Used Model S vs New Model 3?

Used Model S vs New Model 3?

Hello! I am going to be test driving a Model S in a couple days mainly because I have never driven a Tesla before.

What is every ones thoughts on getting a used Model S or a new Model 3?

I personally am more excited about the Model 3 but I want everyone's thoughts!

SoFlaModel3 | February 7, 2017

I thought about a new MS60 or used MS in lieu of waiting.

I found the following....

1) Limited quality used MS' in my area with too high of an asking price and mostly pre-nose change/pre-full self driving hardware

2) New wise -- I wanted too many options and the cost just was too much for me to swing the S.

I'm anxious, but hey we're already over 10 months into the wait what's about 10-12 months!

cbaum133 | February 7, 2017

Very good points (: I haven't looked too much but I think I would find the same thing.

david.jones24 | February 7, 2017

You also don't get a tax credit on used vehicles, so there's that, assuming you reserved early.

David N | February 7, 2017

"What is every ones thoughts on getting a used Model S or a new Model 3?"
Well, two totally different vehicles. I think after your test drive you'll have a better idea on what you'd like.
Good luck in whichever you decide.
PS, you can get your used S now versus another year for your 3.

JeffreyR | February 8, 2017
dd.micsol | February 8, 2017

As everyone mentioned here there are many reasons to go with 3. One I see is the latest technology in the 3. The used S won't have it. The only adv to get an S: I'm assuming you only have 50k to spend.
you get one now
you get free SC
you get a bigger car
These to me are the only advantages and they are many many more to get the 3 instead.

andy.connor.e | February 8, 2017

I recommend a new Model 3. Reason for that, New Model 3 will have the newest hardware and quite frankly newest everything for future updates. It will be their most recent creation, and will be better than something a few years old. Remember, a 2015 model will not have the full autonomy hardware installed. So if you purchase a New Model 3, you're at least giving yourself the ability to upgrade (activate) the full autonomy if you wanted to.

jordanrichard | February 8, 2017

Model S and the Model 3 are two different animals. The Model s is more of a suburban/highway car, where as the Model 3 will be able to navigate city streets.

pavel | February 8, 2017

Used model S
pros: bigger vehicle, luxury segment, instant gratification
cons: used, older hardware, still pricier

NEW model 3
pros: brand new technology and no previous owners, cheaper, customizable to your own preferences, + some sort of state or federal (or both) tax credit
cons: you gotta wait, not as glitzy as an S

Also, run this through your head - Would you rather have the most expensive version of the iPhone from 3 years ago, or a cheaper version of the most recent iPhone? (bad comparison I know, but it addresses the scenario)

dchuck | February 8, 2017

Like you cbaum i thought about a used Model S, but they are still way more expensive in Canada than the equivalent model 3. I checked today on the tesla website and they have a 2013 P85+ with 18,000 miles on it for $56k US. i am hoping to spend no more than 45k US on a model 3, hopefully less.

As DD.miscol said i would get free supercharging but i can buy a lot of charging under the new system for 6 grand. Plus i don't need a bigger car and I would miss out on AP2.0, and Dual motor.

I think people should look at it this way...

If you need a car today or soon, have a look around for a used Model S. If you find the right color and equipment for the right price, Buy it and be happy. So what if it doesn't have AP2.0 or the all glass roof. Drive it for a couple of years and then sell it and buy a new one, be it a Model 3 or even a Model Y. You will be better off because you will know exactly what to get in your new car, in terms of Battery size and optional equipment, etc...

If you don't need a car soon, (like me) then wait. You will get a cheaper car with the latest tech, decked out exactly as you want it. The only problem is you will have to wait at least 6 months, and probably closer to a year to get one.

either way you cannot lose.

JeffreyR | February 8, 2017

"Either way you cannot lose."

That's a good point to end on to be sure!

carlk | February 8, 2017

Either way you win if you are 100% sure that you will live past 2018.

swingshiftworker | February 8, 2017

I've already thought about this. The main concern w/buying a used S is battery degradation nd the cost of replacement but fairly recent reports are encouraging on this front.

See for example,

Pricing on the 2014 is down to around $45k on Craigslist in the SF Bay Area. KBB prices it similarly. That's still more than the anticipated price of a M3 and it won't come w/the Fed tax credit or CA/PGE rebates. However, about 50% of the car's value has been depreciated and shouldn't depreciate as rapidly from here on out.

