2021 Tesla Model 3

MSRP range: $36,990 - $55,990
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MSRP$38,190
Edmunds suggests you pay$38,190
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2021 Tesla Model 3 Review

  • Class-leading range, performance and handling
  • Comfortable seating and lots of interior room
  • Access to Tesla's prolific Supercharger fast-charging stations
  • Touchscreen interface can lead to driver distraction
  • No Android Auto or Apple CarPlay support
  • Increased range and efficiency
  • New interior and exterior trim
  • Standard integrated wireless phone charger
  • Part of the first Model 3 generation introduced for 2017

Can a car be "insanely amazing"? Well, that's how an owner described the Model 3 on an Edmunds consumer review. Is there some hyperbole here? Most definitely. But even from our more measured standpoint, the Model 3 is an impressive sedan. And it's getting even better for 2021.

More range is always a good thing with an electric vehicle, and the Model 3 obliges. The base Standard Range Plus — the previous special-order-only Standard Range is now gone for good — rises from 250 miles to an EPA-estimated 263 miles of range. Similar gains are in store for the Long Range AWD and the Performance. Other 2021 changes include black exterior trim instead of chrome, a standard wireless phone charging pad, a power trunklid, metal steering wheel control dials instead of plastic, and a new window design to help reduce outside noise.

The Model 3 is a great pick for an EV, but it's not the only one for 2021. Specifically, we've found the Ford Mustang Mach-E, Kia Niro EV, Polestar 2 (Polestar is a new boutique EV brand from Volvo) and Volkswagen ID.4 to also be viable choices. So should you stick with Silicon Valley's finest or go with an alternative? Read our Model 3 Expert Rating below to help you decide.

What's it like to live with?

Edmunds' editorial team lived with a 2017 Tesla Model 3 Long Range for nearly two years, logging 24,000 miles. As an all new-design for Tesla, it had a few teething problems at first. But most of the issues were electronic in nature and were later sorted out via software updates. The 2021 Tesla Model 3 differs from our early long-term Model 3 by way of improved cabin materials and different powertrain options. It's the same generation, though, so many of our observations still apply. Check out our 2017 Tesla Model 3 Long Range coverage to learn more.

EdmundsEdmunds' Expert Rating
Rated for you by America’s best test team
The Model 3 delivers an impressive driving experience compared to other non-luxury electric vehicles. Its minimalistic interior design feels chic, modern and upscale. The rear-wheel-drive layout and powerful electric motor also provide natural athleticism and quicker acceleration than anything in its price range. If you're in the market for an electric vehicle, the Model 3 is virtually unbeatable for the price.
The Model 3 feels sporty and engaging thanks to strong off-the-line performance, intuitive and responsive steering, and coordinated and nimble handling. The straight-line thrust we admired in the early long-range models can still be found in the new entry-level Standard Plus trim. In Edmunds' testing, a Standard Plus accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 5.3 seconds, which is much quicker than potential rivals such as the Chevrolet Bolt and Kia Niro EV. The high-end Dual Motor models are in another league of "quick."

The standard 18-inch all-season tires aren't the grippiest, but they offer sufficient stick to live up to most of the spirited driving you'll be doing on the street. True high-performance driving, however, is limited by the heavy-handed stability control. Still, this Tesla delivers an unmatched driving experience in the EV segment.
We found the Model 3 to be a pleasant place to sit, and that feeling held up for hours at a time. Our one gripe is the non-perforated leather seats — they don't breathe all that well if you're in a warmer climate. Otherwise, the seats are cushy and provide nice support.

The innovative climate controls are adjusted via the touchscreen, and they allow both driver and front passenger to direct the vents on either side of the cabin. Other manufacturers have since replicated this system. The cabin is quiet and keeps wind, electric propulsion and most road noise at bay. Ride comfort is agreeable most of the time, but it can sometimes feel overly busy if the road surface is broken or uneven.
The Model 3's controversial interior design looks modern and cutting-edge. The driving position is highly adjustable and feels great, and the cabin is surprisingly roomy thanks to its minimalistic approach and all-glass roof. Forward visibility is also fantastic thanks to the low hoodline (due to the lack of an engine).

The large 15-inch touchscreen is the central control center for everything. While it doesn't block your view, it commands a lot of your attention for too many routine tasks — such as adjusting the mirrors or turning on your windshield wipers — that should be doable without looking.
The Model 3 navigation display is impressive because of its size, and it's one of the few that pulls Google Maps data in real time. That sometimes means spotty information in areas with poor reception, but otherwise the interface is easy to use. The Autopilot traffic-aware cruise and lane management system is one of the better systems out there, and cruise control will even slow for approaching curves (though sometimes a bit too conservatively).

