Skip to main content

When considering a first car for your teenager, the Tesla Model 3 offers several safety features that make it seem like a good choice. However, the Model 3 also has complicated technology and a high-powered electric motor system that may make it a poor choice as a first car. We’ll explore the pros and cons of giving a teenager a Tesla Model 3 for their first car, and determine if it is good choice overall.

Tesla Model 3
Tesla Model 3 | Tesla

The good: advanced safety technology

No matter how anyone feels about Tesla, it’s difficult to deny the safety technology found in the Tesla Model 3. Note, we’re not talking about full-self driving technology, but the collision detection and automated emergency braking features. Tesla’s advanced driver assistance features work well and quite consistently, helping young drivers avoid collisions when the unexpected happens.

A second reason the Tesla is a good first car for a teenager

Because of the low center of gravity, the Tesla Model 3 offers stable handling overall. As a teenager’s first car, the Tesla Model 3 is good for keeping them on the road, even if they make some minor mistakes while cornering.

Why a Tesla Model 3 isn’t a good first car for a young driver

A Tesla Model S Plaid is fast, but too fast to be a good car for a teenager.
Model S Plaid | Tesla

One of the major downsides hindering the Tesla Model 3 from being a good first car for a teenager is the performance. At a minimum, the smallest Tesla sedan offers 283 horsepower and 302 pound-feet of torque. That’s sports car level performance, and it makes it all too easy to get carried away behind the wheel. The Tesla compact goes from zero to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds, and teenaged drivers may have a hard time not leaning into that exciting pace and getting into trouble.

Rear-wheel drive is standard

In addition, the Tesla platform uses rear-whee drive as a base, which is a challenging setup for first-time drivers. A teenager’s first car should be front or all-wheel drive, as they are harder to unsettle and easier to handle on slippery surfaces. That said, all Tesla models are available with all-wheel drive, which would make it a good choice for a teenage driver.

Full-Self Driving needs work

While Tesla’s “Full-Self Driving” system is impressive on paper, it lacks the safety features needed to make it a good choice as a first car. Currently, there is no driver monitoring system and no LiDAR system, making FSD a bit inconsistent. A young driver may not know when they need to take the wheel and what to do in an emergency situation. That makes FSD a hazard in the hands of a young driver.

Is the Tesla Model 3 a good first car for a teenager?

Overall, we’d say that the Tesla Model 3 isn’t a good first car for a teenager. While it offers good handling and good safety features, there are too many other factors that don’t fit what a young driver needs. Couple the performance and tech issues with dodgy door locks and potential fire risks, and it’s hard to imagine making a Tesla a first car for a young driver.

Related What Happens When Your Tesla Model 3 Door Handles Freeze Shut?

What Happens When Your Tesla Model 3 Door Handles Freeze Shut?