Best Tesla Model

Best Tesla Model – Which One To Pick… S, 3, X, Y?

Yes, I know the title is corny – I’m sorry – but it had to be done. On a more serious note, however, that is a good question to ponder over… With your hard-earned cash, which one is the best Tesla model? I remember not too long ago that the brand had only a single model, selling mostly a niche dream of an electric car. Fast forward barely 10 years later, and Tesla is the most valuable carmaker on earth.

Back in its heyday, Tesla was hand-building a select few cars, purely for those who were keen to try something new. Nowadays, they’re able to crank out a mind-boggling 500,000 cars a year. Only a storied marque like Ford, in the early 1900s with the Model T, could cherish such a legacy. Tesla has more than a few reasons to be proud, especially with what they’ve done to the electric car market.

One could argue that Elon Musk’s Tesla single-handedly built the EV sector as we know it today. The popularity and cachet attached to every EV sold – a Tesla or not – has the allure that Elon Musk had introduced nearly 20 years ago. Nowadays, they’re sporting four models of their own, with more to come in the future. But until then, you must be wondering… Which of them is the best Tesla model?

What’s The Story Behind Tesla?

Before we take a peek at the best Tesla models, we ought to discuss a bit on how the brand got here in the first place. It all began on July 1st of 2003, with the express goal of building not just a car, but also new technologies around it. It’s worth noting that by this point, Elon Musk hadn’t yet entered into the fray. This would come in 2004, where Elon would invest $6.5-million into the upstart brand.

He had previously just sold his $100-million share at PayPal. Gradually, Elon Musk became its largest investor, and also its chairman. From the very beginning, Elon Musk had hoped to make affordable, mass-market electric vehicles. But as he needed a strong basis to start with first, Tesla went to make the Roadster. It was a Lotus-based electric sports car built to grab the world’s attention towards EVs.

From 2005 to 2009, the Roadster continued to make headlines. It was, after all, one of the first of its kind, an electrified sports car. Which, mind you, was also fun to drive and didn’t lack the theatre of an old-school gas-powered equivalent. Tesla continued to attract investments from major investors. In 2010, Tesla’s iconic Freemont factory would open its doors, where most of its cars will be made.

Following an explosive IPO, the second Tesla would roll around, the Model S. It made its impact felt worldwide and very quickly gained in sales. It featured novel ideas such as its Tesla Autopilot driver aids. Tesla then expanded into the energy market, offering users wall chargers for their homes. Later, the Model X SUV, Model 3 compact sedan, and Model Y crossover steadily followed the Model S.

Which Among Them Is The Best Tesla Model?

Tesla’s current line-up consists of the four aforementioned models. Granted, they do have plans to keep launching numerous other products down the line. Those to-be-announced models include the Cybertruck pickup truck, an upcoming second-generation Roadster supercar, as well as a Tesla Semi freightliner. As these three haven’t yet been produced, we’ll focus on its already-present models…

Best Tesla Model

  • S – A sporty five-door luxury sedan, with a liftback-style form factor. This is Tesla’s most performant vehicle (barring the upcoming Roadster), and the brand’s flagship model.
  • X – It’s a mid-size crossover SUV, which can seat 5, 6, or up to 7 people. The Model X was built on the same platform as the Model S. Perhaps the most distinctive feature is its gullwing rear doors.
  • 3 – A four-door fastback-style sedan, this is Tesla’s entry-level mass-market model. It’s a step down from the Model S in terms of performance and luxury but offers a similar premium feel.
  • Y – Its most recent addition to the line-up, the Model Y is a compact crossover SUV. It’s thus built on the smaller Model 3 platform, which nonetheless could seat up to 7.