The Model 3's lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto puts it at a disadvantage compared to many competitors. Bluetooth is the only way to bring your smartphone into the audio environment, which is not always as stable as being connected via USB. You can, however, stream content (usually only when parked) from places such as Hulu, Netflix, Spotify and YouTube directly to the infotainment system. A wireless charger accessory is available from Tesla as an option.
The Model 3's trunk can hold far more than you'd expect thanks to a broad pass-through and SUV-like fold-flat rear seats. The trunk's stated capacity (12.3 cubic feet) isn't that impressive especially compared to the space in other mainstream electric vehicles, but we were surprised by what it could fit — an extra-large mountain bike, for example. The Model 3 is also one of the few vehicles in the segment with a front trunk, providing a useful 2.7 cubic feet.

Inside, cabin storage is pretty decent. However, the front cupholders lack anti-tip tabs, so cups and bottles aren't likely to fit snugly. The car seat anchors are tucked tightly between the seat cushions, so you must take care to avoid scratching the leather as you hook up. Once in, even rear-facing car seats will fit behind an average-size driver.
[Editor's note: The following relates to the 2020 Model 3 Standard Range Plus, which is what we tested. EPA range and efficiency estimates have changed slightly since then, but our general takeaways still apply.] The Model 3's EPA-estimated efficiency is great, especially for its performance output. The Standard Range Plus' EPA combined rating of 24 kWh used per 100 miles bests the ratings of most other EVs, including the Chevrolet Bolt, BMW i3 and Kia Niro. The Model 3's EPA range is also pretty good at 250 miles for the Standard Range Plus, though we failed to hit this target in our real-world testing.

In Edmunds' real-world range test, the Model 3 went 232 miles before needing to be recharged, 18 miles shy of the EPA estimate. Other vehicles in the segment generally beat their range estimates in our testing. Conversely, the Model 3 was slightly more efficient than the EPA's number. We calculated an average consumption of 23 kWh/100 miles (the lower the number, the more efficient the car is). This is puzzling considering the Tesla fell short of its range target.
The entry-level Model 3 is surprisingly impressive and has improved in build quality over the early-production long-range model cars. Total cost ultimately depends on your appetite for unlocking the full Autopilot features (and future potential features), but showing some restraint could put you into a genuinely luxurious Model 3 for about what a fully loaded Hyundai Kona Electric or Kia Niro EV costs.

The Model 3 comes with the usual assortment of charge cord options, including a standard 120-volt household adapter, a 240-volt SAE public charge equipment adapter and a NEMA 14-50 RV park adapter. It also works with Tesla's proprietary nationwide Supercharger network, which charges a modest fee per use.

The Model 3 is pretty comparable to other luxury electric vehicles in warranty coverage. But a big benefit to owning a Tesla are the periodic software upgrades and improvements beamed directly to your car over the air.
Never did we imagine a world in which we'd prefer driving an electric car to a BMW. But Tesla made that possible with the Model 3, at least in the case of comparing it against the latest BMW 3 Series. From its balanced chassis to the smooth, quiet and instantaneous electric propulsion, the Model 3 will alter your perceptions of what EV driving is all about.

It could have been easy for this budget Tesla to feel generic and ordinary, especially in trying to keep the price under $40,000. But instead it's a genuine luxury experience with cutting-edge tech that doesn't just meet the status quo but far exceeds it. We have Tesla to thank for making EVs aspirational.

Which Model 3 does Edmunds recommend?

Because range really is peace of mind in an EV, we'd recommend the Long Range AWD. Not only do you get an EPA-estimated range of 353 miles but you get a faster onboard charger for quicker fill-ups. The all-wheel-drive system affords improved traction in inclement weather but also benefits dry-weather handling and performance. We're also fans of the upgraded 14-speaker audio system that's standard on this trim level.

Tesla Model 3 models

The Tesla Model 3 is a fully electric sedan that comes in three trim levels: Standard Plus, Long Range AWD and Performance. Each trim is differentiated primarily by levels of driving range and acceleration from a battery-electric powertrain. Be aware that Tesla updates the Model 3 on an ongoing basis rather than by model year, so what follows might not necessarily reflect the most current offering. Highlighted features include:

Standard Plus
Offers an estimated 263 miles of range, as well as:

