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The Tesla lineup faces more competition than ever from legacy automaker’s new electric vehicles (EVs). However, even with tough contenders like the Mercedes-Benz EQE and Audi e-tron GT vying for high-voltage victory, the cheapest car in Tesla’s lineup delivers range, snappy acceleration, and, most importantly, commendable safety scores. Check out how the 2023 Tesla Model 3 could be a safe bet in the EV segment.  

Just because its the cheapest Tesla in the lineup doesn’t mean it’s a compromise

The new 2023 Tesla Model 3 remains the cheapest option in the automaker’s lineup until Elon Musk and his executive team announce a more affordable option like the possible Model 2. However, the Model 3 shines in several capacities, from value to range to safety. 

A red Tesla Model 3 and Model Y, the cheapest cars in the lineup, blast down a winter road.
A Model Y and 3 | Tesla

For instance, the 2022 and 2023 Model 3 earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an agency that evaluates the roadworthiness of new cars. In the IIHS testing, the Model 3 secured a near-perfect scorecard, save for one “Acceptable” rating for the child LATCH evaluation.

Moreover, the cheapest Tesla car earned a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in 2022. The NHTSA testing revealed that the Tesla car is not only commendably crashworthy but also inherently resistant to rolling over. Its low tip risk results from the battery architecture creating a low center of gravity; when a force acts on its side, the Model 3 will often return to an upright position where a conventional SUV or crossover may tip over.  

Is the Model 3 the safest car?

While the Tesla Model 3 has award-winning safety credentials, it’s not the safest car on the market. For instance, the IIHS gave its Top Safety Pick+ rating to 14 other midsize luxury cars in 2022. 

However, the Model 3’s low tip risk and roof strength make it one of the safest cars in an accident that could result in a rollover. In the IIHS testing for roof strength, the Model 3 took up to 20,835 lbs of peak force, more than its pricier sibling, the Model Y.  

How much is the cheapest Tesla Model 3?

The entry-level 2023 Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive starts at $42,990. It offers 272 miles of range and the same safety scores as the more expensive trims. 

However, the higher trims on the Tesla car’s range, like the Performance, offer electric all-wheel drive (eAWD), which multiplies grip and adds to the vehicle’s overall stability and safety. Of course, owners who want to take their Model 3 into the future will likely opt for Tesla’s controversial $15,000 full self-driving (FSD) capability. 

The cheapest car in Tesla's lineup, the 2023 Tesla Model 3 shows off its red paintwork on a runway.
Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

Is it worth getting a Tesla Model 3?

The Tesla Model 3 is still the most affordable way to getting one of the automaker’s EVs. Additionally, the Model 3’s safety scores are high enough to compete with many EVs and conventional competitors. Moreover, with a neck-snapping Performance trim and sensible Long Range trim, the Model 3 is worth it. 

However, the baby Tesla electric car isn’t alone in the segment; cheaper alternatives like the Chevrolet Bolt EV offer nearly as much range as the base Model 3.  

What do you think of the cheapest Tesla in the lineup and its safety scores? Tell us in the comments below!


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