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The new 2023 Tesla Model 3 is a much more affordable electric vehicle (EV) than its previous model year. Moreover, price drops lowered the Model 3 RWD trim to below $40,000, which makes it more affordable than other alternative energy vehicles. For instance, fans can snag the keys to the baby Tesla for less than a new base-model Lexus hybrid, the ES 300h. 

What is the cheapest model of Tesla?

The cheapest model in Tesla’s lineup is the 2023 Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD). The single-motor EV starts at around $39,990 before any green vehicle incentives. As a result, the baby Tesla is down about $6,810 from the previous model year’s entry-level trim, per TrueCar

A new 2023 Tesla Model 3 cruises through the wet.
Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

Moreover, Tesla says the Model 3 qualifies for a federal tax credit, with a catch. The cheapest trim, the Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive, gets half as much of a tax credit as the more expensive Performance trim. Specifically, the automaker says the RWD trim qualifies for around $3,750 in federal tax credits. 

How much is the Lexus ES 300h?

The 2023 Lexus ES 300h starts at around $43,790 and adds hybrid fuel economy to the automaker’s popular midsize luxury sedan platform. However, the model’s range-topping hybrid, the ES 300h Ultra Luxury, pushes the starting price to $52,580. 

A gray 2023 Lexus ES 300h hybrid corners by the coast.
Lexus ES 300h | Toyota

A price point in the low $50,000s puts the ES 300h in competition with a Tesla Model 3 Performance, a dual-motor, fully-electric platform with 315 miles of EPA-estimated range and enough grip and power to hit 60 mph in just 3.1 seconds. 

What does the new Tesla Model 3 do well?

The new 2023 Tesla Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive provides an accessible entry point for Tesla fans who might not have the budget for the Performance trim or more expensive models like the Model Y or Model S.

A 2023 Tesla Model 3 Performance blasts across winter landscapes.
Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

However, the Model 3 Rear-Wheel Drive also goes without the dual-motor AWD platform and extended range of the Performance trim. As a result, the RWD trim offers 272 miles of EPA-estimated range. Furthermore, the model’s range will be compromised by temperature extremes, something drivers should take into consideration when planning their drives. 

Should you pick a Tesla Model 3 over a Lexus ES 300h?

A long-range EV like the 2023 Tesla Model 3 Performance could be an excellent choice for commuting in a city or over short distances. For instance, the Tesla EV’s 315-mile range is more than enough to handle long commutes, and its dual-motor AWD architecture gives it sure-footed grip for drives in inclement weather. 

Of course, if your drives involve road trips or long commutes without access to charging architecture, there may be better choices than a full-fledged EV like the Model 3. Instead, the ES 300h gets as much as 44 mpg combined. 

Would you take the baby Tesla over a Lexus hybrid? Share your thoughts in the comments below!


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