Model X, tailored to accommodate a small army into the battle. As a complete car encompassing a hatchback, with no internal combustion engine or bulky gas tank under the hood, Tesla Model S will collectively pack massive cargo.

Technically, Tesla model S boasts of its 31.6 cubic feet of cargo space with Model 3 having 15 cubic feet, which is actually less than half the space. In the real sense, Model 3 holds nearly similar cargo space as a normal vehicle, while Model S is a large car with a lot of cargo space.

Who is the winner?

Technically, the size of Tesla Model 3 and Model S are unmatched. If you are looking forward to hauling enough space for your gears, then Model S would be a great option.


Being a large vehicle, Model S is as well weighed down with its overwhelming 70kWh or 100kWh battery with around 1,200 lbs. This basically depends on the selected battery pack configuration. These aspects translate to a controlled weight range of 2,108kg–2,241kg for the two configuration packs.

Its smaller model boasts of having a smaller frame that allows higher efficiencies. This feature has a composite impact, as the lighter the car is, the more Powertrain efficient it is, and the smaller and lighter its battery might be. Most importantly, the difference introduces over 1,000 lb. for the Model 3’s two configurations when compared to Model S two battery options. Basically, Tesla Model 3 weighs around 1,610kg- 1741kg for the long-range and standard battery configurations.

Who is the winner?

Model S Weight
Model S Weight

Model S beats model 3 with a significant amount of weight due to its massive size.


If you try driving the two cars side by side, you will realize how handing makes them different. Blended with a thick and stiff nose, Tesla Model 3 works like a small sports car. It has a champ curve like handles, it’s suitable for negotiating corners due to its low center of gravity, and its passengers can pin to their seating position due to its lightweight features.

We don’t actually mean that Model S is a slouch since it packs a lot of power under the hood. However, the power is tailored to lugging around the large frame. Essentially, Tesla Model S is faster compared to its counterpart; however, it encompasses a heftier feel around the corner.

Who is the winner?

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3 / Source

Tesla Model 3 wins when it comes to handling. It encompasses several grips made from Michelin sticky tires. S Model is also eye-widening when it comes to handles. Despite being a heavy vehicle, Model 3 is perfect to roll through corners.


Usually, the performance of the Model 3 car is considerably firm. Model S, on the other hand, has a standard air suspension. It also has a comfortable technique to travel long distances provided that you don’t try using large allow wheels. The only thing that doesn’t work for Model S is the scruffy urban roads, but not to the point of feeling uncomfortable.

Who is the winner?


Both Model S and Model 3 are quiet when driving at low speed; however, some wind noise is produced when driving at a high speed, especially from frameless doors.

Model 3 has great brakes, which is much less grabby than its electric car competitors, implying that you can smoothly slow the car down. Model S similarly, has a natural feel and smooth brakes as well but might get used to due to the car’s strong braking regeneration.

From the same category: Electric Cars

Interior and exterior design

Speaking of interior design, Model 3 takes it to the next level. Its ultimately impressive visual factor is the dashboard, which is controlled by the horizontal screen probably found at the television aisle. It substitutes almost every single switch, button, and gauge usually scattered around the cockpit. Undoubtedly, it is an appropriate solution that makes it build Model 3. It is critical to remember that all the interior parts in Model 3 were made in-house by Tesla.

Model S, on the other side, is futuristic; however, it appears to be somehow convectional inside than its counterpart. For the novice, features like the instrument cluster, big vertical touch screen, and air vents are precisely where you would love them to be. Notwithstanding, since the S Model was the first massive-produced car by Tesla, the company included other parts from other manufacturers. You can clearly notice the switchgear if you’ve already used a late Mercedes Benz model. In addition, Model S is starting to grow old as well, which is hardly amazing considering it was made in 2012.

Who is the winner?