  • Rear-wheel drive
  • 7.6-kW onboard charger
  • 170 kW max Supercharging
  • Tesla-estimated 0-60 mph in 5.3 seconds
  • 18-inch wheels
  • Simulated leather upholstery
  • Panoramic glass roof
  • Keyless entry and start
  • Power-adjustable, heated front seats
  • Wireless charging for two smartphones
  • 15-inch touchscreen with navigation
  • Tesla's Autopilot (suite of advanced driver aids, including exterior cameras and traffic-adaptive cruise control)

Long Range AWD
Adds all-wheel drive and ups the estimated range to 353 miles. It also has:

  • 11.5-kW onboard charger
  • 250 kW max Supercharging
  • Estimated 0-60 mph in 4.2 seconds
  • 15-speaker premium sound system
  • Heated rear seats

Performance
Dials up the performance of the Long Range AWD but offers only 315 miles of estimated range:

  • Estimated 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds
  • 20-inch wheels
  • Carbon-fiber rear spoiler
  • Aluminum pedals
  • Sport suspension
  • High-performance brakes
  • Track-oriented driving mode

Tesla offers a so-called Full Self-Driving Capability option is available on all trims. It adds nifty semi-automated driving features, including automated parking and the ability to change lanes simply by flicking the turn signal. Tesla also says the Full Self-Driving Capability feature will gain additional automated driving capabilities in the future via over-the-air updates.

Latest Tesla News from Edmunds
Watch Review
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Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2021 Tesla Model 3.

Average user rating: 4.3 stars
7 total reviews
5 star reviews: 72%
4 star reviews: 14%
3 star reviews: 0%
2 star reviews: 0%
1 star reviews: 14%

Trending topics in reviews

  • interior
  • value
  • road noise
  • engine
  • driving experience
  • seats
  • handling & steering
  • brakes
  • comfort
  • appearance
  • maintenance & parts
  • electrical system
  • reliability & manufacturing quality
  • technology
  • doors
  • lights
  • spaciousness
  • fuel efficiency
  • infotainment system
  • visibility
  • dashboard

Most helpful consumer reviews

4/5 stars, Great car
W Palmer,
Performance 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD)
Speed: Nothing beats that electric torque. Love it. Comfort: tons of leg room up front. Decent amount in back. Plenty of trunk space. Power seats could be a little beefier. I’m a big dude and it doesn’t always do well at moving upright unless I lean forward. Construction: my panels were fine. No big gaps. No misaligned panels. Love the console redesign. I notice noise at the doors but that may just be because it’s not drowned out by the engine. I added an aftermarket door seal kit ($29) and it’s perfect.
5/5 stars, Luxury Feel at Economy Cost
Thomas Trost,
Standard Range Plus 4dr Sedan (electric DD)
All in I was able to purchase a brand new 2021 Tesla Model 3 (standard range plus) for $42,000 after taxes. I’m very happy with the purchase. In comparison to other new cars at this price point I think the model 3 is a no brainer if you want a luxury feel for an economy cost. First off I want to address this site saying this is a “non-luxury” car. Simply not true. Stylish and aero-dynamic interior. Insane torque. Heated seats throughout the vehicle. Auto Pilot. Outstanding Entertainment and Tech package. 0-60mph in 5.3s. Sleek leather interior. Virtually silent on city streets with minimal road noise on the highway relative to previous years models. I don’t know what about that does not spell out “luxury” for these people?? Regardless, I would not recommend you go and buy the sport package or long range and shell out an additional $15-30k on this model unless you plan to drag race frequently or take cross country road trips frequently. For me, a person who is rarely driving, this car is plenty fast and has plenty range. I recently made a trip from Nashville to Chicago. The car drove me literally the whole time on the highway through rain snow sleet and hail. I had to stop all of 4 times at super chargers to get to my destination. A full charge on the standard range model will take you about 45 minutes. While you sit to charge your car you can literally watch Netflix, surf the internet, or scroll through Spotify on the large touchscreen panel. The seats themselves are comfy enough to take a nap in. People enjoy this car and it’s a great conversation starter. If you feel like blowing $70k for “luxury” than you’d be better suited with a different model. The Cons: This vehicle has extended delivery times and you will notice an inability to coordinate logistics on part of Tesla. Secondly, the service is all through an app and leaves little room for human interaction to get your problems solved. Poor quality control; car showed up with a taillight literally unplugged.( Pretty minor and easy fix all I had to do was go into the trunk and connect the light to the power source.) Lastly, this car will almost certainly cause distraction while you get used to the touch screen and regenerative braking. That said, once you get used to all the fancy bells and whistles it actually becomes completely unnecessary to use the touchscreen to get from point A to point B. Batter will drain significantly in colder temperatures so I’d be weary of purchasing these vehicle if you live in a cold climate. Hope this review helps anyone in the market.
1/5 stars, 2021 model 3 performance
David Scott,
Performance 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD)
Tesla is horrible at putting these cars panels together! My car was delivered and has a power trunk. When I got home I went to open the trunk. As it opened, it would immediately slam shut. After inspecting it, I saw that the trunk lid was not installed properly and there were paint shavings on my car. It had been scraping against the panel next to it and took the paint off both edges. There is zero customer support on this. I took it to a service shop and they fixed the trunk, but only applied a little touch up paint which came off on my first car wash. There is no one to call and no resources to get help or any kind of customer loyalty department. Now I am stuck with a car that was delivered imperfect for $72,000
5/5 stars, Best EV car 2021
Connor Patterson ,
Long Range 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD)
Every car I've driven before this had an internal combustion engine which I never minded. I didn't buy the Model 3 because I was an environmentalist. After driving this car, I will never be able to enjoy an ICE car as a daily driver. The instant torque of the Model 3 is extraordinary, the range for the long range is more than enough for my needs. One of my favorite features of the vehicle is the center display. The built in spotify and other multi media apps are extremely convenient and very satisfying. The speaker system is fantastic, for the upgraded version at least. I never experienced any issues with panel gaps, lose windows, or a problem with the trunk. The app has everything you need, including on demand servicing. Highly suggest this vehicle.

