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Tesla has seen some best sellers over the years, but this year two of its models appear to be outshining many EVs on the market. The Model 3, the brand’s compact electric car, is one of them and the Model Y, an SUV, is the other. How well do the cheapest Tesla models sell, and what makes each one a consumer favorite?

A red Tesla Model 3 parked on pavement.
2023 Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

How well do the cheapest Tesla models sell?

In the first quarter of 2023, the Tesla Model 3 sold about 63,001 units, which is approximately 23,000 more than the previous year’s Q1 total. Tesla’s Model Y fared even better with 85,000 sales in 2023 compared to 2022’s 54,999 units (per GoodCarBadCar). 

These two models are best-sellers for the brand, outshining Tesla’s other two offerings. Its Model X saw only 6,001 units sold, which is almost 3,000 more than in 2022. The Model S saw a significant decrease, though, from last year’s Q1 sales compared to this year. In 2022, it sold 64,873 units, while Tesla only had 16,000 units purchased so far this year. 

When you compare the Model 3 and Model Y with some of its rivals, Tesla beats them out as well. The Nissan Leaf, a compact EV, had 2,353 units sold this year and the Kia Niro sold 9,827 electric cars in Q1. Both competing EVs are popular in the compact all-electric category, but neither came close to the Model 3’s sales. 

Looking at a couple of midsize electric SUVs, the Ford Mustang Mach-E and the Hyundai Ioniq 5 are popular, but both models sold under 6,000 units so far this year. Looking at Q1 2022, neither fared much better with under 7,000 units sold. 

What makes the Tesla Model 3 a best-seller?

The Tesla Model 3 comes in three different trim levels, which include the Rear-Wheel Drive (base), Long Range version, and the Performance model. The cheapest trim available is the rear-wheel drive, which begins at $46,990 and goes up to $62,990 for the Performance trim. You get AWD standard if you choose the Long Range and Performance models.

When it comes to the driving range, the Long Range version has the most. From a full charge, you can go at least 325 miles. If you choose the Performance model, you’ll get about 315 miles on a single charge. The base has the lowest distance, but you still get 272 miles. 

Charging at a supercharging station will be simple and quick. The base version maxes out at a 7.6 kW charge, but the Long Range and Performance trims can take up to 11.5 kW. The dual motor setup in the AWD versions gives you an acceleration time of 4.2 seconds with the Long Range and 3.1 seconds for the Performance model. Tesla’s Model 3 base is slower, but not by much with its 5.8 second time on a 0-60 mph run, according to Tesla.

The compact sedan has plenty of interior room to seat 5 passengers comfortably and offers a comparable amount of cargo space. You can expect to get 23 cubic feet of storage in this model. A 15-inch display helps the driver control the vehicle by having all the necessary driving commands in one place. 

Why the Tesla Model Y sells so many electric vehicles

One of the biggest reasons has to be the price. It wasn’t that long ago that the 2023 Tesla Model Y came with a pretty high price tag. Now, you can get the base for around $49,000 (after fees), and the highest trim, the Performance model starts at almost $56,000.

The Model Y also comes with all-wheel drive as standard equipment on all three trims. The dual-motor setup allows the base trim to go from 0 to 60 mph in 5 seconds, while the Long Range version takes 4.8 seconds. Tesla’s Performance model is the fastest with a whopping 3.5-second acceleration time. 

Driving range figures are pretty good as well. For the Performance model, you can go 303 miles on a single charge, while the Long Range version offers at least 330 miles. The base has the shortest distance with 279 miles, which is still more than some of its rivals. 

Tesla Model 3 and its Model Y are the cheapest electric vehicles the brand offers currently. It’s no surprise that both are the brand’s most popular models. The two EVs are also more popular than many of Tesla’s competitors.