Tesla Model 3 comparison vs 22 EV competitors: The straight specs
Now that we have several official specs for the Tesla Model 3, I wanted to do a thorough update of how the Model 3 competes against comparably priced offerings from BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Lexus, Toyota, Acura, and Jaguar.
Last week, I commented at length about subjective features of the Model 3 that I think will make it a much more attractive offer for drivers and passengers — openness, torque, serenity, and 21st century controls. I honestly think these are the core factors (along with the convenience of home charging) that will lead to the Model 3 dominating its market segment. However, I know many people just want to see the numbers and I am sometimes in search of specific numbers for various comparisons, so this article is primarily aimed at providing several key specs across a few variations of the Model 3, the Tesla Model S, and 22 gas-powered competitors.
Following the tables are summaries about where the Model 3 stands in each of the core categories. I’m not mentioning the Model S in those summaries since it’s clearly in a very different class, but I’m including the Model S in the table since I know plenty of people have been debating whether to get a new Tesla Model 3 or a used Tesla Model S and that also gives us some useful context if we are familiar with the Model S from real-world experience.
Since I know people have different viewing preferences, I’m giving you two table options below — an image with a color scale for some of the categories and two text tables with no color scale (the text tables have to be split into two to fit in the column). Enjoy!
|Price (without Extra Features)||Price After US Federal Tax Credit||0–60 mph||Cargo Space (cu. ft.)||Length (in.)||Width, w/ Mirrors (in.)||Fuel Economy (City/Highway MPG)|
|Tesla Model 3 Standard||$35,000||$27,500||5.6||15||185||82||Insane|
|Tesla Model 3 Long Range||$44,000||$36,500||5.1||15||185||82||126 MPGe|
|Audi A3||$31,000||$31,000||6.6||12||175.5||77||24 / 31|
|Audi A3 e-tron||$39,000||$34,400||7.6||14||170||77||83 MPGe or 34 MPG (combined)|
|Audi A4||$35,000||$35,000||6.1–7.1||13||186||80||24 / 31|
|Audi A5||$43,000||$43,000||5.7||12||182||80||22 / 32|
|Lexus ES||$39,000||$39,000||7.1||15||193||72||21 / 30|
|Lexus ES Hybrid||$42,000||$42,000||8.1||12||193||72||40 / 39|
|Lexus IS||$38,000||$38,000||6.9||11||184||80||19 / 26|
|Toyota Camry XLE||$28,450||$28,450||7.9||15||191||72||28 / 39|
|Mercedes C300||$39,500||$39,500||6||13||184.5||80||23 / 29|
|Mercedes C350e||$46,050||$35,000||5.8||12||184.5||80||51 MPGe or 30 MPG (combined)|
|BMW 230i Coupe||$33,150||$33,150||5.3||14||185||78||23 / 36|
|BMW M240i Coupe||$44,450||$44,450||4.4||14||185||78||20 / 30|
|BMW 330e||$44,100||$40,099||5.9||13||183||80||71 MPGe or 30 MPG (combined)|
|BMW 320i||$33,450||$33,450||7.1||13||179||80||23 / 35|
|BMW 328d Sedan||$40,250||$40,250||7.4||13||179||80||32 / 45|
|BMW 330i||$38,750||$38,750||5.5||13||179||80||23 / 34|
|BMW 340i||$47,900||$47,900||4.8||13||179||80||21 / 32|
|BMW 430i||$43,300||$43,300||5.5||16||183||79||23 / 34|
|BMW 440i||$49,700||$49,700||4.8||16||183||79||21 / 32|
|Acura ILX||$28,850||$28,850||6.6||12||182||71||25 / 35|
|Acura TLX||$33,000||$33,000||6.9||14||191||73||24 / 35|