Understandably, trying to pick out the best Tesla model isn’t easy. At the end of the day, what model of Tesla is the best one will ultimately depend on you. What are your needs in particular? Should you desire top speeds, opulence, and a sporty feel? Or do you want something that brings maximal cabin space and practicality, instead? With that in mind, let’s try to summarise the best Tesla models…

1. Tesla Model S – The Best Tesla Model For Performance

And why not begin with the daddy of Tesla’s portfolio, the Model S. Should you desire a sporting and athletic feel, with great dynamics on a twisty road, this is the Tesla you need. Speed is a given in the Model S, as the fastest Tesla, there is. This is even racier following the unveiling of the Model S Plaid, which brought ludicrous amounts of horsepower into the family. In all, it’s a fantastic grand tourer.

Best Tesla Model

You can quietly cruise on long road trips in extreme comfort and luxury, but with some grunt hidden away for when you need it. It is, in my view, the best Tesla outright, as its performance credentials don’t come with significant compromises. Despite the motors cranking out within an inch of its life, you’re still getting a lengthy electric range. There’s certainly enough endurance for cross-country trips.

In addition, you’re getting a fairly large trunk-slash-storage space in the back. Moving stuff in or out is also made easier thanks to its liftback-style rear hatch. There’s an abundance of tech to entertain both front and rear passengers. Although, I’m still very unsure about that yoke steering wheel that appears more cumbersome to drive around with than is necessary. Alas, it’s a minor point to note.

1.1. Model S Key Features

  • Infotainment – Electronic gadgets are bountiful in the Model S. Your multimedia – and most other car functions – is controlled through a gargantuan 17-inch central screen. With a 2200×1300 resolution, it’s crisp, with popping colors and is responsive to the touch.
  • Technology – The primary processing power of the Model S is drawn from a 10-teraflops computer. You could, with a wireless controller or two, play games using the Model S’ infotainment display. Or, there’s a smaller auxiliary screen for rear passengers. This is complemented by a booming 960-watt audio system, with 22-speakers and active noise canceling. Oh, and you get wireless charging, too.
  • Range – It remains, to this day, one of the most long-lasting (range-wise, I mean) EVs on the market. The top-of-the-line Model S could travel around 400-miles on a single charge. And thanks to Tesla’s expansive Supercharger charging network, you can top it up easily – up to 200-miles in just 15 minutes – along your journey. This is partly thanks to its low and slippery 0.208cd drag coefficient.
  • Performance – Besides its incredibly streamlined and aerodynamic bodywork, Tesla has done a lot of fine-tuning with the chassis, suspension, and steering to keep it agile. In addition, there are the motors which have been massively boosted. In the top-sped Model S Plaid variant, the triple-motor setup is able to output 1,020hp at its peak. This is sufficient for a 0-60mph time of just 1.99 seconds.

1.2. Model S Specifications

Model S (Long Range)

  • Starting Price – $94,990
  • Powertrain – Dual motors, all-wheel drive
  • Peak Power – 670hp
  • 0-60mph Time – 3.1 seconds
  • Top Speed – 155mph
  • Electric Range – 405 miles (EPA estimates)
  • Maximum Charge Rate – 250kW
  • Seating – 5 persons
  • Cargo Capacity – 28 cu-ft
  • Weight – 4,561lbs

Model S Plaid

  • Starting Price – $129,990
  • Powertrain – Triple Motors, All-Wheel Drive (with independent torque vectoring for each motor, and carbon fiber-sleeved rotors)
  • Peak Power – 1,020hp
  • 0-60mph Time – 1.99 seconds (1/4-mile in 9.23 seconds at 155mph)
  • Top Speed – 200mph
  • Electric Range – 196 miles (EPA estimates)
  • Maximum Charge Rate – 250kW
  • Seating – 5 persons
  • Cargo Capacity – 28 cu-ft
  • Weight – 4,766lbs

2. Tesla Model X – The Best Tesla Model For Practicality

But let’s say you have a larger family, and can’t possibly fit everyone and everything inside a Model S. If that’s the case, the Model X is here to bring about maximal utilitarianism. It can comfortably fit 7 people. Although if you don’t need to bring that many people along, you can fold the rear-most seats to unlock a massive luggage space. It can tow quite heavily too, up to 5,000lbs.

