The Tesla Model 3 and Tesla Model Y are very similar. They share 70% of the same parts. Both cars are best-selling vehicles today. From the outside, the Tesla Model Y looks just like the Tesla Model 3, but slightly taller. 

However, with a starting price of ~$47,000 for the Tesla Model 3 versus ~$65,000 for the Tesla Model Y, which one is best for you?  

I also created a Youtube video of this that can be viewed here.

tesla model 3 vs model y

INTERIOR - MODEL 3 VS Y

Seats

The seats in the model 3 and the model Y are very similar. In both, you get heated seats in the front and rear. However neither have cooled seats.

The key difference is that in the Tesla Model Y is that the seats are higher off the ground.  The Model Y seats are on risers.

The rear seats in the Tesla Model 3 and Y both fold down. However, in the Tesla Model Y, you are able to recline the rear seats, which makes the seats a bit more comfortable.  

Also, the Tesla Model Y has an option upgrade for a 7 seater.  Although extra seats are smaller and mainly for children or small adults, it is still a great option if you have extra passengers. I did a separate blog post reviewing the Tesla Model Y 7 seater so check that out.

tesla model y seat height
Model Y seats on risers

Comfort

I’m 6’3” so I am very particular about how roomy and comfortable a car is. 

When I sit in the front seats of the Tesla Model 3, I have plenty of headroom. However, when I sit in the rear seats, my head does touch the glass roof if I sit straight up. 

Leg room is sufficient in the front seats. However in the rear, my long legs touch the seat in front of me, if the front seat is pushed all the way back.

In the Tesla Model Y, I am able to comfortably sit in both the front and rear seats. The Model Y provides more shoulder space and leg room.

 In the Tesla Model Y, you get a solid piece of glass for the roof, which provides more headroom, as well as better visibility.

tesla model 3 rear seat head room
6'3" person sitting in Tesla Model 3 with head touching roof (with straight posture)
tesla model 3 rear seat tall people
6'3 person sitting in Tesla Model 3 with limited leg room

Trunk Space

The Tesla Model 3 has 23 cubic feet of cargo space. It does fine on Costco runs, and can fit paper towels and tissue paper, but it can’t fit a 26 gallon tote, if the seats are up. You also have 1 rear trunk storage well, which is great to store additional items. 

The Tesla Model Y has 34 cubic feet of storage, with the rear seats up. If the rear seats are down you get a whooping 76 cubic feet. Also, you have 2 rear trunk wells, for additional storage space. The trunk can easily fit paper towels, toilet paper, and a 26 gallon tote. 

The front trunk of the Tesla Model 3 is slightly smaller, compared to the Tesla model Y. It is still a nice extra storage space to have, as not all electric cars (ex Lexus RZ), does not have a front trunk storage space.

tesla model 3 trunk space
Tesla Model 3 Trunk fits paper towel pack, toilet paper, but not a large tote.
tesla model y trunk space
Tesla Model Y Trunk fits paper towel pack, toilet paper pack, and large tote easily.

HEPA Filter

The Tesla Model Y, has a special filter, the HEPA filter with biodefense mode. The HEPA filter is unique because it filters all the pathogens and smells from the exterior of the car into your cabin. This is great for people with allergies or for people who live in high fire risk areas. 

The Tesla Model 3 doesn’t have a HEPA filter due to limited space. 

Exterior - Model 3 vs Y

The exterior paint color options are the same for the Tesla Model 3 and Y.

Rims

The Tesla Model 3  rim options are: 18 inch aero wheels (included) or upgraded 19 inch sport wheels.  If you have the Performance model, then it comes with 20 inch uberturbine wheels. 

The Tesla Model Y rim options are: 19 inch gemini wheels (included) or the upgraded 20 inch induction wheels. If you have the Tesla Model Y Performance model, then it comes with 21 inch uberturbine wheels.

Dimensions

The Tesla Model 3 has a ground clearance of 5.5 inches. It’s ~57 inches high, which makes it harder for tall people, or people with back issues, to get into and out of the car. The Tesla Model 3 is 185 inches and 73 inches wide, which makes it easy to park in your garage or small parking spots.