|Jaguar XE||$35,725||$35,725||6||16||184||82||21 / 30|
|Tesla Model S||$69,500||$62,000||4.3||30||196||86||97 MPGe / 100 MPGe|
|Price (without Extra Features)||Price After US Federal Tax Credit||Headroom Front / Rear (inches)||Leg Room Front / Rear (inches)||Shoulder Room Front / Rear (inches)|
|Tesla Model 3 Standard||$35,000||$27,500||39.6 / 37.7||42.7 / 35.2||56.3 / 54.0|
|Tesla Model 3 w/ Premium Package||$40,000||$32,500||40.3 / 37.7||42.7 / 35.2||56.3 / 54.0|
|Audi A3||$31,000||$31,000||40.3 / 37.7||42.0 / 35.1||55.1 / 55.1|
|Audi A3 e-tron||$39,000||$34,400||36.9 / 37.5||41.2 / 35.4||54.8 / 52.9|
|Audi A4||$35,000||$35,000||38.9 / 37.4||41.3 / 35.7||55.9 / 54.5|
|Audi A5||$43,000||$43,000||37.5 / 36.0||41.3 / 31.7||54.3 / 52.8|
|Lexus ES||$39,000||$39,000||37.5 / 36.9||41.9 / 40.0||57.6 / 55.0|
|Lexus ES Hybrid||$42,000||$42,000||37.5 / 37.5||41.9 / 40.0||57.6 / 55.0|
|Lexus IS||$38,000||$38,000||38.2 / 36.9||44.8 / 32.2||55.9 / 53.4|
|Toyota Camry XLE||$28,450||$28,450||38.8 / 38.1||41.6 / 38.9||58.0 / 56.6|
|Mercedes C300||$39,500||$39,500||37.1 / 36.9||41.7 / 33.4||54.7 / 55.0|
|Mercedes C350e||$46,050||$35,000||37.1 / 37.1||41.7 / 35.2||N/A|
|BMW 230i Coupe||$33,150||$33,150||40.1 / 36.5||41.5 / 33.0||54.4 / 53.4|
|BMW M240i Coupe||$44,450||$44,450||40.1 / 36.5||41.5 / 33.0||54.4 / 53.4|
|BMW 330e||$44,100||$40,099||40.3 / 37.7||42.0 / 35.1||55.1 / 55.1|
|BMW 320i||$33,450||$33,450||40.3 / 37.7||42.0 / 35.1||55.1 / 55.1|
|BMW 328d Sedan||$40,250||$40,250||40.3 / 37.7||42.0 / 35.1||55.1 / 55.1|
|BMW 330i||$38,750||$38,750||40.3 / 37.7||42.0 / 35.1||55.1 / 55.1|
|BMW 340i||$47,900||$47,900||40.3 / 37.7||42.0 / 35.1||55.1 / 55.1|
|BMW 430i||$43,300||$43,300||39.9 / 36.9||42.2 / 33.7||54.8 / 54.3|
|BMW 440i||$49,700||$49,700||39.9 / 36.9||42.2 / 33.7||54.8 / 54.3|
|Acura ILX||$28,850||$28,850||38.0 / 35.9||42.3 / 34.0||55.6 / 53.5|
|Acura TLX||$33,000||$33,000||37.2 / 36.7||42.6 / 34.5||57.5 / 55.4|
|Jaguar XE||$35,725||$35,725||38.2 / 37.3||41.5 / 35.0||56.8 / 54.7|
|Tesla Model S||$69,500||$62,000||38.8 / 35.3||42.7 / 35.4||57.7 / 55.0|
Update: The width of the Tesla Model S originally posted here was with mirrors folded. It has now been updated.
Price: After the US federal tax credit, the Model 3 is cheaper than any other car on this list. Frankly, if that means the Model 3 could legitimately be compared to plenty of cheaper cars if you are eligible for that tax credit. There are also state and city incentives available. Furthermore, there are often fuel savings and maintenance/service savings that come with electric cars, which could just further broaden the Model 3 competitor list, depending on your situation.
Also note that some features of the base Model 3 are not available in base models of many of these other vehicles. For example, you have to get various BMW packages to get keyless entry (part of the Premium Package), rear-view camera (part of the Driver Assistance Package), and speed limit info (part of the Driver Assistance Plus Package). Of course, the Tesla Model 3 has a Premium Package you have to pay $5,000 more for in order to get certain features, but I think all of these features are typically an extra cost (no matter the brand or model). In other words, the base Model 3 seems to have more features than these competitors’ base models.