Best Tesla Model

And if you’re just so feeling that you want to show off, Tesla’s Model X exclusively carries its famous falcon-style gullwing doors. While it may have ultimately been designed purely for style, it does have a more practical side to it. Primarily, the fact that it automatically folds and lifts upwards means that the rear doors can be accessed, even through a tight parking space. A very handy feature to have.

Performance is beyond adequate for a vehicle of its size, as it has a similar powertrain to the Model S. This also includes a more recent Plaid variant being tweaked into the Model X. This makes it one of the most powerful super-SUVs ever made. All the while, you could be ferrying around the family in silent splendor. If you could only have just one Tesla, the Model X is a strong contender.

2.1. Model X Key Features

  • Technology – The Model X has the same infotainment and techy set-up as in the Model S, which is to say it’s quite fantastic. This includes that giant 17-inch central display for all your multimedia and car controls. A beefy onboard computer lets you play games, with ample wireless charging pads for your phone. Of course, the same 960-watt, 22-speaker surround audio setup is present, as well.
  • Interior Space – Tesla boasts some of the most impressive in-car climate controls, with standard tri-zone temperature settings and ventilated front seats. You also get a HEPA filter by default. This is on top of an incredibly spacious seating arrangement. There’s plenty of head- and leg-room for 5, 6, or up to 7 people. All of which can gaze through the industry’s largest panoramic glass roof.
  • Efficiency – In the top-spec Model X, you can get up to 348 miles of electric range, which is excellent given its heft. In a pinch, you can top it up by another 175 miles in just 15 minutes of charging. This is accessible from any one of the 30,000 Superchargers stations across the US. Aiding to maximize its electric range is a slipper 0.24cd bodywork and specialized low rolling-resistance tires.
  • Performance – You can also get a hotter Plaid-tuned variant for the Model X, too. Its stats are similar to the Model S Plaid, with a slightly slower acceleration time owing to its larger dimensions. What this entails is access to the Plaid’s triple-motor set-up. It’s fitted with independent torque vectoring for each motor, with carbon fiber-sleeved rotors to withstand the extreme performance.

2.2. Model X Specifications

Model X (Long Range)

  • Starting Price – $104,990
  • Powertrain – Dual motors, all-wheel drive
  • Peak Power – 670hp
  • 0-60mph Time – 3.8 seconds
  • Top Speed – 155mph
  • Electric Range – 348 miles (EPA estimates)
  • Maximum Charge Rate – 250kW
  • Seating – Up to 7 persons
  • Cargo Capacity – 91 cu-ft
  • Weight – 5,185lbs
  • Towing Capacity – Up to 5,000lbs

Model X Plaid

  • Starting Price – $119,990
  • Powertrain – Triple Motors, All-Wheel Drive (with independent torque vectoring for each motor, and carbon fiber-sleeved rotors)
  • Peak Power – 1,020hp
  • 0-60mph Time – 2.5 seconds (1/4-mile in 9.9 seconds)
  • Top Speed – 163mph
  • Electric Range – 333 miles (EPA estimates)
  • Maximum Charge Rate – 250kW
  • Seating – Up to 7 persons
  • Cargo Capacity – 91 cu-ft
  • Weight – 5,390lbs
  • Towing Capacity – Up to 5,000lbs

3. Tesla Model 3 – The Best Tesla Model For Bang-For-Buck

It’s fair to say that having seen the prices of the S and X, this whole electrification thing seems quite expensive. Tesla was more than aware of this, which led to their unveiling of the budget-friendly and entry-level, Model 3. This was their dream of a mass-market car come true, which became the best-selling EV in history by 2020. Earlier this year in June 2021, the one-millionth Model 3 was built.