Tesla Model S Interior On White
Tesla Model S Interior On White / Source

Tesla Model S is undoubtedly a better choice if you frequently haul gears or people. It provides room for 5 people plus 2 jump seats ideal for small kids and trunk space of up to 30 cubic feet. Keep in mind that the trunk space and the jump seats are equally exclusive. The most Model 3 can accommodate are 5 adults and up to 15 cubes of your gears.


Range and charging

Considering range and charging is one of the most complicated aspects. You are wondering why? Well, it is because how far your car will travel on a single charge differs significantly on which version you pick, and which figures you prefer.

The current range figures for the Tesla Model 3 uses the latest WLTP tests, which are arguably a representation of real-world driving than the one (NEDC tests) used in the past. Considering these tests, Model 3 incorporates 338 miles range in the standard form and a performance range of up to 330 miles.

Currently, there are no figures for the S Model from the WLTP tests just yet; however, the two are literally comparable when EPA tests are considered. Here are the results of the two models.

Model S range (EPA tests)

  • Performance = 315 miles
  • Standard range = 270 miles
  • Long range = 335 miles

Model 3 (EPA tests)

  • Performance = 310 miles
  • Long-range = 325 miles
  • Dual-motor long = 310 miles
  • Standard range = 220 miles
  • Standard plus range = 240 miles
  • Mid-range = 264 miles

Who is the winner?

It is critical to understand which car conducts its testing range on electric cars. If you test Model S using Real Range, the standard range test is 75kWh, covering 204 miles per charge. Undoubtedly, Tesla is different compared to other competitors in the electronic car world, since it offers a distinct range of charges for its vehicles. The supercharger network used by Tesla can charge Tesla vehicles faster than many popularly used charging points. Model 3 has a 10-80% charging capacity within 30 minutes.

Despite the model you select, you will be required to pay for the supercharger network, with several tariffs tailored towards the number of kWh you utilize.

It is good to note that Tesla Model 3 utilizes distinct charging connectors to S and X models. This implies that all superchargers are not compatible with all the vehicles. However, the setback is that Model 3 is the sole Tesla charged by public charging points.

Pricing and availability

Tesla Model 3 was valued at $35,000 prior to incentives. The company is thought to have built several of these cars at that value; however, in March 2020, its official website advertised it at $39,990. The good thing is that the intense, long-awaited period has been a bit reasonable as Tesla reduces its supply of orders. The company appraises potential buyers will have to wait for 8-`12 weeks for a current Model 3.

On the other hand, the two models S are valued at $79,990 and $99,990, respectively and take roughly 8-12 weeks to be delivered. This is a long time to wait, but that is probably due to the closure of its production as a result of coronavirus pandemic. The firm’s inventory of used encompasses all variants of the Model S released in the last few years. Currently, they are available right now in the market. You can drive one when the COVID-19 pandemic is over.


Tesla Cars Faq
Tesla Cars Faq

Which Tesla model is the best to purchase?

Tesla Company is increasing its offering. With model S making a significant impact on the auto market as one of the best pure electrical cars, it is a firm that is massively disruptive. Considering Tesla model 3, Model S, and Model X is a wise decision. This will solely depend on your driving style, your preference, and the environmental aspects.

Why is Tesla Model 3 better than Model S?

Basically, Model S has a great warranty on the drivetrain with unlimited mileage. Model 3 boasts of a 120,000-mile warranty option on the Long Range average AWD. On average, the S model accelerates a bit faster with a top speed. Likewise, it has a great range (370 for the largest S model battery compared to 310 for Tesla’s largest Model 3.


Currently, with many Tesla models in the market, it becomes a dead heat in this battle to distinguish the best model. Tesla Model 3, Model S, or Model X all plays a significant role in the automotive industry. You only need to know what you need and choose according to your preference.



Featured image via Adobe Spark

Written by M Eduard

M. Eduard was born and raised in San Francisco, CA. Eduard spent his MBA summer internship at Sungevity, a residential solar energy retail company in Oakland, CA. He started this website to share his knowledge about renewable energy.