With $15k down and a $30k loan, I could get a 7 yr loan at 3.49% from my credit union on a 2014 Model 3 with payments of $349/month, which would make it as "affordable" as the $307/month lease that I just got on a Chevy Bolt with an MSRP at just under $40k.

So, for the right car, it's something that I will definitely consider after I get to see what an M3 really costs, as well as what it looks and drives like.

Efontana | February 8, 2017

The Model S is the best car.

I am hoping the model 3 will be better.

See if the S fits. It is a big car.

Haggy | February 8, 2017

The Model 3 won't be better than the Model S. However, a new Model 3 will have features that a used Model S might lack, depending on how used it is. The concept of a used Model S isn't the same as it is with other cars. I have a used Model S, but I'm the one who used it. I got it in 2014, so on paper it's a 2014 even though Tesla never marketed it as a 2014. The 2015 Model S came out with features that mine didn't have when new, and the same was true in 2016. But it's also true that over time I got the software upgrades needed to keep it on par with a 2016 that would have been available through mid-2016. Yes, there were options available that I didn't have, but wouldn't have had to order had I gotten it later. They were options. If I had waited until 2016, I wouldn't have been able to get the identical car. I would have been able to get something nearly identical but with a smaller battery and in a different color. I also would have been able to get a larger battery (a feature that wasn't available when I got mine) but I still had a car with every feature I could have gotten on a new car and more.

Then Tesla changed things later in 2016, which was consistent with their earlier statements that the Model S will always be their premiere vehicle and will be the first to have new features.

Will a Model 3 have any features that a used Model S will lack? That depends what you order. If you get a base Model 3, you probably won't get any features lacking in a used Model S. If you get autopilot, it will be a bit more advanced than the one in the first generation used in the Model S, and if you get FSD, that won't be in an older Model S at all.

I wouldn't trade my Model S for a Model 3, but I don't need two of them and a Model 3 makes more sense to me as a second car. In my case it will likely have features that my Model S lacks, and vice versa. Once I get it I'll have a better idea. It might be that had both been on the market I might have bought a Model 3 instead, not because it's a better car but because it might have everything I need in a car.

Mike83 | February 8, 2017

Get both. CPO prices are good plus you get to drive a Tesla now.

Bubba2000 | February 8, 2017

I own a P85 that is 3.5 years old. Yes, it does not have AP, but the only time I would use it would be on the Interstate, which is rare. Meanwhile, it is fun to stomp on the pedal! Very reliable. Most important, it is very safe, especially with kids. I don't think Model 3 will be as safe.

AP1.0 works well on the highway. Not sure if I can trust any AP yet. The AP2.0 in my X is not active in my area.

I think a good used S85 would give the best value for the money. Way safer than M3 in my opinion.

dd.micsol | February 9, 2017

can you explain why it would be safer? I don't get it other than the fact that the car is bigger and the battery frame is bigger and perhaps better quality? The steel frame is to be galvanized and stronger than Serotta steel -perhaps titanium alloy. I don't see that as compromising anything in safety. The safety system will be more modern than a 3 yr old S. I don't understand you're advice bubba.

Efontana | February 9, 2017

Mass matters in multi vehicle collisions. Search on accord/fit, Camry/?, E Class/A Class collisions.

The insurance institute for highway safety did a set of tests:

andy.connor.e | February 9, 2017

Please dont waste your time trying to say that Model 3 or Model S is better. They are in completely different price categories. BUT, you will most likely be able to get a 100% optioned Model 3 for the price of the Model S Base.

JeffreyR | February 9, 2017


Prices of a used Model S have dropped enough that the discussion is valuable. Space/size and a hatchback seem like biggest differences, but there are others. The question remains, if you can get a $50K CPO Model S now, should you wait for a $50K Model 3 later. They are similar enough for it to be a valid question. Prices will continue to drop too, so a $45K discussion won't be too far off.

andy.connor.e | February 9, 2017


Good point. This would be a tough decision for a buyer.

Red Sage ca us | February 9, 2017

A 2012 BMW 7-Series would depreciate by $15,976 over five years per Edmunds (seems a bit off to me). A 2017 BMW M3 starts at $64,000. Which should someone buy? Neither. Tesla Model ≡ is coming.

JeffreyR | February 9, 2017

I waffle back and forth myself. The fact is that if I can get an AWD w/ bigger battery for around $40K I think that I lined up early enough ( that I may get the full tax credit. Then I need to decide about fancy roof and seats!