Electric Car EV Performance

For all intents and purposes, the Model 3 is a solid bang-for-buck option, and you’re getting a lot for the money. It’s essentially a Model S but trimmed off the excess luxuries. Nonetheless, it’s still a true Tesla where it really matters. It has a similarly potent powertrain from the Model S, which is actually faster in some regards. This is in part due to the Model 3’s updated aerodynamics over the Model S.

You’re still getting the same all-wheel drive set-up with dual motors. The interior is also impressive, with excellent trimming and a minimalistic approach to cabin design. Tech has been downsized just a tiny bit but is nevertheless fantastic. Another notable highlight of the Model 3 is its safety creds. It earned a perfect 5-stars in the NTHSA crash tests, with robust protection all-around the car.

3.1. Model 3 Key Features

  • Technology – Rather than 17-inches, the Model 3 makes do with an equally large 15-inch display for the infotainment. Here, you can access all of the car’s functionality, climate controls, multimedia, and so on. A 15-speaker surround-sound system is available, as well as a couple of wireless charging pads. To bring more sunlight into the cabin, there’s a gigantic panoramic glass roof up top.
  • Efficiency – Despite being a smaller car, it does lack the endurance of its larger siblings. The Model 3 can manage, at the top-end, up to 358 miles of range on a single charge. Plug it into a Supercharger rapid-charge station for just 15 minutes, and you can recuperate another 175 miles.
  • Performance – You can option the Model 3 with more racy fitment. For example, you can spec a set of Pirelli P Zero tires, stronger brakes, lowered suspension, and an active carbon fiber rear spoiler. The latter of which enables the Model 3 to sprint to 60mph from a dead-stop in just 3.1 seconds. On top of that, it can best the Model S’ top speed, now setting a peak of 162mph.
  • Drivetrain – The base-level Model 3 is rear-wheel drive only, with a single motor. You can, of course, configure the 3 with an all-wheel drive. This nets you dual motors, independently controlled front, and rear. They’re able to provide optimal traction in any weather, making it a perfect all-season car. If the road surface does change, the motors can adjust their torque delivery as quickly as 10ms.

3.2. Model 3 Specifications

Model 3 (Rear-Wheel Drive)

  • Starting Price – $44,990
  • Powertrain – Single motor, rear-wheel drive
  • Battery Type – Standard range
  • 0-60mph Time – 5.8 seconds
  • Top Speed – 140mph
  • Electric Range – 272 miles (EPA estimates)
  • Maximum Charge Rate – 170kW
  • Seating – 5 persons
  • Cargo Capacity – 23 cu-ft
  • Weight – 3,582lbs

Model 3 (Long Range, All-Wheel Drive)

  • Starting Price – $50,990
  • Powertrain – Dual motor, all-wheel drive
  • Battery Type – Long range
  • 0-60mph Time – 4.2 seconds
  • Top Speed – 145mph
  • Electric Range – 358 miles (EPA estimates)
  • Maximum Charge Rate – 250kW
  • Seating – 5 persons
  • Cargo Capacity – 23 cu-ft
  • Weight – 4,065lbs

Model 3 Performance

  • Starting Price – $58,990
  • Powertrain – Dual motor, all-wheel drive
  • Battery Type – Long range
  • 0-60mph Time – 3.1 seconds
  • Top Speed – 162mph
  • Electric Range – 315 miles (EPA estimates)
  • Maximum Charge Rate – 250kW
  • Seating – 5 persons
  • Cargo Capacity – 23 cu-ft
  • Weight – 4,065lbs

4. Tesla Model Y – The Best Tesla Model As An All-Rounder

So, what happens when you combine the compact size and approachable price point of a Model 3, but with the most practical parts of the big Model X SUV? The result would be the Model Y, which I think strikes a perfect balance of Tesla’s broad range of cars. It’s a brilliant all-rounder that can do it all, to offer performance, utility, as well as sit on the bleeding edge of technology.