2021 Tesla Model 3 videos

[MUSIC PLAYING] JONATHAN ELFALAN: No other manufacturer to date has yet to offer an EV for the money that's as appealing to drive, look at, and use on a day-to-day basis as a Tesla Model 3. That's why it's our pick this year and the defending champion for Edmunds top-rated electric vehicle. ALISTAIR WEAVER: The award goes to the car itself and not the Twitter antics of CEO Elon Musk. We remain skeptical of lots of Tesla's promises from future vehicles to the so-called full self-driving. Frankly, believe it when you see it. But to focus on such things is to devalue the merits of the vehicle, itself, which are ever improving. Tesla's practice of updating its software over the air means dynamic refinements and new features arrive without you having to visit a service center. It's not always glitch-free, and rivals are introducing similar systems. But for now, at least, Tesla leads the way. Our choice remains the entry level Standard Range Plus. And for the upcoming 2021 model year, Tesla is introducing such niceties as black trim and wireless phone charging. JONATHAN ELFALAN: While it's unlikely you'll match Tesla's claim to range figures-- we never have-- there's enough real-world range for most shoppers. Plus, buying-in gets you access to the supercharger network, which remains the most robust, fast-charging set up across the nation. The Model 3 is a powerful, attractive, and highly-functional EV that serves as an excellent commuter for shoppers who are ready to adopt all-electric mobility. Edmunds has owned two Model 3s. Our editor-in-chief bought one for his family car. That's the strongest recommendation we can make.

2020 Tesla Model 3: Edmunds Top Rated EV | Edmunds Top Rated Awards 2021

NOTE: This video is about the 2020 Tesla Model 3, but since the 2021 Tesla Model 3 is part of the same generation, our earlier analysis still applies.

Features & Specs

Base MSRP
$36,990
Battery & Range
EPA KWh/100 mi.: N/A
Time To Charge Battery (At 240V): N/A
EPA Electricity Range: N/A
Seating
5 seats
Drivetrain
Type: rear wheel drive
Transmission: 1-speed direct drive
Basic Warranty
4 yr./ 50000 mi.
Dimensions
Length: 184.8 in. / Height: 56.8 in. / Width: 72.8 in.
Curb Weight: 3582 lbs.
Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 15.0 cu.ft.
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Safety

Our experts’ favorite Model 3 safety features:

Automatic Emergency Braking
Warns if a front impact is imminent and applies the brakes if the driver doesn't respond in time.
Active Cruise Control
Maintains a set gap between the Model 3 and the car you're following. It comes to a complete stop and resumes following too.
Lane Keeping Assist
Warns if you are drifting out of your lane and will nudge the steering to get you back in line.

NHTSA Overall Rating 5 out of 5 stars

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.

Frontal Barrier Crash RatingRating
Overall5 / 5
Driver5 / 5
Passenger5 / 5
Side Crash RatingRating
Overall5 / 5
Side Barrier RatingRating
Overall5 / 5
Driver5 / 5
Passenger5 / 5
Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsRating
Front Seat5 / 5
Back Seat5 / 5
RolloverRating
Rollover5 / 5
Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
Risk Of Rollover6.6%

IIHS Rating

The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.

Side Impact Test
Good
Roof Strength Test
Good
Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
Good
IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
Moderate Overlap Front Test
Good


FAQ

Is the Tesla Model 3 a good car?