Bubba2000 | February 9, 2017

dd.micsol: I think that Tesla placed a lot of emphasis on the safety in the design of Model S. Hi strength Boron Steel structure is used with heavy shock absorbing structures. Hi strength Al is used mostly for the skin. Kids can seat in the back protected by heavy pillars. Titanium armored battery pack. I have not seen anything like this yet in a sedan. Not much to breakdown. Tesla did replace clicking gears.

I got me XP100 + AP.20, optioned out. It was not a need, but I wanted to check it out. It is a complex machine. Very impressed that Tesla can mass produce near flawless... only thing wrong was driver seat stitches were a little off... no big deal. After I drove the X, I realized that Tesla will have no problems with Model 3 design and production. Made III easier to hold TSLA through all the volatility, etc.

I don't think the AP is anywhere close to being reliable. Tesla will have to add 360 deg radar for all weather safety and AP. Meanwhile, I am better off staying in control of the car, minimize cell phone use and loud music.

It looks like Model 3 will be designed for safety, but not to the lever of Model S. M3 will be lighter to reduce battery size. Not the same luggage capacity.

Haggy | February 9, 2017

Any safety ratings will be compared to cars in its class, so a five star rating might tell you how it compares to another car of its size, but not how a Model 3 would hold up if hit by a truck. The Model 3 could end up being a top safety pick, but it's still all relative.

swingshiftworker | February 9, 2017

I just submitted an inquiry about a 2013 60kw Model S to Tesla. Here's the initial response that I got which I found quite "interesting".


Thank you so much for your interest in a pre-owned or inventory Tesla vehicle. [snip] I wanted to begin by providing you with some information on Tesla’s Pre-Owned Program that may be helpful for you! *Please remember CPO vehicles take about 6-8 weeks for delivery*

Finding Your Tesla
I will be your best resource in choosing your next Tesla vehicle. Other than a custom build vehicle, you have the option of purchasing a Model S on our pre-owned page or the option of leasing/purchasing an inventory new vehicle. At this time, our Certified Pre-Owned vehicles are utilized in our service loaner fleet. Which means that they will be out on loan with a current Model S/X owner.

Pre-Owned Model S/X
Inventory New Model S/X


If you are interested in a car that has the autopilot hardware, please keep in mind that this hardware is only available on cars with a VIN or P Number that is roughly over 60k (for example P60001)

Autopilot hardware cannot be added or retrofit to a vehicle.


Once you find the Tesla that you love, you can click “Buy” and place a $1000 or $2,500 deposit for a CPO or Inventory car respectively. deposit. The deposit will secure the vehicle under your name and remove it from our site listing. This deposit is nonrefundable but transferrable onto any other vehicle (except the Model 3) within 72 hours upon order. Please keep in mind that anyone throughout the nation can place a deposit at any time to secure a vehicle.

Pre-Owned Vehicle Warranty

When you purchase a pre-owned vehicle from Tesla you take advantage of two warranties. You will receive a brand new bumper to bumper warranty of 4 years/50,000 miles that begins on the day you take delivery of the vehicle! The drivetrain warranty follows the birth of the car and will be the remainder of 8 years/unlimited miles. *(8 years/125,000 miles for 60kwh)

Tesla Lending

Please keep in mind that most lenders offer a 30 day approval window and the approval varies for each pre-owned vehicle. Please refrain from applying too early. Your Delivery Specialist will let you know when you should apply. You have the option to lend through your bank or lender, Tesla Lending, or other 3rd party lenders. To apply for Tesla Finance you can go to: Please select your state and select “Apply for Tesla Lending” and fill out the rest. You have the option to lend through your own bank, Tesla Lending, or other 3rd party lenders. At Tesla, we work with Wells Fargo, Chase, US Bank,TD Bank, and Alliant Credit Union. Our team will get back to you with the approved lenders and their rates. Rates may vary from 2.5-3.5% on average and may change for each vehicle. You can apply on your MyTesla or on our online credit app. The down payment is still 10% of the vehicle price and you can finance up to 90%. Upon your submission, our Auto Finance team will reach out to you within 24-48 hours with the approved lenders and their rates!

Charging & Installation

For charging, our most recommended method of charging is with the mobile connector and charging bundle that comes with the vehicle and installing a 240 volt outlet with 50 amps available. You can find more information on charging here. We also have recommended electricians you can find more information on here. And for further charging questions you can reach our charging team at who will have the best answers for you!