Having been built on the Model 3’s architecture, the Y is a fairly compact crossover. In spite of that, it can still seat 7 people. Although, you’ll struggle for head-room in the rear-most seats. Aside from that, however, most of its underpinnings and highlights are shared with the well-packaged 3. If what you need is a roomy electric crossover for a (relatively) budget price, the Model Y is perfect.

There aren’t any base-spec rear-wheel drive models, so it does cost a bit of a premium over the 3. At least, it still retains the high-end Performance trim. Both configurations of the Model Y come with all-wheel drive as standard, and easily more than 300 miles’ worth of range. Technology is aplenty once you step inside, where you’ll be cocooned in the Model Y’s perfect 5-star safety rating.

4.1. Model Y Key Features

  • Performance – As with the Model 3’s upper-end trims, the Model Y comes with dual motors front and back. You can then vary the traction management depending on which surface you’re driving on. It can then rapidly shift the torque around, as well as tweak the stability control on the fly. If you’re keen to take it off the beaten path, the Model Y can handle decently well off-road.
  • Range – Owing to its mass, the Model Y has the lowest electric range that Tesla offers. Be that as it may, it’s still an impressive 300++ miles of range on a single charge. A quick top-up using a rapid Supercharger station in just 15 minutes can net you an extra 162 miles.
  • Interior – As with the Model 3, there’s a comprehensive suite of technology inside. Your primary user interface will be the same 15-inch central touchscreen. Below that, you’ll find a couple of wireless charging pads. To liven up the cabin a little bit, there’s a ginormous panoramic glass roof, which is complemented by an immersive surround sound system.
  • Autopilot – We’d be remiss not to mention Tesla’s Autopilot, so we thought we’d save this as the best for last. Similar to any other Tesla, there are 12 ultrasonic sensors, with the ability to process images 250-meters (820 feet) ahead. In addition, a 360-degree coverage enables you to enjoy features like semi-autonomous driving, automated parking, automatic lane changing, and more.

4.2. Model Y Specifications

Model Y (Long Range, All-Wheel Drive)

  • Starting Price – $58,990
  • Powertrain – Dual motors, all-wheel drive
  • Battery Type – Long Range
  • 0-60mph Time – 4.8 seconds
  • Top Speed – 135mph
  • Electric Range – 330 miles (EPA estimates)
  • Seating – Up to 7 persons
  • Cargo Capacity – 76 cu-ft
  • Weight – 4,416lbs

Model Y Performance

  • Starting Price – $63,990
  • Powertrain – Dual motors, all-wheel drive
  • Battery Type – Long Range
  • 0-60mph Time – 3.5 seconds
  • Top Speed – 155mph
  • Electric Range – 303 miles (EPA estimates)
  • Seating – Up to 5 persons
  • Cargo Capacity – 76 cu-ft
  • Weight – 4,416lbs

The Best Tesla Models – Final Thoughts

Well, there you have it, our guide and thoughts on the best Tesla models for varying needs. Unlike many other established carmakers, Tesla’s line-up is thankfully quite condensed, and it’s thus quite easy to choose from. If your budget is tight, but you want that quintessentially Tesla experience with speedy Supercharger stations, the brand image, and Autopilot, then get a Model 3 or Model Y.

The Model Y, especially, strikes a great balance for most people in inheriting performance and utility across the entire Tesla range. What that being said, the Model 3 gets just as much, and even offers a cheaper rear-wheel drive variant. Should your pockets be deeper than most, then few other electric vehicles out there can stand toe-to-toe with the Model S and Model X. It’s a matter of lifestyle.

If you have a larger family, then naturally, you’d have no choice but to opt for the Model X’s bigger cabin room and cargo space. Should that not matter to you, I personally think the Model S is the absolute best Tesla model in the family. It’s still mightily practical, has every bell and whistle that Tesla could throw at it, and could happily light the rear tires on fire in the meaty Plaid trim.

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