The Tesla Model Y is bigger and taller in all directions. It’s 2.2 inches longer, 2.8 inches wider, and 7.2 inches taller with a ground clearance of 6.6 inches.  This makes it easier to get into and out of. It also makes tasks like changing a baby or putting a child in a car seat easier.

 

tesla model 3 vs model y differences

Headlights

The Tesla Model 3 comes with Matrix LED projector headlights. These headlights improve visibility and potentially allows for better safety features. While the Tesla Model Y Performance has the Matrix LED headlights, the Tesla Model Y Long Range does not and instead comes with reflector headlights. 

The tail light turn signal colors are also different. The Model Y is amber, versus the Model 3 is red. 

tesla matrix headlights
Matrix LED Headlights on Model 3

Model Options & Range

The Tesla Model 3 has 3 different options: 

  1. Rear Wheel Drive Model 3 has a range of 272 miles. This is a great choice. It’s cheaper and the batteries are unique in that they can be charged to 100% daily. With most EV Cars, they don’t recommend charging to 100% regularly as it can decrease the health of your battery. Typically, charging between 80-90% for daily charging is recommended.  However, with the rear wheel drive model 3, you do lose on some features. You lose the ability to charge at 250kw charging speeds at superchargers, which can make your charging time longer. Instead, your maximum is 170kW. Also, you have a decrease in acceleration. But overall, the rear wheel drive model 3 is a great choice for the commuters
  2. Long Range Tesla Model 3 has a range of 358 miles. However it’s not recommended to charge to 100%, so realistically, you have  ~286 miles for daily driving. 
  3. Performance Tesla Model 3 has a range of 315 miles. My wife loves this car because it has a lowered suspension and better handling. It also comes with red brake calipers, a spoiler, and bigger wheels. 

The Tesla Model Y currently has 2 options:

  1. Long Range Tesla Model Y has a range of 330 miles
  2. Performance Tesla Model Y has a range of  303 miles.

There’s a standard range Tesla Model Y that is an Austin build, but it’s not available to the general public yet. 

Performance Model Comparison

The Tesla Model Y performance is $7,000 more than the Tesla Model 3 performance. Both come with a carbon fiber spoiler, uberturbine wheels, and red brake calipers

The Model 3 performance gets to 0-60 seconds of 3.1 seconds, which is crazy fast. Also because the Model 3 is lower to the ground, the handling is much better as well.

The Model Y performance get to 0-60 seconds of 3.5 seconds, which is still fast, but it is noticeably different. 

Overall, the Tesla Model 3 is quicker and easier to handle, but the Model Y does a great job as well.

Safety

Both the Tesla Model 3 and the Tesla Model Y are great choices. According to IIHS in 2021, the Tesla Model Y 2021 was a top safety pick. The 2022 Tesla Model 3 was also top safety pick, scoring good and superior in all categories. So both of these cars are very safe.

Price

Of course, the Model Y is bigger, so it’s more expensive. The cheapest model 3 (rear wheel) is starts at around ~$47k, compared to the current cheapest model Y (long range) starts at ~$66k. So it’s a pretty big difference.

Final Thoughts

I’m a little biased because I have a Model Y,  but consider what you’re using the car for. Are you using the car mainly for daily commuting? Do you have a family with kids or dogs and need extra space? Will you be using it for road trips?

For us, we have 3 dogs and we go on road trips and many Costco runs. In addition, I’m tall, so the Model Y is perfect for us. 

However, if you’re using the car for daily commuting and want something nimble and easy to drive, then the Model 3 is a fantastic choice. 

Regardless of your choice, on delivery day you’ll be the happiest person alive! Be sure to watch my Tesla delivery day video, and check out my Delivery Day Checklist

DISCLAIMER: The opinions and views expressed on this blog are solely personal, Everyday Chris.  Everyday Chris is not affiliated with or endorsed by Tesla. It is neither inferred nor implied that products recommended by Everyday Chris nor recommendations given by Everyday Chris are authorized by or in any way connected to Tesla. This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full Terms & Conditions for more information. 

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