Pre-owned vehicles that are on our website will be reconditioned after a deposit is placed. Once a deposit is placed, our service team will perform a rigorous 200+ point pre-owned inspection to determine what will be reconditioned in preparation for delivery. Our CPO vehicles are used as Service Loaners and will be pulled from use when a deposit is placed on a particular vehicle. As the manufacturer of the vehicle you can trust us to make sure your vehicle will be in great shape! At this time, this process will take about 6-8 weeks depending on the location and condition of the vehicle. Your delivery specialist will be in touch during the process with updates and assistance in preparing you for your delivery date!


I've had a couple of further email exchanges w/the sales person and this is a summary of what I've learned based on the above and my conversation w/the sales person:

The CPO vehicle is used as a service loaner. No test drives are available. You have to buy it sight unseen (apart from pictures). Tesla has 6-8 weeks to "recondition" and service the car for delivery.

You have to put a NONREFUNDABLE $1k deposit down on the car before they start take the car out of service as a loaner and begin to recondition it. You can apply the $1k to another car w/in 72 hours (if you decide you want to buy another CPO instead). Otherwise you lose it.

The sales person said that he "might" be able to arrange a test drive of the CPO that I was interested in AFTER I place a deposit on it BUT, if I decided that I didn't want to buy the car after actually seeing and driving it, I would still lose the $1k deposit.

So, if you want to buy a CPO from Tesla, you have to do it on "faith" that Tesla will do a good job reconditioning it and in reliance on the extended warranties provided for its CPO vehicles.

That's not enough for me and will limit my search for a used Model S to private sellers and 3rd party dealers for the time being.

Rocky_H | February 9, 2017

It would have been a pretty simple choice for me. I really don't like big cars. If Tesla had offered a smaller car than the Model S three years ago, I would have gotten that. We were planning to wait for the Model 3, but one of our cars died earlier than we were expecting, and we didn't want to have to buy and sell something in just a few years so we decided to support Tesla with buying what they had then. If I were in your situation, I would probably wait until the Model 3 if possible.

cbaum133 | February 9, 2017

That confirms it. Definitely Model 3 for me ;) extremely excited!!!!

Haggy | February 10, 2017

Not only will they get it in shape for you, if anything doesn't work when you get it, they will fix it under warranty. If you go to pick it up and something raises a red flag, tell them to fix it before you pick it up. If they say that it isn't covered in the agreement, ask for the $1000 back. No small claims court would rule against you if you say that you had no prior opportunity to look at the car and it wasn't as expected, and that Tesla wouldn't fix it. They'd undercut their own argument by not fixing something that's inexpensive to fix, or by giving you something that would be expensive to fix. It would be pretty hard to lose the $1000.

Incidentally, that 60000 number for the VIN is very approximate. Mine isn't far above 50000 and I have autopilot. Their number is high enough that chances are slim to none that it won't lack the hardware if it's above it. But it might have it if it's lower.

sunnyvale45 | February 11, 2017

I also wrestle with the same issue, I put my money down for Model 3, and my lease is up on my electric fiat in August, I test drove a new tesla and loved it, but could not agree on a price with my wife the model s 60 new, I wanted the bigger car, because i have 2 kids and sometimes an extra person traveling with us, we go to Socal a couple times of year for tournaments and stuff and would need the extra space. Basically i want this to be our family car and not our suv. I went through cpo, because i did not want the hassle of private dealer, and also the four year warranty and and the reconditioning I pulled the trigger on a cpo s 85, with ap1. the price was good and now i am waiting. (after dealing with the cpo rep for months) Granted I want have the ap2, but I also will have the big car and battery of s85. I am sure once i get my car, the angst will be better

andy.connor.e | February 14, 2017

I can put this into perspective. 2 options.

Option 1: Larger vehicle with older hardware

Option 2: Smaller vehicle with newest hardware.

Generally, the new M3 and used MS will come to relatively the same price. Dont worry about range/accel. Think about the future. If your car has older hardware, its not going to keep up with future updates. Eventually, you will have to take it in and have hardware added/replaced in order to use newer systems. For instance any car produced earlier than 2016 will need hardware replacements to have access to the full autonomy. Thats just one example though, we dont know what will happen in the next 5 years, and it would really suck to invest all that money in an electric car that could potentially become "obsolete" without thousands of dollars of hardware upgrades.

Red Sage ca us | February 15, 2017

Don't forget the connectivity with hard light holographic computing assistants, AKA Omni-Tools. They'll be used to interact with all types of automotive functions in realtime. Those are going to be AWESOME in... The FUTURE!