The Edmunds experts tested the 2021 Model 3 both on the road and at the track, giving it a 8.4 out of 10. You probably care about Tesla Model 3 energy consumption, so it's important to know that the Model 3 gets an EPA-estimated 113 mpg-e to 134 mpg-e, depending on the configuration. What about cargo capacity? When you're thinking about carrying stuff in your new car, keep in mind that the Model 3 has 15.0 cubic feet of trunk space. And then there's safety and reliability. Edmunds has all the latest NHTSA and IIHS crash-test scores, plus industry-leading expert and consumer reviews to help you understand what it's like to own and maintain a Tesla Model 3. Learn more

What's new in the 2021 Tesla Model 3?

According to Edmunds’ car experts, here’s what’s new for the 2021 Tesla Model 3:

  • Increased range and efficiency
  • New interior and exterior trim
  • Standard integrated wireless phone charger
  • Part of the first Model 3 generation introduced for 2017
Learn more

Is the Tesla Model 3 reliable?

To determine whether the Tesla Model 3 is reliable, read Edmunds' authentic consumer reviews, which come from real owners and reveal what it's like to live with the Model 3. Look for specific complaints that keep popping up in the reviews, and be sure to compare the Model 3's average consumer rating to that of competing vehicles. Learn more

Is the 2021 Tesla Model 3 a good car?

There's a lot to consider if you're wondering whether the 2021 Tesla Model 3 is a good car. Edmunds' expert testing team reviewed the 2021 Model 3 and gave it a 8.4 out of 10. Safety scores, fuel economy, cargo capacity and feature availability should all be factors in determining whether the 2021 Model 3 is a good car for you. Learn more

How much should I pay for a 2021 Tesla Model 3?

The least-expensive 2021 Tesla Model 3 is the 2021 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus 4dr Sedan (electric DD). Including destination charge, it arrives with a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of about $36,990.

Other versions include:

  • Performance 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD) which starts at $55,990
  • Long Range 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD) which starts at $46,990
  • Standard Range Plus 4dr Sedan (electric DD) which starts at $36,990
Learn more

What are the different models of Tesla Model 3?

If you're interested in the Tesla Model 3, the next question is, which Model 3 model is right for you? Model 3 variants include Performance 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD), Long Range 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD), and Standard Range Plus 4dr Sedan (electric DD). For a full list of Model 3 models, check out Edmunds’ Features & Specs page. Learn more

More about the 2021 Tesla Model 3

2021 Tesla Model 3 Overview

The 2021 Tesla Model 3 is offered in the following submodels: Model 3 Sedan, Model 3 Long Range, Model 3 Performance. Available styles include Performance 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD), Long Range 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD), and Standard Range Plus 4dr Sedan (electric DD).

What do people think of the 2021 Tesla Model 3?

Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2021 Tesla Model 3 and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2021 Model 3 4.3 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2021 Model 3.

Edmunds Expert Reviews

Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2021 Tesla Model 3 and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2021 Model 3 featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.

Our Review Process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.

What's a good price for a New 2021 Tesla Model 3?

2021 Tesla Model 3 Standard Range Plus 4dr Sedan (electric DD)

2021 Tesla Model 3 Long Range 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD)

2021 Tesla Model 3 Performance 4dr Sedan AWD (electric DD)

Which 2021 Tesla Model 3s are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2021 Tesla Model 3 for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a car from our massive database to find cheap vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the 2021 Tesla Model 3.

Can't find a new 2021 Tesla Model 3s you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a new Tesla for sale - 2 great deals out of 6 listings starting at $22,952.

Why trust Edmunds?

Edmunds has deep data on over 6 million new, used, and certified pre-owned vehicles, including rich, trim-level features and specs information like: MSRP, average price paid, warranty information (basic, drivetrain, and maintenance), features (upholstery, bluetooth, navigation, heated seating, cooled seating, cruise control, parking assistance, keyless ignition, satellite radio, folding rears seats ,run flat tires, wheel type, tire size, wheel tire, sunroof, etc.), vehicle specifications (engine cylinder count, drivetrain, engine power, engine torque, engine displacement, transmission), fuel economy (city, highway, combined, fuel capacity, range), vehicle dimensions (length, width, seating capacity, cargo space), car safety, true cost to own. Edmunds also provides tools to allow shopper to compare vehicles to similar models of their choosing by warranty, interior features, exterior features, specifications, fuel economy, vehicle dimensions, consumer rating, edmunds rating, and color.

Should I lease or buy a 2021 Tesla Model 3?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Tesla lease specials