0–60 mph: As far as acceleration — an extremely important metric for some people and a negligible metric for others — the $44,000 Tesla Model 3 Long Range (5.1 seconds to 60 mph) is only beat by a few more expensive BMW options — the $44,450 BMW M240i Coupe (4.4 seconds to 60 mph), the $47,900 BMW 340i (4.8 seconds to 60 mph), and the $49,700 BMW 440i (4.8 seconds to 60 mph). However, to repeat a point that should be obvious to anyone who has driven an electric car, the Model 3 will probably still feel quicker because of its instant torque. Also, you lose leg and shoulder room in the BMW options compared to the Model 3 options, and you have to pay extra if you want keyless entry, a rear-facing camera, and speed limit info in one of those BMW models.
Compared to the base Model 3 (Tesla Model 3 Standard), in addition to the models above, the cars that are quicker to 60 mph are the $33,150 BMW 230i Coupe (5.3 seconds to 60 mph), $38,750 BMW 330i (5.5 seconds to 60 mph), and $43,300 BMW 430i (5.5 seconds to 60 mph). The same notes mentioned above apply again for these models vs the Model 3 Standard.
Cargo space: When it comes to cargo space, it seems that the only models here that have more space than a Standard or Long Range Model 3 are the $43,300 BMW 430i, $49,700 BMW 440i, and $35,725 Jaguar XE, each of which edge out the Model 3 with 16 cu. ft. of cargo storage capacity instead of 15 cu. ft.
Head room: With the Premium Package (which includes the glass roof), no other car on this list beats the Tesla Model 3’s front head room, and only the Toyota Camry XLE beats its back head room (by 0.4 inches).
If you’re familiar with the Tesla Model S, note that the Model 3 actually beats the Model S in head room, even without the glass roof.
Leg room: In the front seats, only the Lexus IS beats the Model 3 (with a sort of insane 44.8 inches of leg room), but that model cuts rear leg room significantly (to 32.2 inches compared to the Model 3’s 35.2 inches, which seems like a super odd tradeoff.
As far as rear leg room, the Model 3 (35.2 inches) is barely behind by the Audi A3 e-tron (35.4 inches) and Audi A4 (35.7 inches), but it is handily defeated by the Lexus ES & ES Hybrid (40 inches) and Toyota Camry XLE (38.9 inches).
Shoulder room: The above-mentioned Lexus and Toyota models again have a couple of inches on the Tesla Model 3 when it comes to shoulder room. (By the way, these models are extremely slow compared to the Model 3 — reminding us again that these purchasing decisions are about tradeoffs and depend on the unique values of each individual buyer.)
Aside from those models, the Jaguar XE and Acura TLX have half and inch and an inch, respectively, on the Model 3 in the front seats.
Again, the purchasing decisions of car buyers are based on a large number of factors that vary quite a lot based on individual use, needs, desires, and purchasing power. Our preferences here are largely subjective. Nonetheless, acceleration, interior space, exterior dimensions, and price are common matters of interest for people.
All of the numbers aside, though, two of the most important factors for many buyers are generally the look of the exterior and the feel of the interior. I’ll repeat one more time that I think the openness, torque, serenity, and 21st century controls of the Model 3 are some of the factors that make the Model 3 such a better consumer option than other cars in its class. Additionally, I think the exterior styling is stunning and will attract the love of a huge portion of the public.
The zero emissions benefit is clearly something that some of us care a tremendous amount about as well, but that’s still a niche segment of our society, imho. Additionally, only the Model 3 includes hardware that will one day allow for fully autonomous transport (and will presumably be able to use a Tesla app to operate as a robotaxi and make the owner money). That’s a pretty big factor for many buyers.
Survey results from our new EV report. Responses came from over 2,000 EV drivers across 26 European countries, 49 of 50 US states, and 9 Canadian provinces. Responses were segmented according to region — North America vs Europe — and type of electric car — plug-in hybrid vs Tesla vs non-Tesla fully electric car.
Last but not least, safety is a critical matter for many people. Tesla highlighted during the final Model 3 reveal that the Model 3 would be the safest car in its class, and Elon showed a quick clip of the Model 3 side-pole collision impact test compared to the Volvo s60 side-pole collision test. He indicated that the Model 3 would easily surpass the Volvo S60 as the safest car in this price range. Have a watch to make your own judgement: