Tesla Model 3 Vs. Model Y: Does Upgrading To The Crossover Make Sense?

The Tesla Model Y and Model 3 account for the vast majority of the EV maker’s sales and production worldwide, with their combined share exceeding 95% of the brand’s total output and deliveries during the first three quarters of this year.

These two popular electric vehicles share the same platform, batteries, electric motors, charging capability, software, and many other components—including many interior elements—but there’s one essential area in which they differ, and that’s cabin space.

The Model Y offers significantly more interior room compared to the Model 3, and it also boasts more luggage space that’s also more convenient to access thank to the hatch. But is this the only thing that sets the two Teslas apart?

The video from Auto Buyers Guide gives a detailed look at a 2023 Tesla Model 3 RWD and a 2023 Tesla Model Y AWD, highlighting the differences between them and helping EV shoppers decide which one is more suitable for them. If you’re not sure whether a Tesla Model 3 or a Model Y is all the EV you need, this comparison may help you make up your mind.

From a pricing perspective, the Model 3 is obviously the better deal as it starts around $39,000, whereas the Model Y is priced from around $44,000—both prices before incentives and other savings. The big question is obviously if the Model Y is worth paying a $5,000 premium.

If space and comfort are what you care about the most, then the answer is a definite yes. The Model Y not only provides more room for five adult passengers—especially headroom in the back—but also more comfort.

The seats have a more upright, crossover-style position, and in the back you also get reclining seats, something the Model 3 does not offer. However, passengers who are on the taller side can touch the ceiling bar when the rear seats are fully reclined.

The seating position in the back of the Tesla Model Y is more comfortable thanks to the seat bottom cushion that is much higher up than in the Model 3, creating a more ergonomic seating position. The Model Y can even be specified with emergency third-row seats, but as Alex points out, they are really small and can only fit children.

Now, if you care more about driving feel than interior room and comfort, then the Model Y might not be worth spending $5,000 extra on. Thanks to its lower and lighter body, the Model 3 is slightly more fun to drive and faster when compared to an equivalent Model Y variant.

Bear in mind that the differences are not significant, so if you want maximum space, comfort, and 95% of the Model 3 driving experience, the Model Y is clearly the one to get.

If you’re still undecided between Tesla compact electric sedan and crossover, you should know that the ride quality of the former is on the firm and bouncy side, so that’s another thing to take into consideration before buying.

If you like a sports suspension, chances are you’ll like how the Model 3 rides, but if you don’t, you should probably pick the Model Y—just don’t expect a much more supple and compliant ride because there’s only so much tuning that can be done with the same hardware.

One more thing you should keep in mind is that the Model 3 gets more range on a full charge than the Model Y with the same powertrain, thanks to its more aerodynamic body.

Check out the video for more comparisons between the two Teslas and other EVs in their segments.