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Though they fall into different classifications, the Tesla Model 3 and Model Y are very similar. However, their quality might not be.
The Tesla Model 3 was given the second-highest score out of 16 electric vehicles rated by Consumer Reports (CR), while the Model Y had the lowest score in the category.
Are the differences between the Model 3 and the Model Y enough to make the Model 3 a vastly better choice?
CR’s rating system
Consumer Reports rates cars according to three main categories, giving individual scores in each of them and assigning an overall score out of 100. The three categories include road test, predicted reliability, and predicted customer satisfaction.
Each car gets scored out of five for its predicted reliability and predicted customer satisfaction. They are also taken out on a road test by CR and given a score out of 100. The road test allows CR to assess every aspect of the car from acceleration to seat comfort, each of which also gets its own scores.
Tesla Model 3
The Model 3 has an overall score of 78. CR gave them a five out of five for predicted customer satisfaction and 82 out of 100 on its road test. Its predicted reliability was a bit lower at three out of five.
The Model 3 comes standard with a 258-horsepower dual-motor system, all-wheel drive, and a 263-mile range. A Tesla Supercharger can recharge the Model 3 to 175 miles in 15 minutes, though a full charge with a 240-volt charger will take around 12 hours.
Tesla also earned high safety ratings on the Model 3. It earned five stars in every rating category from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) also gave the car their top rating of “Good” in each of the safety categories.
Reliability is the car’s lowest rating, and it looks like the hardware could be to blame. The Model 3’s power windows and seat controls have reportedly become less reliable over the last three model years.
CR is also unimpressed with the Model 3’s body integrity, which includes problems with wind noise, odd rattling, and water leaks. This, coupled with the four recalls currently out for the Model 3, is likely why its reliability is at odds with its other scores.
Tesla Model Y
Like the Model 3, the Model Y scored well for the road test and in predicted customer satisfaction. The Model Y received a five out of five for customer satisfaction and even scored higher than the Model 3 in the road test, earning a 90 out of 100. But somehow, the car was rated drastically lower overall than the Model 3 at 47 out of 100.
The Model Y, like the Model 3, is an all-wheel-drive equipped with dual motors that produce 384 horsepower. Recharging time on the Model Y is a bit shorter than the Model 3, getting a full charge from a 240-volt connector in 10 hours. Its standard range is 330 miles, and a Supercharger can give it up to 162 miles of range in 15 minutes.
But the Model Y’s reliability score was very low—only one out of five. Each of CR’s scores are broken down into subcategories, showing exactly what parts of the car are dragging or raising the scores. For the Model Y, its reliability scores weren’t all bad, but poor scores in three subcategories likely drove down the average.
Like the Model Y, body hardware and integrity were low points for the Model Y, along with the paint and trim. The paint/trim category considers how well the outer paint layer holds up over time, and according to CR, Tesla’s paint life is less than satisfactory. There are also five recalls out for the Model Y.
Though there are not many differences between the Model 3’s failings and the Model Y’s, the score disparity is large enough that these issues could be amplified in the Model Y.
There are no customer complaints listed for either car by CR, so it’s unclear how much the difference in scores reflects the difference in quality and real-world experience. However, with how thorough CR is with their ratings, the Model Y may be a lot less reliable than the Model 3.
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